It’s full-on Springtime in the U.S. now. April showers brought May flowers and people are ready to move. To get outside. To get back to some of the routines they had to press pause on last year. One of those things is getting in shape for Summer weather, Summer vacations, Summer beach trips. Even if we’re not going to a tropical island or wearing our bikinis and tank tops, it’s the natural time of year for us to want to shed the winter pounds, and winter clothes and to tone up our couch-potato physiques.
All of that means many will be coming back to your fitness amenity spaces. So, you will naturally want to have your equipment checked out, both for function and for safety. But beyond a one-time check up by a service technician, you need to consider a regular preventive maintenance contract. Be it monthly, quarterly or bi-annually, your equipment – new or old – needs to be checked and monitored by a pro. Someone who will recognize when a specific machine is starting to fail, based on its repair history and its mileage (in the case of a treadmill or bike). That can only happen with regular visits.
Here’s what you can look forward to with an effective preventive maintenance service plan. You will: 1) Reduce equipment downtime 2) lessen tenant complaints; 3) lower surprise repair expenses; 4) budget more accurately; 5) extend the life of the machines which decreases your cost of ownership; 6) meet the terms of your warranty (new equipment); 7) improve safety.
2 Mistakes most property managers make that cost them $$money$$
That is a lot to think about. So, now let’s just look at the two specific mistakes we hear most from customers who tell us they have decided they don’t need or don’t want a contract.
- Break-fix mentality. Some property managers like to think it’s cheaper/better to just fix a machine when it breaks down. No. The numbers do not bear that out. And it could wreak havoc on your fitness center budget later in the year.
Even something as seemingly small as dirt and dust build-up can lead to expensive breakdowns. Now, a PM visit is much more than cleaning, but let’s say that was all the tech did, come in and clean each piece, inside and out. That will still save you significant dollars on repairs. The build up in vents or valves and the motor, or the console, or something else will get clogged up and burn out. The machine will shut down. Add up a series of those diagnostic service calls and the resulting repairs. That is hundreds of dollars – per machine. Compare that to a reasonable contract rate on PM services. The PM contract will be your best financial choice virtually every time.
2. Warranty as a reason to forego maintenance. Or “My warranty will fix everything for x number of years so I don’t need maintenance.” First, this is the same false reasoning as above, but there is perhaps an even bigger misconception going on here.
Check your warranty – every equipment manufacturer makes their warranties contingent on proper use and upkeep of the equipment. Check it out, nowadays, on their website; it’s not hidden in the small print, it’s right there in the first or second paragraph. Most will specifically state that “regular maintenance” must be performed, or the warranty may be voided. No matter the language, it will be there.
And really, all warranties state that. Say your car is under warranty. Any problem you have (not caused by an accident) is covered. No cost to you. But you can’t go 2 years without checking/changing the oil, get a burned up motor replaced and pay $0. And changing the oil is just one of the “proper use and upkeep” [emphasis added].
What is Preventive Maintenance Anyway?
You know what it is for your car. Jiffy Lube goes over it every time you go there. What is supposed to be done when. Each manufacturer dictates the proper checks, changes and other maintenance tasks that their cars need and at what intervals for the car to run smoothly and remain drivable for as long as possible.
Fitness manufactures, of course, do the same thing. An experienced service team knows when a treadmill deck should be flipped. Flipping can extend the life of the deck, delaying the need, and cost, to install a new one. So, the technician will check it each time for wear, for how well the mechanisms that move the belt are holding up. He’ll do everything he can to keep it working at peak performance for as long as possible. And to reduce noise.* He’ll continue to monitor how it’s performing at each PM visit. In most circumstances, our service technicians can tell you, in advance, when you will likely need to replace a deck, or a belt or a console, letting you plan money for that expense in advance.
*A quick note about squeaking, squealing, scraping, beeping and other annoying noises. How often do you get complaints from residents/users that a machine is making some noise or another? Noises can be the first sign of trouble, of parts lacking lubrication that keeps things running smoothly and forestalls breakdowns. Regular PM visits can reduce this specific reported complaint, because all lubricants will be applied, all parts that may start to rub against other parts are checked and adjusted during the visit.
PMs are the Choice to Choose
Of course, Heartline Fitness offers Preventive Maintenance (PM) service contracts. Some 3,000 facilities count on us to keep their fitness amenities running at top performance. But regardless of who you choose to service your equipment, you need to have these services provided. Look for an experienced, well-insured company with certified technicians and knowledge of all the major equipment brands to come out and survey your spaces and give you both a price quote and a list of all of the checks that will be made on each type of equipment as part of every PM visit. If you just see “Clean and perform all necessary maintenance,” ask for the details. That language does not mean that they will not perform all the necessary checks and changes; it may be a short-hand. So, ask for the details so you can be sure what you’re getting for the price offered.
If you have any questions about what takes place in PM services, ask your service tech, or contact us at PM@heartlinefitness.com. Use that same email address if you’d like a proposal for services at your facility.