Buying Commercial Treadmills For a Club: Answers to FAQ

Buying commercial treadmills is exciting and stressful. It’s exciting to imagine your members’ response to new equipment. But it’s stressful to have big unanswered questions about buying these machines — like how to pay, and how to choose the best equipment. This is by no means an exhaustive, in-depth guide to the very complex process of outfitting a fitness facility with commercial grade equipment. However, this article will help get some of the basic questions answered.

Answers to FAQ About Buying Commercial Treadmills

In This Article:

1. How many treadmills should my club have?

If you’re buying for a franchise gym, you probably need to follow a franchise formula about how many treadmills to provide. But in any case, here’s a typical breakdown of gym workout space. These numbers are from IHRSA (the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association):

  • 47% Strength Equipment
  • 33% Cardio Equipment
  • 20% Group Exercise

So one-third of a typical gym is for cardio equipment. Make this calculation, and then subtract any space reserved for other cardio machines. Treadmills tend to be members’ top choice but you’ll want to offer variety.

Online Gym Room Planners

Top manufacturers make it easy to visualize your gym layout online. See Life Fitness, Precor and Cybex International for online room planners.

How Big Is a Treadmill?

An example of large commercial treadmill is the elite Landice L8 LTD. Its footprint is 85″ L x 35″ W. Compact commercial treadmills are roughly a foot shorter, but all are about three feet wide. Our commercial treadmill reviews include dimensions for each machine.

Allow Room for Passage

Planning your fitness club layout, remember to leave adequate floor space around each fitness machine. Treadmills need to be spaced a certain distance from walls to help minimize heat buildup… and obviously you need to leave room for members to move through your gym.

To be ADA compliant with a new gym or one you’re renovating, you’ll need to ensure that a wheelchair can pass through the aisles and that the user can transfer from the chair to the fitness equipment. A wheelchair should be able to access each piece of gym equipment unless there’s an accessible duplicate. The minimum space to allot for a wheelchair is 30 inches x 48 inches.

2. How much do commercial treadmills cost?

Commercial treadmills cost approximately $3,500 to $10,000 each. Prices are not always published, and quotes are rarely firm. Buying multiple machines at once, you can likely negotiate a discount over the price first offered.

Electronics and customization help explain the wide price range. For example, the Landice treadmill above is sold with a choice of four consoles. With the basic console it costs thousands less. And Cybex International sells luxury commercial treadmills with the option to customize paint colors for your gym.

Also, you can choose from light commercial and full commercial treadmills. Light commercial treadmills have lower sale prices because they aren’t as durable. Generally they’re meant for no more than three hours of use per day. Full commercial treadmills cost more up-front, but they might cost less per day. These machines can run for at least six hours/day and tend to have longer parts/electronics warranties.

Buying commercial treadmills is sort of like buying cars. Use warranty information to determine the possible price per day of each treadmill you’re considering. Also learn about trade-in options and the general resale value. Buying a car, you check the Kelley Blue Book for value trends. Buying a treadmill, you might get value data from the dealer, but you might need to check classified ads to understand resale values.

3. Should I lease or buy commercial treadmills?

Leasing and buying commercial treadmills for a club have different advantages depending on your capital and tax situation. Some main points:

  • An advantage of leasing treadmills is having some of the world’s newest cardio equipment to help attract and retain gym members.
  • A disadvantage of leasing is higher total expense. Monthly payments total more than the equipment value. Also, you’ll be committed to the lease even if your gym closes.
  • When a lease expires, you might have the option to buy the equipment for just $100 per unit. Obviously the fair market value of the treadmill will be higher… but you will have already paid a large sum for use of the machine.

Taxwise, an accountant can help decide whether buying or leasing treadmills is best for your club. Lease payments could probably be deducted as business expenses. But if you buy new equipment, you could deduct the total cost up to $500K in your first year of ownership.

4. What treadmill features are most important?

Fitness centers have different priorities in their cardio equipment choices. Below are links to our planning guides for specific types of commercial fitness centers. Learn what to look for in setting-specific treadmills and other equipment for your facility.

Which commercial treadmill brands are best?

More than a dozen commercial treadmill brands have earned spots on our review site. You can read through our brand summaries from our main treadmill brand page to see which are best for your needs.

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