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Health & Fitness

Start a Pilates Fitness Program at your Club

Considering adding Pilates? It’s a great way to increase profits, attract new members, and retain your existing members. Here are some tips on launching a successful Pilates fitness program.

 

Designate Space

Designate a quiet space for your Pilates classes, which require focus and concentration. Keep your classes away from noisier activities like step classes or basketball, to enhance the mind-body environment a successful Pilates program needs.

If setting aside dedicated, non-shared space isn’t feasible, choose equipment that can be stacked or stored on end. (Stackable units need two people to stack; one person can move and store standable units.)

Our Space Planner can help you design a layout for your Pilates room.

Find and hire quality instructors

The ongoing success of your program will rest on the quality of your instructors. Whether you select current staff and provide training, or hire trained instructors from outside, don't skimp on quality here!

Group exercise experience as well as a thorough knowledge of Pilates is crucial. Pilates exercises have many nuances. Your instructor must be able to modify exercises correctly to meet the needs of class participants.

Encourage your instructors to pursue continued Pilates education. New tips, methods or exercises will keep your classes safe, challenging and fun, and keep your members coming back.

Tips on finding an instructor externally:

  • Call or email Balanced Body®. Our relationships with instructors around the world can be your best resource.
  • Call your local studios – many instructors are also available for additional part-time teaching opportunities.
  • Visit the online instructor locator at Pilates Method Alliance.
  • Ready to hire? Our Job Board can help.

Tips for training your existing staff:

Equipment versus mat classes

Mat classes are a great way to launch a Pilates program. They don’t take much space, they're inexpensive, and can be a great “pipeline” from which to attract clients to your fee-based group or personal training sessions that utilize equipment.

Although a great entry point, matwork is not necessarily an introductory form of the exercise, and can be extremely challenging. Again, your instructors are critical. It’s up to them to keep members from getting frustrated in a mat class – or worse, hurt – and risk turning them off to Pilates for good.

For more on mat classes: "Five Ways to Keep Your Mat Classes Fresh" in our online Library’s section on Pilates Programming for Studios & Clubs.

How much equipment do you need? The size of your club and designated space will be a big factor.

Use our ROI Calculator to see how quickly to expect a return on your equipment and/or training investment.

The level of member interest will also help gauge how much equipment to buy. Poll your membership to gauge interest. Smaller clubs usually start with one or two reformers and then buy more as needed. Larger clubs often begin with four or five.

Create interesting programming (know your demographics)

Pilates exercises are versatile and can be modified to meet the needs of every demographic in your club. Do you have a large older adult membership? Pregnant or recently pregnant women? Pilates is perfect for these groups.

Pilates can also help athletes increase their performance. Specialty classes for specific sports are big hits at clubs across the country. Many of our clients are currently offering specialty classes that include:

  • Pilates for golfers
  • Pilates for tennis players
  • Pilates for runners
  • Pilates for equestrians
  • Pilates for cyclists

Survey your members. What are they interested in? Then create Pilates classes to meet those needs.

(continued above)

Pricing for classes (know your region)

Mat classes are usually free with club membership. The average cost for private Pilates sessions is similar to personal training ($50 to $100 per session), although group reformer classes make equipment-based Pilates much more affordable.

Group reformer classes average around $20-30 a class, but can be lower. Many clubs offer a multiple-session package that greatly reduces the cost per class and attracts more members. In addition, group reformer sessions (4-10 participants) feel like semi-private classes. Participants get plenty of instructor attention—more bang for their buck than in other group classes.

And do your homework regarding your location. Learn what clubs in similar-sized markets charge (they are often willing to share this information to someone not competing in their local market), and what other facilities in your community offer. Then price your services competitively.

Market, market, market!

A multi-faceted marketing plan to reach inside and outside your club is essential.

Your entire staff – especially the front desk and other instructors – must be knowledgeable about the specifics of your Pilates program. Use email or in-person updates to keep everyone informed. Meet regularly with your Pilates instructors to discuss ways to improve and promote the program. Encourage all staff to attend demonstration classes and gain a better understanding of the benefits of Pilates.

Promote classes to your members. Write newsletter articles, send emails and post flyers in the club. If you offer a specialty class like Pilates for golfers, make sure your golfing members know about it!

In addition, many clubs invite non-members into their fee-based Pilates classes, to increase revenue and attract potential new members. External networking is crucial for this. Get out to local businesses, schools and churches. Conduct demos at a local office complex. Create “drop-in passes” where non-members can get a card punched when they take a session. Get your creative marketing juices flowing!

Return on Investment (ROI) Model

How fast can you recoup your initial Pilates equipment investment and start turning a profit? Very quickly. Below is one example - try your own using our ROI Calculator.

The Pilates business model below features 5 Allegro® Reformers for group classes, personal training and semi-private training. The initial equipment investment is $11,975. As the information below shows, this investment can be recaptured in 72 days and earn an annual net revenue of $58,460. This represents a first year’s return of 488%.

In addition to the profits demonstrated on the spreadsheet, a Pilates program can earn additional revenue from new and retained memberships. If just one new member a month joins at $50/month as a result of Pilates programming, additional membership income for one year would be $3,900.

Program Profile
  Participants per Week Session Fee Weekly Revenue Annual Revenue (51weeks)
Group Allegro participants 50 @$20 $1000 $51,000
Personal training participants 18 @$60 $1080 $55,080
Semi-private training participants 24 @$35 $840 $42,840
Total Revenue     $148,920
         
Expenses
Instructor commissions @50%       $74,460
Instructor Training       $16,000
Total Expenses       $90,460
Net Revenue Per Year       $58,460
Net Revenue Per Day       $163
 
Equipment Investment
  Equipment Price/Unit Total Equipment Price
  4 Allegro® Reformers @$2,295 $9,180
  1 - 14” Allegro w/
box & footplate
@$2,795 $2,795
Total Equipment Investment     $11,975
Days to Recapture Initial Equipment Investment     74
First Year’s Return on Investment     488%

To see how this Pilates fitness program can work based upon your club's rates and programming needs, try our ROI Calculator or give us a call at 1-800-PILATES (1-800-745-2837). We’ll customize a profit analysis specific to your business. Leasing programs also available; please call for details.

“With the help of Balanced Body, our Pilates program has more than doubled our total revenue.”
Debra Fishman, Co-Owner | The Perfect Workout
Incline Village, NV