Launching Your Studio
Ready to launch your Pilates Studio?
We never get tired of talking to Pilates instructors who are ready to take the plunge and open their own Pilates studios. The excitement is contagious! We'd like to share some frequent topics that come up – food for thought that we hope you'll find helpful.
Find a space that’s right for you
When looking for an appropriate space to open a studio, answers to these questions can help lead you to determine an appropriate size:
- How many classes or personal sessions per day do you want to plan for?
- How many people in each group session?
- Will you have multiple sessions happening simultaneously?
- What kind of equipment do you want?
Have space and equipment already in mind? Use our Space Planner to design a layout!
What about location? Although this will greatly depend on your financial resources, consider these:
- Renting space in a commercial or retail office building
- Leasing space inside an existing health and fitness club
- Leasing space inside an existing therapy or wellness center
Leasing from a club is a great way to bring in clients, but make sure your potential space is away from noisier activities like step classes or basketball. A quiet environment greatly enhances the mind-body element crucial to a successful Pilates experience.
Locate and hire quality instructors
You may plan to start your studio and staff it with one employee—you! However, if you’ll be looking for additional staff, the quality of these instructors will be key to the ongoing success of your program. Don’t skimp on quality here!
Group exercise experience as well as a thorough knowledge of Pilates is important. The nuances of Pilates are significant, and your instructors 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 clients coming back.
With our well-established education partnerships, Balanced Body® can help. Call or email us and take advantage of this expertise at hand. Or post your opening on our Job Board. You might also want to visit Pilates Method Alliance to check out their online instructor locator.
Equipment versus mats
Mat classes are a great way to begin 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 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.
From an equipment standpoint, how much should you start with? That depends on your studio's size and your budget. Use our ROI Calculator to see how quickly to expect a return on your investment.
Most of our studio clients prefer our Rock Maple studio equipment, but many with limited space are pleased with our Allegro ® Reformers that can easily roll, stack or store on end.
Smaller studios typically start with one or two Reformers and then add more as they grow. Larger studios often begin with four or five. As a starting point, see our list of Suggested Products. We’re also always available to talk about your own specific needs, at 1-800-Pilates (800-745-2837), including our equipment and training packages.
Create interesting programming (know your demographics)
Pilates exercises are incredibly versatile and can be modified to meet the needs of most every demographic in your community. Do you have a large population of older adults? Pilates is perfect for them. Pregnant or recently pregnant women? Pilates can help them, too.
Pilates can also help athletes increase their performance. Specialty classes for specific sports are big hits at studios across the country. Many of our clients currently offer specialty classes that include:
- Pilates for golfers
- Pilates for tennis players
- Pilates for runners
- Pilates for equestrians
- Pilates for cyclists
Pricing (know your region)
Because studios typically offer smaller and more intimate sessions than a health club, with more personalized attention, they can often charge more for their services.
Keep your location in mind, too, as you set your pricing. Learn what other Pilates studios in similar-sized markets charge (they are often willing to share this information to someone outside their local market), and what other competing facilities in your community offer. Then price your services competitively.
Depending on these factors, the cost for private Pilates sessions at a studio can range from $50 to $125. Group reformer classes are typically more affordable and can range from $40 to $75 per participant. Many studios offer a package for multiple sessions that reduces the cost per class and entices more clients to sign up.
Use our ROI Calculator to see how the prices you charge can affect profitability.
Create a Proper Mind-Body Atmosphere
Pilates requires inward focus and concentration, so take pains to create the right atmosphere. Some details can be quite simple yet very effective. For inexpensive tips on developing the right environment, see our article titled “Creating the Proper Mind-Body Atmosphere” in our Pilates Library.
Market, market, market!
A multi-faceted marketing plan is essential for the launch and evolution of your program:
- Your entire staff – instructors and administration – should be knowledgeable about your Pilates program. Use email or in-person updates to keep all staff informed.
- Meet regularly with your Pilates instructors to discuss ways to improve and promote your program.
- Promote new classes to your current members.
- External networking is crucial. Get out to local businesses, schools and churches. Conduct demos a local office complex. Create “drop-in passes” where non-members can get a card punched every time they take a session. After they reach a certain number give them a free class or at a reduced cost. Get your creative marketing juices flowing!
We’ve touched on just a few of the components that can lead to successful and profitable Pilates studios. If opening a studio is your vision, we can help you make it a reality!
“Balanced Body always provides excellent customer service – your products and standards are #1!”
Cindy C. | Pilates Instructor | San Jose, CA