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The MoD has invested millions in
building new sport, health and
fitness facilities at Catterick
Garrison near Richmond in North
Yorkshire, for use by the army and
the public. These are being
managed by Bladerunner.
Among the new facilities are
three pools which are used for
training and rehabilitation by the
army, as well as for teaching the
Gurkhas to swim.
“The Catterick contract is unique and very
competitive,” says Brame. “If we save on costs,
these savings go back to the MoD; if we exceed
Clients have closed their gyms
income targets, we keep a percentage; and if
we don’t achieve targets, we lose. Normally, if
only to re-open them when
we’re down on income, the natural thing is to
make reductions in costs, but we can’t do that they see the negative impact
at Catterick. From the client’s point of view,
the agreement really incentivises us to push
this has on recruitment
hard to develop income streams.”
The health club has 1,000 members so
far, on a target of 850, which Brame is happy
with, although the yield is less than forecast: “We need to confi dent about Bladerunner’s organic growth prospects. The
get a few more members to hit our fi nancial target, but one threat he’s keeping an eye on is the growth of budget clubs:
we’re nearly there,” he says. “We pitch our prices at a third to half of the high street. I look at
Brame believes Bladerunner’s experience of running the prices across the region and make sure what we charge
facilities at GCHQ helped secure the Catterick contract: “We represents good value, but budget clubs are coming in at a lower
were up against all the big operators, but our understanding of rate and that could put pressure on what we’re doing.”
the security issues helped our bid,” he says. Meeting the security Brame would like to do more work with the HR departments
requirements of the military have set Bladerunner up to tender of corporate clients to compare sickness and productivity rates
for other sensitive contracts such as the European Parliament, between gym members and non-members. To date, none of
the contract for which was recently re-tendered and retained. the organisations the company works with will give access to
There hasn’t previously been a strategy of growth for Europe, this information, but he’s hopeful that eventually this type of
but now the infrastructure to support the European Parliament research can be carried out to the benefi t of the wider industry.
contracts in Strasbourg and Brussels is in place, Bladerunner He believes the corporate market will continue to thrive:
is pushing forward in Europe and has just won the contract “There’s a growing belief that providing a gym has a very positive
for Coca Cola in Brussels. The company plans to go after impact on productivity – we have clients that have closed their
further European contracts, using the European Parliament as gyms down, only to re-open them when they see the negative
the fl agship. “We won the European Parliament on a purely impact it has on recruitment and retention. Invariably the
commercial basis,” says Brame. “It’s a beautiful gym with a decision to invest in an in-house gym comes from the managing
treatment area, beauty clinic, studios and squash courts.” director: if they’re into fi tness, they’ll get the company into
fi tness too,” he says. “They can be our greatest allies.”
going forward Brame concludes: “I’d like to think that every single one
Bladerunner’s business model must be the envy of many an of our clients would give us a positive reference. We really
operator in these times of high utility bills. The company doesn’t look after them. For example, for Christmas, we fl ew them
pay ground rent, business rates or utilities for the majority of its to Newquay for the day by way of saying thank you. We
contracts, with the agreement normally being that Bladerunner took a walk along the cliff and then went to Jamie Oliver’s
provides the equipment and takes the revenue, limiting the risk restaurant. You might say that was an extravagance because of
to the company and making the contract easier to manage. the recession, but we wanted to thank them because we’re so
Corporate contracts also come with a ready-made clientele – grateful to them for supporting us. The key is to treat people
potential members are on-site and can be easily reached and well – to treat them as you would want to be treated yourself.”
tempted to try what’s on offer by an approach such as a wellness
consultation or a head massage at their desk. With this in mind, liz terry
and given the company’s successes in recent years, Brame is
february 2010 © cybertrek 2010 Read Health Club Management online 33
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