There is an age old debate that everyone has with large ticket items from old cars to salon and spa equipment. The debate essentially boils down to this; should you continue to replace everything, part by part, on an old item, or opt for an entirely new product whose parts, as a whole, will not go bad month after month? This decision is generally a personal and economic one but, when it comes to spa and salon equipment, it is also a decision that reflects on an entire business. For instance, a car with a functional interior but ugly paint still serves all of its purposes. However, a pedicure chair with a functional interior but a cracked bowl and torn leather seat may be “functional” but simultaneously unattractive to customers which can negatively affect your business. Here, we will explore when to opt for new items and when it might be better to replace the parts of an old item.


Regardless of the general functional state, or even appearance, of salon or spa equipment, replacing parts on old or discontinued items is generally less advisable than buying completely new equipment. This is because, even if you do happen to find what you need for old or discontinued equipment for the time being, what happens in 6 months or a year when something else goes wrong? Let’s say, at the moment, you found a new leather set that perfectly fits your ten year old pedicure chair. Well, what happens in six months when the massage function goes bad and the mechanical replacement parts are no longer available? Now you have new leather sets on top of a massage chair which may never be able to give massages again. Then, when you do finally opt for a new chair out of necessity, the leather sets which you bought were a lost expense as they may never be appropriate to sit on top of your new chairs. For that reason, it is important to recognize that new equipment is generally more appropriate than replacing parts on very old equipment.


Even if you can easily find new, compatible parts to replace old parts on pedicure chairs as is fairly common with many of the more popular manufacturers, is this something you want to do? Let’s say the remote and leather top need replacing and you have found both of those parts but you are still connecting the new parts to a base that has an old, out of style color and a cloudy bowl. Is it worth it? Remember, your clients are paying for your services and they are expecting a top notch experience in all aspects, including the aesthetic appearance of the equipment. The last thing you want is for one of your clients to move their business to one of your competitors because they have a more attractive business setting with more attractive equipment.


If you, on the other hand, have new equipment which was damaged by mistreatment by your staff (or more likely a client), then this is a situation where replacing the part is preferable to replacing the equipment as a whole. In this case, you almost certainly have modern attractive equipment whose parts are readily available and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Cracked bowls or torn leather shouldn’t be hard to replace for chairs that you bought recently with the exact same colors that you originally bought the chair with. This is also convenient for spas which have multiple chairs which are the same and want to keep the chairs that way for the aesthetic and conformity of their business.


While buying new parts to keep old equipment running is many times tempting as a way to save money, it can actually end up being more costly in the long run. For one thing, you can fall victim to the “sunk cost” fallacy where, over time, you end up buying more and more replacement parts for old equipment with the assumption that not much more can go wrong with that old equipment since you have continuously invested more and more money into it. Then, when parts do continue breaking, you end up spending more money over time than you would have by simply buying brand new equipment from the start. Secondly, while it is impossible to calculate precisely, you can lose money by presenting subpar looking equipment to clients which is the last thing you want to do for your own business. In the end, you will almost always be happier buying new equipment as opposed to trying to salvage old equipment.