Equipment Warranties and Maintenance: Essentials for Fitness Studios

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Equipment Warranties and Maintenance: Essentials for Fitness Studios

Fitness equipment is a huge investment for any facility, and the best way to protect it is with proper maintenance and a good warranty.

Here's how to ensure that your different pieces of equipment receive equal use, stay working as long as possible, and are covered if they need to be repaired or replaced.

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Maintain Your Equipment to Extend Its Lifespan

Do your clients seem to prefer the treadmill (or Pilates reformer, elliptical, etc.) next to the aisle? You know, the one that provides a little more space than the others. The one that’s almost always occupied?

Many members choose a piece of equipment based on location within the facility. If your equipment layout never changed, those pieces in popular locations would be subject to greater use than others. They’d be more likely to break down sooner, go out of warranty before the others, and ultimately become a problem.

The most effective solution is to move them around. While not an easy route for a big box with upwards of 50 (or more) pieces of cardio equipment, monitoring usage and designing a rotation system can help small studios immensely.

Regardless, develop a maintenance system. Clean the machines, replace belts before they go down, and apply overall maintenance (whether done internally, outsourced, or via your supplier). Always perform maintenance during downtime.

Data Collection at Your Fingertips

Precor, like many quality manufacturers, has a built-in system called Preva®-Networked Fitness technology that can help you monitor your equipment usage.

You’ll learn which machines and locations are underutilized, be able to “rotate the tires” on your facility to extend your equipment’s life space, and determine if certain spaces can be put to better use. Space utilization is one of the keys to profitability, and monitoring your equipment usage is a key to space utilization.

Include Equipment in Your Insurance Coverage

Despite your best efforts and those of your equipment supplier, from time to time, machines do break. When they do, your business can suffer.

Sports & Fitness Insurance Corporation (SFIC), through their affiliation with Liberty Mutual, offers equipment breakdown insurance in their coverage options for gyms. At some point in the future, equipment insurance may end up being the best money you’ve ever spent.

AFS Can Help: AFS has developed a special relationship with SFIC that provides a $50 discount for AFS members when they purchase an SFIC policy.

Why Equipment Warranties and Maintenance Are Essential

Warranties and Why They’re Important

Protecting your investments is important, especially when you purchase high-quality equipment that you intend to use in your facility for years to come. Purchasing equipment that comes with a good warranty is one of the best ways to make sure your equipment lasts as long as possible.

Warranties are contracts that usually promise to repair or replace your equipment if necessary. They are a company’s way of giving you peace of mind. However, every warranty has different terms and conditions, so it is important to know the specifics that apply to your purchase.

A product will typically be covered by a warranty for a set amount of time, ranging anywhere from months to a lifetime. The most common type of warranty covers manufacturer defects. This means that you don’t have to pay extra if one of your machines breaks due to a defect in the materials or construction, granted that the defect becomes apparent during the warranty’s effective time period. Warranties that cover damage caused by improper use or accidents are rarer.

It’s not a hard and fast rule, but higher-quality products tend to also have better warranties. It can be a sign that a company stands by the durability of their products. The reasoning behind this correlation makes sense – even with a long warranty period, a company won’t incur high repair expenses if their equipment rarely breaks down. On the other hand, if a product comes with only a short warranty or none at all, it may be a sign that the company knows their products aren’t built to last and doesn’t want to be on the hook when they inevitably fail.

With a manufacturer’s warranty, support and maintenance comes directly from the people who built the equipment. Fitness companies will usually use certified technicians who have timely access to any necessary parts and the know-how to get your equipment repaired as quickly as possible.

When you buy used equipment from a 3rd party, it is often sold “as is” with no warranty, or with a warranty that is much more limited than one provided with new equipment by a manufacturer. The downside is that any repairs may take significantly longer or be more costly than repairs covered by a manufacturer’s warranty.

Equipment maintenance and warranties

How Long Will Your Equipment Live?

The lifespan of your equipment depends on three main factors: the quality of construction, how well it’s maintained over time, and how often it’s used.

The importance of selecting well-constructed equipment cannot be overstressed. The last thing you want is to get stuck with buyer’s remorse when a piece of cheap equipment breaks. Often, a little extra money spent up front to get better equipment could save you a lot of money down the road. The cost of repairs or replacements may actually make cheap equipment more expensive in the long run. Avoid this pitfall by choosing a manufacturer with a reputation for well-constructed products.

Part of maintenance is keeping your equipment clean and looking new. If a machine has chipped paint, dirty pedals, or peeling decals, it may look older than its actual age. Even if the equipment functions fine, worn equipment can be a turn off for customers, so it pays to keep up appearances.

Lastly, the amount of time a piece of equipment is used by exercisers will obviously affect the amount of wear and tear it takes. You can evenly distribute usage across all of your equipment by keeping track of each machine’s uptime. Most likely, certain machines will be used more often than others depending on their location in your facility. Periodically rotate machines so one does not get used more than the others.

Once you’ve purchased equipment, routine maintenance can keep it in prime operating condition and prevent problems before they happen. However, even with excellent care, equipment sometimes breaks. This is when having a good warranty is critical and will save you time and money on repairs.


Download the full guide and learn what every studio owner needs to know about fitness equipment, including acquiring your equipment, cleaning and maintenance, utilizing your studio's space, building a brand experience, and insuring your studio.

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The Association of Fitness Studios (AFS) is the only trade association dedicated to providing the education, tools, and resources for fitness studios to enhance their profitability, while providing the platform for entrepreneurial fitness professionals to start their own businesses. Learn more at afsfitness.com.

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