As you all know, we espouse the benefits of leasing on a daily basis, in a modern, ever-changing world ensuring your equipment, whatever sector you’re in, is the most up-to-date, is vital. This couldn’t be truer when it comes to gym equipment, and in this bumper gym finance blog.
We’re going to be looking at all things gym equipment, gym design, how to make your gym the place everyone wants to go and why gym finance strategies can benefit your business.
We’ve seen an explosion in recent years off gyms offering a contract-free, come and go as you please sort of service. Years ago, you would join a gym, sign up for a big, expensive yearly contract and be tied into it for that period, these gyms weren’t always open at times that worked for people, they weren’t particularly flexible and they didn’t offer anything remotely unique (you were lucky if they offered a spin class).
Now though, small to medium sized gym companies have sprung up, seemingly from nowhere that offer cheap, monthly payments to customers and in return provide cutting-edge equipment, a trendy environment to post gym selfies and regular classes that help boost your fitness.
This change in the gym industry mirrors the change in leasing and it's increasing popularity. Buying outright large, expensive gym equipment is great… for about two years when the newer, fancier model comes along and your customers flock to your competitor because they have them.
The solution to this is gym finance. Acquiring your gym equipment on finance ensures you’re getting the best product now and for the future.
Benefits of gym finance and implementing gym equipment as-a-service to your business:
- We let you focus on your value, not your costs
Entering into this new period for gyms, it can be daunting for a start-up what with seemingly extortionate start-up costs (after all, you’ve gotta fill this empty room up with some form of equipment). Leasing gym equipment means those start-up costs vanish and replaced with a manageable payment that repeats once a month.
It's the perfect start to your business, your initial outlays are reduced dramatically and on day one of your business, you know you have all the latest equipment installed and ready to go. This gives the peace of mind and reassurance needed to focus on other parts of your business like branding, customer service and hell, enjoying the fact your gym is doing well!
- Be the envy of your competitors
Going out there, purchasing thousands and thousands of pounds worth of gym equipment means that it's going to be sat around for a long time becoming older and not as cutting edge. That might have been alright a few years ago but the rate at which gym technology is changing you simply cannot afford to have out-of-date equipment lying around because of how easy it is to swap from gym to gym.
By leasing, the worry of obsolete equipment is gone, your business will always be ahead of the curve because the equipment is replaced every two years or so, about the rate that new tech, in general, is released.
Leasing also gives you a competitive edge over your rivals, you’ll be able to offer new customers the chance to use the newest gym equipment whilst at the same time retaining your existing base by ensuring that this gym, your gym, will always be better and more modern and more cutting edge than your rivals who are stuck with bland, out-dated gym equipment.
- Make life less taxing
No one likes paying tax, it's the price we pay for living in the society that we do, but if we can afford to save a few quid now and again it helps. As a rule, your monthly lease payments can be deducted on your tax return as an operating expense which helps drive down the overall cost of your lease.
Gym equipment, as a service
The as-a-service model is something that has seeped into the consumer world, monthly phone contracts, music services and streaming sites like Netflix all work on a flexible basis. Gyms are exactly the same as we mentioned. So why shouldn’t getting your gym equipment, as a business owner, be any different?
We at Love Finance have pioneered the as a service model for gym owners looking to move, and keep, their equipment in the 21st century, we’re calling it GAAS. GAAS can wrap all of the managed services that would usually be separate and difficult to keep a track of into one simple plan that involves just one monthly payment. Think about it, as well as the state of the art gym equipment you’re getting, you’re also getting dedicated maintenance for any problems that may occur along with training and installation.
GAAS works around you, hopefully, the growth of your gym outperforms your wildest expectations and you want to go about scaling up your business, buy new equipment, invest in new facilities like changing rooms or hire an instructor to offer more specialist classes. GAAS can be easily scaled up to match whatever level of growth your business is experiencing.
It's finance, Jim, but not as we know it!
This isn’t financing in a traditional sense. This is the modern way of acquiring the most up-to-date gym equipment for your business, to push it forward, to expand it, to change it, to transform it. It’s a package, a 360 degree, holistic approach to making sure your dream of a successful gym empire is achieved through the right gym equipment.
See just how quickly we can approve you (spoiler: it takes seconds) by checking out our application form.
Consumers are always looking for value for money. They also expect a certain amount of added extras - a trendy environment, loyalty schemes, those sorts of thing. Why is this? Below are a few of the reasons we added value is such a big factor.
Make your gym better than a weekend lie in
Design can entice, no one really likes going to the gym (however much they tell you they enjoy it) we would all rather stay in bed on those dark Sunday mornings than pump iron. If a gym is well laid out, bright and inviting then the thought of going on said Sunday morning doesn't seem all that bad.
Gyms have taken note of certain elements of the retail sector, companies like Halfords have invested millions into revamping their stores, not to change how they sell the products, but change the feel of the stores, the experience the customer has is just as important. Gyms have noticed this too and adapted, going to the gym is all about inertia, if you’re feeling good and know that the environment you’re working out in is designed in a manner that reflects this - that inertia continues.
It's about the cherry, as well as the cake
Gym design is increasingly taking into account the added value that people expect, with so many low-cost gyms that have prices which are roughly the same, gyms have to work harder to convince people to join their gym.
For example, the Gym Group were one of the first gyms to offer 24/7 video-link pilates (for those of us who fancy a stretch at 4 in the morning). The heavyweights of the gym (pun absolutely intended, by the way), Pure Gym offers a 6-week course called Pure Loser, which invites people to lose weight through lifestyle changes and not just restrictive dieting.
You see, anyone can offer treadmills and dumbbells but not everyone can offer a consistent, high-value experience - that's where your trendy new gym comes in.
Do it for the ‘Gram
Social media is such an effective and cheap way to get your brand name out there, you’d be daft not to design your gym in such a way that it attracts attention on social media through the usual channels (Instagram and Snapchat in particular). If you create an environment that makes it easy for people to post about being at your gym, your marketing is virtually being done for you!
Restaurants like Dirty Bones in London have been built specifically with Instagram in mind (they even offer diners an Instagram kit to photograph their food - I can hear you all rolling your eyes) - but it works, at current count, there are nearly 10,000 posts with the hashtag #dirtybones. If you design your gym with this sort of Instagram-worthy aesthetic in mind you can almost guarantee you’re going to get the traction on social media that so many businesses crave.
Design that doesn't break a sweat - 3 specific on-trend gym designs:
One of the first trends to notice is minimalism. It's worked well in lots of hospitality zones and seems to be on trend in lots of gyms too. The key is (other than keeping things minimal, dur) to choose neutral tones when outfitting the walls, floor and ceiling which creates a clean and sophisticated look that focuses consumers on their goals, as opposed to distracting them with flashy neon annoyance.
This is quite a popular one nowadays, I mean, who doesn't love some exposed brick! It sort of mirrors the rise of CrossFit which put functional training on the map, colloquially known as the sport of fitness. Today, this industrial look has been taken on by more mainstream gyms looking to offer a rustic look of exposed brick and wooden & copper fixtures.
The use of colour may only be seen as a way brightening a place up but its use is far deeper than that. Colour in gyms can motivate and set the tone for a particular area in a gym, such as red for when you’re doing intensive, demanding work like weightlifting. As well as bold colours, neutral tones are also good at setting a particular mood in yoga area and parts of the gym where a state of tranquillity is considered essential.
Fall in Love with your gym again
Are you considering refurbishing or gym or are about to open one that needs a new lick of paint? Here at Love Finance we specialise in gym refurbishments and can help you create a bespoke finance package that ensures you can realise your dream of a modern, well-designed gym. We also partner with industry leading suppliers whose experience in gym fitting is second to none.
Making your gym stand out can be an incredibly tricky thing to do, do it right and boom you’re sorted, but get it wrong and things can go downhill quickly. In the final part of this bumper blog section, we’ve conjured up 7 proven ways to make your gym stand out…
You’re not stupid, you already know it's vital to have an online presence, regardless of whether you’re a gym or a cake store. It's all good saying that you need one but going about it in an effective way is a different story. I see so many companies that have a social media presence of sorts but it's so ineffective and used so infrequently that they might as well stand in the street and shout about their business.
An effective use of social media involves
Knowing your audience, most gyms are catered to young people so be sure to market yourself on the appropriate channels. For example don’t expect to get the young, hip millennials walking into your gym if you advertise on Linkedin. Posting engaging content on Snapchat has a greater chance of getting a target audience more suited to your gym’s aesthetic and brand.
Positioning yourself as a knowledgeable business, ‘going to the gym’ means more than just pumping iron, it should be part of a wider, all-encompassing lifestyle change and your gym should show it's potential customers how to go about that change. Have a blog, a Youtube channel, post videos on Instagram, Facebook - show off how much you know, for free and let the trust between your gym and the people grow and you’ll soon see them walking through the door.
Become a place of discussion, create conversations - one of the great things about social media marketing is that it can be completely free and still help you make a profit for your business, by using your socials to create conversations about gyms - whether that be about equipment, fitness or nutrition. Hosting good conversations across socials does a few things, firstly it increases your gym's brand awar eness in a soft, non-salesy sorta way, it helps drive traffic to your socials and widens the net of potential people that see your profile.
Reach an audience outside your gym’s circle
Now we did just say knowing your target audience is important and it is, but there is a balance to be had between specific online targeting and more general brand awareness to other circles. Go out into your community and reach out to groups - charities, community centres, religious places. Don’t rely entirely upon one target audience, especially if you’re a small gym in a suburban area, your community is what keeps your business going, become a leader both in knowledge and as role models.
Position yourself as the rebels of the market
We Brits love an underdog, a rebel - so why not position your business as one, don’t be afraid to go against the grain, people, more and more, want different. Gyms don’t have to be sterile centres filled with bland walls and grey equipment, gyms don’t have to be places that only cater for weightlifters they can be whatever you want them to be. Rebel, and make people feel part of that rebellion it fosters community within your gym and makes people want to come to you for fear of being left out.
Go above and beyond when it comes to rewarding loyalty
Loyalty schemes are everywhere, in fact, there are so many that it's kind of worn down the effect of having them in the first place (I don't like this place but it's fine I can go be loyal somewhere else for a bit because they offer the same).
For your particular loyalty scheme to be successful you need to go above and beyond, granted it may (though not always) turn out a little more expensive. Rewarding loyalty in a genuine and substantial way is huge, the cost of this is still going to be far less than trying to convince someone to join your gym who has no interest, research shows that it can cost a business up to 25x more to attract a new customer than it is to keep one. Customer loyalty programmes pay for themselves, so it makes sense to push the boat out just a wee bit in order to reward loyalty and keep customers.
Make sure your gym has an authentic identity
You’re unique, we all are, it shouldn't be any different with your gym, if you’re serious about creating a community-led, edgy, exciting gym that doesn’t tick the boxes of these huge gymcorps then you have to allow your identity to come through. Whether that's how you design the gym, what equipment you have, what added extras you put in place - make your gym in your imagination and be authentic. Authenticity and honesty resonate with customers in a way not spoken about very often, it could also be the difference between them paying a bit more to join your gym because they understand and feel apart of something.
Make sure that the first free month is the best it can be
A lot of gyms, both big and small, offer a period in which you can use their facilities for free and it's usually for a month, give or take a few days. It's something that’s worthwhile and offers the customer the chance to try before they pay, giving them the power to make that decision. See this free period as an opportunity for you to show off your business, like a month-long meeting with a potential client. So go all out, meet them in person, get to know them, show off the facilities, make that month the best it can be, this way you know they’re seeing all aspects of your gym, from the people that work there to the equipment they can use.
So, be you, be a voice and go against the grain
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this bumper blog on all things gym finance as much as we’ve enjoyed writing it. Starting a gym can seem like a scary thing, we hope this blog has in some way lessened that and given you a few pointers that you can use to start the ball rolling.
Here at Love Finance, we’re committed to helping gym startups get the leg up they need to be a success and to help transform individuals and the wider community. We’re always on hand to offer advice to small to medium sized gyms looking to keep their balance sheets healthy in the form of finance and leasing.
If you’re a Birmingham based gym or are in the Midlands area, we’re always available for a coffee if you fancy chatting to one of our account managers about gym finance, and if you’re further afield, don’t fret, as we’re always near a phone to answer your questions or to just shoot the breeze.