5 things you need to know to control costs and avoid headaches.


Cost certainty for your big equipment investment: the 5 things you need to know to control costs and avoid headaches.


Back in the 1960’s,70’s and 80’s, commercial gyms were special places with equipment and an environment not really found anywhere else. Early on there were not a lot of cardio pieces, then in the 80’s we started to see more of the stairmaster and lifecycles. There were no ellipticals. No climbmills and not many treadmills.

In 2018, corporations, condos, schools, universities, hotels and organizations of all kinds have commercial fitness equipment. They are the tools to keep their patrons happy and proactive in taking care of their health. Since 2004, we have been fortunate enough at STAK Fitness/Matrix Canada to serve over 6 000 such organizations, from small to big. We are now starting to see facilities dedicate more and more space to movement areas: open space where functional and bodyweight training can take place.

Even with this, lots of capital is put aside for equipment. Despite the thousands of dollars invested on such equipment all across Canada, the #1 concern we have from clients is around controlling their costs of operation. One of the biggest costs is the equipment.

Investments are big and the returns are critical. So let’s get to the 5 most important things to have in place to control costs and avoid headaches around your fitness equipment.

5. Make the right choice for the right reasons. Sounds simple enough, but not that easy when there are so many choices around. Making sure you have equipment that is built for the anticipated usage, with a proven track record of reliability, that is simple to use and feels right are all important criteria in your decision process. Not all equipment is built the same.

4. Don’t skimp on installation. Over 90% of the issues in the first 6 months can come from a poor installation. Cables not connected fully, bolts not completely tightened, full testing on installs are not done and these are just some of the common mistakes that lead to bigger issues. Moving a 500lb treadmill off a truck, into the building, getting it out of the box, assembling it, discarding of the packaging, positioning and testing are all part of the install. When you break it down, it does not sound easy. So please don’t treat it as such, you get what you pay for here.

3. Make sure your staff understand how to monitor and report any inconsistencies. You would be surprised at how many staff in mid to larger facilities walk right by a machine that is not working. Either the plug has come loose, sometimes the power switch gets knocked or something else maybe going on.. Everyone on staff should be eyeballing the equipment to make sure it’s working and they should know exactly what to report and to whom if they see a problem.

2. Have a preventative maintenance plan: Keeping the equipment clean should be the #1 priority of a PM plan. We often do regional technical training sessions so mid to large organizations can do this themselves. If that is not an option, a local technician should have a nice package of items he/she will check off for you on each and every visit. What they do depends on the frequency of visits and the amount of usage the equipment is getting. The #1 issue around voiding warranty is that the equipment has not been maintained. For example, a running deck and belt can last 33% longer if the machine is kept clean. If no maintenance/proof it (?) was done , some manufacturers will not replace deck and belt under warranty. PM is not the same as warranty. Warranty covers manufacturer defect. PM is proactive cleaning and inspection of all moving parts on a regular schedule.

1. Don’t try to get blood from a stone. After a certain amount of time it is less expensive to trade out the old rickety, rusted equipment and roll it into a monthly payment on a new piece of equipment that includes professional install, preventative maintenance and full warranty.

There are lots of options available and a good vendor will touch base on any of the 5 points mentioned here to help with cost certainty.

Should you want any help with any of the above points – standards or checklists are available through our local representatives.

Connect with us and we would be glad to provide templates to follow.

Let’s keep those costs certain and get that ROI high!!


Greg Lawlor is VP of Sales and Customer Experience at STAK Fitness/Matrix Canada.