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How to Start a Pilates Studio Business 


January 22, 2019 - Pilates Instructor Academy

Are you a certified Pilates instructor looking to gain more control over when and where you teach your classes? Perhaps you have always wanted to own your own business and have a general interest in health and fitness. Consider opening a Pilates studio.

Being a business owner is not for the faint of heart but you may up for the challenge! Generating a Pilates studio business model, including having a Pilates studio business plan will provide you with a roadmap to living your passion. Coming up with a unique, but accessible, studio name, which is easily marketable, could be part of your new adventure along with hiring Pilates instructors who fit in well to the studio environment you are creating.

It may be part of your journey. Let’s explore how to start a Pilates studio and find out if you are the right fit!

Who Should Start a Pilates Studio?

Starting a Pilates studio is just like starting any other business. It is a full-time, no-days-off job for at least the first year, so it is important that you have a genuine interest and passion for Pilates and the services you will be providing. For most, opening a Pilates studio is the next logical step after they have been certified and built up a strong following in their classes. Others might get certified as an instructor with the sole purpose of owning their own studio and jump right in without working in another setting. Both of these paths to starting a Pilates studio can be successful, as long as you are able to capitalize on all aspects of the business.

It would be possible to start your own studio without being a trained Pilates instructor, but not recommended. Your costs will be exponentially larger from day one because you will have to pay instructors to teach all of the classes you offer. They may not be available for all the times you want to offer classes or you may not agree with some of their teaching methods/styles. It is best to be a certified instructor yourself, experienced in teaching mat Pilates and at least piece of Pilates equipment (the most popular is the reformer). You can save on initial overhead and potential drama by waiting to hire another instructor until class size demands it.

How to Train Your Pilates Instructors

When your Pilates studio earnings and class count warrant bringing on another instructor for your studio, how will you train them? You can always hire an instructor from another studio or gym, but another option is hiring from within.

Providing Pilates instructor training at your studio is not only a great way to build revenue but also train within your studio. It is easier to train someone you already have a working relationship with than to take a chance on an outside hire. Making an outside hire isn’t bad, but you can save yourself potential headache and heartache if you are able to train a promising student, with a genuine interest in teaching.

Pilates Instructor Academy offers several Pilates teacher-training options so you can choose the one that best suits your studio goals and Pilates studio business model. Once you complete the PIA teacher-training course, you can increase your Pilates studio revenue by offering training courses throughout the year. Pilates Instructor Academy provides all the information needed to train successful Pilates teachers in whatever method you desire, including comprehensive training in mat and equipment.

How to Attract Clients to a New Pilates Studio

Starting a Pilates studio means you will be wearing many hats. One very important hat, one that lends itself to your Pilates studio earnings, is bringing people in the door. Determine what sets you apart, make it desirable and deliver the expectation.

While each market is different, you may incorporate some of the following into your Pilates studio business plan.

  • Personalize and Change Up Your Classes
  • Include the Passions of your Community into Your Studio
  • Make Your Storefront Welcoming
  • Provide a Goal
  • Offer an Introductory Special

            Marketing efforts for new clients and client retention are an ongoing process. Measuring results will help you moving forward. What works today may not work in upcoming months: local papers, flyers, promotions, demonstrations at schools and churches can all be part of getting your name out to the public. Keep your staff informed. Your staff is an excellent avenue for word-of-mouth.

Marketing Strategies for a New Pilates Studio

Marketing is critical to the success of your Pilates studio. You could have the greatest location in the world, but if no one knows who you are or what you do, it is wasted real estate. There are several different marketing strategies and it takes a bit of trial and error initially to see what works for your business. No matter the marketing method you employ, it is essential you:

  • Clearly State What Your Studio Offers
  • How to Contact You
  • Provide a Clear Call to Action

According to Athletic Business, there are several different ways to get your name out into the community, among them health fairs and community involvement. Once you start building a client base, their positive experience with your studio will keep them coming back.

Social Media for Pilates Studios

In today’s world, social media must be part of the “how to start a Pilates studio” game plan. Social media outlets like Facebook and Instagram provide a great way to get your name out there. Take advantage of their advertising. It is not simply enough to have a great Facebook page or an Instagram filled with beautifully lit photos of your studio. These are things you should have in place, but without the new visits to back it up, they don’t have much of an impact from a marketing angle.

Social media ads are an excellent way to market directly to your client base and differentiate against other Pilates studio names.  Facebook allows you to tailor your ads to a specific group of people. Most Pilates marketing is catered toward millennial women,  but if you are offering a specific class called “Pilates for Industry Workers”, you can target your Facebook ad to be shown to anyone between the ages of 21-35 working in a bar or restaurant. The ability to target your advertising allows you to make the most of your marketing budget, essentially eliminating anyone who may not fall under the specifications and maximizing your potential client base.

Local SEO for Pilates Studios

When starting a Pilates studio, local search engine optimization (SEO) is incredibly beneficial. SEO is what boosts your website to the top of a search engine listing, as opposed to being buried on the third page of Google. It may be a higher upfront cost, but hiring a marketing company to handle your local SEO is an excellent option. Not only are you hiring professionals to do what they do best, but it is one less thing you have to do directly. When you are first starting out, those small things that you can outsource can make all the difference in your sanity and peace of mind.

Lisa Kueker, owner of 4 Pilates studios and founder of Kismet Club, compares your website homepage to an online front door. She says it needs to be clean, easy to navigate and allow quick access to contact you. If you think of your website in these terms, it will be easier to tailor your marketing and build your online presence and client base.

Pilates Studio Business Plan

Every Pilates studio owner will have a different Pilates studio business plan because of differing end goals. Some want to own all their own equipment on day one, others choose to lease it until they have a bit more stability in place. A home studio might be right for one owner, while the idea of having someone new in your house all the time could make someone else cringe.

Understanding what environment you work best in and are most comfortable with is key. As long as you are clear about what you want and don’t settle, you should be off to a great start in opening the Pilates studio of your dreams. The FinanceResource.Com offers a free pilates business plan if you feel you need a little more help on the business side of things.