Selecting fitness equipment is a very important decision for campus recreation leaders. Sometimes, the selection process can be difficult for many departments. However, following the example set by Georgia College & State University (GCSU) can put schools on a long-term path to success.
Amy Whatley, the associate director of Wellness and Recreation, said her school’s partnership with Ready Fitness, who represents Matrix Fitness, continues to be beneficial after over a decade of collaboration. The entities first began working together in 2010 during the planning and construction of GCSU’s brand new 100,000-square-foot holistic Wellness and Recreation Center.
“Although I was not the primary person making those equipment purchasing decisions, clearly Matrix/Ready Fitness was the chosen equipment/company to outfit 90% of our fitness equipment which was installed in 2011,” said Whatley. “In 2018, fitness operations were added to my responsibilities. It was then that I began dealing directly with Ready Fitness for ongoing equipment maintenance and repairs.”
In December 2021, Whatley began gathering equipment quotes from various companies. GCSU officially allocated significant funding to replace as much of their equipment as the amount allowed the following spring.
Initially, she felt GCSU would transition from using Matrix. Outside of being required to seek quotes from various companies, Whatley said she was at first genuinely interested in connecting with different equipment brands. She wanted to see what else was out there.
The Selection Process
Over the next eight months, Whatley said she combed through every line item on the quote very carefully. Then, she asked follow-up questions about pricing, quantity and quality of machines, technology, warranties, training, maintenance, etc.
“I want to make sure we are getting the most for our money for the longevity in which I know this equipment will serve GCSU students,” said Whatley. “Both Lance Guantt and Chad Fallin, Ready Fitness representatives, have been excellent to work alongside to extend the life of our equipment for as long as possible — almost 12 years. Lance will tell you I’m probably not the easiest client to work with. But he made me feel like GCSU was his only customer at the time, which I know was not the case.”
On top of that, Whatley noted several other aspects she’s noticed in this process that make a solid vendor-client relationship: the ability for the vendor to revise quotes, the willingness the company has to not only do several onsite visits but also bring additional reps to help when necessary, and the competitive prices of equipment.
For Whatley, successful vendor-client partnerships is all about the strong relationship. And she said that comes from frequent communication.
“It’s about building trust with one another and staying in touch like you would with friends and or family,” said Whatley. “Also don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek additional information. Look through every item and ask very specific questions about the machines.”
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