As stated in the IHRSA e-book, Buying Exercise Equipment for Your Health Club: A Purchasing Strategy, clubs spend an average of $90,000-$100,000 into their initial equipment inventory, with cardio equipment accounting for an average of 45% of this investment. After stocking your club, operators typically spend an average of 3-4% of revenue for “repairs and maintenance.”
Do you know where you fall on that spectrum? You need to be honest about your initial investment and what you spend on maintenance and repairs, then see if the numbers of your club are consistent with favorable margins.
When it comes to repairs and guarding against obsolescence in health club equipment, we’re mostly talking about cardio units. Free weights don’t require repairs, and maintaining resistance machines (especially selectorized versions) don’t drain as much from your bottom line as cardio repairs.
If you’re stocking a new facility or it’s time to do some upgrades to your cardio floor, you need to ask a few questions before you take out your checkbook. Here are a few.
Is the cardio equipment future-proofed from a technology standpoint? You want the machine to keep running, but you don’t want your members to find the machine unappealing to use because they can’t pair their preferred communication devices and/or wearables to the unit. While you can’t predict major technology shifts, you should be able to choose machines with adequate tech sophistication that they can be easily updated.
Does your equipment supplier have reliable supply chains for parts and replacement units? Cardio equipment that’s often out-of-order has a major impact on member satisfaction. Equipment that frequently breaks is bad enough, but if you have to wait days or even weeks for parts, then you’re taking a risk that your retention rates will suffer. To find equipment that’s future-proof, you need a supplier whose supply chains are also future-proofed. Vertical integration, when the company controls the supply chain, will keep your inventory future-proofed. Find a supplier with that capability.
Does your equipment supplier have a warranty that’s worth the paper it’s written on? This is also key. You want a company that stands by their product without reservations. That means covering not just the basic functioning of the equipment but also the wear and tear. And you need to know that a representative from your equipment supplier is accessible whenever you need them to fix a problem. Responsive customer support is essential.
What are the energy costs associated with the cardio equipment you’re purchasing? Part of the equation has to include energy costs. Having a fleet of treadmills that are energy hogs defeats the purpose of spending less on maintenance and parts.
Does the cardio equipment have the “wow” factor? You may wonder what this has to do with durability and reliability. Buying equipment that frequently breaks down is a bad investment, but so is buying equipment that your members just don’t want to use. Just as you need to future-proof your equipment, you need to future-proof customer experience.
Satisfying all of these requirements may seem like a tall order, but this is no time to ask for anything less.
The Equipment Supplier Committed to Future-proofing Your Business