Purchasing Used Strength Equipment
A number of factors, mainly the rising cost of steel, have led to an increase in the cost of strength equipment. This has forced many smaller facilities to entertain other options when purchasing equipment. As with any facility, the primary goal relating to the needs of its clientele is to offer the highest-quality, safest equipment covering the widest range of exercises, while still coming in under budget. Taking these factors into consideration, it is easy to see why a number of facilities are purchasing used strength equipment to suit their needs.
Fewer risk factorsRisk factors involved with purchasing used strength equipment are different (and fewer) than those with used cardiovascular equipment. Cardiovascular equipment is complex in function and often expensive to fix when problems arise. Purchasing used cardiovascular equipment is somewhat risky without the proper warranty in place, and may be more expensive in the long run than buying new equipment (when factoring in repair costs). Strength equipment, on the other hand, rarely breaks down with proper scheduled maintenance. In addition, advances in strength equipment design usually occur at a slower pace than cardiovascular equipment. Finally, the majority of strength equipment is sturdy, constructed of thick steel and welds. Taking all of these factors into account, you can see how strength equipment can have a much longer lifespan that cardiovascular equipment, making the purchase of used strength equipment appealing to many.
Back to basicsWhen purchasing used strength equipment, keep three basic areas in mind: the aesthetics of the equipment, its functioning and potential liability issues.
Aesthetics. Aesthetics relate solely to the look of the equipment, and involve the condition of the frame paint and seat pads/upholstery. Look for used equipment that has been re-powdercoated, rather than spray painted or touched up. Powdercoating, when performed correctly, removes all of the rust on the frame and protects it with a much harder, sturdier paint than typical spray painting. Also, look for seat pads and upholstery that are either new or in near-new condition. Pay attention to the underneath areas of certain pads, such as the underside of the chest pad of a biceps machine, that can be visible to the user in a mirror when performing the exercise.
Function. Testing the equipment for proper function is the second step in purchasing used strength equipment. More often than not, equipment refurbishing/remanufacturing companies must replace parts to repair certain machines. Unfortunately, not all of these parts may come straight from the original manufacturer, and this can affect the proper function of the machine. Each machine should function smoothly, much like their new counterparts, with relation to the exercise function and machine adjustments. Problem areas to watch for include proper weight stack alignment, straight guide rods that are clean of rust and debris, bearings that function smoothly and are free of noise/play, pulleys that rotate smoothly and do not rub against the frame, and seat adjustments that slide easily through the equipment frame.
Liability. The final step involves flagging any potential liability issues that may arise from faulty machine mechanics. Although it is the job of the equipment remanufacturers to make repairs, they may overlook something, which can place you at risk for future issues with your clientele. Thoroughly inspect all cables and their attachments for excessive wear. Also, inspect pins for both the weight stack and any other adjustments to the machine to be sure that they engage smoothly and securely. Inspect the frame and welds for visible cracks. Finally, check to see that there are proper placards and warning stickers made specifically for each piece of equipment that explains both proper function and any potential safety risks.
Bottom lineAlthough purchasing used strength equipment requires a little more diligence on your part, it can be a great way to offer your clientele the best equipment within your budget. The bottom line: Do your research and develop a good understanding of the function and the maintenance required of each piece so you can flag any problems with the equipment before the final purchase.
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