Fitness facilities that prefer to outfit their floors with a variety of equipment brands now have another leasing option -- SportsArt Financial Services, which will debut at the Club Industry Conference and Expo, October 9-11 in Chicago.
Unlike other manufacturers' leasing plans, SportsArt's program offers blended payments -- whereby customers can place not only SportsArt equipment on the lease, but also finance competitors' machines, flooring, lockers and other related items at the same time. Customers have one set of paperwork and one payment for everything listed so they don't get tangled up in various leasing plans and don't have to keep track of multiple payments.
These blended payments are available to all financial services customers as long as the SportsArt portion constitutes at least 50 percent of the lease's total dollar volume and the financed items are retrievable hard goods. Scott Logan, SportsArt's director of marketing, told SNEWS that the company created SportsArt Financial Services "to help distinguish us from the big guys."
Almost all of the industry's "big guys" have gone the way of full-line equipment providers, so they naturally prefer customers buy everything from them and don't necessarily want to encourage a competitive purchase by facilitating financing of it.
"This is a fairly unusual, innovative offering," Logan said. "Today there are fewer non-aligned strength and cardio companies, and this gives us an opportunity to serve facilities who choose various brands with a one-stop shop for financing."
Logan said that the blended payment concept was not only a request from customers and dealers, but also a recommendation from industry consultant and former Quinton GM Stan Peterman, who SportsArt brought in on this project.
While SportsArt Financial Services offers rates as competitive as others, its user-friendliness could be a bonus. Logan equipped sales reps with a 30-page, three-ring binder detailing the program, including the software that calculates the entire estimate and payments on the spot. Answers on applications can come within 24 hours.
"It's a pretty seamless and turnkey program that offers our customers convenience and professionalism," said Logan. "This presentation package can help finalize everything right then and there."
Although the program officially rolls out at the show, Logan said the response to a soft launch since July has been fabulous.
"We're at a point with our infrastructure, personnel and products that we need a unique, compelling reason for people to take a look at us," said Logan. "We saw this as an opportunity to lead a bit and have a competitive advantage."
SNEWS View: We think the ease of blended payments will definitely close some deals -- particularly from customers who refuse to buy all equipment from one manufacturer or just don't believe in it, preferring instead to give exercisers choices of different brands. Even start-ups or smaller facilities can benefit, since SportsArt Financial Services will finance other things like stereo equipment and flooring. This is great and flexible stuff.