Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Frequently Asked Questions about The Garage!

I get a fair amount of emails asking about The Garage and how it works -- hopefully, this answers a few of those questions!

How many square feet is your garage?

It’s small! It’s about 26’ x 18’ so…, under 500 sf. But it’s big enough for personal training and small classes (I have classes of up to 6 people inside) – I have a cement drive-way outside that is about 10’ wide by 20’ as well, so, when it’s nice, I can have people skipping, etc. outside and the garage door open. The biggest challenge was to get equipment that wasn’t going to take up a lot of floor space, so the stairmaster and small-footprint bike work perfectly. And, instead of a lat-pulldown (back exercises being more difficult to do efficiently without some sort of pull-down type machine--although I also have a squat rack), I sourced out what is, effectively, a functional trainer, although they called it a cable crossover (Body Solid makes it)… it’s commercial-rated but a fraction of the price of more commonly used gym models – it’s slightly lighter duty but, since I’m not a public gym I don’t get really heavy lifters or undue wear & tear anyway and I love that machine! It also snugs in pretty close to the wall and is great for pull-downs, pull-ups, cable crossovers, rows--anything you can imagine with a pulley.

How did/do your clients react when they hear that they will be training in a garage?

I’ve had a few of my clients for over 3 years (since I opened!). They love it. It’s private and nobody cares what you wear. I have had quite a few people who never want to set foot in a gym for whatever reason—this way they can start in private and maybe take it to a public gym later. It’s also well insulated and I spent a lot of time (but not a lot of money) making it look cosy.
I bought my house and it didn’t have a garage so I had it built 4 years ago—I wasn’t originally intending it to be a gym—that is just kind of how it worked out. There is no bathroom, which is one of the downfalls, people have to use the one in the house but it hasn’t been too much of a problem other than the house has to be tidy and I keep the bathroom stocked with guest towels, etc.

Did you have to get a special liscence from your municipality to operate out of the garage?

I just happen to be outside of the “town” limits and in the regional district so I am exempt from business license fees and zoning restrictions. That was pure luck but definitely made it possible to do, although a personal training studio is, I believe, much like any other home-based business or alternative care provider (massage, chiro) where you normally would have a single client at a time, therefore the rules may be slightly more relaxed than if you were planning to be a “gym”. I do have additional insurance on the premises and make sure that all my equipment is commercial-rated.

Can you compare your experience of where you worked before the garage to your experience now?

My last “job” was actually writing and graphic design (which I still do free-lance). I was working full-time and getting my PT certification at the same time – I love being able to roll out of bed and be at work in 10 minutes (or so). And having my own gym is a dream come true! Very low overhead now that it’s completely outfitted. I’m an entrepreneurial type as well, so working “for” other people has never really agreed with me.

What benefits do you and your clients see with the garage gym?

All of the above ;-)

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