Businesses crumbled, suffered severe setbacks or were forced to shut down when the pandemic swept across the world. Nothing was left untouched at the hands of the unknown.
But Texas Garage Gym Builders is unique. The pandemic changed the way their business was going — for the better. When the pandemic hit, their phones started ringing and emails flooded in. People couldn’t go to the gym anymore, and that’s where Texas Garage Gym Builders stepped in.
Texas Garage Gym Builders specializes in designing and building professional-grade, at-home gyms. This Austin-based company mainly focuses on the major metro areas of Texas but also services across the state. From almost commercial-size gyms to installations as little as 100 sq. ft., Texas Garage Gym Builders is the “only company out there that offers this level of service,” says Preston Wilson, founder and owner.
Wilson is a happy, friendly guy, which has helped him build his business from the ground up. Wilson’s quick smile and sense of humor changed the course of his career in great and big ways.
Texas Garage Gym Builders didn’t start big, though.
It started with a need — and a lack of time. Wilson is busy like the rest of us, trying to balance work, family and life. The desire to work out was always in the forefront of Wilson’s mind, but he couldn’t find time to run to the gym in town. On top of that, good workout equipment is expensive.
Luckily, Wilson was always good with his hands; woodworking and construction were skills embedded within his past.
“I just went in my garage one day and built myself a plyo box with a piece of wood that I had and some really basic tools,” Wilson says. “It was not super pretty, but it worked.”
Then, in 2016, Wilson got one of his first “commissions” when some friends saw his work and asked him to build them one. His business soon started to take off.
“I got the idea that maybe on the weekends, I could build some for extra money and sell them on Craigslist,” Wilson recalls.
After that, it was all about building relationships and getting the word out. With his day job in rearview, Wilson pursued this idea further. He wanted to start a business designing and building at-home gyms. He says he did it “old school” and drove to local gyms in Austin, handing out flyers to let people know about his newfound business idea. For almost four years, Texas Garage Gym Builders was a one-man-strong business.
2020 was a year that went down in history. It was also the year Wilson signed a lease for his first commercial space. His business was growing and could no longer continue out of his backyard.
When the pandemic hit in early 2020, Wilson was signing the papers to have a permanent business space. Naturally, Wilson was nervous, as the timing of his lease was not ideal. Plus, he was a new father.
To deal with the uncertainty of the coming year, Wilson hired Dominique Vela — his first business partner — to help get the company through the difficulties of the pandemic. However, the pandemic turned out to be a turning point for Texas Garage Gym Builders.
“The pandemic worked the opposite way than I thought,” Wilson says. “It kinda blew up what we were doing.”
Suddenly, everybody wanted an at-home gym. As the number of calls coming in increased, Wilson expanded his crew. Now, Texas Garage Gym Builders is a company run by former trainers, athletes and weightlifters. Wilson never talks about his crew without a smile and he loves giving them credit.
“I founded it and had the idea, but I can’t say enough about everybody that’s here,” Wilson says.
Customers wanting to transform their garage or room in their house into a place of fitness usually reach out via the company’s website. Wilson sets up a time to visit the customer’s property where he takes measurements, asks questions and works with the customers.
“(I) talk to them about what kind of workouts they do (and) what their goals are, so we get them the right equipment,” Wilson explains.
Every build is unique. Some projects take weeks; some only take a few hours. Texas Garage Gym Builders works with several different vendors when purchasing and installing equipment, but a large portion of their commissions are built and customized by Wilson and his team. He says any piece of equipment they can’t find, Texas Garage Gym Builders can make.
Wilson has built for many different people, including American author Ryan Holiday. He remembers messaging Holiday on Instagram after seeing a video of the writer working out on one of his custom builds. Wilson recalls this as the first of his at-home installation commissions. He and Holiday then planned and designed a gym for Holiday’s house. By now, Wilson’s business has constructed over 200 gyms in homes across Texas.
It seems that not much matters more to Wilson than doing good, honest work with the crew he has grown so fond of. Wilson constantly expresses joy from having an amazing team at Texas Garage Gym Builders.
“Our job is to go in and transform these spaces so that people can transform themselves,” Wilson says.
From humble beginnings and weekend hobbies and favors, Texas Garage Gym Builders has transformed spaces, one plyo box at a time.