Valuing second-hand Pilates Ladder Barrels

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 Ladder Barrels 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 Ladder Barrels 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 Ladder Barrels appreciably above this price are probably overpriced and Ladder Barrels selling below these prices are probably bargains given that there is very little, other than upholstery damage to go wrong that you cannot deal with in-house if parts or spares were not available! This article should be read in conjunction with Buying second-hand Pilates apparatus: weighing up the advantages & disadvantages.

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

Consider Accessories: You are using the current price of an equivalent Ladder Barrel and not the original price because you are assuming that the Ladder Barrel is being sold at minimum with basic accessories specific to this ladder barrel – so if the Ladder barrel has padded foot-plates don’t add money to the purchase price for these.

Consider Warranty & Depreciation: The leading Commercial Ladder Barrel Manufacturers do not allow an original owner of a Ladder Barrel to pass on the warranty when it is sold second hand. This results in an immediate depreciation of the value of a commercial Ladder Barrel and added to this Ladder Barrel are slow to move second hand as they are generally a low priority piece of Apparatus in a Pilates studio so it is more of a ‘buyers-market’ than a ‘sellers-market’. Because of this’ expect to buy a great condition Ladder Barrel at 60% of the current new price. After the initial depreciation Pilates Ladder barrels hold their value  – provided they are in good condition and you should therefore only expect to deduct further cost for clear damage to the frame or to upholstery. On a Ladder Barrel there is no excuse for upholstery damage because of the comparatively low amount of use that a ladder Barrel has compared to Reformers, Cadillacs, Chairs etc. I would walk away from a Ladder Barrel with damaged upholstery or make a very low offer for it because it is not an easy job to reupholster a Ladder Barrel and get a really professional / like new finish. Most of the damage I see to Ladder Barrels results from cuts from belts, zippers or rings or heat / sun damage caused by storing Ladder Barrels close to heaters or in direct sunlight.

Consider the Condition of the Ladder Barrel: Lastly check over the Frame to ensure that it is in A1 condition. Check that all Ladder rungs are secure and do not twist. Check that the Locking mechanism releases and locks. Check that you can slide the Ladder Barrel fully to its open and to its closed positions. Consider whether the ladder barrel has adjustable height feet so that on your floor it does not rock. Check the upholstery for any defects and find out from the manufacturer the cost of providing a replacement upholstered barrel or barrel part. Deduct from the prices in the table above for any defects.

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.