In March 2019, with a background in fitness and martial arts and the desire to help his community develop habits of discipline, exercise and eating right, Garth Binns opened Mill Basin Fit Body Boot Camp. When COVID hit, and mandatory closures were enforced, though, Garth encountered a challenging period like so many business owners.
Unfortunately, he had to close a week before the gym’s 1-year anniversary and celebrated the feat in his living room instead. Though Mill Basin Fit Body Boot Camp turned to virtual sessions, COVID continued, and the gym was unable to reopen for more than a year.
By the time Garth was able to reopen his gym doors, he had lost a lot of members and was behind on business expenses and rent.
When Times Were Tough
Garth shares that his gym did not receive any funding from the state and was denied 2 grant requests, though he was able to qualify for a $1,000 Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance.
Also, it wasn’t until the second round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that Mill Basin Fit Body Boot Camp received a PPP loan, despite having applied during the first round. The federal government loan the gym was awarded totaled $13,400. However, Garth shared that it didn’t go far when his rent was $8,000 (later increased to $9,000).
He turned to various financing providers too – banks, credit unions, online lenders – however, every time, he was denied because his income was too low or his credit score wasn’t high enough. Not surprisingly, like many business owners, Garth’s credit score had dropped significantly over the last 2 years because of COVID.
Then Garth found Fast Capital 360, which was able to find him short-term financing. “One thing about Fast Capital, it wasn’t just about the credit score. It was also about the business income, which I believe was to my benefit because I had an increase in sales in the last 4-6 months. And you don’t see that type of increase in your credit score like that, but you see it in the business income.”
Garth goes on to say, the company “lived up to its name: It was fast capital. The slowest part was me. I was very appreciative of getting the fast interactions and fast responses.”
If it weren’t for the funding Garth received from Fast Capital 360’s lending partner, he would have had to let go of employees or close his gym.
Of the short-term financing option with daily payments, Garth says: “It’s a little something to get used to, but I actually appreciate it because it’s 4 months. By the time you blink, it’s going to be November, December and then the new year, and the 4 months are over. And January will be a prime time for a new loan because everybody has New Year’s resolutions, and gym business picks up in January and February.”
The financing Garth received from Fast Capital 360’s lending partner put him in the black. “We’re definitely making a profit. We’re on the right side right now. The [advance] helped with back rent and payroll. And with the additional payroll, we were able to produce more marketing to get more clients in. So the more clients we get, obviously the more revenue increases.”
Continuing a Financing Relationship
Garth is looking forward to continuing his relationship with Fast Capital 360 and hopes to renew his financing in a few months with the possibility of better terms. “I’m looking forward to that because we’re still catching up, but it’s hard to catch up when you’re 15-16 months behind.”
“A lot of businesses in this area closed down, so we’re fortunate we were able to hang on,” says Garth.
“Now we’re slowing, gradually picking back up,” shares Garth, who’s in negotiations with the landlord to get back on track with back rent and relocate to a smaller, more affordable location 2 doors down from his current one.
What’s Next for Mill Basin Fit Body Boot Camp?
Garth is excited to move his gym. The new spot will save him $4,500 a month, taking his rent down from $9,000 to $5,500. Garth jokes, “I won’t have any more gray hair because of that.”
He also plans to offer new programs and exercises for his clients, including 6-week strength training and 6-week women’s self-defense courses.
Garth says, for many gyms, the focus is bringing in new clients as opposed to retaining the ones they have. They’re often not invested in having their clients achieve results. So what you often see is the same people who’ve been going to the same gym for a year, and there’s no change in their physical body. They haven’t lost any weight or gained any muscle.
At Mill Basin Fit Body Boot Camp, Garth tries to eliminate the phrase “I don’t have enough time.” His goal is to show people that if you can squeeze in a Netflix show (or 2), you can find time for a 30-minute workout.
Also, as a father of 4, Garth knows that while children don’t often listen to their parents, they definitely watch and pick up good and bad habits. He wants parents to be able to pass down good habits that help kids make healthy choices.