By Marla Kaminsky, AFS Community Expert

I’m a double-agent….I’m an equipment dealer and a small business owner.  As an equipment dealer, I get to see the inside workings of the manufacturers.  As a former wellness clinic owner and the current owner of my own small business, I have a loyalty to you, the business owner. 

Fundamentally my goal is to help business owners make the right choices to grow their business.  Sometimes that’s recommending something I sell, sometimes it’s advice based on my experience working on the front lines like you, and sometimes it’s sending you in the right direction, even if it’s not something I sell.  I believe you do the right thing, all the time, regardless of the outcome.

I want to share with you the secrets of financing.  I thought this was something everyone knew, but the more I talk to club owners, the more I learn, that’s an incorrect assumption. 

Financing is generally done one of two ways:

  1. The manufacturer works with a financing company.
  2. The manufacturer is self-funding the financing program. 

When 0% financing is offered through a financing company (scenario 1 above), the manufacturer has a deal with the financing company.  They are paying down the interest that would accrue either in a lump sum payment or over time.  It’s not the financing company offering 0%, it’s the manufacturer.

If they self-fund their financing program (scenario 2), the manufacturer is taking a hefty risk by offering to give you the item and let you pay it back over time at 0%.  That risk has to be mitigated somewhere.  They do that by charging you the top price for the item with no discounts.

In either scenario, it might be 0%, but it’s not free to you.  The bottom line is that it is rolled into the overall cost of the unit. 

How does this impact the negotiation process?  The manufacturer will generally not negotiate on price if you are financing.  If they do negotiate, they have offered you a price with the assumption you are going to finance it.  In the end, you are always paying for it.

So what do you do to keep your expenses as low as possible when you don’t want to pay cash up front? 

If your credit is good enough to qualify for 0% financing for 12 months through the manufacturer, you most likely can qualify for a 0% interest credit card.  A lot of people fear credit cards, but it is the exact same thing as taking manufacturer financing.  Several credit card companies now offer 0% financing from 15-21 months, freeing up cash and giving you longer to pay.  And if you keep your credit in good standing and need a bit longer to pay, you can usually find a card that has no balance transfer fee. Giving yourself more time to pay it off. 

A $5000 purchase on 0% for 12 months is $417 a month.  A $4,500 purchase, for the same item, because you negotiated a discount, over 21 months is $215 a month.  Currently, there are at least 10 credit cards that offer 0% financing for at least 12 months if you qualify.  If you collect monthly fees from your clientele, that’s a big difference to your monthly net revenue.

The bottom line, if you are financing your investment, 9 times out of 10, using the manufacturer’s financing options are not going to get your best deal.  0% financing from the manufacturer is not free money.  Be savvy and find your own financing and negotiate on the price tag!

If you are looking for objective information, I always recommend a relationship with a dealer. Sure, that’s self-serving, as I’m a dealer myself, but if you are working with the right dealer, someone who has spent time in different areas of the industry, they are going to be able to give you honest advice, creative thinking and help you avoid the pitfalls they’ve fallen into in the past.  Working with a dealer doesn’t cost you more.  In fact, sometimes it can save you money because sometimes they will offer you some of their profit.  You pay less, they make less but everybody wins.


Marla Kaminsky is the owner of Spartan Wellness Technology.  Ms. Kaminsky has extensive knowledge in the implementation of bio impendence analysis in the fitness and wellness industry.  Her expertise extends into training and educating individuals and business owners in how fitness testing can improve member engagement.  If you are interested in learning how SWT can help you improve your business model she can be reached at

Join the Conversation!