With the fitness industry segmenting into more well-defined niches, and the number of equipment choices increasing, purchasing the right equipment for your facility has become increasingly challenging. As facilities continue to move away from the “one-size-fits-all” they must create an environment that is tailored to the niche (or niches in some cases) that they serve, and the equipment is a big part of that.
As someone who has sold commercial fitness equipment for over a decade I have learned a lot about this subject from my customers, and those who chose not to become my customers. Here are a few lessons:
Understanding the cohort that you are serving is the foundation for all your decisions. Who are they? What are their likes and dislikes? What motivates them? What are their expectations? Etc…The equipment you choose needs to match the specific needs of your membership and fulfill the promise of your brand (more on this later). This would seem fundamental, but too often it’s not given enough consideration because…
We have worked with many start-up gyms over the years, and there is an approach to equipment decisions that we frequently see…it’s the “my budget for equipment is”. (I want to be clear, I’m not referring to the negotiation tactic that buyers use to drive the price down once they have decided on what they want, I am referring to setting a budget for equipment prior to really researching what your needs are). If the roof on your building needs to be replaced and the cost of replacement (by a reputable company) is $10,000.00, do you tell the roofer your budget is $4,000.00? This may not be exactly the same scenario as purchasing equipment, but I often deal with this scenario. You should never spend more than you need to, but you should also be aware that when it comes to spending money you’re likely to convince yourself you need less than you actually do. “Good enough” can lead you down a tricky path, because…
Your brand is essentially the feeling people have towards your business, and everything you do, or don’t do, reinforces or detracts from it. The equipment you purchase is part of your brand promise. If you go to an expensive restaurant you have an expectation of what the cutlery and the table cloths, you even have an expectation of what the quality of the toilet paper will be. Maybe not consciously, but if it was sub-standard you would notice. It’s the same principal with your equipment; it has to match the standard you set with your pricing, and your marketing claims.
I’ll have more on this subject in my subsequent article.
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