From Personal Trainer to Gym Owner: How Living One’s Purpose Creates Success

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  • From Personal Trainer to Gym Owner: How Living One’s Purpose Creates Success

November 2022 Profile – The Gym at 214 Main, Fort Mill, South Carolina

The Gym at 214 Main is located on a busy main street in a small town in South Carolina and had been sold twice since its inception in 2008. In 2020, current owner Jovon Times, along with his wife Keisha Unger-Times, decided to make a bid for it after training clients there for 12 years under the moniker of “Exercise Times.”

He and Unger-Times soon owned the 24/7, 5,500-square-foot gym — a turnkey operation with a  roster of clients, excellent equipment, and a contract with the Jazzercise brand. 

Now, everything else, as he says, is gravy. 

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Times went from personal trainer to gym owner – bringing his love for fitness to a whole community.

What is in the 214 Main sauce?

Well, in a way it’s Times. Unlike many gyms where services outshine personalities, 214 Main reflects Times’ personal belief that his gift is as a personal trainer. He just needed to harness the energy of a trainer and infuse it into an established gym. 

As a result, he coaches every independent personal trainer, offering them full access to his training library. Challenges each of his clients to reach their personal best. Pushes himself constantly. 

He holds a Master’s of Sport Science in Sport Fitness, a Bachelor of Science in Fitness and Wellness, and a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics. Between group training clients and running the gym, he teaches at two local colleges. And he sings in Connect 5, a five-part acapella group.  

To suggest he hustles is an understatement.

He regularly introduces himself to unsuspecting spandex-wearing shoppers at the local Walmart. The card he gives them contains two sections: one with his number, one for their information. He persuades the shopper to give him their email and phone number, tears off the info and adds the prospect to his database, from which they receive newsletters and training updates. 

“My philosophy is – how can we all win? How can I help you?” he explains. 

How Times changed 214 Main after purchase

  • Raised monthly fee. Stopped trying to compete with big box gym pricing. Times calculated a fair, mid-range rate that allows him to run the business at a profit. The decision nearly doubled the number of clients, despite raising the rate by $15 per month. 
  • Charges personal trainers a flat fee per client, rather than taking a percentage of each session. Clients also can exercise on their own in the gym without a membership.
  • Began accepting credit cards. Times gave members a choice: pay a transaction fee to use a credit card, or pull the monthly charge from a checking account. 
  • Switched from “pen and papering” his gym to using Gym Insight software. The previous owner kept records on Excel spreadsheets. Times also used a personal training application to manage clients. Multiple systems were costly and time-consuming. Insight software consolidates his billing, payments, and member information, as well as manages customer communication through the SMS and email systems. 
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What the future holds for 214 Main

In order to maintain its reputation as a gym for trainers while maximizing its potential, he plans to integrate classes favored by women and rent space for complementary services.

Advice to future gym owners

“Live by the three S’s — sincerity, service, and studious,” he explains. Always tell the truth, live with the belief that we are here to help others, and never stop learning. And trust the process. Times chose Gym Insight software because it provided a system within which he could run his business effectively. Systems, he urges, create foundations upon which to grow and succeed. It’s kind of like math – know the basics, apply the formulas, and trust the methodology to reveal the answer. By our calculations, Times is on track for a long and successful career!

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Gym Insight

Thanks for reading our latest profile, and please feel free to check out our podcast interview with Times. If you’d like to tell us your story as a gym owner, feel free to contact us at 888-FOR-Gyms and ask for Anthony, our amazing sales guy.

And, unless you missed the obvious name drop, we are a gym management software development company. Our intuitive, affordable, and easy-to-use software manages (among other things) the daily functions of your gym, keeping billing, customer management, communication, and receivables well organized. We design all our own software integrations so you never have to call another company for assistance and, even better, all parts play nicely together – no fighting with the system to draw out data. Call us today to learn how we can take your gym to the next level.