CUSTOMER STORY

How House of Hustle Unlocked New Revenue Opportunities with Upper Hand

House of Hustle is an indoor training facility based in Grand Island, New York. The multi-purpose facility was founded to provide opportunities for all ages to gather and stay active. Owner Mark Miller chose to work with Upper Hand to help better allocate his time and resources and to unlock new revenue opportunities through memberships.

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House of Hustle: From Scaling Back to Accelerating Forward

Identify a need and create a solution. This is a defining trait of entrepreneurs. This is especially true of Mark Miller, Owner of House of Hustle.

After seeing a need for an affordable indoor training space around Grand Island, New York, Mark set out to solve this problem. As a result, he built House of Hustle, a facility that includes 1,500 square feet of indoor turf space for coaches, athletes, and teams, as well as an additional 1,800 square feet of open space to host parties and community events.

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“We wanted to provide a space for coaches to offer affordable training so that anyone could participate if they chose to. We’re also trying to be really creative with the use of the space and make it not just a training facility, but also a community use space. We found a place that we thought would work really well and was in a good location, so we jumped on the opportunity.”

Within the walls of House of Hustle, you can find a wide range of activities from private baseball and softball instruction to Dodgeball Hour. With a compact space in a prime location, Mark knew he had to get creative with how to most effectively utilize the space. As you can imagine, between the athletic events and community gatherings, the facility is brimming with energy and excitement.

However, this wasn’t always the case.

The problem: wasted time that limited opportunities

After a soft opening last spring, House of Hustle began scheduling appointments through their website provider. While this tool worked well enough to a certain extent, the programming Mark was able to provide was limited in order to keep the administrative tasks from becoming too intensive.

The reason Mark started his business was to create opportunity. First and foremost, he wanted to create opportunities for local athletes to gain access to indoor training space and coaching. Additionally, he wanted the ability to spend time with his family. But, the bigger House of Hustle got, the more the tedious administrative tasks got in the way of those goals.

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Challenge #1: a cumbersome registration process that wasted 5+ hours per week

Initially, clients would reserve a cage or book a lesson via a Wix website link. Once an appointment was made, a member of Mark’s team would call to confirm the appointment and add it to their schedule.

House of Hustle sees over 100 athletes come through its doors each week during their busy months. Needless to say, making 100 phone calls or sending 100 emails a week to confirm appointments is not exactly enjoyable, or feasible.

“It was fine when we were slow and our offerings were fewer. As we added options, it just got really cumbersome and very difficult for us to manage the day-to-day registrations.”

02

Challenge #2: scaling back offerings instead of marketing new ones

Knowing that the team was ill-equipped to handle the growing demand that would inevitably be approaching in the winter months, Mark and his team made the decision to scale back their offerings.

“We slowed things down, so we didn’t have to try to manage all of that.”

In addition to limiting current offerings, Mark also had to put some of his ideas on hold. Mark had been especially interested in exploring what memberships would look like for House of Hustle, however, their current business management system lacked the capabilities to do so. Not only was Mark missing out on new opportunities to engage clients on a more regular basis, but he was also missing out on recurring revenue that could pay the bills.

Upper Hand is a home run for sports facilities.
Baseball Facility Scheduling Software

The solution: an all-in-one tool to automate tedious processes, reallocate resources, and unlock new revenue streams

Mark knew that there was an easier way to run his business — one that would give him not only more opportunities for the clients of House of Hustle, but also more time back to spend with his family. This led them to Upper Hand.

In anticipation of the busy season, Mark and his team decided it was the ideal time to look for a more permanent solution that would allow them to maximize the use of their facility and accommodate the growing demand.

“In October, we kind of slowed things down and didn't offer as much. That’s also a time for a lot of families to take some time off from softball and baseball training. So, it was a good time for us to switch programs. In the middle of September, we started looking for a solution, so that we could have it in action by November. We strategically made the switch then, before it got to be really busy.”

When deciding which software platform would be the best fit for House of Hustle, Mark and his team explored a number of different options. They were immediately impressed with Upper Hand, because they could tell the company vision aligned with their own, and they could visualize how the software would impact their business from day one.

“Heather did a fantastic job on the call, not only representing the qualities of the software but also the overall feel of the company as a whole. So I really give her big kudos because when you’re comparing, you know, five or six different things where the general use is obviously pretty similar, I thought she really stood out in her presentation as far as both her knowledge of the software and how she represented the company as well.”

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“I coach two teams, and do some individual private lessons, and [without Upper Hand], I can’t even see it being possible. I wouldn’t have had the time to do it. So it just frees up time to not have to worry about it.”

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“I coach two teams, and do some individual private lessons, and [without Upper Hand], I can’t even see it being possible. I wouldn’t have had the time to do it. So it just frees up time to not have to worry about it.”

Effortless registration & communication processes

House of Hustle was initially drawn to Upper Hand to alleviate the headache of managing the day to day client registrations. Mark estimates that Upper Hand saves him an average of 5 hours a week, which is especially valuable during the busy season.

“I coach two teams, and do some individual private lessons, and [without Upper Hand], I can’t even see it being possible. I wouldn’t have had the time to do it. So it just frees up time to not have to worry about it.”

In addition, Upper Hand’s intuitive platform eliminates the need for time consuming follow up communications and appointment reminders. Within the Upper Hand software, clients receive automated email reminders for upcoming sessions. Likewise, Mark and his staff are able to have an up-to-date snapshot of what is going on within the facility at any given day or time.

“You have to invest time and energy, but you have to do it smartly, and we weren’t doing that. Upper Hand is helping us be much more effective and smart about how we spend our time.”

Expanded offerings though memberships

Not only has Upper Hand increased convenience and reduced time spent on tedious admin tasks like sending phone calls; it also unlocked new revenue opportunities that will continue to expand the House of Hustle brand.

One of these areas: Memberships.

“Memberships were something we’ve wanted to do, but we didn’t have the capability to do it. Upper Hand has just made it so easy for us. We built a membership option and haven’t really even marketed it yet, but have seen a few people find it and sign up. It’s a wonderful tool that we’re hopefully going to be starting to push to market in the next week.”

Mark says he looks forward to building out this area of his business to establish a strong base of recurring revenue that can sustain the current business model as well as reinforce potential expansion decisions.

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Stronger reporting capabilities

In addition to improving the client experience at House of Hustle, reporting capabilities are also extremely important to Mark. As someone who juggles a number of different daily obligations, the ability to gain quick insights into the health of the business is critical.

“The reporting gives us a quick glimpse to see what we’ve done that was really successful, what are some of the things we tried that maybe weren’t as successful, what we can change up, or what we should eliminate. To be able to do that really quickly and at a glance, for someone like myself who is a relatively busy person that doesn’t want to spend a lot of time digging through to find things, the reporting is great.”

One of the most important metrics for Mark to track is headcount, as he uses this to make decisions about future programming. On the home dashboard, Mark is easily able to see how many clients have created their Upper Hand account. Furthermore, within each event, he can get a quick count of the various rosters to determine the most successful offerings.

As most business owners would agree, another important metric to track is revenue. Upper Hand offers a few different revenue-related reports. Through Upper Hand’s Revenue Report, Mark is able to see a high-level visualization of his revenue. To drill down even further, Upper Hand’s Sales Report allows Mark to examine revenue by product type, and the Payment Allocations Report provides an itemized line item of every transaction within House of Hustle.

The result: a well-oiled machine set up for success

After deciding to partner with Upper Hand, Mark wasted no time diving into the software. He set up his first training call with Bryce, Onboarding Specialist, who helped him navigate both the back end and client facing side of the software.

Following his kick-off call, Mark was confident in his ability to build out his event calendar and was eager to send out invites to his staff and clients. Shortly after, the team was ready to start operating through Upper Hand.

“Today is the first day we are hosting an event run on Upper Hand. Our clients registered and paid, then we got them checked in. We also had a few clients who opted to pay later, so they were able to pay on-site through the point of sale system. So far it’s been great and very easy. It’s so much better than what we were doing before.”

Mark believes that there is still incredible potential for how the House of Hustle team will continue to leverage Upper Hand’s product suite. Over the next few months, the House of Hustle team is eager to dive into the reporting and engage in discussions about future expansions.

“We have a ton of ideas that we want to add as we navigate the next month and gauge our current staffing levels. We will likely look to bring on additional staff to coach some different activities that we want to do.”

Looking farther ahead, and into the next year, House of Hustle is also eager to explore expansion opportunities, or possibly another location. He feels confident the Upper Hand team will be there to support House of Hustle in those endeavors.

“Part of what I like about Upper Hand is that it’s not a massive conglomerate. I don’t know if that was initially important to me, but after the interactions that I’ve had, it’s something that I really value. I’m sure there will be questions that come up over the course of time, and I have all the confidence in my interactions with multiple people in the organization that we’ll be able to get a hold of who will either have the answer themselves, or get the answer from someone else. The team as a whole gives me a really good feel of the organization.”

A passion for creating opportunity coupled with a software partner in growth encourages Mark to keep asking “what’s next?”

The Facility

House of Hustle regularly hosts open turf rentals, batting cage rentals, indoor soccer training, private baseball/softball instruction, dodgeball hour, birthday parties, and date-night drop offs.

alternatives considered

  • EZ Facility
  • Team Sideline
  • SportsPlus

why upper hand

From sales to onboarding, Mark was confident that Upper Hand would help save him time on administrative tasks, better allocate his resources, and unlock new revenue streams to grow House of Hustle.

 

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