Valuing second hand Pilates Reformers

I have been buying and selling pre-owned Commercial Pilates Reformers, of all brands, for more than 20 years both for my own use in my Pilates Studios and also as trade ins where customers are looking to change brands or upgrade or as a consultant advising buyers and sellers how to set a fair price.

In this guide I give you a structure for buying and selling second-hand Pilates reformers based upon my experience.There are sometimes excellent bargains to be found when buying pre owned machines – but very often I find that sellers have unrealistic valuations for their cherished Pilates Reformers and often they are making promises that just are not true – ‘Sold with lifetime warranty’,  ‘Plenty of hours left in the springs’, ‘fully refurbished’, ‘as new’. This article should be read in conjunction with Buying second-hand Pilates apparatus: weighing up the advantages & disadvantages.

Consider RRP of the Reformer: When assessing how much to buy or sell your Commercial Pilates Reformer for, ignore the price that the seller paid for the Reformer and instead focus on the current RRP or list price of the reformer and add to this any taxes or delivery prices to get this Reformer to your premises. 

Consider Warranty & Depreciation: The leading Commercial Pilates Reformer Manufacturers do not allow an original owner of a Reformer to pass on the warranty when it is sold second hand. This results in an immediate depreciation of the value of a commercial Pilates Reformer by a minimum of 35% usually rounded down to the nearest £50. After the initial depreciation Pilates Reformers hold their value well – provided they are in good condition and parts are still held by the Manufacturer – Depreciation increase approximately 5% every three years of age up to 12 years of age.    

Consider Age of Springs: Springs will fail with age and a spring failing when the reformer is in use can be very dangerous at worst and distressing at best. If you have Springs on your Reformer older than two years and there is a spring failure causing an accident; you risk a negligence claim in terms of your ‘duty of care’ to your customer,  most insurance companies expect owners of Machinery to maintain it as outlined by a Manufacturer. Therefore you need clear proof of age of the springs on the Reformer that you are buying.  If you can be certain that the springs are less than one year old use the value in the table above – if not deduct from this the price of replacing the springs.

Consider the Condition of the Reformer: Lastly check over the reformer. Run your hands on (or in) the runners and check for complete smoothness. Now lie on the reformer with a light spring and extend the carriage to full length –  check that the ride is smooth. Check the ropes and whilst you can accept the ropes fluffing up a bit make sure that the outer sheath of the rope is not broken through.  Now check the outside of the frame and the Foot-bar and check it is secure and not broken at seams or around bolts. Lastly assess the upholstery and if it is cracking or damaged contact the manufacturer for a price to replace the damaged areas.

Don’t be shy taking these prices from your offer price for the reformer. Finally, before you buy – Check that the Reformer you are buying is still supported by the manufacturer. Most manufacturers will supply spares and accessories for their Reformers for decades after they stop making them – but this is not always the case and where they do not the reformer you are buying has Scrap Value only.

About the Author
Chris Onslow has been in the Pilates industry since 1999. He has sold or distributed Balanced Body, Stott-Pilates and Align-Pilates equipment in the UK and Europe and has owned Pilates Studios ranging from 600 square feet to 6000 square feet in size, with studios in Oxford, London and Witney. Chris brought Stott Pilates education to the UK in 2006 and now runs Mbodies Training Academy. He is a consultant for several Pilates studio operators and owners seeking to use his experience in the industry to ‘launch’, ‘develop’, and ‘refocus’ their Pilates focussed companies.