By MATT BLOIS
Chris Daskam came up with the idea for an application that would allow people to rent out their home gyms to strangers after his neighbors invited him to work out in their garage.
Daskam, who lives in the Canterbury subdivision in Thompson’s Station, had admired their home gym from afar, and when they invited him to work out there, he accepted the offer.
“I got a great workout in. They had a whiteboard where they wrote it all out … They have a refrigerator with water,” he said. “I would pay him to work out at his garage gym.”
When he came home he started looking for an app that would match people looking for a workout with people who have home gyms. He couldn’t find one, so he decided to make it.
His neighbors will be some of the first people to sign up for his new app when it launches in June.
AirGym will work a lot like the vacation rental platform Airbnb. People who own home gyms can post their gym on the application and charge people to use the space. Customers will able to scroll through the app to pick out the gym that works best for them. Then they schedule a time when it’s open, and get a workout in.
“On the way home from work … if you’re going to pass 15 AirGyms in the future you can see which one makes the most sense for your schedule,” Daskam said.
At a traditional gym, members pay a set fee each month to use the facility. Daskam said that generally requires gyms to have lots of members. AirGym would charge users by the hour for the time they spend in the gym.
The application isn’t limited to just weight rooms and barbells. It could also include yoga studios or spaces to practice martial arts. Daskam hopes that diversity will help people find a place that has exactly what they want.
One of the biggest challenges will be getting people to sign up. Right now, Daskam is reaching out to people around Williamson County to find home gym owners who would be interested in renting out their garages, basements or backyards. He sent out flyers and posted on social media. He’s already heard back from several people who seem interested.
Daskam plans to launch the application in Williamson County first as a proof of concept, but he wants the AirGym to be a brand that’s known globally. He’s hoping to get 30 new gym owners and 30 new gym users each month after the app launches in June.
So far, Daskam has funded this project entirely on his own. He works full time at a drug rehabilitation center, and says he usually works every night until midnight. He’s not looking for investors yet because he likes having ownership of his company, but if the company needs more money as it starts to grow he would consider looking for investors.
Much like Airbnb, this application could also be a business opportunity for owners. Daskam said it’s up to owners to determine how much to charge, but he’s hoping it will be in the range of $1 to $3 per hour. For someone working out several times a week, those prices would be competitive with a traditional gym membership. And a home gym owner could earn hundreds of dollars a month with a group of 10 or 20 people who work out there consistently.
Of course, all of that hinges on whether users and gym owners will actually sign up for the app.
Owners will have lots of control over when people can use their gym and how that process works. They get to set the hours, and how people will access the gym. Daskam said all the gym owners and users would also need a background check before using the app.
Daskam said everyone who uses the app will have to sign a liability wavier that says neither his company nor the home gym owners are responsible for anyone who gets injured while using a home gym. He said it would be similar to a waiver that most people sign before joining a traditional gym.
Inviting someone to come sweat on your gym equipment is intimate, but Daskam points out that several years ago most people also would have considered it crazy to pay a stranger in their personal car for a ride across town. Ride sharing apps like Uber and Lyft have made that commonplace. If Daskam succeeds, working out in someone else’s house might feel that way, too.