If you’ve found a location for your new fitness studio and you have the funding to get started. The next thing on your to do list is setting up the facility. This includes designing the layout, considering flooring options and purchasing fitness equipment.
Choosing the right equipment can be challenging. There are many aspects to consider before deciding what to buy and where to purchase it from.
According to industry averages, procuring kit for a smaller personal training studio is achievable at around $10,000, while buying equipment for a bigger gym can range anywhere between $30,000-$50,000 depending on size and type of kit. It's indeed one of the most important long-term business decisions you need to make.
The process leading up to a purchase doesn't have to be lengthy and complicated so long as you know what you need and how to find the right vendor.
To help you make the right choices, we have listed 10 steps you should take before purchasing equipment. These tips will help you identify what equipment you actually need and what to look for when choosing a supplier.
Step 1. Identify Your Ideal Clients
Who are you set out to serve with your fitness facility? At the end of the day, it is your clients who need to use the equipment and not you. If your clients are young men and women looking to get fit, a whole range of fitness equipment becomes available to you.
But, if they are special population, youth or the elderly, people with disabilities or recovering from injuries, then the type of equipment you need to choose for them will be different.
Step 2. Identify Their Needs
With your ideal clients in mind, think about what they would want to see in terms of look, feel and the practicalities of the equipment. What type of workouts is your gym specialized in? What is your target market and what are their needs?
You may want to buy a combination of cardio and strength equipment if you are planning to serve the general population who would like to get fit and healthy.
Remember to purchase equipment which is actually needed and will be useful to your clients.
Step 3. Consider the Size of Your PT Studio
You may be enthusiastic to purchase multiple types of fitness equipment for your gym, but, if you don’t have the space to keep them, it won’t really matter.
Check the ergonomics of your facility. It’s always best to understand the dimensions of your studio before you visit the supplier. You also need to evaluate any space constraints and limitations (and identify whether this space limitation can be rectified or not) before making a decision.
Always plan where you’ll keep what before you settle on the equipment. Make sure there is plenty of space for your clients to move around and to use the equipment (especially in the free weights section). Improper space allocation and poor facility design is a recipe for accidents.
Step 4. Remember Equipment Safety
A safe piece of fitness equipment is one which has already been tried and tested by you and you know how to instruct others for safe use.
Before purchasing a piece of kit because it looks shiny and very state-of-the-art, make sure you have a full understanding of how to operate it safely. Assess the risks and make sure it's fit for purpose and serves your studio's purpose too.
Step 5. Assess Your Budget
When starting up a new fitness business, you want to make sure you put your money into investments that will be profitable and ideally sooner than later.
This means at the start it's better to buy the traditional and tested tools everybody will know how to use and will bring guaranteed return. Once your fitness center is established you can start thinking of trying out new and extravagant equipment.
Step 6. Check Product Ranges and Perks
Now that you know what you need and also calculated your budget, it's time to find the right supplier or suppliers.
Finding a vendor that has a large selection of fitness equipment to choose from will be convenient if you also need a variety, but make sure you check a few bigger and smaller companies to compare product ranges, prices, product support and after-care offers.
Remember, purchasing equipment for a fitness facility is a long-term investment and for safety measure you have to think ahead and consider maintenance options for your kit.
Here are a few big names from the United Kingdom, United States and Australia:
Step 7. Look Up Company History
The fitness industry runs on long-lasting and trustworthy relationships with partners and clients. A vendor’s professional and service history will reveal whether they are the right choice for a long-term partnership or not.
Make sure you do your homework and check the background of the companies you are considering as suppliers. Network with seasoned fitness centre owners who have been in the business for at least 5-10 years and get recommendations.
Step 8. Check Reviews
Online customer reviews are highly helpful in protecting yourself from being taken for a ride. Whether it’s another fitness center owner or an individual buyer, you’ll know what to expect from the vendor beforehand. You can even ask friends and family for their opinion too.
This step is very important when you have a young company on your short list. You may not be able to find too much background information on them and the only way to find out more about them is to check what other buyers say about them. A lack of reviews can be a reason to be suspicious, just make sure you check their terms and return policy.
Step 9. Assess Distance from Your Studio
Most fitness equipment are extremely heavy and involves high transportation and delivery charges. Choosing a vendor who is situated geographically closer to you can help save money on delivery fees.
Additionally, having the supplier near you will help when you need immediate assistance with equipment servicing, as your vendor is more likely to visit you if you’re located closer to them.
Step 10. Request and Compare Multiple Quotes
As a rule, always visit multiple vendors before making a final decision. This will help you check whether the quality and the cost of the equipment is standard or not.
Additionally, some vendors are willing to give discounts on bulk purchases or pricematch if you show them you found a supplier with a better price. By visiting more suppliers and comparing quotations, you’ll have a higher bargaining power over the vendor.
Bonus Step. Follow your instinct
This may sound cliche, which is why it's a bonus step. However, when it comes to making an important purchase decision, our gut instinct will often warn us if something is off.
If you have a really bad feeling about a supplier, it’s best to go through the above process again before finalizing your decision.
Going through the above steps will ensure you make informed choices and spend your money in a way that will bring the best ROI for your business.
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