Now that workouts have moved online for the foreseeable future, the issue of pricing is a common question many Pilates teachers are facing. Classes have 'moved to the Mat' as most clients do not have Reformers in their homes. It can be difficult to convince clients who aren’t using expensive equipment that they are still getting a solid workout and should pay accordingly.
With millions of people out of work and Pilates studios closed throughout the world, many teachers are struggling to keep their clients and their income flowing. The good news is teachers and clients are pivoting to this new reality with success. We may be working from our homes but we value our Pilates practice more than ever.
The short answer is you should charge the same amount that you normally would.
We realize that you aren’t able to do hands-on adjustments virtually. However, skilled teachers can still deliver a great workout by using clear cueing and a watchful eye. Generally, clients who are able to afford privates may not be impacted by the loss of income. Also, we’ve talked to many teachers and learned that virtual classes take more energy. You should know your value and ask for your time to be fairly compensated.
First, arrange a phone call or Zoom with them. It’s definitely better to talk about their concerns 'face-to-face' instead of sending texts back and forth. Second, find out why. Yes, it can be scary to ask, but this is a time to use your words.
Are they concerned they won’t get a good workout online? Or is it that they don’t understand how exercises on the Reformer translate well to the Mat? What if they don’t have any props at home? Maybe they haven’t used Zoom yet. Or maybe they are really struggling financially. You won't know until you ask.
Acknowledge their concerns. It’s a transition for all of us to move to online classes. Tell them about other clients who have made the switch and are having success. Explain how you run a class. Give them a list of props to order on Amazon. Help get them set up with the technology. Show your value and they will see it and pay for it.
Almost everyone is being impacted by COVID-19. However, we all still have bills to pay - including you. Suggest, they cut down to one private instead of two a week. Or they can join your group classes instead of taking privates. Do not discount your price.
The first weeks of the stay at home orders saw an outpouring of free Instagram classes and donation-based classes. There was the spirit of ‘we are all in this together.’ It was amazing to see so many people freely giving their time and energy. But weeks into this, bills are piling up and the truth is we don’t know when studios will reopen. It’s okay to get paid for your time. You’re a teacher. You studied and practiced so you should be compensated for sharing your knowledge with the world.
Let your clients know that as of a specific date you will now be charging for your classes. Although millions of people are out of work, there are millions more who still have jobs and want to help you. They want to make sure you and your studio are still around when we return to the 'new normal' and they will continue to pay you for your services.
If you still want to offer one free weekly group class as your way of giving back, do it!
It may be a rocky transition, but you can keep your Pilates business thriving during this time. Keep the lines of communication open with your clients. Talk to your clients on the phone. Send encouraging emails and updates. Classes may look and feel different, but chances are you’re developing new skills and revenue streams that you didn’t know were possible. Keep going!