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It didn’t take long for Dan’s fledgling studio to take flight with Punchpass

Dan Kanney
Fitness Studio
Coldwater, OH

When Dan Kanney and his business partners, wife Natalie, and friends Kelly & Michael Hoying, opened Elevate Fitness & Wellness (Elevate) in 2017, each had a passion for inspiring people to get fit and healthy outside a traditional gym environment. They planned to offer classes in yoga, cardio, and strength, along with individualized personal training. But none of them had ever opened or run a small business before.

Despite their inexperience, It didn’t take long for their fledgling studio in Coldwater, Ohio to take flight. They had to put students on waitlists as their classes filled up quickly.

Soon they opened a new, larger facility to accommodate their explosive growth. All of this happened in a small town of 4,000 residents with several other gyms in competition for the same clients.

Dan believes that having the right studio management software made all the difference in launching Elevate and supporting the team as the business rapidly evolved.

He credits Punchpass with providing Elevate with a professional, easy-to-implement system that keeps his team organized and efficient in operations, which allows them to focus on growing their business and taking care of their clients.

“Punchpass is just so easy for people,” said Kanney. “The way we can craft emails that automatically send when our clients make a reservation, cancel a reservation, or buy a pass, makes us look incredibly professional. That is nothing that we did; that’s everything that Punchpass did.” 

Back when they were just getting started, the Elevate team had a vision of a place where people could get strong, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. The owners capitalized on each other’s unique strengths and divided up the what-to-do-to-get-in-business list to bring their dreams into reality.

Kanney was given the responsibility of finding software that would manage customer accounts and provide reporting, as well as accurately and easily take attendance, and account for classes purchased, canceled, used, and remaining. After a Google search for “fitness studio scheduling software,” he landed on Punchpass, signed up for a free trial, and tested out the platform on some friends.

The admittedly tech-challenged Kanney found the initial set-up a snap: “Punchpass required a few customizations, but it was more-or-less plug and play,” he remembers.

“Once we started using Punchpass, we knew it was perfect it was for our needs and we were sold right away.”

Dan was impressed right away with:

  • How user-friendly the program was, from the user interface to the back-end, the easy integration with Stripe.
  • The very affordable pricing and the comprehensive reporting package.
  • And, ultimately, Punchpass did what Elevate needed it to do without being bulked up with frivolous functionality. 

“The software generates auto-response emails branded with our company logo and everything looks professional and works seamlessly, Kanney said. “We don’t have to think a lot about reporting because we know it is all taken care of. Punchpass made everything so easy for a bunch of people who don’t know anything about software.”

But less than three years after their business opened, the Covid pandemic presented unprecedented challenges for Elevate. Dan credits Punchpass for allowing them to stay open during the shutdown. 

Here is Dan’s account of that difficult time:

“A few days before the state of Ohio mandated the shutdown of gyms, Elevate decided to close down in preparation for the Covid pandemic.  We had a million questions swirling with all of the uncertainty.  We weren’t sure how we were going to sustain and keep our clients during the shutdown.  

“Within days of us closing our doors (for an unknown amount of time), the folks at Punchpass were already making adjustments. They partnered with Zoom and allowed for live-streaming virtual workouts to be possible.  

“The process of setting this up, getting clients signed up, getting clients signed in, and executing an online workout could not have been any easier.  Punchpass took care of all of the heavy lifting and we just had to make a few slight changes on our end.  

“Our clients loved the new format and I think it really helped a lot of them stay active and stay engaged with people during a very scary and uncertain time.  Many times after workouts, people would stick around and talk via Zoom through Punchpass.  It was an outlet to stay in touch with workout buddies that folks were used to seeing every day.  We would average 30+ people during the online workouts.  Many would have their kids join them.  It was very rewarding to still feel like we were making a difference even though no one could leave their house and come to our gym.  

“There is no doubt that if we had not had this opportunity to do these online workouts during Covid, we would have lost the majority of our clients.  As it was, when we were able to open again, many of our clients returned to their normal routine and we all bounced back quickly.  Some of our clients and the staff at Elevate enjoyed the online format so much that we continued to offer that as an option for a daily workout.  We have a live online Zoom class every day for those who still just want to stay home for a workout.  

“Punchpass also made it super simple to keep a video library of all past workouts so people could access them at their own time and at their own pace.  This has been so additive to our business and we are very thankful for the quick thinking and ability to adjust from the great folks at Punchpass.”

Dan and the Elevate team are still going strong, excited to continue their relationship with Punchpass as their business thrives.

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