Buying used gym equipment for your business can seem like a cop-out. Why would you invest in second-hand gear for an industry seeped in an Instagram culture? Don’t looks matter here?
Uh, no, actually. What matters is keeping your health club in the black so you can stay in business.
Last month, Gym Insight’s sales representative interviewed Steven Harvalias, owner of Superfitness New & Used Gym Equipment, based in Burlington, North Carolina, about starting a successful fitness business. In this podcast, Steve and Anthony Pasquale discuss how keeping start-up costs low and customer service at top-of-mind, safeguards an emerging gym’s success. Originally a gym owner, Steve began selling used equipment as a side gig and then went full-time after 2008. Click here to listen.
Read on for the inside scoop Steve and Anthony dropped on why investing in used gym equipment is a smart decision for growing and newly established health clubs.
Five reasons to choose used gym equipment:
1. Returns control to the health club owner.
Although every gym benefits from a selection of new and used equipment, buying the essential pieces used allows you to open as soon as subcontractors finish. There’s no waiting because the gym manufacturer is three months late on delivery. Granted, every machine won’t match, but the core colors: silver, black, white and red are essentially neutrals in this business. They will look smashing with matching black padding and set against your newly painted logo.
2. Leaves cash for construction.
Too many new business owners forget the extraordinary costs involved with opening a gym. It’s not all equipment. Among other basic start-up costs — bathrooms must meet ADA requirements, building renovations often require architectural, mechanical and engineering plans, and walls must be painted. “A gym owner can be out of money really fast,” Steve says. The price difference between new and used equipment is significant. New equipment for a 5,000-square-foot gym could cost more than $300,000. Used, it can come in at under $100,000.
3. Helps owners reach profitability sooner.
By spending less for capital equipment upfront, you’re more likely to hit your profitability goals earlier. Most successful gyms start with a business plan, as our previous blogs discussed, and struggle to make money for the first several years. A softer hit to the pocketbook translates into an earlier paycheck for the owner.
4. Allows your gym to grow with its membership.
Commercial fitness equipment is very expensive. By establishing a relationship with reputable used equipment distributors, you can buy fewer items up front. Then, as your membership expands and — more importantly — demand builds for additional machines, you can go ahead and invest. When you start your business, Pasquale stresses, there aren’t any actual members. Even after client sales pick up, only about 20 percent of them show up regularly. Why overbuy when you can wait and see which machines are the most popular?
5. Keeps upfront expenses low so you can cover the cost of doing business.
Just running a gym is expensive. Few new gym owners expect $2,000 monthly electricity bills, yet that’s common. Factor in insurances, maintenance expenses, and the cost of acquiring customers, and pretty soon you’re running on fumes if you’ve spent all your cash on matching selectorized machines and expensive lockers. The bottom line is “Do you have enough money to pay your bills if the members don’t come in?”
Staying in business is the best decision
Just remember, new equipment, just like a new car, becomes used equipment as soon as a member sits down. Padding will need to be changed and cables replaced just as quickly as on a well-maintained used machine. By thinking ahead and making sound financial decisions at the beginning of your new business adventure, you can be assured of a long and satisfying career as a gym owner.
At Gym Insight, our gym membership software provides a clear, transparent picture into your company’s financials, and offers a platform from which to run your business effectively. Our software is built in-house, by fitness club owners. There are no cumbersome third-party plug-ins or complicated protocols, and it’s available for a single, low monthly subscription price — no hidden fees, no links to your payment processor. Call us today for a free demonstration on how we can lower your software management costs and free up time and capital.