Flex Academies President Joshua Chernikoff interviewed PlayYourCourt CEO and Founder Scott Baxter. Baxter described how Flex has helped to increase his business through parent awareness, resulting in additional lessons for their children.
Flex Academies: Talk about the partnership between Flex Academies and PlayYourCourt.
Scott Baxter: It’s been a great partnership. I think a win-win on both sides. For us, we employ a lot of tennis coaches that I know are always looking for more business and obviously on your end you are always looking for high quality instructors to run your programs no matter what sport they are in. So I think it’s been a great fit. We’ve got USPTA and PTR certified instructors that work for us that are getting some great opportunities to pick up more hours by staffing these Flex programs. So I think it’s been a great fit so far.
FA: Talk about those instructors. One of the reasons why we are so close in our relationship here is because you guys do a real real strong job of getting your instructors. So how do you find your instructors?
SB: We’ve been in business now for almost seven years, so the acquisition process is getting a lot easier. People know who we are and kind of seek us out and want to be on our platform. We used to do a lot of advertising with the USPTA and the PTR, which are the 2 major organizations that certify tennis coaches. In terms of getting our instructors out, we have a rating system very similar to an Uber or Amazon that kind of, for lack of a better explanation, weeds out the riff-raff. We might hire someone that has a great resume but doesn’t have the personality to work with kids. This rating system has more and more users that have taken lessons with us and use our platform and it has given us some really good insight as to what instructors are best for which type of client. So a really big piece of our business model is making sure that for someone looking for instruction, we are able to provide the right personality for what they are looking for. I think that’s helped us to be a great provider for Flex as well, because we know our instructors that are great with kids are the ones we want to put in charge of the Flex programs.
FA: I think and hope what working with Flex gives you the ability to do is that you can focus on your business and your instructors and the courts that you want to fill as opposed to registration and getting into schools. So can you talk about what Flex is able to do for you?
SB: On the back end, Flex handles all the stuff we are not capable of. We work primarily with private lessons. So when you approached us with these opportunities for instructors that were at specific days at specific times it was kind of our dream come true because that is what we were looking for, set hours to give our instructors. The more hours we can provide, the happier our pros are going to be. And we don’t have the wherewithal or the background experience to have any idea how to contract out with all these schools. We knew there was potential there but we knew with the undertaking of everything else we had going on, it was way too much for us to handle. This is a perfect relationship, where we get to take advantage of those opportunities without having to do all the legwork that you guys do to make this run smoothly.
FA: And one of the other opportunities that is really neat that has come out of our partnership here is that you get an opportunity to reach the parents. The parents are also looking to play tennis. So has that been fulfilling for you all as well?
SB: Parents and the kids, because you introduce us as a vendor and they say ‘Who is PlayYourCourt?’ and they check out our website and realize that we do stuff other than afterschool programs. So you get parents signing up for lessons for kids who want to continue lessons on the weekends and during the summer. It’s just a great way for us to pick up new business through the contracts and outside of them.
FA: OK, enough business talk. Let’s talk about the most important part about this for both of us, which is the kids. Tell me some of the things you’ve seen when you have been out on those courts seeing the kids playing. What have you heard from them about hopefully starting a life-long relationship with tennis?
SB: Tennis holds a special place obviously to me. I grew up playing the junior national tour and tennis kept me out of trouble as a kid and really taught me a lot of the values that have helped me run my business today. A lot of character traits you need to be successful in the sport of tennis help you in other walks of life. So it’s really important for us to build this relationship with the kids. It’s very much an individual sport. Even in these group classes, I think kids like the idea that they’ve got the ability to have full control over the outcome of some of these results. For me, personally, I liked soccer and I wasn’t very good at it and I felt a little uneasy depending on my teammates and my teammates depending on me. So I think with tennis, especially for a lot of these kids, it sort of teaches them individuality. It teaches them to rely on themselves. That’s the reason we are so passionate about tennis at PlayYourCourt and I think that’s why our instructors do such a great job with the Flex programs and share the same values.
FA: I think we all share the same values which makes us really strong partners now and going forward. So here’s to many good things for the future for PlayYourCourt and for Flex.
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