The UK has some 7,200 health and fitness clubs with thousands more activity centres and outdoor venues, contributing to an industry set to be worth over £10 billion in 2022. However, the impact of the last two years on the sector has been huge. Working out at home became the only option for many people, with many gyms having to deliver online classes in order to survive. This led to the number of gyms falling for the first time in seven years. That said, as lockdowns have ended, online searches for the terms ‘gym’, ‘club’ and ‘activity centre’ remain high – people want to get out of the house and get fit again.
Attract guests with the best equipment
They are looking for variety, enough machines to minimise waiting around, and for equipment to be in top notch condition. If you’ve had a tough two years, then fitness equipment leasing would be a great option to elevate your gym without breaking your bank. For activity centres, people are looking for different experiences and family activities. Plus, with the rise of hybrid working, corporate team-building activities are becoming more important. Investing in a variety of activity options and your centre’s facilities could keep customers happier for longer.
Invest in the best instructors
Having the most competent instructors will draw customers to your gym and help them achieve the best results. You’ll build a really loyal membership that will do the selling for you by referring friends and family. In an activity centre, having staff who can keep customers energised and motivated throughout their day is crucial, as well as those able to provide a smooth customer journey and cross-sell other activities. Business loans from Portman can help you invest in standout individuals that will make a real difference to your business as well as your customers.
Invest in the right locations
With more than 3,600 gyms in the UK, it would seem that they’re everywhere. There are hotspots though. If you look at the number of online searches for the term ‘gym’, you’ll see Salford, Manchester, Bristol, London and Cambridge occupy the top five positions. Gyms have also been popping up in different types of locations such as old night clubs, warehouses and industrial units. For activity centres and outdoor venues customers are prepared to travel a little further and feeling part of nature is important. However, bumpy access tracks, poor parking and tired facilities can be off-putting. Make sure your access is good and facilities are welcoming. Finance from Portman can be used to help you secure the right premises in the right location or refurbish your current site.
Invest in your online footprint
Customers have a lot of options to choose from, and the first place they’re likely to look is online. You need a strong social media presence, a great website and a great booking system. Even better, invest in a third party app platform to bring you closer to your customers and create a sense of community. Deliver encouragement and frequent challenges direct to their mobiles. Add an online store for branded goods, wellbeing and nutrition products too. Digitally driven diversity is the name of the game. Portman can help you finance any new technology from an app or website to new display screens or sound systems.
Hire purchase usually involves paying the VAT and a deposit up-front. Fixed monthly repayments are then made, affected by whether you pay off the entire loan over the term or chose a final balloon payment. The final option to purchase is guaranteed for a nominal fee, transferring ownership of the asset to the customer.
Hire purchase is well-suited for situations where a company definitely wants to own the item at the end of the term, often where the asset has a significant usable lifespan, a high residual value and will not need to be upgraded.Explore Hire Purchase
Equipment leasing allows a business to acquire hard or soft assets without the upfront costs associated with large purchases. A lender purchases the item, the business then leases it through fixed monthly payments over an agreed term.
Typically, asset finance is provided for high value ‘hard’ assets such as machinery, equipment, or vehicles, but Portman also arranges asset finance for ‘soft’ assets such as IT, fitness, catering, or vending equipment, as well as premises fit-outs, furniture or even air-conditioning.Explore Lease Finance
Business loans are a way of borrowing money, which is repaid in monthly instalments, including interest, over an agreed term. Business loans are a common way to help smooth out cashflow fluctuations and take opportunities where otherwise they could be missed due to a lack of working capital.
Business loans can be secured or unsecured. Portman typically provides unsecured loans which can be more flexible and do not require collateral but are likely to require a personal guarantee. Secured loans are tied to an asset which the lender can claim ownership of if repayments are not made, these may be used in equipment refinance deals.Explore Business Loans
New businesses often need an injection of finance to get them off the ground. Asset finance for new businesses allows you to focus on running your company and bringing in customers, confident that you have the equipment, vehicle or stock you need without the large initial outlay.
Using finance for your equipment means that you preserve the credit card or overdraft for contingency and operating expenses when the unexpected happens.Explore Start Up Loans
If you recently bought a high-value item outright but would now prefer to have financed it, we can help with a sale-and-lease-back agreement. If the item is less than 3m old, give us a copy of the invoice and we will calculate the current value. After a few checks and acceptance of the term and monthly repayments, we can give you the cash equivalent of the invoice to put back into the business. You’ll then make fixed monthly payments including interest, whilst your asset earns you money.
If your business owns high value assets that are not currently on finance, subject to a valuation, it is also possible to use them as security for a loan, with lenders offering a cash loan up to a % of the asset’s value.Explore Refinance
With no personal guarantee up to £250k, Recovery Loans offer an excellent way of making sure your business gets back on its feet after the effects of the pandemic. Many businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and its restrictions can access the UK government’s Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS), providing UK SMEs with better access to finance.
Recovery Loans can be used for any legitimate business or simply provide cashflow. Up to £350k can be borrowed on terms from 2 to 6 years and with no personal guarantee up to £250k, your personal wealth is not at risk.Explore Recovery Loans
Having the opportunity to offer a lease option on a commercial fit out which covers the partitioning, carpets, and furniture – all of the items you would think you couldn’t lease- is fantastic. It means that our clients can keep the same specification, rather than having to cut down and restrict elements of the project. As a contractor, it also means we can get a deposit up front, which secures our labour and materials.
I gave George at Portman a ring, he was really helpful and laid out all the options. We ended up spreading the payments over three years- it is a very simple, straightforward agreement and the decision was back in 24 hours. The whole Portman experience has been fantastic.
From the first call, they were very friendly and very helpful – our Account Manager guided us along the way for our first finance agreement and we’ve never had a problem since. We used them again for the new press six years down the line.
Portman enabled us to spread the cost of purchasing the equipment for our trampoline park, which meant we could use extra marketing channels and launch the business the way we wanted to. If we hadn’t been able to spread the cost of our initial fit out, we probably wouldn’t be in the position we are today.
My Account Manager, Jordan has helped me out from the top to the bottom and I really appreciate what he has done for me. He’s made it a smooth journey for me and was great at keeping me up to date over the phone and would even respond to emails out of hours which I really appreciated.
With the support from Portman, Georgia opened her stunning restaurant in Chelsea, London and has since received a considerable amount of success, receiving glowing reviews about the food, beautiful location and her hard working team.
Lamen needed the finance to secure his dreams. Lamen was assigned one of our dedicated Account Managers, making his process as simple and easy as possible. Portman were able to provide the finance to lease all his Kitchen Equipment so he could stay ahead in the competitive market.