Don't Buy Refurbished! What Gym Equipment Comapanies Don't Want You to Know!
We All Want to Save
You may be asking yourself if buying a refurbished or re-manufactured treadmill is worth it. As a fitness equipment company, we know that consumers have many options when it comes to purchasing gym equipment. Gym owners can choose from hundreds of brands and can purchase used, re-manufactured, or new equipment.
At TracFitness, we understand that gym owners face multiple decisions when making a purchase. Gym owners must account for other expenses including real estate, personnel, maintenance, and more. With expenses in mind, gym owners may try to cut corners and save on equipment by purchasing pre-owned or even re-manufactured. We generally advise against that as Used Gym Equipment companies often fall short of their promises and end up costing you twice or more the amount you invested.
Today, we are going to let you in on the secrets that Used Gym Equipment Companies don't want you to know and help you make the best informed decision.
As a gym equipment retailer, we are familiar with the "re-manufactured" and "clean-and-serviced" terminology. Being that we offer a trade-in program for our customers, we have encountered many defects and damages in the used gym equipment market. Our trade-in equipment inventory included cardio (treadmills, ellipticals, indoor bikes, etc.) and strength equipment (benches, plate loaded, selectorized, etc.). We noticed that most of the cardio and strength we received from our customers that purchased their pre-owned equipment from reputable companies contained aftermarket internal parts!
Most of the time, a company that sells pre-owned equipment will give you the option of buying it "as-is," "cleaned and serviced," or "re-manufactured." If you choose to buy a product "as-is," you can expect to see heavy sign of use and very often a product that is ready to fail. Companies will sell it "as-is" because the product itself is either dated or already has a preexisting issues. You will finds hundreds off complaints on the Better Business Bureau and the FTC about companies that deceive customers and don't comply with quality service.
If you choose to purchase a product "clean-and-serviced," you will basically be receiving a product that is pulled from a warehouse shelf "as-is" and possibly wiped down with Windex and WD-40. There really is no difference as a "cleaned and serviced" product will not include warranty.
Re-manufacturing or Recycling?
If you opt-in to have your product re-manufactured, you must be very careful of the company doing the process. We have seen products that have been purchased re manufactured to contain aftermarket internal parts that were hidden from the consumer.
When it comes to re-manufacturing, most companies will charge you anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. Some may even claim to sell you an already re-manufactured product that never really went through the process.
There are three scenarios a buyer can expect.
#1: The Aftermarket Scenario
This is very common among reputable used gym equipment companies that offer to re-manufacture your equipment. Some companies purchase their parts from online sources. You can run a quick google search and easily find them. Once you pay for your equipment to be re-manufactured, they order the parts. They then swap out the original parts from the product and install an aftermarket unit. This is the part that should concern gym owners. These companies are not purchasing their parts directly from the manufacturer. In fact, most of the time, they either can't, as they are not the original owner, or the manufacturer no longer produces it.
They then install the new part into the machine. If you are purchasing a commercial product, this is no different between swapping the engine on a Ferrari for that of a Chrysler and keeping the chassis. If you are buying a Ferrari, you most likely want to experience the powerful engine. Similarly, when you are purchasing a commercial gym equipment product, you really want to experience what the manufacturer produced.
One thing to note is that an aftermarket part can also be a re-manufactured part. That's 3 times the re-manufacturing! Some companies that use original parts are also taking them out of their pre-owned units that are stored away.
What About the Warranty?
Simply put, the 6 months to 1 year warranty offered to the buyer by most companies is really the warranty offered to the seller by the parts company. If anything goes wrong wrong in 6 months, the gym equipment company will just claim the warranty offered to them an give you another aftermarket part that will hopefully last longer. Don't forget that their warranty will cover the part but not the shipping or installation!
#2: The Money Making Scenario
This is the most common scenario among used gym equipment companies. We have seen this done over and over again. Very often when a used gym equipment company acquires pre-owned equipment from a gym or auction, they test it and sell it as re-manufactured without ever changing any component. If the equipment looks new, they will just sell it as re-manufactured. Chances are, your product may hold up (since it's commercial) but if it anything happens within the warranty period, they ship out a new replacement part. After the warranty, you are on your own. Most companies take a chance on this since issues don't arise within the first year of purchase.
So if you have the bad luck of having an issue by 1 year and 1 month, you have to go out of pocket for a new product. Companies may offer to trade in your product for another "re-manufactured" product and sell your equipment to another unaware consumer under "as-is" condition. However, these companies will not sell you the part to fix it. You would have to search the web for these replacement parts and find a certified equipment company to install it. That's already in the high hundreds range and will not guarantee your product will function as intended.
#3: Direct Manufacturer
This third scenario is uncommon as very few brands do this. Some equipment manufactures actually sell their products certified pre-owned or re-manufactured. However the list is very small and the stock unit is very low. Even so, the price difference will be about 10% less than the retail price! For the 10% difference, we suggest you go new and take advantage of the fully warranty.
What About Strength Products?
You may think that your strength equipment won't break down, and you're probably right if you are just buying a bench. Hopefully your padding isn't replaced with PU leather or cheap vinyl.
When it comes to used strength, you want to be very cautious about the selectorized equipment. We have all seen that machine at the gym that has the "Temporarily Out of Service" sign. That's because cables and pulleys get worn out over time. If you are purchasing a used selectorized piece for your gym, you don't want to have a worn out cable or worn out pulleys. You want to avoid having your members experience any injury!
A good equipment company will replace the parts with high quality cables and padding but very often, those parts are expensive. And if they actually do use high quality components, the cost of the equipment will exceed the retail price. Chances are, they aren't looking to provide you with the most expensive leather pad or cable. Let's just say these companies love the hardware store.
Powder Coated Equipment on Hidden Rust
Powder Coating equipment isn't cheap. The majority of quality brands offer this as the products are made overseas. A high end brand will be able to offset the cost by powder coating all of their products as opposed to just one unit. Powder coated strength products retain their look longer.
The number one nightmare for used gym equipment companies is stored equipment. It's almost routine for companies to purchase used gym equipment from other states or even countries. Almost every company does so. The concern for these companies is getting them to the warehouse, or even to the consumer as fast as possible. The time the equipment spends in containers and in warehouses opens the possibility of equipment developing rust. Containers filled with brand new equipment will not rust. The coating on new equipment is designed to withstand rust. However, used equipment will often have sweat, marks, dings, chips, etc. This leads to rust formation. If you have ever been to an equipment warehouse, you will notice that humidity can't be avoided. Some companies are able to handle it better than others and some companies will just paint on top of rust with a spray can.
New Equipment: Higher Price But Lower CostIt may seem almost ironic but new equipment will be priced higher than used equipment. However, in the long run, the cost will be lower than used equipment. All our new equipment is fully backed by the manufacturer's warranty. As long as you follow basic maintenance care, you will not have to worry about steep repair bills. There are virtually no downsides from purchasing new equipment. Warranties are always honored when the products were purchased new. Buyers will even find that some of our commercial cardio include a lifetime frame and a 10 year motor warranty (like Spirit Fitness!) . This is not be the case with pre-owned equipment as manufactures don't transfer warranties. That's why banks are smart and prefer to finance brand new equipment over pre-owned and will give you a much better deal! They don't want to risk their money on an unhappy customer.
At TracFitness, we always recommend our customers to invest in new equipment that will produce results rather than headaches.
So long as you are maintaining the equipment properly and regularly, you may rest easy knowing your investment is covered. Another benefit to purchasing new over used is the guarantee that your machine is updated with the latest features and technology, and offering top-of-the-line equipment is a key component to effectively marketing your facility.
If you have any question regarding the quality of your purchase, need help choosing a brand, or want more information on buying and leasing our high-quality equipment, contact your local TracFitness representative today. For more information on buying and leasing our high-quality equipment. We are passionate about helping you set up your fitness facility for success, and our experts are eager to assist you in choosing the right equipment that will do just that.
- TracFitness Knowledge Team