Bigger Isn’t Better! $50k Per Month in Under 2,000 Square Feet

A headshot of gym owner Daniel Purington and the title "Bigger Isn't Better! $50k Per Month in Under 2,000 Square Feet."

John Franklin (00:02):
Welcome to Two-Brain Radio. We have a very special episode and a very special guest for you this week. We are sitting down with Daniel Purington of Woodslawn Fitness in Portland, Oregon. We’re coming at you from the Tinker Meetup in Dallas, Texas. You are my first interview of the weekend, so thank you for laying on the sword and the grenade and making content that helps the Two-Brain community out.

Daniel Purington (00:27):
Yeah. Happy to help. I’m excited to talk to you.

John Franklin (00:30):
So, I gave you a brief little intro. We’ve been going back and forth a little bit getting into the interview. For people who are unfamiliar with your gym, maybe give us a quick rundown of what your gym is, the type of training you do.

Daniel Purington (00:41):
Yeah, so we have a relatively small gym in Southwest Portland. We started out as a CrossFit gym about five years ago, and over the course of COVID and the recent three or four years, we’ve pivoted much more to a personalized model in a semi-private model. So, we do probably about 30% in our CrossFit classes. And the rest of the makeup is through private training, semi-private training and hybrid.

John Franklin (01:07):
And what were you doing pre-COVID? Was it all large group, like traditional CrossFit model?

Daniel Purington (01:12):
Yeah, I mean, we always had class caps because my space—so to give you an idea, my primary location is under 2,000 square feet with usable of like 1,100. So, we always had a size limitation. We’re really fortunate in that I took the space because I got 30 parking spaces with it. And as you can imagine, that came in super handy in COVID, so much so as we actually built an outside gym—full coverings and pull up bars and the whole thing. But when COVID hit, people really didn’t want to be around groups. And so, we started to, to be honest, sit down and listen to people a little bit more. And they told us more and more and more about what they wanted, and not that it wasn’t CrossFit, but they wanted a little bit more personalization. So, as the mandate started to lift, we started to see our model needed to shift to kind of support what people were telling us. And that’s kind of how we got to where we are now.

John Franklin (02:12):
So when I hear—my first gym, we were around 2,000 square feet, 1400 usable, so I’m very familiar with the difficulties of operating in what we call like a submarine, you know? You have to be very mindful of the equipment, the programming, all those things.

Daniel Purington (02:28):

John Franklin (02:28):
Where do you cap out in terms of membership when you were doing that large group model?

Daniel Purington (02:34):
Yeah, I mean, so we had—I mean, we always capped our classes around 12 except for on the weekends, which we strategically do partner workouts, and we can open that cap up to 16 and 18. But we do find, interestingly enough, around that 150, 160 mark is about as much as we can handle. Logistics, like you mentioned in the submarine is critical. So, as we diversified, we really had to be conscious of where the group class was going to go, where it flowed, have that not interfere with some of the other things. And so, working in that small space while limiting actually got us better.

John Franklin (03:11):
Yeah because you really have to be mindful about the service you’re delivering, the programming you’re doing, and then I’m sure your coaches are familiar with drawing out class plans, like where the rowers go when you got a full class or anything like that. So, talk to me a little bit about how you’re packaging and pricing your services. Right, because one of the reasons why we want to talk to you is that you are doing CrossFit slightly differently than the rest of the affiliate community. And what I mean by that is a very large percentage of your revenue comes from—you call it semi-private, correct? There’s a small group and semi-private, but you identify as semi-private. OK. So, explain what that is. Give me a little rundown there. And then tell me how you kind of package and price your services.

Daniel Purington (03:56):
Yeah. So, the way that we define semi-private is we do six-on-one training sessions, and we run those in eight-week blocks. So, we specifically focus on something for eight weeks. We started out with some glute work or some upper body work, and we kind of package that out through that. It’s the same six people, upfront charge. That’s how that runs. Our hybrid program is what we consider our two-on-one or our three-on-one training. And that’s what we pair with our group classes. Our semi-private, which just continually rolls and rolls—like the first two semi-private we started two and a half years ago are still running. And if I were to think really hard, I bet you 70% of the people are still in that same thing. They just turnover and turnover and turnover in that. And so, the price point has gone up as we’ve raised our rates. So right now, for our 16-session semi-private block, it’s 549 per person. It’s all upfront. And a lot of those people are coupling that with additional private training and/or working out with our group classes, both of which are added on top of the membership.

John Franklin (05:05):
If I was at my computer, I would be working the calculator really quick to get the session rate. What does that come out to about, per session?

Daniel Purington (05:11):
For the semi-private, it’s right around $38 a session in our six-on-one environment. What’s really important to me with that semi-private program is we can give people what they want specifically, but to be honest, more importantly, I’m paying coaches $92, $94 a session. So, one hour of work, I’m paying coaches about three times what we can pay them for a general class. And they’re able to build a relationship. So not only am I stabilizing my revenue stream, but I’m making careers more stable for these folks. So, I am controlling my length of engagement with coaches and not just length of engagement with my athletes.

John Franklin (05:53):
And you said you’re thinking about it in eight-week blocks, right? And you said it’ll have a focus, so it’s like: This eight weeks we’re building booty; this eight weeks we’re building arms. And so that’ll rotate, and then people can just opt in or opt out based off of whether they want to do that.

Daniel Purington (06:09):
Yep. Yeah. And so, we are strategic. So, once we get people in, we have a set point. So, we use GLM, which is great to have connection points of them when we want because we just put tags on them, like “Dan semi-private 6 a.m.” They’re going to get some built out things we have for them. But week six, we approach the class and say, “We have two weeks left. Next week we’re going to do this; the week after we’re going to retest everything. This is what I’m seeing as the coach that you all would benefit from. Is there something specific that you want to work on?” So, we’re engaging them. They get three to five days to say, “I’m in.” They get an email that comes out after that conversation that happens that says, “I’ve had a great time with you. This is what our focus is coming up. Smash this button; send me you’re in. If you don’t, we’re going to open this up to the general population.” And so, if we lose a person in there, we’re already actively searching for the next person.

John Franklin (07:05):
So there’s a bit of scarcity to it. Once you lose your spot, someone else is going to pop in there. And spots rarely become available. And so, people naturally want to hold—fear of losing, you know, fear of missing out. They want to hold onto that. And so, you said you’ll pair that with what you called hybrid, which is two-on-one or three-on-one training, right? Yep. And so how is that priced out?

Daniel Purington (07:27):
So we use, similar to the Two-Brain model, we do 25% off for our two-on-one and our three-on one-training. So essentially, person A will buy an eight pack, person B will buy an eight pack, and they’ll get 25% off when they train together. The reason that we do two and three at the same price is so that if we have a three-on-one and one person doesn’t show, we still can run that session, and that’s OK because we’re at the same discounted rate. We don’t discount our class memberships for that though. Like, if they want to add a class membership in, that stays at the standard rate. The only discount we do is for the two-on-one and the three-on-one training.

John Franklin (08:04):
So, if a personal training session is 100 bucks an hour, you say, “Hey John, why don’t you train with Chris, and you’re both going to pay 75 an hour instead of a hundred?” So, I’m understanding that—so instead of 100 for the personal training, you’re making 150 as the gym, and as the client, you’re getting 25 bucks off, and you get to train with somebody presumably that you like.

Daniel Purington (08:23):
Yep. Yeah, we’re strategic about that too. We don’t—well, we recently built out a private semi-private on-ramp, which we started about three months ago that is geared specifically to pair people up throughout an on-ramp. But before that, we were trialing it out and essentially like, “Hey, you each have one session left. Let’s try to train together, and if this is cool, then we’re going to continue on that.” So, it was a little bit cumbersome in the beginning of pairing people up who weren’t friends. And so, we kind of worked through some of that a little bit and have figured out a better way to target that.

John Franklin (08:57):
Got it. And so, what is your PT session rate?

Daniel Purington (09:00):
That’s a good question. So, we do 45-minute sessions. We’re around $72 a session for a 45-minute session.

John Franklin (09:09):
So, it’s about double what you’re charging for your semi-private.

Daniel Purington (09:12):
Yep. It’s exactly double. I love math. And so, the way we set up the semi-private is the cost to do 16 semi-private sessions is the same cost to do eight one-on-one private training sessions.

John Franklin (09:25):
And then, let’s go further then. What is the group cost?

Daniel Purington (09:28):
So our unlimited model, which is the only model that’s available to you unless you do personal training, is 200.

John Franklin (09:36):
OK. And that’s as many classes as you can feast on, groups.

Daniel Purington (09:41):
Yep, just group classes. Yep, yep. And we do—I mean, included, that would be your 90-day goal review, which is where we pull a lot of our semi-private and two-on-one and three-on-one people from is from the goal reviews. But yeah.

John Franklin (09:54):
Like it comes like, “Hey John, you’ve been trying to get a muscle-up for eight weeks now; you’ve been coming to group, but maybe let’s work on this a little bit one-on-one.” And kind of naturally flows into that?

Daniel Purington (10:05):
Yeah. And I think this is something—I was talking to the West Coast CrossFit rep about the semi-private program about a month and a half ago. And I think one thing that we do very differently than your traditional CrossFit gym is we actually don’t dig into the skills as much. Like people talk about doing a double-under one or a muscle-up one, and we go a little bit more towards the strength stuff, and we don’t talk about the movements. We actually talk about the body parts. So, we’ll say, “We’re going to do a glute hypertrophy. We’re going to—you know, this is how we’re going to do this, and we’re going to do it through hip thrust.” And like, that’s the last thing in the conversation. And that has really changed the way people have responded to some our emails and conversations and things like that.

John Franklin (10:53):
Because most of your membership, I would guess, is gen pop. Like are you targeting suburban moms or— You’re in an urban—are you in an urban area or suburban? I was going to say—

Daniel Purington (11:02):
Yeah, so we’re 35+, very high-level working parents. I mean, we’re made up of—the medical center is about eight minutes from us. Nike is about 15 minutes from us. Intel is Nike’s next-door neighbor, and then attorneys—like that’s who we are. And so, we’re with a clientele base that understands the value of something. So, as long as we can show it to them, the financial side of things isn’t necessarily burdensome.

John Franklin (11:31):
Sure. So, it’s just providing that value.

Daniel Purington (11:34):
Yep. That’s the key right there.

John Franklin (11:35):
And trying to solve a problem. Most of them have the disposable income to pay a premium price. So, what does that boil down to in terms of top line? Like what does your membership look like, and what does the top line look like?

Daniel Purington (11:48):
I mean, what are we pulling in every month on average? So, right now, we’re right around 48,000 a month. That’s kind of been our consistent throughout last year, which is a big jump from the previous two years. We missed 60k in November by like a thousand. We should hit it for January because we turned over five, maybe six semi-private programs. So, we’re going to have a pretty big influx coming in January. So, we should hit the 60 threshold.

John Franklin (12:20):
So, sounds like you’re pushing 50 to 60 out of 1,100 usable square feet.

Daniel Purington (12:24):
Yeah, so we have 1,100 and then we have a space next door that’s about 600. And so, we have 1,700 usable, and then we have like our parking lot and stuff.

John Franklin (12:36):
So that’s how that’ll work. I’m assuming the group happens in the 1,100; the 600 is where all the semi-private and private and hybrid is going down.

Daniel Purington (12:45):
Yeah, and a lot of times the group spills out to outside because we still have that all erected, which is nice. That said, during the winter, logistics are critical. I had a conversation with a couple up in New York today, and they have about 800 square feet, and they’re questioning if they could run a six-on-one semi-private Mondays and Thursdays a.m. At 6 a.m., I run a six-person semi-private and a three-on-one training session in that 700 square foot space. As long as you can control your logistics, and you understand how the programming works, and you have that conversation with your coaching staff about having conversations before you get started, you really can maximize your square feet without bumping into each other, and the biggest thing: without diluting the experience of the athlete.

John Franklin (13:33):
Yeah. Some spaces are built better for it than others, but it seems like that sweet spot in terms of square footage for that six-on-one experience seems to be around that 1,200 square-foot area, but I think you could condense it down if you did a well laid out space and were thoughtful about the programming. So, that’s cool. What I like about this is it’s space efficient, which I think a lot of people think a bigger gym is always better. But there’s been just a movement in the sports performance community to move to smaller spaces and do smaller class sizes, higher costs because you can just have more impact. And what I like is the fact that you are still running a CrossFit gym. Right, like you’re affiliated, right?

Daniel Purington (14:19):
Yeah, absolutely.

John Franklin (14:20):
Yeah. And so, you mentioned you’re talking with the reps and stuff. Do you think this is a model more affiliates could use and benefit from?

Daniel Purington (14:28):
Yeah, I really hope so. And that’s—so I spent about an hour on the phone with Katie Hogan before. So, they rolled out a semi-private conversation about two months ago. And I unfortunately had a call during the time there, but I DMed her to ask her if she wanted to converse about that. And that’s one of the things that I talked about was: CrossFit is definitely for anyone, but in the situation or the format that we see in the bigger gym space, it’s really intimidating. People also have a challenging time of saying, “How is this going to get me there?” Right. And so, by adding this in, I feel like we can still get the community aspect from it. I mean, I love the methodology of CrossFit, but some people need a little bit different and a little bit more specificity.

Daniel Purington (15:16):
And so, we can give them the best of both worlds. And so, I think with some focus on—I’ll stand a little pedestal—with some focus on a No Sweat Intro where you’re sitting down and listening to people, and not just letting people come in and try a class, and starting to really understand why someone’s there: There are a lot of CrossFit gyms that could benefit from that understanding and saying, “OK, we can make you really successful in our group classes two to three days a week, and then we’re going to put you in the specific strength block that’s going to help you get further towards where you want to go.”

John Franklin (15:49):
And you bring up the No Sweat Intro, which is how you sell, I’m assuming, all consultative selling. And how does that process work with these different offerings? Like how is it different than when you were just selling a large group and either take it or leave it?

Daniel Purington (16:04):
So, I was fortunate in that before I opened my space, I found Two-Brain. And so, I had been educating myself. I come from the medical community and didn’t—I don’t have a fitness background. And so, I was able to dig into some of the business and understood that consultative process was critical. So, we actually did that since day one. We’ve actually had an on-ramp since day one. It’s looked different throughout the years, but right now, it doesn’t matter if you’ve been doing CrossFit for 10 years or you’ve never seen a barbell, you come in through a No Sweat Intro process. And we have that; there’s a couple of lead generations that we use through our website where we talk to people. And the biggest reason we want to do that is we want to understand why you’re there; we want to understand what’s worked for you in the past—telling us about your challenges—so that we’re not assuming that we know what you need.

Daniel Purington (16:56):
Right? Like, we want to understand you. And as the experts we can say, “OK, now I get where you’re at. This is what you can do.” Coming into our gym, there’s only three ways you can come in. If you’ve got significant CrossFit experience—and I’m going to put a huge asterisk on this—if you have significant CrossFit experience, then you can come into our class setting. That said, we still talk to you about the on-ramp and a significant portion of people who have CrossFit experience still go through our on-ramp. So just because you have somebody coming in that has CrossFit experience, our immediate question is, “Tell me about your on-ramp process at your old CrossFit gym.” Invariably, they did not have one. And then we tell them about ours, and they’re like, “Oh, that sounds pretty awesome.” Ours is six weeks in length. It’s private training and group classes, so they’re going to get a feel of our community.

Daniel Purington (17:48):
And oftentimes they come through that. So that’s two. And then our third way, which is our newest way, is we have a semi-private and a private training on-ramp where people come in looking for private training. We don’t sell front-end private training, and we do that very deliberately—just over the years we’ve tested some things, and we found this works. They train with the goal of getting into a semi-private or a two-on-one or a three-on-one. But we’re still starting them in that one-on-one environment going through, “Where are your challenges? Where are you really focusing on?”—things of that nature.

John Franklin (18:23):
And what do the price points look like for the different starting packages?

Daniel Purington (18:26):
Yeah, so our semi-private and our private on-ramp is 900. That one includes—let’s see—that one’s eight one-on-one training sessions. They get some at-home programming. They get a walking plan, and they get some nutrition recipes from …  Our general on-ramp is 499; that’s six one-on-one training sessions. And then we start putting them in classes—and I think this is really critical—after they’ve gone over the movement that’s in the class. So, we wouldn’t put someone in a class that has a deadlift when we haven’t covered the deadlift in the on-ramp. And so, we’re progressing them through the on-ramp as they’re learning new movements.

John Franklin (19:08):
So, it’ll be like, “Hey, Sally, Wednesday is dead lifts. We’re not going to do that for you, but we got something on Thursday or Friday that goes over the press that we just learned. So why don’t we sign you up for Friday?”

Daniel Purington (19:21):
Yep. And if we have someone in the on-ramp that has come in and has some barbell experience, we can make our on-ramp modular in it. Like, you know, “John, we’re in the middle of a power-clean block. We don’t usually do power-cleans until session four. This is session three, and I’d like to get you in the class. So, we’re just going to flip flop session three and session four, and we’re going to cover power-clean today so that I can get you in class on Thursday. And then we’ll revisit body weight stuff next week.” So, we can do little shifts like that when we’re making those assessments to make sure that that athlete is getting the exposure to classes that they’re looking for.

John Franklin (19:59):
And the class piece essentially reinforces what they just learned in the on-ramp.

Daniel Purington (20:04):
Yep. Yeah. So, we break people up in class two. Again, going back to controlling logistics, we limit the amount of people moving with a barbell. So, if we have 12 people in class, we try to keep it to only six moving at a time. We’re very strategic about pairing people up. We have a tight-knit community, so people love to do that anyways. Another component to that is when we have somebody on the on-ramp, the on-ramp coach is texting the coach that’s coaching the class that that on-ramp person is going to and saying, “Hey, John’s new. They’re coming in today. This is where they are in their on-ramp.” So that coach knows that this person’s new; they know confidently they have gone through the movement patterns, but it’s also a friendly face and whatnot coming through the gym door that, you know, like, “Oh, I know these coaches know when I’m coming.”

John Franklin (20:47):
So it must make them feel a lot more comfortable than just doing some private training and then just being thrown into group. Because they’ve already been integrating into that throughout the entire process.

Daniel Purington (20:55):
Yeah. We actually control it so much, so we don’t let people register for classes while they’re in the on-ramp. The coach does it for them the entire time.

John Franklin (21:05):
Awesome. And so what percentage of your revenue comes from not group training? Not that $200 a month unlimited group class?

Daniel Purington (21:14):
I’d have to look at my metrics specifically, but somewhere around 40 to 45%. It flexes a little bit just dependent upon where we’re in our semi-private. But we do a significant volume of our revenue. We hit—we typically have a reoccurring revenue of membership of between 21,000 and 23,000. And then we’re averaging 45 to 48, and then we’ve gone over 50 several times last year.

John Franklin (21:43):
And that 20 mark, that recurring piece, which if I had to guess, the average CrossFit gym is probably doing between zero and 15% of revenue coming from non-group training sources. And so that’s substantial. Like that’s the difference between paying the bills and maybe having a couple thousand every month to tuck in your back pocket to being able to make decent money from a gym. So, I’m sure there’s gym owners in a similar situation—you know, in that 20 mark—hearing this and saying, “This sounds awesome. I’m in.” You had COVID as a forcing function that kind of pushed people into this, but if you were coaching a gym owner on how to implement this into their business now—it sounds like you’re having those conversations—

Daniel Purington (22:26):
Yep. Just had one today.

John Franklin (22:27):
Yeah, so what are you telling them to do?

Daniel Purington (22:29):
So, the person that I talked to today was considering kind of flipping their model from group completely to semi-private. And I wouldn’t do that in the beginning. They really needed to double down on kind of their on-ramp and start to sell hybrids coming out of your on-ramp. And at that stage, depending upon the logistics that you have and the space you have, you might just be able to double down on that. Like that’s a great offer. One of the reasons we had to do semi-private is we just don’t have the space to run multiple coaches. To go back to what we have on our reoccurring monthly revenue, one of the really cool things is my payroll is just under 30k a month, so I’m paying my coaches and a whole bunch of coaches to be able to do all this.

Daniel Purington (23:12):
So we really had to be strategic, like in the sense of “we have to put multiple people in in this session, or we’re not going to be able to continue to do that.” If you have a little bit more space, then you can start to run those two-on-ones, three-on-ones coupling with your classes because the CrossFit community is not going to want to go away from that group class. And I totally get that. I love that. But if you want to increase that accountability, you want to meet people where you are, you want to have that length of engagement go up, we know those one-on-one relationships are critical with that.

John Franklin (23:44):
So, 30,000 a month: That’s a spicy payroll number. That’s more than the average gym owner does in top line based off of our numbers. So, sounds like you’re providing people with some real careers here. Maybe break down how many people work for the gym and what they do.

Daniel Purington (24:04):
Yeah. So, I work as—I just do semi-private, and I do a couple of private training. I don’t do any group class coaching, which kind of stinks because I really like that. But I moved out of the way for some other coaches to make a career. Then next in line would be Jonathan; he’s our operations manager. He also runs our on-ramp program. He does a lot of our day-to-day interaction on GLM and things of that nature, but he also makes sure things are flowing. He coaches all three classes—semi-private and the hybrid. Then we have a nutrition coach who handles about 30 clients a month there. Plus, she runs the bulk of our semi-privates. We have another coach who we built a physical therapy program together. We have a tiny little office there.

Daniel Purington (24:51):
So, I brought him on about four years ago. Built that practice out. I sold it to him this past summer. He’s our head coach. He does all of our coaches’ development. He does all of our programming; our programming is done in-house. Does some one-on-one training, then runs his physical therapy practice. And then we have one more coach who we consider full-time. So, all those people that I’ve talked about are full-time. And he does similar as Jonathan in that he does group classes, semi-private, and he does a lot of our two-on-ones and three-on-ones. And then we have two bench coaches with a third that just went out on maternity leave.

John Franklin (25:28):
So three full-time, two part-time.

Daniel Purington (25:30):
Myself, John, Anna, Tyler, and so five people who their sole income comes from us.

John Franklin (25:37):
OK. And then you said two bench coaches with a third who just went on maternity leave.

Daniel Purington (25:43):
Maternity leave, yeah.

John Franklin (25:44):
Yeah. Normally record these earlier in the day. The brain’s moving a little slower. We’re trying here. Alright. So yeah, that is insane. So out of 1,700 usable square feet, you got five people eating off of that. And so, you’re saying if you are a gym owner—this sounds good—don’t pivot; don’t completely change your model. Just slowly filter in maybe a semi-private block. Sell that out. Add another semi-private block. Sell that out. And then at what point do you incorporate the hybrid?

Daniel Purington (26:16):
So, I think it really depends. The folks I talked to today, I actually suggested they start with a hybrid first. If you’re going to start with a semi-private—and the way the rules that we have at our space that are in our SOPs is you need to find three people within the group that want what you are talking about before we can even—like they bring me an idea of like, “Oh, I want to do this.” I’m like, “That’s awesome. This is the expectation of how we roll it out in our email list. The first step though is you need to tell me three people that are good for this.” So, you’re starting with that before you’re throwing all your eggs in the basket and just throwing this errant offering out there. Because then as far as we go, you only need one more. So, we have a limit of a program of four.

Daniel Purington (27:04):
If you can’t get four, we don’t run the program for a semi-private. And so, you only have to get one after that. And so, we have kind of these checkpoints of like, “If you can’t get three, I’m not going to run that through our really curated email list. We’re not going to run that through our groups” and things like that. So, there’s a little bit of a push for the coaches who want to do that. And that would be my suggestion too. And the reason I do that is I want you talking to the athletes to find out what they want. I don’t want you to say, “Oh, you need this.” It’s like, understand what their goals are, understand what they want: How can you provide that? So back to the value thing, how can I solve your problem and not create one and try to solve it there? So that’s what I would tell people who are coming into that semi-private, that hybrid conversation.

John Franklin (27:54):
So with five full-timers, there’s probably a decent element—probably some management going on there. How many hours a week are you working in the gym?

Daniel Purington (28:04):
So, as far as the management goes, I put Jonathan in place about eight months ago to run our operations. And that significantly decreased the amount of time, which was strategic in that that’s when I came on board working with Two-Brain, so it was really great to be able to focus on the mentorship side of things. As far as inside of the gym, not including some of the private training that I do, probably 10 hours a week. And that, to be honest, is by choice. I really like creating emails. I really like curating our list. I do our social media. Like I like to do that stuff. I really enjoy doing the No Sweat Intros and the goal reviews. If I decided to not do them, Jonathan and Brandon would have the bandwidth to take up on. So, I’m choosing to do—everything I do in the gym currently I’m choosing to do.

John Franklin (28:53):
And how much actual coaching are you doing then?

Daniel Purington (28:56):
So, I do four semi-private training sessions. And then I do maybe a total of six private training sessions in addition to that in the week. And the three people that I train in there are small business owners, and that’s why I train them because we talk about small business stuff. And I love those people. They’ve been with me forever, but I haven’t taken a new private training client in at least a year.

John Franklin (29:24):
Yeah. Brian Bott, who’s the other guy who runs semi-private, small group in Two-Brain, he has a handful of choice private training clients as well. And I know some of them; they’re like some of the most successful people in that entire area. And it’s crazy what type of a network you can build off of a small gym like that if you get into the right crowds.

Daniel Purington (29:45):
It’s really cool. Yeah. I enjoy that, and that’s why the two semi-private that I coach, the separate ones, that’s the same thing. Like they’re people that I really just like being around, and I truly enjoy doing that, so I get to do it. It’s cool.

John Franklin (30:00):
So, it’s about 10 sessions and 10 hours a week of non-coaching work that you’re doing. And it’s the stuff you like doing. It sounds like 20 hours; we’ll probably call it 25 because they’re shifting and the task switching and all that going on. The payroll sounds pretty substantial, but are you able to pocket more than 100,000 in net owner benefit from that?

Daniel Purington (30:24):
Oh yeah. Yeah. Yep. No problem with that. We wouldn’t have brought Jonathan on when we did—and to be honest, I mean, I’ve had three full-time coaches for a couple years now, so yeah, we’re doing just fine there.

John Franklin (30:41):
And so what is—how are you thinking about what to do next? Are you just enjoying having the single gym? You know, a lot of talks in these meetups are about taking over the world and buying all the real estate in your city or opening 100 gyms. I sometimes think that may not be the best approach for every single gym owner on the planet. How are you thinking about where to go next? Because it sounds like you’re in a good spot.

Daniel Purington (31:06):
Yeah. So as far as like opening gyms, so I own half of another one, and that was a former coach who left us about a year ago to buy out this other gym, and I helped him with the evaluation. So, as far as increasing our footprint, if I had another coach that wanted to open a facility, then I would invest in them. I would not open another one just in my area. We have a great spot. The area where we’re located, there’s almost zero commercial space. We certainly don’t have any warehouse space. My space is a converted real estate office or something like that. It’s challenging to get quality space in our area. Moving forward, I really enjoy acquisitions and talking people through that and looking into investments around small businesses.

Daniel Purington (32:00):
Real estate-wise, I could see doing a short-term rental or so, and potentially my commercial building; I have first right of refusal on it. I’d have to get really crafty because it’s pretty big building, and I live in an expensive county. So, I would take something like that on, but I don’t have the desire to pivot heavy in that regard. So, it’s more on the business side. I’m spending a lot more time on the Two-Brain mentorship team, which I’ve really enjoyed. And so, yeah, just kind of seeing what that takes me.

John Franklin (32:29):
So, it sounds like the business is going well. Rumor has it, you’re doing some crazy stuff personally with your extra free time. You have some 50k rucks or races, what do you have going on this year that you’re planning for?

Daniel Purington (32:44):
Yeah, so I mean, historically I’ve been a mountain runner. So, I’ve run six or seven 50k races. But I’ve done—I enjoy the unsupported mountain stuff, so circumnavigating Mount Hood, St. Helen’s, the Enchantments, things like that. And so, I tend to plan big, big things like that to spend a lot of time in the mountain, and that takes a lot of training. So, I’ve incorporated rucking in, and so some weeks I’ll ruck 25 or 30 miles, and when I have calls where I’m just the listening piece, then I just ruck with them. Or I do a lot of staff conversations, staff evaluations with rucks. I bought three of my staff members rucks as presents throughout the year and things like that. And so, I get to get some extra fitness in, get to be outside, and it’s getting me ready for the adventures that are coming in this year.

John Franklin (33:40):
What are those?

Daniel Purington (33:41):
So first up, we have a 30k mountain race on Mount Hood, which is going to be in the beginning part of July. We’ll see if snow allows that. And then that really starts to dig into what the year is. I’ll absolutely run around St. Helen’s again, which is 33 miles, and then I’ll do an out and back of the Enchantments, which is another 30 miles. And then I’ll decide if I want to actually schedule a race towards the fall. I enjoy the unsupported bigger distance more than the supported ones. So, I don’t mind the race. Like, I like racing. I just like the aspect of you’re out in the middle of nowhere and the only thing that’s going to get you back is your feet. Like there there’s no aid stations and …, so I really enjoy that.

John Franklin (34:26):
Sounds horrifying.

Daniel Purington (34:26):
I love that. It’s just—that’s what I like to do.

John Franklin (34:30):
I’m from Florida. I’ve seen like three mountains ever. So, all this is news to me. I don’t even know how to ruck, but that sounds insane. And you’re a family man too, right?

Daniel Purington (34:39):
I am. Yeah.

John Franklin (34:40):
You have a few kids, two kids?

Daniel Purington (34:41):
I have two kids. Yep. So, my daughter, Mabel, she’s going to turn eight. Mabel and I have the same birthday, so she turns eight in February. And then my son, Cole, will turn five in May.

John Franklin (34:53):
Because not every gym owner goes into gym life to be a slave to their gym. We talk to way too many people in Two-Brain who are doing every single class, working 60+ hour weeks, making not enough money for the hours they’re putting in. It seems like you’re at the end point; you are towards the top of the mountain here, to use a mountain analogy for you. How are you balancing your rucking and your races and the gym and your side projects and your family? Like, do you have a system for thinking about all of this or?

Daniel Purington (35:31):
Not so much thinking about that, but we have systems in place at the gym that allow me to be a little bit more flexible with the time. Like we’ve had a CRM since the beginning, since we started. We had one previous to GLM that worked OK. GLM, the one we’re using now, works really well. And really digging in with that right in the beginning and taking out a lot of the initial things that you need to do is critical. Having a staff playbook so that—like, I’m not at the gym a lot, or if I am, I’m in my office talking to other gyms around the country or around the world for that matter—my staff needs to know how to do X, Y, and Z if a new person comes in or what the expectations are for a two-on-one or a semi-private or one classes. So having those things really in order allows me to have the flexibility to say, “Oh, I feel like going for a ruck today.” And that doesn’t mean I’m absent of stress. I mean, you’re a small business owner, and you still bear all the responsibility, but having those systems in place helps a lot.

John Franklin (36:39):
And so, you talked about the importance of systems. You got diversified revenue, you talk about consultative selling, you talk about bright spots, all these best practices. You talk to a decent amount of gym owners now, and you’ve got a good finger on the pulse of what people are dealing with. It sounds like you’re having conversations with CrossFit HQ, which, you know, in the Two-Brain realm you’re probably dealing with more business-oriented people than the CrossFit at large. Just based off of your 10,000-foot view of what you’re seeing, what are kind of one or two things that the average gym owner—you’d change about the average gym owner if they wanted to impact both the revenue and the time they’re working?

Daniel Purington (37:19):
Yeah, I mean, the big one I think is, is the No Sweat Intro. It amazes me how many gyms—and I’ll speak specifically for CrossFit ones just because I went to the affiliate gathering and led a couple of the big breakout sessions, and the people that are still doing free trials and not learning about their people—that right there, I think, can make a huge impact on people. And then there’s—it kind of depends on where you are in your journey and things like that. You know, having someone to talk to, like finding a mentor, finding someone who can say, “Do this; do this now.” And then when you meet with them in two weeks or a month or whatever your cadence is, they can say, “OK, how come A) you didn’t do this,” or “Hey, you killed it. Let’s celebrate this.” As a small business owner and as an entrepreneur, there’s a really small set of the population you can celebrate your wins with, right? Like profit still is kind of an ugly word in places, but getting involved with people who recognize everything that goes in to get that $1 of profit is huge, and surrounding yourself with that is really like dumping gas on the flame.

John Franklin (38:32):
So Dan, this has been very helpful. Where would people go if they wanted to follow along in your journey? Find out a little bit more about you.

Daniel Purington (38:41):
I mean, the easiest place is just Instagram: @purington_woodslawn. Or I would follow my Woodslawn fitness account (@woodslawn_fitness). We post a lot more in there. I mostly just post pictures of grilling over the fire or playing with my kids on my private page.

John Franklin (38:54):
That’s content I want on my feed. There we go. That’s what I’m looking for. This is great. And for the listeners listening, like I said in the beginning, we are at the Tinker Meetup in Dallas. This is Two-Brain’s highest-level group. You get to be around guys like Dan, who are doing cool things, testing new models, living a good life. The environment is electric, and you know, he talked about having a mentor, but there’s also something to be said about just putting yourself in a room with gym owners like this, having these conversations and just being able to network because I’m sure you probably agree, once you get to a certain point, the decision tree, the options you have that you can make of what to do next become a lot more convoluted and a lot wider. And I think this phase is where people make a lot of the most expensive mistakes. Like once you get here, you just have more problems you can get yourself into, more landmines you can step on, so getting in the right room with the right people to stop you from shooting yourself in the foot or doing anything crazy is really important. So, sorry to take you away from the group for 45 minutes here, but I appreciate it. I think a lot of people are going to get a lot of value out of this.

Daniel Purington (39:59):
Awesome. It’s good talking to you.

Thanks for listening!

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