Formed in 1989, Physical Company continues to have two constants at its heart: family and customer service. From hand-crafting Dumbbells in his front room as a child to earn his weekly pocket money to now running the family business with his three brothers, our MD John Halls has certainly witnessed change.
From stocking 10 to 1600 stock lines; from a small front-room to occupying a 30,000 sqft state-of-the art warehouse, and from a small family business to team of 24, it is safe to say the Buckinghamshire based equipment supplier has grown vastly and so has its expertise, partners and industry knowledge.
Now with over a decade within the industry, our Managing Director offers his advice to forward thinking gym-owners, how to invigorate your gym floor and reveals the biggest challenges facing Physical Company in an unstable economic climate.
What are the biggest challenges facing Physical Company?
We are currently growing year-on year at rate of 15%. Maintaining this momentum and ensuring this is sustainable will be the greatest challenge we face, particularly within the current economic climate. When the United Kingdom voted to the leave the European Union it did have a negative effect, which is hopefully short term, with the cost of goods increasing by 15%
Due to the weakening of the pound, which has admittedly made us reassess our pricing structure, it has made the UK market an attractive market to do business to an international economy. We will of course be looking to expand on this opportunity. There will now be a drive to export and fortunately we have distributors in the middle east which is a profitable market for the fitness industry. However, there is so much opportunity now within the UK and we will be looking to develop relationships with the industries major health chains, who are looking for more than just a kit supplier, which is where offering complete fitness solutions comes in.
What is your advice to owners looking to liven up their gym floor?
If budget is a major constraint, gym owners will really need to consider return on investment and what pieces of kit are going to drive the most member engagement.
Owners will be advised to look at the training space they have available and see it as total square meter. For example, if the they a 40sqm training zone where you are able to train up to 12 people, it would be more viable to invest in £2,000 worth of equipment opposed to four pieces of CV kit that may be unused.
Owners must continue to find ways to drive membership engagement, and retention in order to be successful. In Apex, I believe we have the answer. Developed by our in-house-team of master trainers, it has a full arsenal of eight unique 30- minute gym-floor training programmes. Each programme has been developed to offer a wide range of variety appealing to all demographics. For the younger generation looking for faced-paced high intensity training we have our Ignite and Agility programmes. ApexStrength and ApexCore were both created for specific training sessions. ApexRELEASE, is ideal for injury prevention and recovery while ApexACTIVE is suited for the older generation to improve mobility and offers an effective cardio workout.
The last two programmes, developed for 2017 is ApexKIDS for ages 8+ and ApexFUSION which blends the principles of Pilates and Yoga together.
Each programme is designed for to small groups of 12 to be delivered by gym instructors who receive comprehensive training, along with continued support through training materials and an online library with tips and exercise to help keep it fresh and engaging.
Which pieces of equipment should owners consider investing in?
Over the past year or two, the popularity in CrossFit has soared which we have witnessed with more and more interest in our strength and functional ranges. And with the rise in strength training a good investment would be quality weight plates, lifting bars, barbells, dumbbells and lifting racks.
Owners also can’t go wrong in investing in staple gym equipment such as Kettlebells, Dumbbells, Aerobic Mats or a BOSU, which will always be popular with members.
Do you have any takeaway lessons from 12 years in the fitness industry?
I would say that the relationship you have and the service you provide plays a huge part in all aspects of our industry.
Regardless of what level you are within the industry whether you’re a supplier, a personal trainer, or customer, if you develop the right relationship right you’ll come out on top.
It is also vital to keep up with all the latest developments in technology and ensure that you stay connected to your customers.