One of the biggest expenses for a fitness facility is equipment. Maximizing the value of that investment is key to making sure it is money well spent—benefiting the facility operators, the members and the facility’s overall image.

It only takes a few minutes each day performing simple tasks for facility owners and operators to ensure they are getting the most out of every piece of equipment in their fitness center.

First, it is important for people in your facility to understand how to use new equipment. Installing a new piece of equipment is bound to generate some excitement and buzz. Make sure you harness that excitement and spend some time to properly introduce everyone to the new machine(s) and teach them how to use them. This includes educating the members, club staff, personal trainers, maintenance team and anyone that walks through the club’s doors.

Most manufacturers will send someone from their organization to introduce club staff to the ins and outs of the recently purchased product. This can be a sales representative, service technician or master trainer. They should be excited to show you all the great features of the new product. Some even offer product training videos on YouTube or their own website.

When it comes to purchasing new equipment, make sure to ask what resources are available to you. When you educate your staff on the features and programs of new equipment, it gives them the opportunity to better engage members and get them excited about the new workout options within your facility. Personal trainers can use the interaction as a chance to meet more members. Spending time educating your members shows that their well-being and fitness achievements matter to you.

For members, it is important that equipment is safe, intuitive and inviting. Complex equipment can be a non-start for some. At the same time, when you purchase an innovative new product with advanced features, you don’t want your members relying only on the quick start button. That is why it is important to teach them how to use the equipment properly and show off the many options available. Members will get better workouts, try the different programs and see better results.

Daily Checklist

Daily checklists are a useful tool for businesses to complete required tasks when they close for the night and open in the morning. To ensure your equipment is well cared for, your checklist should include simple tasks such as wiping down equipment, vacuuming underneath treadmills, testing cardio console buttons, and checking strength equipment cables and upholstery.

By spending just a few extra seconds at each piece of equipment, you could save yourself money in the long run from maintenance costs, improve equipment function and reduce liability because you will be ahead of any issues that might arise.

Regular Checkups

Whether you are getting your car serviced, or going in for an annual physical, checkups are a responsible and necessary part life. The same goes for fitness equipment.

Although manufacturers require only minimum maintenance to be done to qualify for their warranties, a comprehensive preventative maintenance plan can help you catch problems before they occur, reduce downtime and extend the life of your equipment. Sometimes embarking on a comprehensive preventative maintenance program can seem daunting, especially if you have a large facility or multiple facilities to maintain.

If you are not sure where to start, check the equipment owner’s manual. If you can’t find a physical copy, check the manufacturer’s website. Most manuals are housed on their service pages.

You can always check with your service technician, as most offer preventative maintenance programs so that operators can focus on the business side of their club. And, of course, you can check with the sales rep who sold you the equipment.

When daily, weekly, monthly and annual tasks are completed, you maintain the integrity of the club and the equipment, keeping ahead of issues and limiting club liability. By keeping up on your equipment maintenance the overall cost of ownership decreases, due to any equipment repairs that need to be are completed under warranty.

Take a few extra minutes each day to inspect your equipment. It is well worth the time to protect your financial investment.

Repair vs. Replace

Even if you are diligent about your preventative maintenance, your staff is monitoring the equipment performance and you are up-to-date on your warranty work, all fitness equipment still has a finite lifetime. Although it varies by facility—depending on the amount of use, the condition of the equipment at the start and the overall quality of the equipment—group cycles last five to seven years, cardio equipment lasts seven to ten years and strength equipment lasts ten years or more.

Many club operators struggle with knowing when the right time is to stop with preventative maintenance and instead replace equipment. In truth, the answer is that it will always be a judgment call. Clearly, when equipment becomes a safety concern, it is time to replace. If you spend a significant amount of money repeatedly fixing equipment, or when it spends more time out of order than up with members using it, it is time to replace.

A good preventative maintenance program will provide the numbers that will tell you how much it costs to repair each piece of equipment, how often a piece needs attention and how long it takes to fix the product.

Monitoring your equipment means you can replace pieces as they need to be replaced, ensuring the club is current and members are happy. If you do a full replacement of all products at one time, keep your members in mind. Offer them an alternate club to work out in during the installation process or schedule new equipment to arrive after hours when it will not affect their current routines.

In short, if it makes sense for your facility—for safety, member needs and your budget—replace your equipment. Then, follow the steps above to make sure that members and staff know how to get the most out of your new investment.

By now you should have a good sense of the steps needed to make sure that each equipment purchase is maximized to its fullest potential, but to summarize, we asked Michael Allen, Core Health & Fitness’s Senior Manager of Field Operations and Training.

“… I think that preventative maintenance is an area of focus that is often overlooked when facilities or clubs are forecasting their future needs. We have several of our Key accounts which incorporate Preventative Maintenance Plans into the purchase contract for the equipment. These are the individuals that fully get the concept and understand that downtime in a high-volume club can be costly. These franchises are not only planning the build out of their new clubs but also ensuring that their equipment will surpass the projected life span in commercial club environments. In these instances, technicians are able to diagnose and correct minor issues before they become major failures; which is the definition of Preventive Maintenance.

Ensure that your equipment will run as strong and capable as the first day you bought it. Check out Core Health & Fitness’s Preventative Maintenance & Service Contracts by clicking the link below.