Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Deal with Used Equipment

Used martial arts gear. Serious person not included.
How does your school manage its inventory of used training equipment?

In How Super Was the Martial Arts SuperShow? I promised to share more martial arts business tips that I picked up at the SuperShow in July.

In this post I will share a brief note on managing used training equipment.

When I train, I don't place a lot of emphasis on the condition of the equipment. So long as it still performs its intended function, I am fine with seeing signs of use.

Newer students might not think this way. They have not yet developed the cues of quality that a more experienced martial artist might use.

For example, I am much more interested in watching how the more senior students move than I am in the condition of a kick shield.

Nevertheless, all equipment can degenerate to the point where it's not effective, or potentially even unsafe for use.

As an instructor, I believe you have a duty to your students to train them in a safe manner. You can achieve this goal and also serve the more aesthetically-minded audience if you consider the following tip.

Keep an eye on your training equipment -- kick shields, focus mitts, heavy bags, and the like. Watch for signs of wear. Using your own threshold -- whatever that might be -- establish a standard for removing the gear from school use.

The tip which I learned at the SuperShow is this: don't discard the used equipment. Instead, offer it for sale to your students, at some discount -- say 50% off retail. Students will be happy to get a kick shield or heavy bag for a steep discount. After all, it's the same equipment they were just using in class.

Collect the money you receive from these sales and put it towards buying replacement equipment.

In this way, the gear your students use in class is always meeting your standards of good condition.

The SuperShow speakers recommended selecting a corner of your school as the "sale area" where used equipment can be bought. You might want to keep a couple of each types of equipment in this display area, with the remainder in storage. Students are more likely to want to pick up gear if they perceive scarcity.

What do you think of this approach?

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