What Equipment do I Need for my Sports Facility Start-Up?
How do you figure out what sports equipment you need for your new sports facility? And how should you pay for it? Here are some tips for selecting the best equipment for your start-up business.
Make a List of Equipment You’ll Need
Look at the activities you described in the “products and services” section of your mission section. What’s the minimum amount of equipment you need to offer those products and services? Make a list — and keep it simple. Upgrades and new features can always be added later. Stick to the essentials and save your cash for operating expenses and emergencies.
You’ll probably need some combination of this material and gear if you’re opening a baseball and athletic training facility:
- Pitching machines
- Staff computers and other technology
- Desks and furniture
- Weight room, weights, fitness equipment
Review your list. Each piece of major equipment should have a clear spot in your business plan and its own mini-business plan. Rethink whether you should invest in a piece of equipment if it can’t easily cover its own costs.
Find the Best Ways to Buy
You have your list of essential equipment. The next step is to find the best and most affordable way to get each piece. Here are some guidelines:
- Are you good with home projects and construction? Consider buying new if you’re not a “do-it-yourselfer.” This is not the time to try to become a handyperson. The professional installation costs and warranties included in the price of new equipment can be well worth it. Don’t take risks with the important stuff.
- Buying used is the best way to go if you are a “do-it-yourselfer.” eSoft Planner’s team of experts can advise you on great deals for used pitching machines and fitness equipment.
- Can’t afford new? Consider financing. Remember, cash is king. Look for a financing deal if you can’t afford the full cost of new equipment. Rates will depend on the current market, your credit score, and the type of equipment you want to finance. For example, it’s easier to get a good rate on equipment that a bank could sell if you defaulted — such as a pitching machine.
- Be careful and get referrals. Many sports facility owners delay their openings because of problems with their suppliers. Don’t base your choice on price alone. Get referrals from people you trust!
Save as Much as You Can
Here are some ways to save on equipment when starting out:
- This is a gold mine for deals on used weights and strength training equipment.
- Turf fragments. You may be able to use leftover fragments instead of paying full price if your turf area is small enough.
- Comparing offers. Quote as many manufacturers as you can for the big items. Don’t forget to consider the cost of shipping, installation, and maintenance when you get the quotes!
- Negotiation and patience. Find a space that was previously a sports center but has closed down. The owners are likely anxious to get rid of the responsibility of the building and get back some of their investment. Be willing to negotiate. You can offer to get their lease — and all their equipment for pennies on the dollar. They’ll likely agree rather than pay another month’s rent and utilities. Patience pays off!