Teacher

A Pilates Teacher's Guide to Raising Prices

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Here is the Pilates Teacher's Guide to Raising Prices in 2015.

In the wake of my last two blog posts, which have started some interesting and contentious discussions in the pilates teaching community, several pilates teachers have asked for some guidance in raising their rates in 2015.

Note that I am not suggesting that you have to, or should, raise your prices. But if you feel you need to, here are some ideas.

First, let me back up to my post on pricing. In that post I recommend that you look at some simple math before setting prices. The equation is:

I want to make X amount of money per year and would prefer to work Y number of hours per week, so I will need to make Z amount of money per hour/day/month.

In my example, if you want to make $120,000 per year and only work 20 hours per week, you will need to make $125/hour. Note that I don't say you should charge that, but that is the math.

It is my view that if we as Pilates teachers are not earning enough to thrive, then it will effect our teaching. We will be worried, possibly resentful at teaching a lot and still struggling, and it will bleed into our client interactions. This has happened to me and to my colleagues, which led to this raising prices discussion.

Now, if you didn't make that simple math calculation before you set your prices, or you did but it's been a few years and the numbers are different, you may need to raise your prices.

Do not raise prices without doing the math first! And make sure that your discounted packages cover your costs.

But how can you raise your prices without upsetting and possibly losing your existing people?

1. Raise prices on new clients first.

The first inroad you can make is to raise prices on new pilates clients, while allowing existing clients to stay at their current rate for a limited period. When I raised my rates last year, I started by charging new clients more for a month. So I notified people that new rates were going to be happening on 8/1. The new rates went into effect for new folks on 9/1, but current people had until 10/1. This made my current clients feel loved.

2. Offer a few packages at current prices to current clients.

The next step is to let your current clients know that even though your pilates prices will increase, they can purchase a few packages at the current price. In my practice, I offered current clients the ability to buy up to 30 sessions at current prices. This gave me a little extra cash and I didn't lose money, because it was not a sale. And my current clients still felt loved!

3. You may lose a few clients, but you will gain others.

I was lucky enough to only lose one client in my increase, but she was going through financial hardship anyway and would have stopped. Note that I did offer her a lower price, and this was her response,

"I will not bargain with you because you are too good and there are plenty of lower-priced teachers that are fine for me now. I feel lucky and spoiled to have had you for as long as I did. You are by far the best Pilates teacher I have ever been to."

I couldn't argue with that. I just said Thank You. And she still refers people to me!

[For more on why my clients feel like this, please see my post on serving your niche.]

At the end of the day, costs go up every year for all of us. Insurance, rent, groceries, taxes, and even public transportation go up. We need to pay our bills, have a little fun, save some money for fun and retirement, and thrive as Pilates teachers.

I am able to see some clients at a greatly reduced rate without worry or resentment, because the majority of them pay my full price. And I don't have to work like a Pilates automaton anymore, so I can have a life outside of the studio.

So take the leap! If you know your prices are too low to meet your needs, raise them! Just make sure your level of service and care matches your price.

Happy new year!

Marketing 101 for Trainers Part 3 - June 25, 2014

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Marketing 101 for Trainers, Episode 3 –  Elevate Yourself In Any Studio

Wednesday, June 25, 3:00 – 4:30pm
at
Alycea Ungaro's Real Pilates
177 Duane Street
New York, NY 10038
212-477-6499
There are so many new Pilates teachers on the market right now that it is important to elevate yourself from the rest while still maintaining good teacher and studio relations.
How do you become a busy teacher in a crowded studio? How can you be a valuable team member while also promoting yourself?
Next Wednesday I will show you how to make yourself shine in any studio through social media, referrals, sharing, and setting a great example for others.
I will explain the importance of various social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram) and how to properly use them to help yourself and the studio(s) or gym(s) where you teach.
Sign up for Marketing 101 for Trainers Part 3. 90 minutes. $45.

The Traveling Pilates Teacher

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As a Traveling Pilates Teacher you must be organized, on time, and ready for anything!

In my workshop on how to handle traveling as a Pilates teacher, it was clear to me how little most Pilates, fitness, and yoga teachers really know about working in other studios, cities, states, and countries.

Yet, demand is growing for teachers willing to travel.

What are some things to consider as a potential Pilates Nomad?

How long is your commitment? Hours, days, years... have everything clear. Maximum hours per day, maximum days per week... it is all important.

Who pays travel costs and expenses? To and from at beginning and end of contract and for annual vacations.

If out of your home country, what paperwork do you need for a work visa? Don't go into another country as a tourist and then work. You can be arrested, sent home, and banned from any return visits.

What currency will you be paid in? Are local banks safe? You may need to wire your salary home each month, so be ready to ask.

And before you go, make sure you know what the food, accommodation, and social scene will be like so you are not shocked.

If you take care of the basics, you can then just sit back and focus on teaching and on your experience. You will be more present for your sessions and you and your clients will benefit!

Marketing 101 for Trainers Part 1 - April 30, 2014

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Marketing 101 for Trainers is a 3-part workshop series led by Lynda Lippin that will teach you how to increase your value in a very crowded fitness marketplace.

The pilates and fitness market has enjoyed unprecedented growth over the past decade, which is a wonderful thing!
But now, as trainers, we are facing more competition within our industry. And with clearer certification pathways, there are more certified trainers on the market now than ever.
  • How can you distinguish yourself in this crowded marketplace?
  • How can you make more money, increase your quality client base, and shine in your field?
  • Have you dreamed about working overseas?
  • Wonder what skill set you need to have to land a great job inside or outside of the US?
  • And finally, have you ever wondered how to attract and maintain steady, standing, high income clients?

Learn how in this 3 part Workshop series, where each month at Real Pilates Lynda will take on an important aspect of business and marketing for personal trainers and pilates teachers.

If this is your first time visiting Real Pilates, use code LLGIFT at checkout and you will receive a lovely welcome gift when you check in!

Episode 1 - Teaching Out of Your Comfort Zone
Wednesday, April 30, 3:00 – 4:30pm
There is a lot of call for trainers who will travel. This travel can be domestic or international, and includes subbing in other studios or in hotels/resorts, making outcalls of any kind (to hotels, private homes, or to train ann entire family), picking up traveling clients or short-term residents, and traveling with a client.  We will also discuss how to find overseas positions, including issues regarding work visas, relocation, temp work, and the dangers of “working fitness vacations”.

Master Pilates Teacher? What's the Difference?

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The Master Pilates Teacher title is not well defined. What makes a teacher a Master?

In the past few weeks I have taught a few clients who were new to me and Real Pilates. Several of them have been doing Pilates for years, all over the country.

And most had tried several studios in NYC to decide which ones they preferred, and who they want to work with.

A private session with me isn't cheap. Booking me through the studio, an hour with me one on one is $125 with some package discounts. Book with me directly and the cost is a little bit more.

How do I justify that price point?

Well, yesterday a new client said, "Wow. That was so different. You moved my position in subtle ways that changed the entire exercise. I feel better and like I move more efficiently."

I replied, "That for me is the point of paying a trainer. My job is to point out those subtle things that help perfect your form and execution of the exercises to make them more effective and efficient. That's what I do."

OK, so what should you be getting if you're paying more for a Master level pilates or fitness trainer?

Experience

A Master Pilates Teacher should have at least 15 years of experience (I have 25). And that experience should include teaching many different ages, experience levels, and injury levels. Best of all, find someone who has also trained trainers, since that trainer will be able to break everything down into easily digestible pieces.

A Master Pilates teacher should still be actively taking and teaching continuing education courses, like any professional would.

A good eye

My clients sometimes wear extra layers of clothing so I won't see what they are doing. That doesn't work! At this stage of the game I can see where your bones are and how you are moving through many layers. And if you don't feel something? I can adjust your right hip 1/4" and suddenly you will feel your butt working.

Any Master pilates or fitness teacher should have this skill. That's part of the value!

Lots of subtle corrections

You will only get great subtle corrections from a teacher who has a great eye. But it is these small corrections that will make the difference in your workout. The correct placement of your parts will make every exercise more effective.

Good communication

I constantly ask my clients how they are doing. If their back is good, neck is good, knees are good. I make sure they are feeling the correct areas in an exercise. Too much neck strain in the hundred? We can help with that. Want to ski this winter for the first time? We can help with that. Want to change things up? We can do that!

Best of all, want to know why you are doing a particular exercise or series? What the point is? I can tell you.

Safety

A Master Teacher should never have you in an unsupported, unsafe position. There are some seriously crazy advanced pilates exercises that can be scary and require lots of proper spotting to be done safely. Your teacher should never forget that non-skid pad or to hold you in the russian splits.

He or she should always tell you what is moving and what is stabilizing, where your pelvis should be and where your spine should be. You should never feel unsafe. Challenged, maybe. But never unsafe.

Professionalism

For the price point your teacher should always be on time, always complete the full session time, handle your money appropriately if you deal with your trainer directly, and be clean and courteous.

A Master Trainer should not be yawning during your session, no matter what time it is. And he or she should maintain liability insurance.

Stop Calling People Fat

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Hey, fellow fitness professionals, stop calling people fat! It doesn't help anybody.

A few months ago I gave up renewing my Pilates certification. Yes, the certification I held since 1993, with a teacher training certificate from the same body since 2000.

"What?" you may be thinking. "Why would you do that?"

After all, I had been connected with the organization since becoming a founding member in 1990, including my time in Turks and Caicos.

Just this past year I noticed that my certificate had expired, since I was no longer doing teacher training. I wrote two articles for their library, sent them in to the president per the website instructions, and almost immediately had a cheery email back.

"You look fabulous. Love the articles. I would love to meet with you about some new equipment I developed. Call me."

So I did. And I went to her apartment for a meeting and saw the new stuff. The stuff was fine, but two things gave me pause. One, I started hearing phrases that I had heard before, but now found offensive.

"So many Pilates teachers are stupid. They just keep spouting and regurgitating the same old workouts. No creativity. That's why they don't understand my work"

"People are just fat. I mean, I am sure that I could never eat as much food in one sitting as you, even if I tried."

"Do you see how big portion sizes are? No wonder everyone is fat!"

Two, I realized she was using me to get to my boss.

[Note that when I did not make the connection for her, my articles were deemed unusable and my re-certification was basically refused unless I purchased the new pieces of equipment and assisted marketing.]

I left, feeling demeaned and disgusted.

All I wanted to say was, "STOP CALLING PEOPLE (AND ME, IN PARTICULAR) FAT!"

Yes, the President of a Pilates and fitness organization calling people fat. Judging people.

I refuse to be judged like that. I will not pay to be associated with people or organizations who judge like that while trying to use me for my connections.

So I gave up my Pilates certification.

I still maintain my accredited ACE fitness certification, and am fully insured as well, so not really necessary. Plus, I have been teaching Pilates for 25 years, which does give me some "street cred".