Fitness Studios: What to Know About Acquiring Equipment


Fitness Studios: What to Know About Acquiring Equipment

When it comes to equipment, there’s no substitute for quality.

An old quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin reads, “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” It’s a lesson well worth learning.

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No Substitute for Quality

From time to time, and more often than one would think, we hear of studio owners who stocked their new and fledgling fitness facility with equipment purchased off Craigslist. Craigslist!

To purchase equipment of dubious quality, without warranty and in potential need of repair, is probably the single biggest mistake an aspiring studio owner can make.

Eliminate the Downtime Problem

While it may be difficult to calculate a direct return on your equipment investment, the negative impact of consistently out-of-order machines sends a loud and clear message to your clients – there’s a problem here.

If broken equipment doesn’t get quickly repaired, another message comes through – this studio’s in trouble.

The solution to both of these problems is simple – buy high-quality equipment from day one. The reasoning is two-fold. First, it’s not as expensive as you might think. Second, good equipment sends the proper message to your customers and enhances your brand image.

Precor has user-friendly, educationally driven content on its website to assist studio owners in choosing the right equipment for their facilities.

Equipment Counts

Equipment is one of the most important things consumers consider when deciding on the gym or studio they want to join. With this in mind, studio owners should never scrimp on their fitness equipment.

According to Sports & Fitness Insurance Corporation, buying quality equipment will help you save money – and sleepless nights – by easing your insurance concerns. Additionally, well-maintained quality equipment will help keep your liability policy costs under control.

AFS Can Help: Through AFS’s unique Subject Matter Experts (SME) program, you can connect with people who will listen to your equipment needs and suggest solutions for your unique situation.

What Studio Owners Need to Know About Fitness Equipment

Purchasing New vs. Refurbished Equipment

One of the most important questions when starting your own studio is whether you should buy new or used equipment.

Purchasing new equipment may be the more expensive option, but it comes with benefits. The price normally includes a warranty, which protects your new investment, provided you give it regular maintenance. Often wrapped into the shiny price tag is also support from the fitness equipment company. They’ll train your staff on the proper way to use the equipment and demonstrate how to develop fitness and wellness programs that incorporate your new purchases.

When you buy new fitness equipment, you are getting the latest on the market. Your members may look toward your gym as offering the finest in new fitness technology, and it’s important that you deliver on that notion.

On the other hand, buying used or refurbished equipment is a cheaper option. As the fitness industry shifts and more clubs are closing their doors, there is an abundance of used equipment on the market that is easy to find and tempting to purchase.

If your studio is considering purchasing used equipment, it is advised that you investigate suppliers of refurbished fitness equipment to ensure the quality of their merchandise. Having a strong relationship with these suppliers is key to making certain that you are getting the most bang for your buck, and that the equipment won’t break down in a short matter of time.

Leasing vs. Purchasing Equipment

When it comes time to acquire fitness equipment for your studio, you have two main options: buying it outright or leasing. Both options have their pros and cons; depending on your unique studio’s goals and your financial situation, it’s important to make the decision that is best for you.

Leasing fitness equipment allows you to focus less on cost and more on the value of products in your studio. You won’t need to stress about how you’re going to pay for your studio’s equipment since you don’t need to pay the entire cost of equipment upfront. Rather, you’ll work with a financial institution to develop a payment solution that works for your unique cash flow. Being able to breathe a little easier means that you’ll have more time to fine-tune your members’ experiences in your studio.

Another great benefit to leasing equipment is that you are able to refresh it more often than equipment that you pay for upfront. Instead of having to live out the lifecycle of the products you bought outright, leasing offers you a chance to replace or upgrade equipment as new technology becomes available. This is especially important in our world of always-evolving technology and exerciser interests and trends, and can give you an advantage over competitors. Newer equipment also means that costs associated with maintenance and equipment down-time will be at a minimum, which equates to happy members and staff.

On the other hand, paying for your fitness equipment outright is often cheaper in the long run versus payments spanning over a few years. Once you’ve purchased your fitness equipment, you own it, and that means you can sell it once you’re ready for newer equipment. Often times, those who pay outright for their studio’s equipment have an established cash flow and are able to make the investment in new equipment without it putting a significant dent in their wallet.

What Studio Owners Need to Know About Fitness Equipment

Buy Equipment Because You Need It, Not Because You Want It

A lot of people have a hard time understanding the difference between “need” and “want” – they are two very different things. Just because you want something, doesn’t mean you need it.

Financing Options Abound

One of the most important questions is, of course, can you pay for the new equipment? Once you have clarity on what you need, you’ll undoubtedly turn your attention to funding your purchase.

Fortunately, there are programs out there that make paying for equipment simple and rewarding. Precor, for example, has a financing program available to commercial gyms that makes acquisition easy and virtually painless.

Understand the Trends

According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), one of the 2016 fitness trends is technology integration in health clubs.

The astute studio owner will apply trends as appropriate, utilizing input from members and staff to ensure the best possible outcomes for their studio.

AFS Can Help: AFS offers several financing assistance options, including direct from manufacturers, acquisition to capital, and other means to help you secure the equipment you need.

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

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