On top of the list of things that annoy health club members is encountering an unoccupied machine with a sign saying, “out of order.” One popular article from Men’s Journal titled “10 Reasons to Dump Your Gym” listed “broken equipment not getting fixed in time” at No. 1.
Chronic machine failures can cost you more than poor member satisfaction—injury on faulty equipment is a major liability you can’t risk. Of course, there’s no way to avoid equipment breakdowns. Machines malfunction no matter how proficient you are at maintaining them. It’s how often it happens and how quickly it’s repaired that make a difference. This is why staying on top of equipment maintenance is one of the most important requirements for a club operator.
You can’t risk too much downtime. According to the 2017 IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report, “equipment utilization was the No. 1 activity at health clubs, as more than half of members indicated using either cardio machines (62.3%) or weights/resistance tools (53.2%).” Equipment is just as important in small group or specialty training as well. The IHRSA Health Club Equipment Report reveals that more than 80% of clubs incorporate equipment in training programs.
But breakdowns are going to happen, especially if you have a high-traffic club. Today’s equipment is tougher than ever, but it’s also more technologically complex. Having more features and moving parts mean more things can go wrong. Cardio equipment—particularly treadmills—are the most vulnerable for the simple reason they’re used more often than other machines.