When it comes to owning a Box, your greatest expense in getting started is the equipment needed to fill your gym. Chances are, you are not starting off with a hundred paying members. On top of equipment, you also have to consider the cost of rent and utilities on a monthly basis. With all that in mind, the equipment you purchase has to last. Weighing the balance between cost-effectiveness and necessity can be overwhelming. Here are a few things you should look for from your supplier when investing in equipment:
Cost. One of the most important considerations is cost. What equipment is most affordable? What are our needs as we grow? As Box owners, we need standard equipment for programming the various movement standards, so start with that idea in mind. Equipment suppliers know the type of equipment that is essential for any Box, and many will offer packages at a discounted rate. This is a smart way to save money. Look for a supplier that offers all the equipment you are looking for, as well as the ability to build a custom package or custom equipment specific to your needs. Not all Boxes are the same and neither is every Affiliate’s needs. A good equipment provider should be willing to work with each Box owner, regardless of the gym’s size.
Quality. We all want equipment that will stand up to the many years of hard CrossFit workouts. There is a wide range of quality between equipment providers. Use as many resources as necessary. For example, talk to other Box owners, drop into a few different Boxes and use previous CrossFitting experiences to find equipment you like. The best way to ensure that you get what you need is to put your hands on what you are purchasing. Keep in mind high quality does not have to be expensive.
Quantity. It is hard to predict what your membership will be in the first few months of starting-up. Begin with a business plan and an equipment package that supports the growth you plan to experience. Let’s say in your first month, your membership is 20 members. Most likely, your biggest class size will be around five. In the second month, your business plan goal should be to double in size because ideally each one of those members will bring one friend. Doubling your membership can obviously double your equipment needs, so you will need to keep this in mind when placing that first order. Buy an equipment package to support your clientele needs for your first six months. If you grow faster than expected, great! Your income will grow too, and you will be able to supplement equipment as needed.
Skill Level. Not every Box is going to be filled with competitive athletes. Most people who walk through the door are going to be in the beginner stages of CrossFit. Buy equipment that is needed for this group to be successful first. As this group moves up in skill level, make the changes necessary to fill in the equipment gaps. As owners, we want our athletes to always be improving, but first we have to get them in the doors and make them comfortable with the movements at their level. For every Rx athlete, there will be four beginners. Order your equipment package accordingly.
Customer Service. When you call your equipment provider with a question, can you talk to a person with the experience and knowledge of what it takes be a Box owner? Ask for the owner, or a person who owns a Box. These are the people who can answer your questions directly with real-life experience. Make sure a knowledgeable person is available to answer your questions, and you can build a relationship with your equipment provider that will stand the test of time.
By Gary Wiebers and Kenny Stilwell, Owners at One More Athletics, Inc.