An Irish service for independent fitness professionals to help them grow their client base and save on administration costs is getting ready for its UK launch.
Legit Fit aims to save fitness professionals an average of four hours a week on admin tasks and provide a better experience for their clients with a range of functions including bookings, payments and tracking.
Co-founder Ryan O’Neill had worked in the pharmaceutical industry and was working as a personal trainer when he signed up to the business innovation
programme with University College Cork’s Ignite in September 2017.
He invited personal trainer Ian O’Sullivan to join him on the programme after bumping into him at his local gym. The two had played soccer for Cork City at academy level.
The platform has currently around 130 paying customers and 17,000 users and the initial team of four — including Gearoid Collins and Lucas Sacramento — has grown to seven.
The initial idea was for an online platform that would allow consumers and fitness providers to connect. However, after talking to hundreds of fitness professionals around Cork city, they realised that no one would be willing to pay for the service.
So they pivoted to something they recognised was a common issue in the industry: the number of hours spent on admin. “We found that the average professional was spending about four hours a week on admin work. This could be sitting down on a Sunday night texting clients back and forth, trying to schedule them in, then cancellations throughout the week.”
Most independent fitness providers were doing it the old school method because the current software providers were too difficult to use or were too expensive, Mr O’ Neill says.
With early support from South Cork Local Enterprise Office, the team began running hackathon weekends to progress the development of the software project.
In September 2018, they conducted a closed beta with a small group of testers. Their approach was to “start really fast, let things break and fix them as you go.”
Following that initial launch, they went back to testing until a beta launch in March 2019.
Around that time a number of things came together, Mr O’Neill says. The company received €50,000 from Enterprise Ireland’s Competitive Start Fund. In total, between private investment, the CSF funding and the LEO, the company has raised €122,000 to date.
Having launched the beta, they started slowly onboarding customers making enhancements to the product over time until they were comfortable to begin marketing it and going “gung-ho” with sales.
Having founded the company in Cork, Mr O’Neill moved to Dublin for a time to grow the client list. He says while calling door to door as a software company might seem “a bit archaic”, the direct approach has had
considerable success. He’s currently planning a move to Limerick while they focus on expansion across Ireland and its upcoming UK launch.
Legit Fit has a free version and also a €50 per month package with a €100 “Ultimate” tier launching soon.
Mr O’Neill says competitors such as Glofox in Ireland and Mindbody in the global market, mainly servicing the wellness area. Legit Fit is looking to serve the fitness side of the market. In addition, it is offering lower transaction fees — a flat 2% compared to the average industry range of 2.5% to 3.5%.
Among Legit Fit’s features is a public timetable for fitness professionals to share via a link on their website, Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram accounts. The platform is also adding two-way messaging for trainers to communicate directly with their clients.
“What our customers are telling us is they hate getting WhatApps at 11pm from clients. With Legit Fit, they can have that separate to their personal account. And they can still have the same value of creating and sharing content and building a community element in their business.”
Over the next three to six months, the team is focusing on enhancing bookings, payments and communication. In the coming weeks, it is gearing up for its UK launch with a simultaneous rollout in the US alongside a redesign of its website.