Buying equipment for your Box is like servicing your car — it never ends.
Planned or unplanned, whether you’ve been in the business for 10 months or 10 years you’re probably still buying equipment.
Chris Marhefka, a co-owner of B3 Gym, has eight years of experience under his belt when it comes to buying equipment.
Marhefka said he used to have the mentality that every time they moved spaces they needed to get everything they might possibly need in the next five years. By trying to estimate how much they needed, they generally over purchased the type and scope of equipment. “I always urge rather than thinking about equipment as a one and done thing, think about it as an annual recurring process where over the year you’re saving a portion of your income to go to this equipment fund,” said Marhefka. “People aren’t going to choose you solely because of your equipment, so I would much more prefer the owner that opts to upgrade every few years or who is adding things every year”
Now, Marhefka said they have a system for buying equipment that helps keep their purchasing decisions more calculated. Instead of impulse buying, they survey their gym equipment weekly and if they notice they might need new or replacement equipment it goes on a list for research. They also put a percentage of their profit in an equipment fund so when they do need to upgrade, it’s all budgeted for.
Once you’ve done your research and know what product you want to buy, another factor to help with budgeting is looking for sales. If it’s a product you can wait to buy, then there’s a chance you can get it at half the cost. Marhefka said there are a few manufacturers who discount equipment twice a year, once during the CrossFit Games and then usually on Black Friday.
“Try not to be in a rush to [buy] it because you can generally get better deals if you have a little bit of patience and get the same quality equipment,” said Marhefka. “But we also try not to get caught in the sales of what we want, but there’s a good feeling when you’re going to buy something anyway and getting it for less cost when you go to buy it.”
Marhefka said by planning to buy certain pieces during sales, it also keeps them from impulse buying when they see deals throughout the year. If you don’t have anything planned and then see that shiny piece of equipment for half off, you can often end up buying things that don’t improve your gym. By planning your purchasing after doing extensive research, Marhefka said you can guarantee the piece will improve the efficiency of your gym and fit into your programming.
“I would argue no piece of equipment is going to drastically change the product you provide for your customers,” said Marhefka “It may incrementally change it, but it’s not going to change the game for you, so just being more intentional about purchasing is key.”
By Hunter Ellis. Hunter is an intern at Peake Media.