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Friday, March 13, 2009

Shop Talk

It is a given to say that we are living in tough times right now. Every time we turn on the news we hear of more job losses, foreclosures keep rising, businesses keep closing and the economy keeps sinking. Most of us are watching our spending, creating budgets and have given up certain luxury items in order to stay afloat. Does this mean that we give up our Pilates too? I believe not.

As a studio owner it is always important to keep those clients coming in the door no matter what. Through a series of trial and error there are ways to peak interest and gain new and potential clients for life. What a great time to use our creative juices and think outside the box.

One trend that I've noticed is that people are most interested in the group classes because they are more affordable. In order to promote mat classes I offer a coupon on the website for a free class to new clients. I also offer mat classes in a discounted 5 week series. Another option is offering a discounted initial private appointment to a first time client. Lastly, sometimes I will offer a monthly special that allows clients discounts on certain services.

Great customer service is always a plus. All clients should feel comfortable in the studio no matter what. If they don't feel comfortable, they won't come back. I like to think of my studio as my second home....because it basically is. I enjoy seeing my clients come in and engage in conversations with other clients before and after their workouts.

Does anyone else have any other ideas to share? Keep in mind that there is also a forum for discussions at Pilates for the People Networking Site


  1. I don't believe we should give up our fitness, wellbeing and pilates because of the finances. Just isn't worth it in the end.

  2. mindyourbodyfitness.comApril 14, 2009 at 9:26 AM

    We have done the same things recently at our studio. We have been running monthly specials that people seem to respond well to. We have been trying to also get people interested in new things like Gyrokinesis. People are definately more interested in taking group classes as they are more affordable, so we have tried to open up our schedule and offer lots of classes.

  3. A new site, The soul mind and body connection, allows wellness related businesses to list themselves and be rated and reviewed by "customers." I think it could be helpful.

  4. I know that my studio was not unique, but that there are not many studios running "Open Gym" programs.

    We successfully offered times throughout the week where our clients could come in to the studio and work independently on their personalized program and do their Pilates exercises on the equipment with minimal supervision. (1 teacher to 4-6 clients working independently.)

    I know other studios who run a similar program with 12 students and 3 or 4 supervising instructors, and this is their primary income generating program for the business!

    All our Open Gym clients were required to take 2 privates a month, and the rest of their workouts were in group classes and Open Gym. It's a nice way to make time on the equipment more affordable, especially if a client has "issues" and mat classes are not appropriate. Clients also learn how to pay better attention to what they are doing, equipment set up, and the order of Pilates exercises in their program. Not only are they more attentive to what they are doing during their "Open Gym" time, but they also pay more attention to what they're learning during their monthly tune-ups during Private sessions!

    We also allowed our very experienced intermediate and advanced clients the opportunity to schedule "solos." Which meant while one of us was teaching a Private session, and additional equipment was available, our clients had the opportunity to come in and workout on their own with no direct supervision. Fees for this were less than Open Gym, and more in line with a drop-in Mat class fee. For the studio - this was an extra income generator, that didn't have any additional expenses involved. And for clients who have been doing Pilates for YEARS... they learn to trust themselves and gain confidence that they CAN do Pilates and be more independent.

    I also discovered that this helped to keep clients long-term in the studio - rather then them just purchasing equipment and practicing at home, they actually preferred being in the studio.

    It's an empowering option for everyone!

  5. I've seen a lot of success with the membership package at a studio where I teach a few classes. The clients pay one fee, come as often as they want. They must take a small package of privates before this, but the women come often because there is a wide variety of classes too.