Gary Deagle is the Owner of Coastal Strength & Fitness in Newport News, Virginia. He started his first business at the age of 25 and grew it into a local chain before selling and starting this new venture. Gary is someone who many might say already has an “ideal business”, but he embraces new ideas and concepts and is always evolving in order to achieve even better results.
Gary started in the fitness industry as a personal trainer at the age of 20 in a big box gym before leaving and starting his own gym with a partner 6.5 years later.
They build the new gym using “old school” marketing techniques and after four years they had three locations, but says he was miserable with the work he was doing. He allowed his partner to buy him out over two years so he could exit the business, at which time he started Coastal Strength & Fitness.
To initially build Coastal, Gary offered 20 people free training for two months, provided they posted on Facebook about their experiences and referred friends to him. As soon as Gary turned a profit, he hired a business coach to help him build the business even more, and he added multiple trainers to his staff.
After some time living in California and running the business from afar, he returned to Virginia and Coastal now has a 4,000 square foot facility with strong systems developed.
They now charge new clients $167/month and have about 10 people in their group training each class, with about 20 people attending at peak times. As a special promotion, members can add a spouse or second person to their membership for $99/month. Coastal currently has about 200 to 250 members paying an average of approximately $145/month, with the maximum capacity being 300 members.
Gary has raised their rates on new memberships, but he has never done that for existing members. The first thing I would recommend to him is that he raises ongoing fees for the last 30 to 50 members to $197/month. It would be a good time for him to do this with the visible investments he’s made in the business and their facility.
He can then look to close some of the gap between new and long time members, by raising their fees to $157 or $167/month, which is still a great deal over current rates.
Next Gary could monetize off peak hours, or perhaps offer 1-on-1 coaching or extra attention, as well as looking at supplement sales or corporate/off-site programs to generate additional revenue.
I share with Gary how I scaled my business in a way that I could control my time better, and where I’m willing to invest my time now is only in places where I play my best role. For him it sounds like he can use his expertise in team building to help other entrepreneurs, or create help people create businesses that operate from afar, like he did when he was based in California.
Scaling doesn’t mean he has to lease and build out new locations, and Gary is really at a point where he’s earned the right to make decisions based on preferences, not desperation.
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