In 2013, while running a CrossFit affiliate, the three PushPress founders realized that client management software options were subpar at best. So Chris McConachie, Dan Uyemura and Brian Aung founded PushPress to make gym owners' lives easier and more profitable. Nine years later, McConachie reflected on the successes of his company, and the features that set PushPress apart from other client management software.
PushPress Offers a Unique Reservation System
From CrossFit affiliates to functional fitness gyms to MMA facilities, signing up for class has become a basic need in the fitness industry since COVID-19 hit in 2020. However, many of the software options on the market don’t offer an effective reservation and waitlist solution.
For example, some platforms notify waitlisted members via email, allowing the first to respond to take the spot. This is a “flawed system,” McConahie said, as it doesn’t take into account who put themselves on the waitlist first.
“Other systems email the next on the list, but they’ll give you x amount of time to respond, and it goes down from there,” he said. This is also flawed, as sometimes people might not check their email right away, so the wrong person ends up getting the spot.
The PushPress system works like this: A member joins the waitlist and enters the amount of notice needed before the start of class. A person who lives five minutes away from the gym might say they only need 10 to 15 minutes notice. Another member who lives 25 minutes away might require 40 minutes. When a spot in a class becomes available, the first person on the waitlist who is still within their time notification requirement gets the spot.
“If your time has not elapsed and you’re next on the waiting list, it’s yours. So we don't have this back and forth of: ‘Do you still want to go?’ We assume you want to go because you said you’re good up until this time. So it automatically puts you into class, sends you a push notification and you’re in,” McConachie explained.
Striking New Leads While the Iron is Hot
When a prospective member requests info from the website, a quick response is key. For many gyms, a coach will follow up via email or text when they’re available. For gyms that use PushPress websites (powered by Grow), prospects can choose an appointment time online immediately for a free intro, class, etc. There’s no waiting for someone at the gym to book their spot.
Why is this so important?
Because, as McConachie explained, “You have to understand that the motivation for someone looking for fitness is typically not a two-week window. It is eating ding dongs on the couch at 10 pm with great regret going, ‘I’m making some changes.’ They’re probably through two glasses of wine, and they’re like, ‘Yeah, I’m doing it now.’”
He added: “As a gym owner, you have to have this in place. Because as a small boutique, usually you don’t have time to follow up immediately so you have to have some automation in place. A link to sign up isn’t enough. You need to be able to sign up for a time right on the website right now, immediately, the moment they get the inclination to maybe check out your gym.”
“As a gym owner... you have to have some automation in place. A link to sign up isn’t enough.”
Creating this immediate reservation ability in PushPress came from researching data. McConachie and his team looked at sales data and identified that the fitness sales cycle is fickle. The faster and more spontaneous it can be, the better. He noted that this isn’t the norm in the industry right now.
“Everyone sets it up as a funnel with back and forth, and yes, you need that with some people. Some people need that back and forth, but the second they’re like, ‘Fuck it, I’m doing it,’ you need to give them that link where they can do it. And it needs to not take ten minutes. It needs to take less than a minute,” McConachie said.
The Member Experience is Highly Customizable
McConachie admits that when he and his partners first started PushPress, they built it to help the gym they were running at the time. And while it worked for them, they quickly discovered there are tons of ways owners are running their gyms. Many of whom needed the software tweaked or even redesigned to cater to their unique needs.
Thus, being able to cater to different business models has become one of PushPress’ specialties. Now, they not only service CrossFit and functional fitness gyms, but also yoga, pilates, dance, MMA, and even pole and sword-fighting facilities.
Being able to do this comes down to customizability. This is something that will be even more enhanced in the future with PushPress’ growing artificial intelligence abilities, McConachie explained. The goal is to ensure the software works however you want to run your business.
“The idea is you just turn on the pieces that are relevant for you. It makes the software way simpler and works for exactly how you want to set up your business...”
“The idea is you just turn on the pieces that are relevant for you. It makes the software way simpler and works for exactly how you want to set up your business, because as we have discovered, they’re all different,” McConachie said.
He added: “There’s no right way to run a gym. There are certainly some wrong ways, but there are a ton of right ways. And then you throw our AI on top of it, and that’s what will save you time and give you value, because it’ll tell you what to do.”