Like many who get into CrossFit, PushPress founder Chris McConachie got excited when he found the sport and contemplated opening a gym.
He was hesitant though, as he knew it would be challenging to make any money as a small gym owner. But then his friend Dan Uyemura said, “Yeah, but we can do the software thing, too,” McConachie said.
“OK, that’s a good idea,” McConachie replied. He had noticed that quality software and support on the business side for independent gyms “was very lacking at the time.”
So in 2013, McConachie and Uyemura, along with Brian Aung, opened LAX CrossFit and then founded PushPress.
The PushPress Journey Since 2013
The PushPress software journey has been a constantly-changing, often surprising one. It has led the trio in directions they never would have imagined at the start. One thing they never expected was the development of an AI persona named Pressly™. Pressly helps to make gym owners' lives easier, or as Uyemura explained, to run a “self-driven gym.”
Their biggest weapon from the start, McConachie explained, was having the luxury of learning from experience as gym owners themselves.
“When we started our gym, we had a pretty solid idea of what we needed to build, but then running and operating that gym, we realized we were wrong, by quite a bit. We learned through the experience of running our gym what we needed to build,” he said.
So they built the first edition of the PushPress Core client management software and it worked well for their gym. However, they soon realized, “Oh, everyone runs their gym differently. Like very differently. That was eye opening for us,” McConachie said.
As a result, different gyms needed different features and tools within PushPress’ software.
These differences between gyms varied greatly: From how they bring on new clients (classes or personal training first) to membership types to coach payroll.
After doing some analysis, McConachie and his team discovered the owners of CrossFit gyms fell into three general categories:
- Running their gym successfully like LAX CrossFit and were happy with the current software.
- Successfully running their gym in a completely different way, yet needed software different from PushPress.
- Running their gyms differently and also needed business help.
Adapt and Grow
As a result, PushPress set out to adapt its software in various ways to accommodate different types of gyms. Today, the company doesn’t just help CrossFit and functional fitness gyms. PushPress’ 2,000 clients also include MMA gyms and various studios (yoga, pilates and dance).
The company’s willingness to adapt and cater to specific needs is certainly something their clients appreciate. Reynaldo Rodriguez is a PushPress client and the owner of Dominion MMA in San Antonio, TX. Rodriguez’ gym jumped from 20 to nearly 400 members since switching to PushPress five years ago.
He explained that, because his gym isn’t CrossFit, he sometimes needs his software to cater specifically to his MMA business model. PushPress has never shied away from adapting to meet his needs.
“We have our own app within their system. The platform has grown with us, and all the integration makes our lives so much easier,” he said. He added that most recently, PushPress redesigned their Train app just for them.
Huge Evolution, Same Foundation
Despite evolving the PushPress software drastically over the years to keep up with customers’ changing needs, the core message has remained: Help gym owners. This means saving them time, helping them to be efficient and profitable.
One key to helping PushPress achieve this has hiring the right people. The company doesn’t just hire those with technical skills. The vetting process includes finding people who know the industry, McConachie explained.
“We specifically hire people who understand the industry, so they’re empathetic. Our entire team cares,” he added.
When you talk to any PushPress client today, customer service is usually high on the list of things they rave about.
As Rodriguez put it. “I can call or message Dan (Uyemura) any time. How many people have access to the CEO of a company like that? I don’t abuse it, but if it’s in the middle of the night and my wheels are turning, I can message him. I tell him what I need, and he’ll say, ‘Let’s work on it.’ They really are taking the guys in the trenches like me and figuring it out to give us what we need.”