There are many advantages to buying used fitness equipment. Used or previously owned commercial fitness equipment can be purchased for less than one-third the cost of new gym equipment. Since most gym equipment is made up of easily replaceable parts and rarely breaks, there is little risk for owners. Most importantly, new health clubs can pay off used equipment faster, making it easier for their businesses to quickly reach profitability.
Every gym member uses some type of exercise equipment
Previous posts, like “To Buy or To Lease Gym Equipment? That is the question…” and “Top Ten Ways to Save Money When Opening a Gym” discussed the pros and cons of purchasing and/or leasing exercise equipment. Once you, as the gym owner, have made the decision to either lease or cash purchase your equipment, next you will have decide whether or not you would like your facility to have brand new or used exercise equipment.
For this post, I am going to discuss the purchase of used equipment because that is what I have personal experience in. Although, I have purchased brand new accessories like yoga mats, kettle bells, back braces, etc; I have never purchased brand new exercise equipment for my gyms. The reason why? Brand new gym equipment is extremely expensive, and I simply could not afford it.
Benefits of used fitness equipment
- New equipment depreciates fast! If you are hung up on the fact that you are opening a brand new gym and want brand new equipment to accompany it, look at it logically, a person who goes to the gym will use the equipment that has already been used by someone else. Hence, the second that a piece of brand new equipment is used, the next person to use it, is using used equipment!
- It’s easier to keep up with fitness equipment trends. In order to attract new customers to join your gym, it is important to keep up with the trends as well as to make sure that you keep the experience fresh for your existing members. Members not only expect well maintained equipment but also require a wide range of equipment.
- Exchange broken equipment for new and save money. To describe my most recent adventure just last month, I had to replace 2 broken bikes and wanted to purchase additional ones as well. I trailered the two broken bikes and a broken Nautilus elliptical from my Las Vegas gym, to the CSM warehouse in California. I then went inside the warehouse and told customer service that I was looking to purchase 4 bikes total and that I had 3 pieces of my own equipment to sell to them. I was then guided into the section of the warehouse where the bikes were located, and I started my search. After I found all matching bikes in good condition, I then showed the owner the equipment that I wanted him to consider purchasing from me. Terms were negotiated for better than I expected. My trailer full of broken gym equipment was then unloaded and then reloaded with used working bikes! It was simple as that!
- Pay off equipment faster. Gyms are considered high-risk businesses and often face high interest rates on financed equipment. Some gyms never pay off their equipment because of this. By buying used, a new gym owner has a much better chance of becoming debt free within a couple of years.
How much does it cost to outfit a gym?
According to Steven Harvalias, owner of Superfitness New & Used Gym Equipment based in Burlington, North Carolina, stocking the average-sized health club with new commercial gym equipment runs about $500,000. The same gym equipment used costs between $100,000 and $150,000. A significant savings! Why? Because each piece is a lot cheaper. For example, the average treadmill in a gym costs between $7,000 and $10,000. Superfitness sells it for between $1,000 and $2,000!
My Own Adventure
Unfortunately, the world of used fitness equipment is like navigating the Wild West. There are really no rules. There is no set valuation or industry standard based on the amount of usage, brand name, or year built. However, companies like Superfitness offer “as is” products that are clean and tested, as well as “refurbished” lines, where they’ve touched up paint, changed upholstery, switched belts, etc.
For cardio equipment, Harvalias told me, “this equipment is 99% good as gold, but everyone needs a maintenance program…if you don’t maintain it, I don’t care if you buy new or used cardio, you’re going to have problems.”
Used Equipment Resources
The biggest advantage of buying used equipment for your gym is that all the equipment is at a lower price than new ones. This is extremely beneficial for gyms that are opening for the first time or for those gyms that need to cycle in and out equipment frequently. Gyms that are looking to acquire such equipment need not look too far as CSM Fitness Equipment has warehouses located in Garden Grove, California and Kennesaw, Georgia. I have absolutely no affiliation with CSM, but have worked with them a number of times. They provide used (as is), new, demo, and re-manufactured equipment.
Another great resource for used gym equipment is Global Fitness. Global Fitness provides both used equipment and refurbished equipment. Their warehouse is located in Los Angeles and Gardena, California. Global Fitness also offers shipments within 48 hours to any part of the world.
If you are adventurous and hands-on like I am, you too can have the same experience and go directly to one of these warehouses, browse through over 10,000 pieces of exercise equipment, and select each piece by hand.
Topics for Discussion:
- Where did you purchase used fitness equipment for your fitness business?
- Did you have a good experience with the purchase?
- Are there any other credible, used fitness equipment providers that I did not mention?
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This post originally ran on Sept. 4, 2013 and updated Jan. 11, 2021