Valuing second-hand Pilates Cadillacs, Towers & Spring Walls

I have been buying and selling pre-owned commercial Pilates Cadillacs, Towers and Spring Walls, 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 Cadillacs and Towers 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 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. Cadillacs, Towers and Spring Walls appreciably above this price are probably overpriced and those selling below these prices are probably bargains! This article should be read in conjunction with Buying second-hand Pilates apparatus: weighing up the advantages & disadvantages.

Consider RRP of the Cadillac, Tower or Spring Wall: When assessing how much to buy or sell your commercial Pilates Cadillac or Tower for, ignore the price that the seller paid for the item and instead focus on the current RRP or list price of the equivalent product from the same manufacturer and add to this any taxes or delivery prices to get this Cadillac or tower to your premises. 

Consider Accessories: You are using the current price of an equivalent Cadillac/Tower and not the original price, because you are assuming that the kit is being sold at minimum with basic accessories specific to this item –  these may be Springs, handles, extension straps, Trapeze system, 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 that is missing.

Consider Warranty & Depreciation: The leading Commercial Pilates Cadillac / Tower Manufacturers do not allow an original owner of the apparatus to pass on the warranty when it is sold second hand. This results in an immediate depreciation of the value of a commercial Pilates Cadillac / Tower by a minimum of 35%. Provided Springs are new or nearly new at the time of sale – Cadillacs, Towers and Spring Walls hold their value better than Pilates Reformers. After the initial depreciation they hold their value exceptionally well – It is unusual to find a second hand tower in bad condition, where they are it tends to be frame damage and there is very little that cannot be repaired or mended by a handyman or welder  without the support of the Manufacturer. Depreciation increase approximately 2.5% every three years of age up to 12 years of age.  After 12 years of age a Cadillac, Tower or Spring Wall tends not to continue to depreciate due to its age but springs are still pricey to replace regularly.

Consider Age of Springs: Commercial Pilates Manufactures receive a 2-year warranty from the Spring manufacturers from their suppliers of high quality Piano Wire Springs.  The manufacturers pass-on this 2-year warranty to the purchaser. Springs will fail with age and a spring failing when the Spring 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 machines 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 machine that you are buying.

Consider the Condition of the Cadillac, Tower or Spring Walls: Lastly check over the machine to ensure that it is in A1 condition as follows. Check the frame and look for signs of rusting, dents and bumps and loose spring attachment points –  I would not purchase if the condition is not good. Ignore the Karabinas and clips –  these are cheap to replace from a local hardware shop. Check the condition of the handles and push through bar (not on most spring walls) and deduct the price of new ones if you do not feel the condition is suitable for your studio and customers. Lastly if this is a full Cadillac assess the bed upholstery and if it is cracking or damaged contact the manufacturer for a price to replace the damaged areas – this can be expensive –  £400.00 is not unusual.

Don’t be shy taking these prices from your offer price for the Cadillac or tower –  it is reasonable to expect that your reformer 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.

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.