Buying Equipment Like a Pro

buying equipment

Let’s face it: Buying equipment presents a handful of overwhelming choices.

Chris Marhefka, a co-owner of B3 Gym, has had eight years worth of experience when it comes to buying equipment for his own gym. He, along with two other experts, shared four key points to help Affiliates make the right purchasing decisions.

Want vs. Need 

Marhefka said one of the first steps he takes is differentiating between wants and needs. If it’s a piece of equipment you need to operate your gym, or if it’s buying something to replace damaged/non-safe equipment, it’s considered a need purchase. 

It’s also important to consider how much the piece of equipment will be used. Is it a piece of equipment that is going to be used at a high volume? This determines what version of it you should buy. Jason Eason, the director of account management at Power Systems, said there’s often confusion between the consumer product versus the commercial product. An example would be a BOSU — there’s a commercial version and a home version. The quality of the commercial versions are made for more intense usage of the product, and typically the commercial products are going to have a longer and better warranty to protect the buyer. The difference in price is worth going with the proper commercial equipment.

Lastly, when deciding between a want and need purchase, you have to consider your gym’s focus. Think about your class sizes, members and programming in order to purchase the best equipment.

How to Choose a Manufacturer 

Marhefka suggested when choosing a manufacturer to go with a company that has a clear return policy or warranty for your expensive and high volume pieces. “If it’s getting a lot of wear and tear, we definitely opt to go with a better manufacturer and when we do that, some of the best questions to ask deal with their return policy for defective or fautly equipment because that does happen,” said Marhefka.

Relationships with vendors can make a difference in your purchasing decisions as well. Once you build a relationship, you can ask simple questions and get honest answers. 

Marhefka also recommended researching some simple reviews online for products. He said you might find some weird quirks other owners have found with a brand or piece of equipment. 

Buying in Bulk 

Daryl Shute, the business development manager of Power Systems, said buying piece-by-piece or in bulk depends on the facility. He recommends instead of overspending and overbuying to try to map out what your facility needs room-by-room. He said a benefit to buying in bulk can be saving a lot of shipping costs. However, if you can purchase piece by piece you’re less likely to overspend. 


At B3 they put a percentage of their income into savings for an equipment fund. Then when they want to buy a new piece, they have a safe budget to order with.

Marhefka also said they never buy new pieces in the moment. If they hear of a new piece of equipment they’re considering adding to their programming, they put it up on a list and consider purchasing it over time. “If we think, ‘Would our members have a better experience, a more valuable experience, by having this in here?’ and if we consistently go back to, ‘Yes, I think this would add a lot of value to our members in our training,’ then we put it on the list to buy,” said Marhefka. “I urge Affiliates not to  purchase more than they can afford. I liken it to buying a home: Just because you can qualify for $100,000 of equipment doesn’t mean you should because that monthly payment is going to loom over you for a really long time.” 


By Hunter Ellis. Hunter is an intern at Peake Media.