Discussion #5149

How to Price Your Classes

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Join Brooke Bowersock and Gia Calhoun as they discuss how you can determine the best pricing for your classes to ensure that your teachers are being paid fairly and that you are creating revenue for your studio. They will address common mistakes they have seen as well as advice on how to raise your prices when needed.
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Aug 31, 2022
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(gentle instrumental music) Hi, everyone. Welcome to "The Pilates Report". I'm Gia, and I'm really excited about our topic today. We're gonna be talking about how to price your classes and anything to do with prices for your studio. And my guest is Brooke Bowersock from Austin, Texas.

Welcome Brooke. Hey Gia. Hey guys, I'm happy to be here. Yeah, thank you so much for joining us. We're gonna get started right away.

So my first question for you, Brooke, is can you tell us a little bit about your movement in Pilates background and how you got into teaching? Yeah, I fell into it by accident. I had always been a soccer player. I wasn't one of those former dancers who fell into it that way. I had been a soccer player my whole life, I had gone to college out in Southern California in North County, San Diego, and I wanted to learn to surf, because that's what you do out there.

And I saw summer school class schedule, a conditioning for dance, improve your balance, your coordination, all of that, and that's what I thought I needed for surfing. It was actually a Pilates mat class that was five days a week, oh no, maybe it was 4 days a week for 45 minutes, and I fell in love with it. And so I wanted to keep doing it. The instructor at the time, it was like 1999, said there aren't really studios that offer classes, but you should learn to teach. And I thought she was a little nuts, but after about a year, I decided to go down that road, and it's been the best thing I've ever done.

That's awesome. When you first started teaching, did you plan on opening a studio or is that something you wanted? Or was it kind of like when you started Pilates and you fell into it? It was the same. So she even said to me in that conversation, she said, you could even open a studio one day.

And I was like, hmm, whatever, no way. I was going to school to be a second grade teacher, that had been what I had wanted to do forever. And so I just thought it'd be something that I can do because I enjoy it myself and I can teach maybe while I'm finishing school. So I really had no intention of opening a studio, even after I started teaching, I didn't really mean to, I just happened to fall upon a space one day that I looked in the windows and I thought, this would be the cutest studio, and then started down that path. And now it's all I've been doing since 2004.

I think have opened 6 studio spaces since 2004, and I love it. Wow. And then currently you have two studio spaces, is that correct? Two studios, yeah. That's amazing.

And can you just tell us about your studios, just so everyone who's watching can know where you are if they wanna take a class with you? Yeah. So I'm in Austin, Texas, and I opened ALIGN in 2017. We had one location at the time, it was a pretty big studio, and it offered multiple things, boxing, Barre, of course Pilates was the main thing, but even meditation and some yoga, we had a lot of different modalities. When the pandemic hit, the owner of that big building decided to sell it, which was actually kind of a blessing in disguise, 'cause as we'll talk about later, I had made some mistakes, I was living in those mistakes, and it was a nice way for me to reset and learn from those.

So we ended up moving just down the road into a smaller studio space where we currently are now. And then I took over a studio for a wonderful girl who owned a studio pre-pandemic. When the pandemic hit, you know, it's not easy to own a business, it can be very tiring, and so she was kind of ready to move on from that stage and thought that our values might align, no pun intended. So I took that over and I actually made it, not just our second studio location, but also a teacher training center. So that's been a really fun.

That's awesome. So going back to your first studio, were you the only teacher there or did you have other teachers that you had hired? So when I first opened my first studio, it was 2004. And so at that time it was just me, looked in that little cute space, and I had a eight month old at the time and I thought, no, one's gonna be coming, and I had just moved to Austin. I thought, no one's gonna be coming in, I'll be twiddling my thumbs, the baby can be running around on the ground, and maybe I'll have a client or two here and there.

I had no idea that the location that I chose to open that first studio in was the prime location to open a studio. I think I was the fourth studio in town and now there are four on every block. So it was the right time, it was the right location. And within a month I was teaching 11 hour days, and I was pumping on my car ride there and I was pumping in the bathroom. And so I actually expanded within three months, and by the end of the first year, I had 11 instructors with pretty full time schedules.

Wow, that's amazing. And then for your clients, what was the pricing model that you used in that first video? Was it like packages, memberships, or just single class dropins, or a combination? So at that time we did 10 class packs or 10 private session packs. We also offered, this was back in the day where you still wrote in a notepad the schedule, we offered six week theories.

So like instead of doing classes, we would really require that the same group of people sign up for six weeks of that class. And we priced it to where if they missed one, that it was okay, like they paid for five, but they could come to six. So that's how I did it for a long time, from 2004 until probably 2009 when I sold that studio. Oh great. And did you get a lot of great feedback from the clients about that, or how was that received from the teachers and the clients? It was.

Everybody was fine with it for the most part, but it was a lot to manage, because we had to find the dates for everybody, everybody had to agree to the dates. From a logistical perspective, it was much more work than it needed to be. However, it ensured that our class always was in the red, right, or was in the green, I guess, because we made enough to cover our overhead costs and to pay for the instructor. So it was a sure win that we weren't gonna be in the hole for that class, but it wasn't sustainable. I'm sure that if we had a smaller studio now with less capacity, that is something that I could still do, and studios out there might still do that.

But we have evolved, I think, with the times, and it's been much easier. Is there anything you would've done differently with your pricing in that first studio that you're doing now? Or kind of how has your pricing evolved along your journey with the different studios you've had? I think at the time for that studio, so I owned that studio from 2004 until 2009 when I sold it. And the way that everything was at that time, that worked, we were making a profit, everything was going great.

Then I went and taught from home for a while and that was the most profitable Yeah. because you're just taking it all on yourself. But when I decided in 2017 to go big with that bigger studio that I was referring to a minute ago, I decided to not just offer 10 class packs, but to offer memberships. And that was a scary step, I think, I don't know how everybody feels about it, but the word membership to me at the time was like, hmm, I don't wanna make people feel like they have to commit to this for a certain amount of time, I don't wanna feel salesy, I don't wanna feel sleazy, but it actually has ended up being really great. I didn't realize it was something that people wanted.

That ease of, okay, I can come to four classes a month, okay, I can come to eight classes a month. So I think switching to that, we offer both, we still have 10 class packs and we also have membership options. And we have month to month membership options, so they don't have to commit, and we also have 12 membership options. That's been a really great middle ground and we have people that mostly take advantage of memberships, a few people that take advantage of the class packs. And then we have a drop in, of course, and that's a higher rate, and it is not something that I want people to continuously pay if they're coming, 'cause you can get deeper savings another way.

And I would always like to help the clients find out how to get the most out of their time with us and not have to spend money that they don't have to, there are other more economical ways through memberships or class packs. What mistakes have you learned from pricing from, especially that bigger studio, what do you think you've learned or what did you do wrong that you would change now? So definitely when I went big, so I had taught from home for a while, decided to make that big jump into that much larger space, offer all those different modalities too. So I've always been in the same neighborhood. So I knew that maybe some of my old people from that very original studio might find out that I'd opened one, maybe they would make their way back over, and I wanted to get as many people in the door as possible.

So I offered a founding membership that was set at a price that was lower than I should have set it for. It allowed them to come to multiple classes a day, so remember we had multiple modalities, right? So they would come take a Pilates class, then they would go take a boxing class right after, and in that evening they would come back for a meditation class. We had some clients that would take four classes a day. Our pricing, our classes were small, so we only had six people a class, and when I had six people, like four out of those six or three out of those six were the members from that founding membership, we were not getting new people through the door, because there were no spots in the classes, because those founding members were taking every class all day long.

So I was having a really hard time correcting that because I didn't want to say, sorry guys. I said, this was a founding membership, but never mind, I've changed my mind, you have to jump to this price. Our founding membership was $199 and they could do all these classes. And our normal membership for unlimited was 336, and that 336 was really where it needed to be an unlimited. And so I was losing money, I was losing a lot of money every month at that space.

And then the other thing that I really messed up on was when clients would say, you've got wait lists, you've got wait lists, we need more classes on the schedule. I was adding class after class, after class, not realizing that I was really adding to my expenses, but I was not adding to my revenue. So that kind of snowballed into losing even more money. Wow. And so I learned a lot from that experience and I feel like I've been able to adjust from those mistakes, learn from those mistakes, and figure out a system that works for me to make sure that I don't ever go back to that place again.

It was super stressful, so. Yeah, I find it's a common thing, that I'm never owned a studio, but I've heard of a lot of studios where they seem really busy, but the owner ends up just paying for the teachers and the overhead, and they don't actually make any profit. And I feel like that's a really common thing that we wanna help people try to avoid, I think. Yeah, that is definitely where I was at the time. I had so many people in and outta the studio and it seems like it was buzzing, and it was such a great place to be.

And I would have people all the time say, oh Brooke, you must be so happy. And of course I was like, I am, this is so great, but really inside, each month I was scrambling to try to figure out how I was going to keep the doors open. And I was constantly trying to problem solve, I'm always trying to improve, so it was a practice in that for sure. But yeah, I feel like now I kind of have the system that I have learned from others, right, I didn't just create the system. I'm a learner, so I'm always listening to podcasts, I'm always looking to other resources that are out there to try to improve on things.

And so finally, after about five years, I guess really three, four years in, I was able to correct those mistakes. And now I'm at a place where I am seeing a profit and I can give back to my employees, and I'm not as stressed anymore. That's amazing. We have a question from Yael, she asked, how did you price the classes when you taught from home? So I feel like it's important for you, if you're teaching at home, to price pretty in conjunction with what the market is out there.

Of course you could charge a little bit less because you're not renting an outside space. But I still think it's important, and I know there are probably a lot of people, this could be a wonderful conversation, right, I don't think you should price yourself 50% of what privates cost or classic classes cost at a studio. I think you should value yourself and charge pretty close to what studios charge. I agree with that, you're worth it, and you spent all this money on your training and the equipment, you need to be able to pay yourself back what you're worth, I agree with that. Yeah, and I think, like I said, I always do wanna learn, and I know instructors who've gone and they're teaching from home now, and their pricing is a little bit less and they've got less reformers, and I think, I don't know, I just am curious about how hearing other people's opinion on it, but I feel like I would wanna see those people charge pretty close to what we're charging at studios.

Because who knows, you might wanna open a studio one day and that could help you get there. Yeah, definitely. I wanna go into price increases. How often do you think a studio or a teacher should raise their prices? And then once you do, how do you determine how much to raise it?

For all these years, it's been about every two to two and a half years I've increased pricing by about $5 per 2 years. So $5 for a 10 pack would end up being $50 or for, you know, whatever, and I would send a letter out to all the clients and explain, it's been two years since I've raised prices, since then rent has gone up. I'm sure if you own a studio, you know this. Your lease is built most likely to increase each year of your lease. So I sign really long term leases, and so each year it goes up a couple percent, a good $500.

And so you have to consider that, you have to consider that you're gonna wanna give your instructors a raise. So just about every two and a half years is a good time. And I just do that gentle letter, it's been a little while since we've raised prices, we've got these increases and I'm so appreciative of all of you, we're going to be, as of this date, raising prices to this, I'd like to grandfather you in for another 10 pack, or however you wanna say it. So if somebody just bought a 10 pack and they've got nine left, I'm gonna let them finish that one and then get another one at that original price. And after I sent these emails, I have told Gia this before the call, I would bury my head under the pillow and dread losing all of my clients and having to start over.

And then I would, after a few minutes, start to hear the little ding that I got an email come through. And it would be a client saying, you're worth every penny, or good for you, Brooke, or just encouragement. Very rarely, if ever, did I lose a client, especially private clients from raising $5 a session. I think there's a really graceful and compassionate way to do it with your clients so that they're fine with it. Yeah, I think it's also, we were talking about this earlier, I think it's a nicer way to do it a small amount every few years, rather than you waited 10 years and you're really low and you're trying to keep up with your competitors, and then you do a big jump like 10 years later.

I feel like an incremental increase every couple years is just a nicer way to do it and not as overwhelming for the clients. Yeah, I think so too. And we were talking about this before also, when we came back from the pandemic, our class sizes were much smaller. Also, our overhead was larger. And so we did, and it happened across the board here in Austin, there was a $10 jump from a drop in class pre-pandemic to what it is now.

So typically when we would do these price increases every two years, they would be a couple dollars per class. And so I don't feel any need right now to increase our pricing, even though my rent did go up, of course, at the beginning of the year, even though I am wanting to give my instructors raises, I just don't feel like the market can handle that increase right now. So I'm trying to get creative and think of other ways to increase our revenue. So one example that I just did was I ordered another reformer. So remember I said earlier that adding to the class schedule was not the way to go because I was adding to our expenses through payroll expenses, but I wasn't adding revenue.

What I should have done at the time was I should have brought in more reformers, right, more equipment, to fit more people per class. So that way my payroll expense stayed the same, but my revenue increased. So that's what I just did. Yeah. And we've been in our location for, I think two years, it'll be two years in February.

So instead, 'cause our rent increase, overhead is increasing, the AC went out, there are things that happen as owners that you have to cover. So I ordered another reformer because that will increase the revenue in our class in order for me to help with the increased expenses. So there are ways that you can go about increasing your revenue to help with those overhead. That's awesome. Speaking of overhead, I wanna talk about how you pay your teachers and how do you determine how much to pay your teachers to ensure that they'll make a profit, or that you'll still make a profit, but then you're paying them a fair wage?

Yeah, so this is that formula that I feel like has helped. And it was actually taught to me when I first opened that big studio in 2017, I was making lots of mistakes then, and I guess that was one of them. So I do a 30, 30, 30 split between overhead, paying my instructors, profit, which you have to remember, profit actually includes your tax payments. There are costs involved that come out of profit. And then 10% for that extra for in case the HVAC goes out.

So that has been the structure that since we've reopened, that is what I stick to. So I have a little, very simple spreadsheet, I have two spreadsheets, I actually sent them to a studio owner a couple weeks ago who's a friend who's trying to go through this now herself for her studio. I have a very in depth spreadsheet where you can plug in every class on your schedule per hour and make sure that you are hitting all your numbers. That is something that I might do like if I'm considering opening another studio, I will definitely run through that. But for just the time being, just like normal times, I have a spreadsheet in excel that I go in and I pop in, like, okay, if I were to get another reformer and I like added one more person to this class, what would my revenue look like?

And would I stay within my percentages? And I check that all the time, if I'm gonna make any changes, just to make sure that I'm hitting that 30%, 30%, 30%. So it's like 30% is gonna cover all of our rent, our utilities, our payroll, all of that, and then 30% is gonna go to the instructor, and then 30% is gonna hopefully go to your profit to help pay for all that stuff, and then that 10% extra, so there's a repeat of that. That's awesome, thank you so much. Someone actually had just asked to repeat it too, so perfect timing. Oh good.

We actually have a question from Sandra. She wanted to know how do you price the classes being taught by students who are finishing their teacher training hours? We have teacher training center, and so that is where all of that happens. At our west location, it's only certified instructors that are teaching and everybody is on, I have levels of pay that are very, very clear for everybody, but only teachers going through the teacher training program are teaching at the east location. And that is actually priced at a different price structure across the board.

So even though I teach there, even though other certified instructors teach there, the price per class over there is 35 for a drop in, and of course it goes down for memberships and what have you. I don't have mixed at my other studios. I try to keep it as simple as possible. So if I were to have certified instructors, their classes are $45, and non-certified it's $35, people would have to buy multiple packages, it's just to, and then they would not be able to book in this class, but be able to book in this one, and they would get frustrated. I don't mess with that, I just keep it as simple as possible.

However, as far as pay goes, everybody's paid differently. So you could be going through teacher training, and that's like a level 0.05, and you get paid this much. You could be a level one instructor, which is your first year of being out of the teacher training program, at least you're gonna be there for a year, you might be there longer, depending on your growth. And then it just builds from there all the way to a level four, which is a master like level. And I have it very defined as to what it takes to get to each level, and yeah.

Talking about your teachers, are your teachers employees or contractors? They're employees. And I made that choice back in 2017 when we went big. I kind of read through the requirements for being a contractor versus an employee. And to me, the way that we're running our studios, it's very clear that they're employees.

And I'm actually really glad that they're employees, because it's enabling me to do some really cool things for them that I wouldn't be able to do if they were contractors. That's awesome. Did you have any pushback when you made that change or made that decision, or was everyone on board? Well, so I had sold that original studio, that original studio from 2004 to 2009 everybody was independent contractors, but I sold that and moved on. So I was opening a new one from scratch, and so I didn't have to switch anybody over.

And I think, I mean, no, nobody complained, nobody had any complaints at all. And I don't ever, like when I have people that inquire about coming in from places, maybe they've moved to Austin and they were teaching elsewhere, I usually don't have any questions about it. Like people aren't insisting that they stay an independent contractor to come teach for me. It hasn't been an issue. That's cool. Yeah.

I know when I was teaching full time at studios, I always preferred when I could be an employee, it just felt a little bit safer for me. But I've had situations where I've been both, and in California, we have this law, AB5, where you have to be a employee, basically, 'cause being a contractor, we have discussions on it if you wanna see and I'll link it in the descriptions. But the main idea is that in order to be a contractor, it has to be something that's not part of the day to day business, like a plumber would be a contractor or a graphic designer who's designing your logo would be a contractor. But the teachers, because they're involved with the day to day business cannot be contractors, unless they were doing their own marketing, renting the space, but I think technically a contractor needs to even bring their own equipment according to the IRS. Yeah.

Yeah, I was in Sacramento for the Balanced Body Master Instructor Summit, and we were having this conversation a couple of us. Apparently even renting space you can't do in California anymore. Yeah. And so. It's why generally we just advise everyone to make your teachers employees, and it's just safer.

Can you tell us what you cover as an employee too, 'cause I know there's usually insurance and other things, can you just let people know what you cover as an employer? Well, so really for everybody, it's was just straight up employee, and then I wanted to start offering insurance. And so we do have a group insurance plan, and that's for people who work over 30 hours a week, it's typically more of our management side that works that much. But if anybody is at that point where they're working 30 hours, that's the law for insurance, I could go into that on a little side conversation, but we'll stick to that for this. Yeah. And then the other thing

that I am really excited about that I'm able to offer for employees, and this is every employee, no matter how much they work, I am implementing a 401k plan, and that I'm super excited about, and I would not be able to do that if it were not for the fact that they were employees. And I think that is, you know, of course, something I would like to see more in this industry, but it's really hard to do that when you're not making a profit. So in order to get to the point where I am, where I'm able to offer these benefits, it took me adjusting my pricing to get it lined up correctly so that I was in a place where I could offer these things. And it actually ends up being beneficial for me because, because I am making a profit, I have to start paying taxes on that profit, and these set up costs for the 401k, there are certain things that are deductible now because I'm offering it to my employees. So it works in your advantage as an employer, and it also works in an advantage for your employees.

And I feel like it really builds a stronger connection between your team, or at least I hope it does, because they know you're taking care of them. And in right now I'm really working to teach them and educate them, if they're open to it, on why saving for their financial future would be beneficial to them. And just 'cause that's not something that we're taught in this industry. No. And so I'm trying to change that at least with my company culture, and if that trickles out to the rest, I would love that.

That's so amazing and such a great benefit for your teachers. 'Cause I know when I was teaching full time, I had friends who were doing normal 9:00-5:00 jobs and they all had 401ks and I was like, I don't know what I'm gonna do for my future. So I started a life insurance policy that had a cash value, in addition to the policy, I was like, well, here's my plan for now, we'll see what comes up later. And when I actually did get a 401k, I was like, oh, I feel like a real adult now, compared to just me teaching all the time and not actually building anything for the future. So it's such a great benefit that you're offering, and I imagine it also makes your teachers wanna stay longer, so it helps you retain teachers, 'cause a lot of studios have a high turnover rate with teachers.

Yeah, I hope that that's the case. I am really big on trying to retain instructors, especially the good ones, I really want our team to have a big family feel, and so far that's been the case. I do wanna say too, like I have a lot of people who are potentially gonna go through the teacher training program, and they have those corporate jobs, and they're making great money, and they've got their 401k plan, and they might wanna leave that job because they really love teaching Pilates, but there's this reluctance too because they're giving up some of those benefits. And so that was also a motivator for me, like, I don't want you to feel like you're giving all of that up to come teach and be a Pilates instructor. There's gotta be some way to make this happen.

And it actually wasn't as hard as I thought, it has actually been pretty easy to set up. And so yeah, I'm excited about that. Susanna asked, how much per hour can a new instructor expect to be paid? Well, I think that depends on your area. So I can only speak to my area, and I'm not sure what the other markets entail, but I feel like starting out where we start out is $30 an hour.

And that's not pre, that's just like right when you get certified. And so I feel like that is probably pretty standard, you won't be there for long, you'll definitely increase. We have all those different levels, I told you, up to level four, and our base pay at level four goes up to $40 per hour. Then we also at our west studio location, because once we started adding reformers after the pandemic, after we reopened. So remember when we reopened, we had three reformers and I was charging this rate for drop in classes.

I actually didn't change that as I started to increase reformers. So in order for me to feel better about that, to feel fair about that, I implemented a bonus plan. So our instructors at our west location could potentially make up to 75, $80 an hour, depending on if their classes are full. And so I actually have no idea what it's like in California, I have no idea what it's like in small towns, you know, I think there's a very large difference between. But for our market, I think this is a pretty good rate.

I don't know if that bonus structure is common, I don't think that it is from the studio owners that I know, but I think elsewhere it might be. I've definitely had some bonus structures at studios I've taught at in the past, but they were nowhere near as big. And I think, I don't know what the pricing is now for a new teacher, about 15 years ago when I started, I think it was around 25, 30 in LA, and I don't know how much it's gone up since then or if it even has, 'cause a lot of studios, I think, were trying to just survive, and it's that whole, they're trying to keep up with their overhead and they're not making it in poverty either, so I'm not sure how much it's gone up. But 15 years ago was about 25, $30 starting. And I think it stayed that way for a long time.

And then that's why I would increase my prices every two years is to be able to bump them up a little bit. I always have, and I've said this many times, so if you've happened to hear me talk in other areas, my motto is, happy instructors make for happy clients. So I'm always trying to make sure I'm taken care of them. But also not so much that I'm going down that hole of not being able to make overhead. I think that was a big mistake that I made at the last studio.

When I would add those classes, I didn't wanna take it away from the instructor 'cause I felt bad with them not having that class to teach, or I couldn't adjust it back once I set the wrong thing in motion. So now, like I said, if you adjust your pricing accordingly, which is a scary thing, but you can do it gently, then it gives you the freedom to maybe pay a little bit more when you want to. We're gonna wrap up here, 'cause I don't have too many more questions for Brooke, but if anyone else has any questions, feel free to add them to the chat and we can get through them. But my last question for Brooke is, what is your final advice for teachers and studio owners to help them make the most of their pricing? I think adapt.

You know, once you start something, if you see that it's not working, adapt, adapt, adapt. We have to do that with our clients all the time, they walk in the door, we had a plan for them, something's wrong with their body, we can't do that, we adapt. I think, do that with your pricing too and your set up structure. The other thing is, really make sure that you're using the resources that are out there, because there are so many out there. Like, if you're not sure what numbers you should be looking at, because I didn't get my MBA, I didn't get a business degree, I didn't know what numbers to be looking at.

But if you are curious, there are people out there that will help you. And I'm not really plugging them, plugging them, but they've helped me in the past. Smooth Sailing Consultants is a company in Australia, and I don't know, she just kind of lists on her Instagram like the five or six reports you should be looking at as a studio every month. And they're easy to pull, I use Mindbody, but I'm sure you can pull them from other software too. But like start looking at the numbers, get curious about what's working, what's not working, try to make changes to that, and then make sure that you're finding things that keep you engaged.

Because I think as a studio owner, you can just be kind of in grind mode where you're going, going, going, and you're trying to figure out how to make the overhead, and it can feel tiring, and lonely, and scary, and I think make sure that you're trying to find things that interest you, as far as this business side go, that engage you, and then again, make sure you're taking classes, just try to take care of yourself while you're trying to take care of everybody else. That's great advice. We do have a few more questions that have come in. So go through them. Good.

Susanna asked for the pricing, would it be the same, or I think for paying the teachers actually, would it be the same per hour for mat classes as reformer? Well, so we do it all. So there's no, you might do mat, you might do reformer, it's kind of dealer's choice as far as what the instructor's gonna teach. And so yeah, that's how our structure is, we don't have any just strict mat classes. But even in the past when we did, I did offer that in that first studio that I opened, I paid the teachers the same.

And it's the same for a private as it is for a class, which that's always a interesting conversation. Again, I like to keep things simple. So I have base rates for everybody, depending on the level you are. I think actually a studio I taught at did the same thing where we had a base rate and then a class, depending on how many people we had, like we would get more per person as the class went up. But the base rate stayed the same for everything.

So I think that's actually fairly common, at least in LA. I figured out, 'cause I have that little spreadsheet that I use, right, and it's got each pricing option in it. So it might be a drop in class, and I go across the board for all my numbers, if they hit that. And then I've got the four class per month membership, the eight class per month membership, blah, blah, blah. And so I need to have six people in a class in order to cover everything.

So they will only get their base rate until six people. And then if they have six or more, like six, then they get a little bonus, if they have all eight, they get a little bit more of a bonus. And so I don't do the per person. I made sure I'm gonna hit my overhead cost covered, and then what I can give on top of that after that, that's what I go for. That's great.

Dstreet Pilates asks, what if you're scared to leave your day job, but you know Pilates is your passion? It's scary giving up the security. I completely see that and feel that with a lot of the teachers that have gone through my teacher training program. That's real, I mean, it's definitely real. I can tell you that I'm not sure where you are, I'm not sure what your market is like, but we have enough clients to fill an instructor's schedule.

And so I think from that financial standpoint, I don't know, you can make a living just teaching Pilates, and you can make a pretty good living teaching Pilates. It is scary, I don't know, I don't know what to tell you. I think you just have to make the leap. I mean, if it's your passion, you gotta follow your heart and just do it. Yeah. Be able to build

you schedule and get the clients that you want. Yeah, and I don't think I know an instructor, I say this a lot, I don't think I've ever met a Pilates instructor who isn't happy that they made the choice to be a Pilates instructor. So go, yeah, I mean, if all this things align for you, I think go for it, you won't regret it. Yeah, I agree. Carol asked, what do you think about the trend of boutique studios that price way above the market in their area or also studios that keep their pricing hidden so that only clients know how much they're charging?

I mean, I kind of am a little boutique studio, but my pricing is right in line with everybody. I think there's only our east side studio and maybe some other studios that, I'm thinking like Club Pilates, that might be a little bit less. But I don't know Club Pilates pricing 'cause it's not on their website. I don't know, I mean, I was taught from a coach way back in a while ago, maybe one of my first business resources that I listened to, to not have your pricing on there. So I think it is a sales tactic maybe, I'm not sure.

I try not to worry too much about what other people are doing, I really do, even though I'll glance around and see, like, are we still in line with pricing? I try to make sure that I'm making my studio, and my team, and the experience that people have in my studio the best possible experience that they can have. And I feel like if I just focus on that, it doesn't really matter what everybody else is doing. I might wanna reach out to them and connect with them and help each other grow. But I really just try to focus on doing the best that I can do within my space, and that's proved to work well for me.

I think that's such a healthy attitude toward it too, 'cause when you start looking too much at the competitors, you can go down a rabbit hole and start to get into the comparison and the what ifs, rather than just focusing on what you're doing with your community and just keep building that. I think that's such a healthy attitude. So thank you. If you missed anything or you wanna ask any questions in the forum, feel free to leave comments and Brooke and I will get back to you. But thank you so much, Brooke, for being here and thank you everyone else for attending.

We hope you enjoyed this discussion and we'll see you next time. Thanks Gia, thanks for having me. I love this stuff, so if you have more questions, you guys, feel free to reach out to me. I love trying to help other studio owners. I've been doing since 2004, I know how it goes and if I can help in any way, I want to.

Thank you so much. We'll see you guys next time, bye. (gentle instrumental music)

Comments

Stephanie R
Thank you for being so frank with your numbers.  This was so helpful.
Brooke Bowersock
So glad you found it helpful Stephanie!
Greta Martin
That was great! Thank you so much for the straightforwardness.  
Brooke Bowersock
Thanks for watching, Greta!
2 people like this.
Awesome conversation and I love how you have grown and learned from your mistakes. You sound like a super business woman! Congrats on what you have built!
Brooke Bowersock
Thanks, Karen. We've got to keep learning for sure!
Prachi H
3 people like this.
Hey Brooke, Thank you so much. This is all I wanted to hear at this point where I am expanding my Pilates studio from 2 reformer to 4 reformer with the same thought like yours. My existing studio is 5 years old where I have different forms of fitness under one roof, have a good footfall, but as a business owner it’s a big struggle to run the show. While you were sharing your story I just felt like you are talking my heart out. Got a great learning from this live. Thank you Gia for hosting it. 🙏🏼
Kia Imandel
This was so so great and helpful! Please add business reports more often! Loved it! Thank you!

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