Club Profile: Fitness Energy, VIC
Club Network caught up with Jane Kilkenny, studio owner and fitness director of Fitness Energy to find out the keys to success for this family-oriented training facility.
Facilities and services
Weights: Extensive free weights area, complemented by a Life Fitness Dual Adjustable Pulley, power rack, medicine balls, fit balls, TRX, Rip 60, and a large collection of Punch boxing gear.
Cardio: Cardio equipment includes Life Fitness treadmills, steppers, spin bikes and an upper body bike.
Group fitness: We offer several boxing and mat Pilates classes.
PT: We offer personal training for adults and children.
Number of clients actively training: 200+
Size of facility: 280sqm
Owned or rented/leased: Company, building and all equipment owned.
Growth since opening: Commenced in 2000 with a small area of 100sqm and handful of clients, then moved into larger facility in 2002, since when several renovations have been completed.
Access to parking: Plenty of parking in close proximity.
Population to draw on: Park Orchards population is 3,590.
Proximity of closest competitor: PT studio within 6km, gym chain facilities within 5 to 10km.
Prices range: From $25 for child's 30-minute PT, to $70 for 60-minute partner training.
What is the target membership demographic of the club?
Our target demographic is all ages who are training for health and fitness. We have a large number of families that train with us. Fitness Energy is a very family oriented facility.
What do you look for when hiring staff?
When hiring staff I look for the right mix of technical skills, attitude and passion. I insist that all my staff are registered and place a high emphasis on continuing education and professional development (Jane and her team recently attended the FILEX 2012 convention). I am firmly committed to only having trainers that really believe in making a difference. They have to be committed to our clients and their needs, and they have to be great listeners.
What is your staff breakup?
Current staff mix is fitness director and training manager (full time positions); and administration manager, four senior trainers, and two junior trainers (part time positions).
Do you promote the multi-skilling of your staff or do team members have separate roles?
I like to encourage the team members to follow their own interests in terms of professional development and specialisation. All our trainers bring a unique skill set to Fitness Energy and we actively promote the sharing of ideas and skills.
Classification of trainers is determined by their experience within Fitness Energy and the industry in general. Our senior trainers are very experienced and have been with the company for several years. The junior trainers have less industry experience and are mentored by myself (fitness director) and Jared (training manager). We do multi-skill to a degree, as we don't have a dedicated receptionist or salesperson: new enquiries and follow-ups are usually looked after by senior staff. We conduct in-house skill and training sessions and also insist that all staff undertake ongoing professional development.
How do you price yourself in the marketplace?
We deliver top end service to our clients, but our pricing is mid-range in terms of industry standards. Our pricing policy is based on industry research, both within Australia and overseas. I am a firm believer in charging a realistic price for our services and place emphasis on our ability to assist a large percentage of the population.
What is your most successful retention strategy?
I believe our best retention strategy is the level of service we provide to clients. Taking the time to truly understand the individual needs of the client is key. Our studio is like a big family: some clients come and go, and then come back again and again. There will always be people who are short term clients in fitness facilities, for many different reasons.
What is your most successful marketing campaign and how did you track its success?
We are proud to offer a monthly newsletter to all members, current and past clients. This keeps all our members up-to-date with the studio's news and session information, and also includes articles on fitness industry news that we feel is pertinent to our client base. We keep in contact with our clients on a regular basis and get positive feedback on the news topics we choose to feature. Our website is regularly updated with the latest information and access to our current newsletter.
We also encourage our clients to participate in events and activities, most recently training a large group to participate in the Tough Mudder event. We have organised groups to participate in the Mothers Day Classic run over the past five years – and in 2011 Fitness Energy won the ‘Largest Gym Personal Fitness Wellbeing Team’ at the event.
Which frontline computer software do you run?
We use Links Modular Solutions computer software.
Do you have any programs for special populations? How profitable/successful are they?
Complementing our varied client list, we do have a great number of special needs clients that come to us. We use a fantastic network of allied health professionals including myotherapists, osteopaths and physiotherapists, with whom we liaise directly on behalf of our clients. Often, people want a facility with experienced staff who really know what they are doing and who possess the know-how to refer when appropriate. We also have a large number of teenagers that train with us, and once again, this comes down to experience and word of mouth marketing.
What non-membership profit centres do you have?
We have a range of merchandise available for clients, including clothing, training gloves, boxing gloves and wraps and foam rollers. We are also happy to source products required by clients for specific needs, such as sports braces.
Describe your personal training operation
Personal training is the core of our business operation. We don't offer memberships or joining fees. We do offer a complimentary 30-minute trial session and have a 24-hour cancellation policy in place.
We offer one-on-one personal training in either 30- or 60-minute sessions. We also offer partner training in a 60-minute session, which is a fun and cost-effective option. Additionally, we have pricing options for kids (aged 10 to 18), students (full time tertiary) and adults.
What is your five-year plan?
Continue to increase our current personal training operations with greater marketing and increasing our team. We place a high emphasis on teamwork and enjoy participating in events together.
We have developed a schools-based program which has been designed for primary and secondary students. The pilot programs will be run later this year with a full roll out planned for 2013.
Over the past five years we have run an annual 24-hour Treadmill Challenge and raised over $122,000 for Very Special Kids, a Victoria-based charity supporting families and children with a life-threatening illness. Over the next five years we will be continuing our charity work which we have found to fulfil clients’ and our staffs’ desire to assist the community and make a difference.
What is your biggest challenge?
Our biggest challenge is getting people to understand the importance of exercise and good health. Our existing clients get it, but it would be great if our industry could have an even greater impact on the health of Australia. We have an amazing ability to change the current downward spiral of health. We need to get people addicted to good health, rather than to technology.