Generally, gym equipment is relatively durable and will last a good while. What’s more, depending on the type of fitness studio you want to run it can cost a pretty penny. So, it’s crucial to be certain of the equipment you’re purchasing. To ensure the right equipment is chosen, there are few questions you should ask yourself first.
What kind of fitness business do you want to run?
This is something you want to establish early on, preferably at the planning stage if not earlier. The type of fitness business you want to run will impact your decision on the quality of gym equipment you need to buy and where it will be purchased. This is one of the first steps that will ensure the success of your business.
Budget or low-cost gyms’ distinguishing feature is their very affordable membership fee. With low-cost gyms you give members what they pay for, cheaper membership is reflected in more basic equipment. Although you do not want to skimp out on the equipment, you can certainly buy basic models.
Luxury gyms focus on the overall experience, catering to a luxurious lifestyle rather than a venue to work out. It’s a welcoming space where members go to relax and hang out with friends. As the membership is more expensive, so the expectations are higher. If you decide to open a luxury gym, be prepared to dish out a fair amount on the latest, top quality gym equipment.
Boutique fitness usually refers to a small studio that focuses on a specific group exercise, whether that is HIIT or CrossFit. The great thing about them is that they do not require all of the equipment a standard gym needs. Your members will be attracted to your facility because of the training they offer, and they will only expect gym equipment that is needed for that particular fitness scope.
To sum up, the type and quantity of equipment you’ll need to buy will vary depending on the type of gym you want to run. Be prepared to spend anywhere from £10,000 to £50,000 on equipment quality and technology-dependent.
To buy or to lease, that is the question
You have two options, to lease or buy gym equipment when you’re starting your fitness business. As with everything in life, there are pros and cons to each option. In short, a lot of it comes down to the funds at your disposal.
Buying Gym Equipment
If you decide to buy gym equipment, the initial payment can be significant but then you don’t have to worry about it afterwards. The equipment becomes yours and can be used as an asset or count towards collateral for a loan. You as the business owner get a say in what equipment you’d like and customise it to match your facility and member’s needs.
Don’t forget about regular servicing of equipment once it’s in your facility to ensure its longevity. This is an extra expense that comes along with buying gym equipment.
Leasing Gym Equipment
This is an excellent option for start-ups or new businesses that are looking for high-quality gym equipment without a high price tag. With leasing, fitness owners can either buy the gym equipment and pay it off over time or exchange it for newer models at the end of the lease. The great thing is that all of the maintenance and repairs are included in the lease price.
However, leasing does not add any long-term investment to your business. It cannot be used as collateral or count as an asset. If a piece of particular equipment is not being used, you do not have the option to resell it and make a profit.
To sum up, when you face the question to lease or buy gym equipment, buying adds more value to your overall business even if it is a bigger expenditure. Keep this in mind when you’re creating a business plan and are asking for a loan.
Brand new vs. refurbished equipment: pros and cons
Now that you’ve decided you will indeed buy gym equipment, another factor worth considering is whether the equipment should be new or refurbished. This decision will be heavily influenced by the type of gym you plan on running and the overall budget. If you have an unlimited budget then splash out and go for the brand new equipment to elevate the overall member experience. If you’re working with a budget, there is nothing wrong with choosing refurbished equipment.
Brand New Equipment
Purchasing brand new equipment will make a dent in your budget, but it will be like ripping off a bandaid. Once the payment is made, you won’t have to make another one anytime soon. Commercial gym equipment can last at least 15 years if not longer, so after the initial purchase, the only thing you have to worry about is servicing it regularly.
One thing worth considering is that once you open your fitness business, it’ll take some time, potentially even a year till you reach full capacity. This means that you don’t have to buy all of the gym equipment at once. Purchase the essentials for the grand opening, and then as your clientele grows add equipment.
This way you’ll be able to reduce the initial capital expenditure costs. What’s more, you can use this as a great marketing opportunity, creating hype surrounding new equipment coming soon.
If you’re planning on opening a luxury gym, then you cannot skimp out on gym equipment. The high membership costs come with high expectations of the best equipment money can buy. If your budget permits, buy all equipment before opening up, if not then only purchase half. As your following grows you can expand your offering.
The process of refurbishing focuses on taking old gym equipment apart and testing each part and noting down which parts need replacing. Those parts are then replaced, refitted, tested and resold as a whole. You are guaranteed quality for half the price of a brand new machine. The downside is that it will have signs of wear and tear, which can impact members first impression of your fitness facility.
The biggest pro of buying refurbished gym equipment is the price, AME Fitness Equipment, a commercial gym refurbishing company gives the following example: a brand new treadmill costs around $7,200 whereas a refurbished one will cost around $2,200. A 5k difference in price is significant, especially when you’re working with a budget.
Opting to buy refurbished gym equipment will significantly reduce your initial expenditures. Money saved can be put towards maintenance, marketing or any other aspect of running a fitness business you deem necessary.
A budget gym with its low-cost memberships can use refurbished gym equipment. Members will understand that they’re paying for what they get, functional machines with relatively easy access (unless it’s rush hour, then it’s another story). The money saved on the equipment can be reinvested in brand new equipment once the fitness facility gained a big enough following.
Boutique studios on the other hand can benefit from both brands new and refurbished gym equipment. Due to their relatively small size, they require less equipment which means studios even with a budget may afford to buy brand new gym equipment. However, if your budget doesn’t allow for brand new equipment, buying refurbished or used gym equipment isn’t a bad option.
To sum up, your decision to buy brand new or refurbished equipment should be dependent on the type of gym you plan on opening (budget, luxury or boutique) and your budget. Regardless of which option you choose, it’s wise to only purchase half of the equipment before your big opening and then purchase more machines as you see demand grow.
Gym Equipment Maintenance and Upkeep
If you decide to buy gym equipment, it’s worth remembering to create a maintenance timetable for staff to go by. Regular maintenance will help gym equipment last many years, ensuring the best value for money. One of the biggest problems gym equipment encounters is dust and sweat.
The maintenance timetable should include regular weekly cleaning, where staff thoroughly wipe down the dust and sweat from the equipment. As we’re still living in pandemic times, it’s vital to encourage regular disinfection of machines and promote overall cleanliness. Encouraging your staff to create positive habits will improve the overall aesthetic of your gym.
Don’t forget to lubricate all of the moving parts, such as cables, pulleys and shafts. This will ensure the cables glide smoothly when your members are working out. It will also help staff easily spot any issues or potential hazards when the equipment is regularly maintained.
To sum up, a thorough maintenance timetable will help your staff create a clean and safe environment for your members. Regular lubrication will help you keep machines in the best shape and ensure the best value for your money.
Should you venture out and buy gym equipment in-person or online
Now that you have gone through this journey and decided on the exact type of equipment you need to buy and what kind of gym you want to open you have reached the final factor, to buy online or in-person.
Buying equipment in person will allow you to test out the equipment before you buy. By visiting a showroom you can assess how durable gym equipment is, whether it’s big or small and how sturdy it is. You can also form a relationship with the sales rep and potentially even negotiate a discount. The downside is that you may have to travel some distance to visit the showroom, so you need to set some time aside for it.
Online shopping is easy and convenient. You can purchase all of the machines needed in just a few hours when it’s convenient for you. What’s more, doing a price comparison is easier as you can check out several vendors at the same time by simply opening few tabs. If you decided on buying refurbished equipment you can also check out Amazon or eBay, along with all of the refurbishing manufacturers. The downside is you can’t see the equipment before buying, so you can’t be sure of the material or how durable it is.
To sum up, it’s worth putting some time aside to visit showrooms in person just to be sure of the quality and durability of the equipment you’re purchasing. After all, the gym equipment is not only one of the first things your members will see, but also a large investment. So it’s worth having certainty in what you’re buying.
Many factors need to be considered before starting a fitness business. You need to know what kind of fitness facility you want to run and what kind of clientele you want to attract. This then affects the type of gym equipment you will buy and it's quality.
Once you have answers to the above points, you can start to think about the exact equipment your facility needs. Don’t worry, we’ve already thought ahead and created an article that outlines the exact equipment you need to purchase.