There’s no easy way around it. If you’re going to run a profitable gym or health club, purchasing commercial gym equipment is just part of the job. And it’s not one to be overlooked. Few expenses will be as large or have as big of an impact on your members’ satisfaction as the gym equipment you put into your club.
Purchasing gym equipment is ultimately about profit margins. Buy great equipment your members love, that have great uptime, and revenues will stay steady. Get a great price on your commercial gym equipment purchase and your operating costs will be lower.
Purchasing commercial gym equipment is maybe the single biggest opportunity the health club operator has to make a profit. But time and time again mistakes are made. What are those mistakes and how can you avoid them? We’ll explain.
Mistake #1: Buying commercial gym equipment on instinct
“I’ve always bought from this guy” or, “I know what my members need” is very risky territory to be in. We’re not talking about a cup of coffee here. Commercial gym equipment is a serious and expensive investment. Purchasing equipment based off of random, anecdotal feedback from a few customers or other club operators, will lead to you wasting a lot of money.
With the technology available on the market today, you should have reports delivered to you on a weekly or monthly basis which outline the actual usage of your machines. This way you can gauge how essential it is to have a wall of 15 treadmills, when you could probably get by with just 10. Which could ultimately save you between $10,000 and $20,000.
Mistake #2: Buying without an ROI-based floor plan.
In an industry as competitive as membership-based health and fitness clubs, every inch matters. More specifically, the way you lay out your floor plan shouldn’t be done “just because”, or “it looks good this way”. No - that’s a recipe for disaster. You’re operating a business, balancing costs against revenue. You’re not an interior decorator getting a commission on top of every piece of decor that goes into a facility.
If you’re going to set up a section of your floor plan for a certain type of machine, or for a certain type of group exercise class, you should calculate the ROI for that section of your space. Down to the square foot. Not sure how to do that? This guide will help.
3. Buying from the same rep for years because “you like him.”
The club industry is built on relationships. You’ve probably established some great business relationships over the years. Such good relationships in fact, that you even call them friends. Relationships drive a lot of sales, but if you’re forsaking product quality for them, you are also giving away profits. The best health clubs in the world aren’t just eyeballing when their machines fail. They’re monitoring them 24/7 and receiving reports on service failure. The clubs that will ultimately reap the most profit can see ahead of time when a machine is set to break. This knowledge made available by innovation in asset management technology means less machine downtime, which means members are happier. And happier members continue to pay membership fees.