The Multi-Housing Fitness Center Amenity
October 18, 2018
Specialty Fitness Equipment has the experience to help you provide your families with the most affordable and safest commercial grade fitness equipment within any budget. We'll help you from concept to completion, with a floor plan, a quote that fits your budget, delivery, professional installation by our team, as well as the services of maintaining the equipment year after year.
How Specialty Fitness Equipment Will Better Your Multi-Housing Communities Fitness Center Amenity
Whenever we ask developers and property managers why they place fitness centers in their communities, the most common response is "to support the leasing effort." These developers and operators, in other words, use their fitness centers to persuade prospective tenants to sign leases and to encourage existing occupants to renew.
In our experience serving the multi-family residential community marketplace, we find that fitness centers factor prominently into a package of amenities aimed to attract upscale, professional tenants. The fitness center, while contributing significantly in the mission of leasing units, actually serves to complete the image of a full-service residential community. Therefore, many of the developers and property managers we serve consider it is just as important to put a strong effort into the development and upkeep of the fitness center as it is to invest in the front entrance, social lounge, patio/pool area and other highly-visible, highly-valued amenities.
To successfully utilize an apartment fitness center as part of a club house amenity package that supports the leasing effort, some basic guidelines should be adhered to:
- Purchase Commercial Grade Equipment Only
- Work Only with Reputable Fitness Equipment Distributors like Specialty Fitness Equipment
- Keep Equipment Up-to-Date; Periodically Replace Items or Add Pieces; and
- Maintain Equipment in Top Working Order.
Select Quality Name Brands of Equipment
A fitness center that contains the some of the best brands will support the image of an apartment/condominium community that strives to provide the best for its residents. Even if tight budgetary constraints exist, select the leading brands. All the top manufacturers produce models at a variety of price points.
Look to the major fitness and wellness facilities in the area to help determine which brands and specific models lead the industry. Those that dominate in those facilities will be likely to create a positive impression on prospective tenants. Chances are that the upscale rental tenant either belongs to a major health club or did at one time. The brands they are familiar with from their experiences can factor into their apartment community decision.
Another reason for selecting the leading brands is reliability. Broken equipment can be costly for a health club in terms of customer satisfaction and repair costs. Accordingly, large clubs tend to purchase equipment with very high reliability rates. The same issues apply even more critically to the multi-housing service departments at apartment communities.
Some objective sources of information can provide information about leading brands of treadmills, exercise bikes, stair climbers and elliptical cross trainers - the products most commonly placed in apartment complexes.
- Local Fitness and Wellness Centers themselves. Conduct a visual inspection or phone survey of a few facilities. Find out why they chose particular brands. Ask about reliability and maintenance requirements.
- The International Health and Racquet Sports Association (IHRSA). Call IHRSA, the most prominent health club trade association, for statistical information at (800) 228-4772.
- Manufacturers' Sales Literature. While some may consider this source of information less objective, most leading manufacturers publish sales material that includes in-depth information on product features, programs, benefits and specifications. This is a good way to compare and contrast products.
In the end, the image conveyed by a multi-family residential property that equips a fitness center with leading brands of equipment will support the property's leasing efforts.
Purchase Commercial Grade Equipment Only:
There are three important reasons to purchase commercial equipment vs. residential equipment:
- Ongoing operational reliability and maintenance costs: Commercial equipment is designed to withstand extended daily use by many users while residential equipment is designed for use in a dwelling unit. Residential equipment is likely to break prematurely and frequently in apartment fitness centers. The impact nonfunctioning equipment exerts on lease renewal efforts, and the pressure broken equipment imposes on maintenance departments, can be quite time consuming. Residential equipment does not carry manufacturers' warranties in apartment fitness center settings, so costs of repairs will most likely be borne entirely by the property manager, even when equipment is new.
- Legal liability: Residential equipment that does not carry a commercial warranty exposes a property manager to the risk of adverse legal action if a user is injured while using the piece.
- Image: The image conveyed by a well-conceived, well-designed fitness center equipped with high-quality commercial fitness equipment stands in stark contrast to a fitness room dotted with residential equipment. Residential equipment is typically much smaller than commercial equipment and offers fewer features and programs.
All too often developers and property managers succumb to cost pressures and representations by fitness equipment distributors/dealers that products designed for residential use are adequate for apartment community fitness centers. Do not make this mistake. The savings of a few hundred dollars from purchasing residential equipment instead of commercial equipment pales in comparison to the expense associated with a successful legal action against the developer or property manager, or the ongoing expense of maintaining, and ultimately replacing, residential equipment that was placed inappropriately into your fitness center.
Work Only with Reputable Fitness Equipment Distributors:
Given the investment associated with completing a multi-housing fitness amenity, property managers want to ensure that they work with fitness equipment distributors (also referred to as "dealers") that possess extensive experience serving the multi-family residential community housing market. These companies’s, few in number, possess the essential qualifications needed to satisfy the specific needs of this unique market.
Seek a distributor such as Specialty Fitness Equipment that also possesses the integrity to select the proper equipment package of equipment for your unique community. Considerations include the size of the community, the demographic mix of the tenant population, the market positioning of the community developer or property manager, the configuration of the room, available funds and any special needs. Representatives from reputable fitness equipment distributors such as Specialty Fitness Equipment, spend much time and energy creating equipment packages that meet the above listed considerations, and designing room layouts that provide a strong positive marketing statement for your community.
Look for a distributor that:
- Has an established presence in your area. How big is the distributor relative to competitors? How long has the distributor been in business? Larger distributors typically offer experience and stability as well as bargaining power over suppliers.
- Has experience serving the multi-family residential community market. Ask for references. Call your peers at other firms to confirm statements by references and representations made by the distributor or dealer.
- Has authorization to distribute recommended products. Purchasing from authorized distributors/dealers ensures that warranty coverage will be automatic and raises the likelihood that service needs will be promptly addressed. When discussing product options with a distributor, ask if they are authorized by the manufacturers of all the proposed products to sell all said items.
- Is knowledgeable at laying out fitness rooms. As simple as this may seem, it is not. Ask to see layouts from other facilities. Insist that the representative place your facility layout on a to-scale CAD program with to-scale equipment icons.
- Can offer preventive maintenance programs and remedial service. Dig deep into the operational history of service providers. The responsiveness, reliability and quality of work performed are a direct result of the efforts of the distributor.
A strong, ongoing relationship with a fitness equipment provider will serve your best interests handsomely in many ways for years to come and beyond.
Keep Equipment Up-to-Date; Periodically Replace Items or Add Pieces
The image of the community, and the influence that image will exert on the ongoing leasing and lease renewal efforts, requires developers and property managers to periodically replace and/or add to the equipment in their facilities. New product developments occur regularly, and entirely new product categories are occasionally introduced. Upscale tenants will appreciate the efforts put forth by property managers to keep the facility up-to-date.
Equipment renewal/replacement efforts need not be expensive. The effort should, however, be deliberate, logical and methodical. Many of the more prominent developers and property managers perform periodic reviews, either annually or biannually, of the equipment at each of their sites and replace pieces when appropriate. Single new pieces are commonly installed at existing properties after the third year of operation. Pieces are generally replaced one at a time every other year or so from then on. When popular new products, such as the total body cross-trainer, are introduced, property managers can often fit the placement of the new product into the ongoing equipment replacement cycle.
Maintain Equipment in Top Working Order:
Property managers should maintain their exercise equipment to protect their investment and to convey the best image/impression to their residents. Distributors can offer guidance as to how to best maintain your fitness equipment investment. After all, a fully equipped apartment fitness facility can cost anywhere from $20,000 to over $40,000. Protecting that investment should rank high on any property manager's priority list. For a very small cost, equipment can be protected and remain in peak working order for many years.
There are two types of maintenance/service: preventive and remedial. Preventive maintenance consists of a program of regularly scheduled service visits, typically once every three or six months. At each visit, a service technician examines each piece of equipment to ensure that all components are clean, lubricated and in proper working order. Even though so much of today's exercise equipment is nearly maintenance free, a preventive maintenance program can make much sense for an apartment complex.
Remedial service occurs when equipment, or one or more components of a piece of equipment, fails. Service technicians are called to remedy the failure. Depending on warranty coverage, the service/repair may or may not cost anything to perform.
Today's well educated developers and property managers, large and small, are effectively utilizing fitness amenity packages that include fitness facilities to maximize the value of their leasing efforts, and hence their returns on investment and assets achieved.