But, Lin does take into account two other things — what’s fun for members, as well as what others are doing. “A big factor when it comes to purchasing new equipment is based on our programming. There are a few sites which I follow in terms of programming, so whenever a WOD appears on the sites or during the CrossFit Open that we don’t have [equipment for], that will be the next item we will purchase,” he said.
When Jason Chandler, the owner of CrossFit Treehouse with two locations in New Jersey, is trying to decide what to invest in next, the first thing he looks at is how much space it will take up and if he can store it easily. Then he will ask, how much use can he get out of it? “Is it something that I’m going to be doing occasionally, or is it something I can throw into our regular programming and add another movement to the list of things we can do on a regular basis?” he said.
He will also factor in accessory equipment cost when building a new program to determine that program’s overall price. For example, when putting together a class for a group of young football players, Chandler watched CrossFit Football’s programming to figure out what he’d need. Then he added up the cost of purchasing the necessary equipment, determining from there the program’s pricing and how many athletes they needed to break even.
As a co-owner of CrossFit Lobo in San Antonio, Texas, Lee Ring said accessory equipment will only be purchased if it adds to a class experience. Plus, you have to think about if all of your athletes can use the piece of equipment or not. For instance, when they purchased sandbags, he had to consider if all of his athletes could pick up the lightest weight. “I think you can actually end up with some divisions in your culture a little bit if you end up specializing too much into equipment that’s not necessarily accessible,” he said.
Quality is a huge deciding factor for Lin. He will prioritize that over cost to ensure longevity and performance. “Therefore, we always purchase our equipment from Rogue, AlphaFit or Again Faster,” he said. “However, I always do keep an eye out for some bargains that occasionally appear in the local CrossFit Facebook classifieds, such as ‘CrossFit buy/sell southeast Asia.’”
Chandler also said he looks at quality, and will buy less for better equipment. But, he did say that it’s not always about getting a new piece of equipment; sometimes it’s simply about getting more of what you already have. When Chandler purchased an existing Affiliate for what would become his second location, he ended up selling a lot of fancy accessory equipment that wasn’t being used. Avoid the pitfall of flashy equipment and buy more of what you already have so less people have to share.
Member feedback can be a great way to decide what accessory equipment to purchase next. However, Ring said you need to communicate with members when they ask for something, letting them know why or why not you invest in it. And then don’t waffle on your decision. “Keeping it simple and utilizing what you actually have to its fullest extent before you start going and dropping a bunch of money,” he said.
Ring noted taking a look at the budget is essential as well. If you only have $1,000 to spend, is it worth buying only one Assault Bike or being able to buy several sand bags? Or, perhaps it’s better to look to spend that “equipment” money elsewhere – one of Ring’s first purchases after taking over CrossFit Lobo was a Big Ass Fan. He said it’s ultimately about what is effective for your membership.
In terms of maintaining accessory equipment, Chandler said to throw each piece into your maintenance program rotation immediately after purchasing to keep it fresh and new looking.
As for whether or not to purchase accessory equipment, Lin encouraged Affiliates to do so. “Accessory equipment most definitely adds tremendous amount of value to the Box,” he said. “It’s always fun to mix things up and perform different movements and exercises. Being proficient with as many different movements as possible is what CrossFit is all about.”