PT on the Net Research

Pilates Programs for Profit


While Pilates tops the hottest growing exercise trends, fee-based Pilates group equipment classes remain largely untapped as a profit center. Responding to strong consumer demand, fitness clubs worldwide have introduced Pilates Mat classes successfully. Many business owners, however, remain unsure about whether to add Pilates equipment programs using the reformer. If your members want Pilates, it’s likely they want it all and are willing to pay for it. Can you afford to leave money on the table?

If you're interested in launching an equipment-based group reformer program at your facility, you don't need to reinvent the wheel... or the reformer. With some thoughtful planning, you can start a Pilates reformer program on the right foot and be off and running to record numbers.

Research, Troubleshooting and Marketing

Three main factors are the key to success. First, identify program interest. Once you find the need is there, spend time researching other programs. Identify any potential challenges with the new program prior to the start and come up with resolutions. Lastly, give free demonstration classes for those who do not know about Pilates or just want to try the class, coupled with knowledgeable instructors. The importance of planning and attention to detail cannot be overstated. One of the biggest mistakes fitness centers make is to hastily begin a Pilates program without thinking it through. Management should make a business plan, so that the Pilates program can act as an independent business within their center.

The proper training company is critical to success. When you look for a training company, try to find one that will meet your facility’s needs. Some programs like PowerHouse Pilates will help you with instructor training, and they also provide consultation on how to start the program with advice on all the little details that are essential to program profitability (i.e., how to package class sessions, how to track member sessions). When you are choosing an educational company, make sure the educator’s philosophy fits with your center’s goals and mission. Decide how much support you think you will need and if the educational company you choose is able to meet this demand.

One of the most important issues to resolve before launching any equipment-based program is how to cover start up costs (i.e., the purchase of equipment, staff training and marketing). Since an equipment-based Pilates program requires a significant initial investment, introduce the program on a fee basis and work to make it self supporting. Purchase just a few reformers up front to keep class sizes small, allow for easy storage and reduce costs. Also, stick with the marketing tool of Pilates group personal training, where instructors do not do the exercises but instead walk around and provide hands on instruction. This keeps value in the class.

After the initial research and marketing, the other factors to consider are as follows:

Count Your Class Numbers

Launching any new program takes time, effort and careful planning. With current and growing interest in Pilates, establishing a long-term Pilates program makes good business sense. According to the Health Club Trend Report published by American Sports Data Inc., Pilates participation increased 41 percent in 2001 from the prior year. This growth rate shows no sign of slowing. Take time now to learn all that you can about the pros and cons of a Pilates program profit center. A well-managed Pilates program can increase member satisfaction, strengthen your membership base and sweeten the bottom line.