Published February 25, 2011
Who: Jeff Thomsen, Sales Manager/President/CEO
What: Fitness Depot Direct, a national distributor of new and refurbished commercial fitness equipment. Sells to gyms, hotels, multi-family living communities, schools and home owners.
Where: Thomsen works from a desk set up in his Hoboken, N.J. living room. He works 90% from his home office, but will travel to see customers when necessary.
“With a laptop and an air card, my office is where ever I am,” Thomsen says.
When: He works mostly from 9a.m.-4p.m. (and takes a gym break), eats dinner, then finishes out his day between 6:30 and 8 p.m. He works Monday through Saturday, although on the weekend he says he works mostly from where ever he is with his family. Thomsen always has a Blackberry and a notebook handy.
How: Thomsen has been in the fitness industry since 1997. After operating clubs, working as a personal trainer, and selling equipment as a manufacture representative, he said he decided he wanted to provide commercial fitness solutions while also delivering premium and direct customer service.
“I always wanted to be in the fitness industry but never planned to be in this part of the business,” he says.
Thomsen started the business after working for companies he says could not meet customer service expectation due to economic hardships. He decided to branch out on his own in 2007, since many businesses in his industry were starting to really feel the effects of the weakening economy. In his past life as a regional sales person, Thomsen always had home offices, so he was comfortable with the idea.
“I experienced working in an office setting once and felt it was not as productive because of all the people and external distractions,” Thomsen says. “I think you get more done in less time when you work from home - no travel time, no cube buddies, no last-minute meaningless staff meetings - all results.”
Why: He got into selling refurbished fitness equipment because he thought businesses needed fitness solutions to enhance resident, staff and student expectations. However, he says, budget cuts gave them minimal room to buy new and buying used equipment was a risk because customers were not confident on what they were getting. That’s where he says he comes in, working to save his customers time and money, because he has done much fitness research and has partnered with who he sees as the top refurbished equipment providers in the country to deliver quality products.
Day in the Life: Thomsen’s day starts with his three-month-old waking him up around 6-6:30 a.m. They spend time together, then Thomsen makes coffee and checks e-mails. He addresses any new business requests and looks at his “to-do” and “follow-up” lists. After attacking those, Thomsen “goes with the flow” of business for the day.
In between, he helps his wife with their daughter so she can go to the gym and get out of the house. If the business day is slow, he goes out to lunch with his family so they don’t get too cooped up indoors. Thomsen works until 4 p.m., then goes to the gym, comes home to make dinner, addresses any West Coast customers that are still at work, then plays with his baby until she goes to sleep at 7:30 p.m.
Pros and Cons: Thomsen says some pros of working at home are getting more done and faster than in an office. The cons, he says, are that you don’t have that inter-office friendships, happy hour invites, etc... He also tends to get a little claustrophobic in the house that is also his office, and often needs to escape outdoors. But overall, the situation is ideal right now.
“I save money on renting and office space, I save money on buying lunch and best of all, I get to see my daughter grow up and spend time with her,” Thomsen says. “Even though I am working, I try and pay as much attention to her as I can throughout the day.”