Valuing second-hand Pilates Chairs

I have been buying and selling pre-owned commercial Pilates Apparatus, 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 Chairs 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 Chairs 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 structure allows buyers and sellers to reasonably agree a sale / purchase price. This article should be read in conjunction with Buying second-hand Pilates apparatus: weighing up the advantages & disadvantages.

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

Consider Accessories: You are using the current price of an equivalent Chair and not the original price because you are assuming that the Chair is being sold at minimum with basic accessories specific to this Chair –  these may be handles, Seat Pad etc. You are not going to pay extra for these –  but you should deduct from your offer price any basic accessories that you must have –  i.e. handles if you need them – if they are not coming with the product. You would not expect a Back-Board to be bundled into the price  – if this is being offered use the same depreciation from the new price to buy these provided they are in excellent condition.

Consider Warranty & Depreciation:  The leading Commercial Pilates Chair Manufacturers do not allow an original owner of a Chair to pass on the warranty when it is sold second hand. This results in an immediate depreciation of the value of a commercial Chair by a minimum of 35%. After the initial depreciation Pilates Chairs 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. After 12 years of age a Pilates tends not to continue to depreciate due to its age but due to its condition or the lack of availability of spares and parts.

Consider Age of Springs: Springs will fail with age and a spring failing when the Chair is in use can be very dangerous at worst and distressing at best. Springs are therefore stated, by the manufacturer, to be wear-and tear parts and Manufacturers insist that they should be replaced at least every 2 years. If you have Springs on your Chair 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. You need clear proof of age of the springs on the Chair 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 Chair: Lastly check over the Chair. Lock the handles and check that here is no give and wobble in the handles. Spring up both pedals of a split pedal chair and separate the pedals making sure that the spring is on the same height on the spring tree/cactus – check that the pedals are even height. Check the bolts where the springs attach and make sure that the spring attachments are all solid. Check the outside of the frame and the pedal hinges and check it is secure and not broken at seams or around bolts  –  Lock the pedals together on a split pedal chair and check that the attachment system works fine. If there are issues check with the manufacturer the cost of repair before making an offer. Lastly assess the upholstery and if it is cracking or damaged contact the manufacturer for a price to replace the damaged areas –  this can be expensive –  a pair of chair feet or a seat pad can cost up to £300.00 according to the manufacturer.

Don’t be shy taking these prices from your offer price for the chair –  it is reasonable to expect that your Pilates Chair is sold in A1 condition and if the seller is not prepared to invest in getting it up to this standard then they should expect to compensate the cost of doing so in their sale price. Finally, before you buy – Check that the Chair you are buying is still supported by the manufacturer. Most manufacturers will supply spares and accessories for their Chairs for decades after they stop making them, but this is not always the case and where they do not the Chair 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.