They say there’s a time and place for everything – Jordan Meinster says the time to start a basketball franchise is right now. There are many things that mark PickUp USA Fitness out from other franchises, but Jordan starts with two. ‘First, we offer new franchisees a turn-key business complete in every detail, including training and mentorship programs. And second, our whole environment is based upon allocating substantial resources to our training programs, whether it’s complete training or 365 day/year support.
We at Fortunes Crown got into conversation with Jordan Meinster, Founder & CEO, PickUp USA Fitness, to know more about the company and how it is helping the businesses as a whole.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Please brief us in detail about the current scenario of the franchise business. How have the customer preferences changed over the years?
PickUp USA has awarded 43 franchises for our basketball-focused concept. We have a nationwide presence and are considered the industry leader in basketball facilities.
We stay in tune with our customer preferences and continuously adjust our services to ensure we are providing a world-class basketball experience. Some recent examples include a members-only adult basketball tournament each week and a new Youth Development league for kids in grades 3rd – 8th.
Could you please walk us through your educational/professional journey? What was the moment that triggered you to step into the franchise business?
I went to college in Durango, CO and always played PickUp basketball at parks and rec centers there while I earned my Bachelor’s in Business Economics. I put myself through school managing a restaurant. When I wasn’t in school or working, I was playing basketball!
I worked for several years in banking and finance and eventually enrolled in night classes at USC where I completed my MBA. I always dreamed of opening a basketball gym and one day I got the courage to quit my job and start PickUp USA!
When was PickUp USA established? What are the prominent services/solutions offered by the company?
The first PickUp USA was established in Irwindale, CA (just outside of Los Angeles) in June 2012.
PickUp USA is a basketball paradise for youth and adults. We do group and private basketball training, PickUp basketball with referees, tournaments, Youth Basketball Leagues, and a lot more. All of our clubs also have full fitness centers with weights and cardio equipment.
What measures do you incorporate to ensure motivation and productivity within the workspace? How do you respond to criticism and disagreements?
I take a very hands-off approach with my team. We collectively determine goals and then I let them figure out how to get there. It is a very entrepreneurial workplace. We encourage risk-taking and making mistakes. That has helped us become one of the fastest-growing fitness franchises in the US.
Criticism and disagreements are a natural and productive part of any business. Criticism provides great feedback and insight from customers, employees, and franchise owners. Disagreements show that everyone cares. Friction is a part of growth and we welcome it as long as everyone remains respectful and professional of all team members.
What measures do you undertake to ensure optimum customer satisfaction? How much impact does the customer feedback have on the company’s strategies?
Customer feedback is a huge part of how we shape our programs and services at PickUp USA. We continuously run member surveys and connect with our customers at our gyms. Our corporate team is consistently onsite at corporate-owned and franchised locations and we actively solicit feedback from customers so we can know how to best serve them.
Our franchise owners also perform self-audits on their stores to ensure that we are living up to the high expectations that our members and guests have for our clubs.
As a leader, how do you ensure hiring the ideal franchising candidate with the ideal qualities? How do you ensure providing effective training and mentorship to the team?
When analyzing franchising candidates for PickUp USA, our development team completes a comprehensive discovery process to get to know the individuals looking to franchise our basketball concept. Our Franchise Development Manager sends e-Brochures and conducts initial phone calls to answer initial questions and determine if there is a fit. From there, she sends them an application to complete. Upon receiving the application, she determines if the candidate qualifies to start our discovery process.
If qualified, our VP of Franchise Development conducts a series of interviews and webinars to build the candidates understanding of our program. After this process, the VP determines if we will award a franchise to the candidate. It’s a very thorough vetting process that ensures we have top-tier franchisees to deliver our services to the public.
After signing on as franchisees, our training and mentorship programs are widely recognized as the best in the industry. We allocate substantial resources to our training programs and all franchisees complete a comprehensive curriculum through PickUp USA University. Franchisees work directly with our VP of Operations, our VP of Marketing, and our Franchise Support Associate to complete their training, and they are assigned dedicated reps at the corporate office for ongoing 365 day/year support.
We also have a platform for franchisees to communicate with one another, either one-on-one or in a community forum. We all support one another. When one of us wins, we all win.
How did the COVID-19 pandemic impact you and your company? What was your response to the unprecedented situation?
COVID shut down all of our gyms for a brief period in 2020. We banded together as a company and weathered the storm. We quickly recovered and were back to pre-pandemic levels of business by Q3 of 2020. 2020 wound up being a record year for the company and 2021 far surpassed 2020’s numbers. Things have not slowed down in 2022. Q1 was our best quarter ever.
COVID was scary, but we have an amazing group of franchise owners and a dedicated corporate office. We didn’t close a single location and came out with a much stronger company. The customers were eager to come back to basketball and fitness. Many other basketball gyms and traditional gyms didn’t make it through COVID, so we saw a nice boost in business as one of the surviving brands.
All credit goes to our franchise owners for continuing to deliver world-class service to the customers, even in the face of an unprecedented pandemic.
What are the services/solutions we should anticipate from PickUp USA in the near future?
PickUp USA has a lot in the works. We’re investing in our technology for our basketball training programs, and have lots of events in the works, including various tournaments, basketball camps, youth programming, and more. Stay tuned. It’s going to be an exciting year!
As a decorated leader, what would be your piece of advice for entrepreneurs seeking careers in the franchise business?
When looking at franchise concepts, it’s very important to find something you are passionate about. Starting a business takes a lot of work, and if you’re not into the business, it’s going to feel like just another job. If you’re passionate about the work, it will feel like a project that you can’t get enough of. If you love basketball, PickUp USA is probably your franchise. If you’re not passionate about basketball, there are a ton of other franchises out there. There’s truly something for everyone! It’s a great time to open a business. You just have to find something you love.
I would also encourage people to get to know the company and the team members, particularly at the corporate office. Talk to them. Visit them. Get to know them. Also, talk to other franchisees about their experience. That’s the most valuable feedback you can get. Franchising is a partnership between the franchisee and the franchisor. Get to know the people you’ll be doing business with!