5 considerations to make before setting up a Pilates business

Setting up a Pilates business is incredibly exciting when you’re passionate about the practice and want to share this passion with others. However, there are several important decisions you’ll have to make before you take the plunge. Here are five of the top factors to consider before building a successful Pilates business.

1. Insurance

Securing the right insurance is essential to protect your equipment and other property and safeguard your business against unforeseen circumstances.

As Pilates instructor insurance providers Salon Gold warn: “Even as a qualified and competent fitness professional, the right Pilates instructor insurance is essential to protect you and your business. If someone should claim that they suffered an injury as a result of your Pilates class, or advice that you gave them, our professional liability insurance gives you the cover you need.”

Key coverage includes public liability insurance, which can protect you if a member of the public makes a claim over incidents related to your Pilates business activities, and professional indemnity insurance, which can protect you if a client claims they were harmed as a result of your service. Claims of this nature can have costly outcomes, so choose a robust insurance package and you can be confident your business could survive if the unexpected happens.

2. Joining a studio or starting your own

Whether you decide to join a studio or start your own, this will have a huge impact on how you set up and run your business.

Joining a studio may be the right option if you don’t have a lot of cash to hand as you won’t need to worry about the costs associated with setting up a new space. The studio will also have an existing client base and reputation so you can start working without needing to build up your own clientele or deal with admin activities like marketing, billing or scheduling.

However, this approach gives you less flexibility. You’ll have less control over things like class schedules, pricing, and the studio environment in general. You may also need to adhere to the studio’s policies and procedures even if these don’t match your teaching style or philosophy.

The opposite is true of setting up your own studio. You need a significant amount of money to do so, but you get total control and you’re also likely to earn more money following this path. However, don’t underestimate the risk and responsibility. Success isn’t guaranteed and it often takes time to become profitable (if you do at all).

Running your own Pilates studio will also be very time-consuming as you’ll be responsible for everything, including marketing, finance, hiring staff, and day-to-day management.

3. Business Expenses

Your expenses will depend on the type of business you own. For example, if you set up your own studio you will need to purchase equipment such as mats and reformers, whereas if you join a studio they will probably provide this for you. You’ll need to create a detailed budget to manage your finances effectively and ensure your business can cover these costs and remain profitable.

Here are some examples of expenses you may need to consider:

If you’re joining a studio

• Insurance
• Membership/rental fees if the studio charges you to use the space
• Personal equipment you wish to use like mats and props
• Accounting services or software to manage personal income and expenses for tax purposes

If you’re setting up a studio

• Insurance (including employer’s liability if you hire staff)
• Lease or mortgage payments for the studio space
• Possible renovation and decoration
• Pilates equipment like reformers, mats, balls, and bands
• Utilities such as electricity, water, heating, and internet
• Staff salaries
• Marketing and advertising
• Business licences and permits where required. For example, you may need a licence to play music during your classes
• Software subscriptions e.g. booking systems, customer relationship management (CRM) software, and accounting software
• Cleaning and maintenance of equipment and facilities

4. Marketing and branding

Building a strong brand will help you attract and retain clients. Set up a professional website so people can find and contact you. Social media is a good place to attract attention though remember to target your posts at different platforms.

For example, the Pilates Education Institute says ‘TikTok’s short-form videos are ideal for educating and engaging an audience. Use the clips to perform the exercises, give tips, and answer questions’, but you could ‘host an Instagram Live with one of your instructors or a Pilates expert. Instagram is also suitable for a client testimonial because you can add text and be visually engaging’.

Your digital efforts can be paired with physical methods like posters and flyers, as well as in-person events. For example, you could organise a workshop on a specific topic, such as Pilates for back pain or for pregnancy. Offering promotions and discounted or free introductory classes is another effective way to entice potential clients and hopefully convert them into paying customers.

5. Specialisation and continued education

The Pilates industry constantly evolves, so it’s important to keep learning. Continued education not only enhances your skills but also keeps you updated with the latest industry trends, benefitting your clients and contributing to the growth and reputation of your business. As well as making use of online resources, workshops, and conferences are good places to discover the latest trends and expand your network.

Specialising in a particular area, such as rehabilitation Pilates or pre-natal Pilates, can set you apart from competitors and allow you to charge more for your services due to your unique expertise. You can see lots of examples of specialisms here. Look for reputable courses in your chosen area such as advanced certifications, workshops, or seminars.


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