How to start a Pilates Studio?

Posted on July 18, 2019 by admin

One of the big questions that many practitioners ask themselves is “How do a start my own Pilates Studio”?   When an experienced practitioner is ready to ‘go out on their own’ and how they go about doing it, are excellent questions!

A Pilates career has the opportunity to be very lucrative, but like anything else, to succeed it must be done correctly and especially nowadays because Pilates is in vogue, studios are opening up in metro and regional centres- popping up in gyms and health clubs, and even appearing in aged care and assisted living facilities.   The best way to make a lasting impact on the clients is to find what it is about the Pilates method that inspires and drives you, and then to bring these elements into your own business model.

Do your Pilates and demographic research

It is always best to do extensive research into what you think it will take to run the sort of studio that you want to run and then take that forward into your planning stages.  Also connect with instructors far and wide and learn from their experiences- don’t be shy about asking them what they did when they started out. Running a studio is not for the faint hearted but it can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your professional career.

Choose your Pilates business strategy

Deciding which business strategy you will use can take time- ensuring that you have sufficient money, potential staff, and a desire to create the studio that you envision may be the most difficult decisions you initially will make as an instructor. Figuring out how your business sits within the existing community is something else to consider. Who are you targeting with your Pilates? What are you prepared to offer and to what demographic? This will determine greatly the kind of equipment you buy- do you want a simple studio just full of Reformers vs a fully equipped studio that includes Wunda Chairs, Cadillacs and Barrels?  Also considering how much money you will put into initial and ongoing advertising and where to advertise are important points when starting a new Pilates studio.

Working in a Pilates studio vs. opening your own

The base wage for a Pilates Instructor is generally around $35 an hour, depending on the studio, the location and the level of experience and qualifications you may have. Working within a Pilates studio is generally not a ‘nine to five’ job as you may have the opportunity to work eight hours a day but the hours are more likely to be starting earlier than 9am and probably also finishing later than 5pm.   This will most likely be the same if you run your own studio, but you have the potential to get other staff members to cover various times of the day.

What style of Pilates studio do you want to open?

If you have a large amount of space available, starting at least a portion of your studio as a Mat Pilates area has a low start-up cost but provides a consistent earner if sessions are well attended.   Mat participants may pay anywhere from $10-$20 per class, and with groups of 6 or more in each class, a studio like this can easily yield upwards of $1500 a week, by teaching only 4 hours a day depending on your location, and skill in teaching.

If you have less space available but a greater amount of money able to be invested in the start-up, then an equipment-based studio may be more up your alley. Clients will most always pay more for equipment classes than mat sessions, and even though the initial outlay costs are far greater than setting up a mat studio, the returns can be higher.  A studio with 5 reformers could potentially earn $3000 per week, still teaching 4 hours a day.

Continuing the level of studio complexity and specialization further, to open a rehabilitation studio where the practitioners offer private sessions along with also doing some small group classes- the studio can actually be initially cheaper than an all reformer studio, as the final setup cost is broken up considerably by the price difference between Reformers and Wunda Chairs, etc. A small rehabilitation studio, with five varied pieces of Pilates equipment, specialised programming and a range of one on one sessions offered could easily make the same as a purely reformer studio, but with a lower start up cost and a more committed client base that comes regularly for pathology rehabilitation as well as for fitness and wellbeing.

Where are you located?

Lastly there is the question of the actual space itself.   Most commonly studios are started by the rental of a business space and running of the studio from that space. In regional areas, some unique and alternative spaces can often be found- old churches, former retail spaces, theatres, community halls, etc.   The possibilities are endless!

Some astute new studio owners actually purchase the building or site and then create the studio in their own investment property.  This can be an outstanding investment and enable a rental return as well as the studio income to increase the business revenue.

Another option is to have the new studio co-located in an existing Allied Health facility- such as a Physiotherapy/Chiropractic practice or sharing space with yoga/movement or other modalities.

Where to from here?

The most cost and time consuming aspect, can be having staff working in the studio.  This does, however enable the studio to run consistently and can overall provide the business with more time to pursue other interests or ventures. A small studio with 5 pieces of equipment and one staff member could easily have a gross earning potential of over $7000 a week. Of course, this depends greatly on the location and times offered by your studio.  However, with the right location, marketing and expertise, owning and operating a Pilates studio can comfortably satisfy even the hungriest entrepreneur.

Praise From Our Students And Graduates

‘…I valued the presenters hands-on experience, working knowledge and passion of the content. The presenters were very collaborative and encouraged EVERYONE to contribute and express their opinion, which made for a very inclusive learning environment.….’

Louise Osborne Melbourne

‘…..I was very fortunate to have Leanne Mollison as my teacher who kept me
motivated and engaged the entire time. Given Leanne is so passionate
and knowledgeable about Pilates, she was able to ignite a spark in me,
allowing me to be so excited about being a Pilates instructor.
Leanne’s method of teaching of ensuring we are all totally immersed in
the world of Pilates and the required anatomy knowledge, had the
greatest impact on me as I was able to learn the material so much
quicker and easier. Leanne was so supportive and she was able to
challenge us without pushing us over the edge….’

Mandy Neller Adelaide

The quality of the training provided by Tensegrity Training was excellent. The modelling was impressive, and they demanded and succeeded in getting the best from each of us. I was challenged and encouraged greatly as a result. The requirement to complete observations sessions was greatly appreciated as I learnt a great deal from viewing qualified instructors. I was impressed by my trainer’s knowledge and mastery of her craft. Inspirational!

Marney NSW

I enjoyed the academic and physical components of the course equally. I am very fortunate to have been offered work in a Studio, so everything I learnt in the Course has proved invaluable. Thank you! I also feel well prepared to teach and confident to ask questions and seek guidance from Tensegrity if needed. They are so supportive of current and past students.

Alana Hobart, Tasmania

I recently completed the group reformer course though Tensegrity training at Queen St Pilates Studio in Adelaide. Over the three fantastic days of face-to-face training, I was able to broaden my knowledge and understanding of the body and the benefits and versatility of the reformer. Being only 1 of 5 people in this course meant that we were very interactive with the teacher and were able to ask frequent questions, create relative conversations, and feed off of each others ideas. It also meant that we could all use each other to demonstrate and create scenarios, and the instructor was almost always available to tend to us.

The online theory was thorough and simple to follow, which prepared me well for the hands on learning. Ample time was provided to complete the assessments away from the studio, and I loved having to put my knowledge to the test using real life scenarios and putting together class plans for different injuries, ages and fitness abilities. I think this type of learning prepares you extremely well for taking on clients. It was only a week after the course that I taught my first reformer class and it was incredible. I felt like I knew how to tend to each participant based on their abilities and knew how to modify/progress them. It felt extremely natural. I am still teaching at this pilates studio in Moonta Bay and over the course of these past few months I feel like the information I was provided with through Tensegrity has sunk in and progressed, and has not only been of high value to myself, but to the studio and its clients as well.

I have also now completed the face to face component of the Certificate IV in Contemporary Pilates & Teaching Methodology.

Lucy Prior

‘…Kaz was simply amazing. She explained and demonstrated to us so well
and we were able to pick everything up so quickly…’

Ashlee Huntly Deniliquin, NSW

I feel the practical assessments is allowed me to feel confident in my understanding of the exercises. I thoroughly enjoyed this part!! Practicing how to explain an exercise and personally knowing how to do them was my challenge, that I’ve now overcome. I will confidently use my learning from this course to teach Pilates classes at the studio I now work in. I’m very excited to be ‘officially’ getting started on my journey as an Instructor!!

Lauren Central Coast NSW

‘…Bruce’s communication style and his ability to enable me to “feel” what muscles were engaging was outstanding…’

Mike Fitsimon Melbourne

“….Caroline (Caz) broke the days up well with a balance of completing the
practical and theory components. She was very flexible in her delivery
and allowed us to ask questions are we went. She also made it specific
and relevant to our needs and experience level e.g. desire for more
Pelvic floor set up etc. We would have loved even more time with her,
the course was incredibly valuable. All team members at Tensegrity
have been very helpful and approachable to help with our questions and
enquiries. Thank You!…..”

Jenna Kaine Deniliquin, NSW

‘…..From as young as I can remember my mum has always been bringing me along to Pilates. It wasn’t until I was around 15 that I started taking interest and going myself. I always loved that ‘after class feeling’ and the perfect balance of strength and flexibility.

Along with my new found love of Pilates soon followed a passion for an all round healthy lifestyle. This is where my Pilates journey really began.

Three days before my 16th birthday I started my Certificate IV in my sunny home town of Port Macquarie.

With my teacher and mentor being my mum, it was such an enjoyable experience I gained a deeper awareness of my body. It was through my certification and passion for healthy living that I began my degree of Naturopathy and relocated to Geelong  Victoria. It was here that I fell in love with Hot Pilates and started teaching at Upstate Studios. With the classes having up to 60 students each, every class has such a high vibe and is always nothing but fun.

I feel so grateful to have a job that I truly enjoy and is flexible around my studies. I hope to continue teaching and one day have my own studio. I couldn’t be more grateful!….’

Lilly Howard Port Macquarie

The course thoroughly covered safe movement for various conditions and rehabilitation exercises for various pathologies. As most people have some sort of physical issue, I thought this was extremely valuable. Every aspect of the course was so valuable and had a positive impact on my Pilates teacher learning journey.

Tamsyn Deloraine, Tasmania

I have recently completed my Integrated Diploma of Contemporary Pilates and Teaching Methodology with Tensgrity Training and in partnership with Queen St Pilates Studio and absolutely loved every minute of it!

Leanne kept us all so engaged throughout the course and was able to challenge us, without pushing us over the edge. Leanne was professional, inspiring, supportive and filled with so much knowledge … it was a privilege to do the course with her.  Leanne is so passionate about Pilates, our bodies and our overall health, it created a positive and enjoyable atmosphere to learn in.

Queen St Pilates studio was also the perfect environment to undertake the course, with so much support provided by all the current instructors and reception staff.

Mandy Neller

‘….I undertook my Diploma of Contemporary Pilates & Teaching Methodology with Tensegrity Training in 2015. For me, it was a total career change having spent the previous 10 years practicing as a litigation attorney. After years of doing Pilates for my own body and experiencing its many benefits, I decided to turn it into a career. The training I did with Tensegrity gave me the skills and the knowledge to work for myself, support my young family, be more present at home and to teach others the joy of Pilates.

The course is well structured, beginning with an understanding of anatomy before diversifying into content that covers both the theoretical as well as practical aspects of the Pilates method, including how to operate a Pilates business. Tracey is a charismatic and passionate teacher whose extensive knowledge is founded in many disciplines, resulting in an educational experience that goes beyond ‘just Pilates.’ In this course you are challenged to think independently, to deduce, differentiate, apply and justify what you are taught. You are required to think critically, logically and thoughtfully in order to successfully and accurately apply what you know to any given scenario. This is how all Pilates courses should be, in order that students enter the profession as self-contained, independent thinkers. The Diploma provides a solid foundation from which to begin your Pilates career.

The learning environment at Tensegrity is relaxed, beautiful and collegiate, and there is opportunity for continuing professional development after you have completed your initial training.

After completing my training with Tensegrity, I worked for a number of studios around the Sunshine Coast before opening my own small, boutique studio. I have a dedicated clientele and delight in what I do every day. For me, witnessing the difference Pilates makes to my clients’ physical and mental health is the greatest reward. I am forever grateful to Tracey at Tensegrity for encouraging me along this path….’

Deborah Commins Sunshine Coast

“All the knowledge and repertoire that I learnt will 100% stay with me and I will pass this knowledge on through my work with clients. I will endeavour to utilise similar explanations when teaching clients how to use any for of Pilates equipment.”

K.M. South Australia

‘….I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at Queen St Pilates Studio, feeling
very welcomed and included into a great group of people. Leanne is an
incredible teacher, I admire her passion and dedication to her
students and work place. I felt very supported throughout my face to
face learning time with her….’

Kerryn Mundy Adelaide

I have recently completed Integrated Diploma of Contemporary Pilates and Teaching Methodology through Queen St Pilates Studio and Tensegrity Training. I found the learning environment that Leanne Mollison has created at her studio to be very supportive no matter what background the student may have. The course prepares you to enter your career as Pilates instructor both from a technical and physical perspective with lots of opportunities to practice and perfect your teaching style along the way. Leanne is a wealth of knowledge and keeps the course interesting and engaging for the students. After completing my face to face hours of the Cours I gained work in the industry and that is a testament to the quality of my knowledge and teaching skills gained from the course. I highly recommend the course offered through Queen St Pilates Studio to anyone who is looking at becoming a Pilates instructor.

Jessica Bajic

‘….Further information around achieving neutral spine through various
exercises. Greater depth of understanding of Cadillac repertoire. I
very much enjoyed learning form Bruce who not only has extensive
knowledge & experience, but has a very inclusive and approachable
teaching style….’

Vanessa Killen Melbourne

‘….The entire day was super informative and working with Bruce was wonderful! He was very good at explaining everything and the day was great! There were a lot of phrases and explanations that Bruce used that have stuck with me since Sunday!…”

Bella Sammut Smeaton Grange, NSW- Western Sydney

Clinical Practice hours were valuable time spent under supervision getting hands on training in a safe and supportive environment.  I had “lightbulb” moments throughout the training with certain phrases, cues or knowledge that the trainer shared with us.  The dots started to slowly join. I really enjoyed the Cadillac training and feel confident to go ahead and instruct in all aspects of Pilates instruction.

I have taken away the knowledge acquired in the Integrated Diploma and put it into practice at the Pilates & Yoga studio where I now teach. I am seeing better results and from clients in my classes and have had great feedback. I have learnt so much about my own body and now have a deeper understanding of both my personal Pilates practice and teaching.

Kelly Brisbane Queensland
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