How to Run Your Pilates Business with PocketSuite

Do you own a Pilates studio? Perhaps you’re a Pilates instructor? In this article, you will learn pro tips for running your Pilates business right from your phone. Pilates is super popular in the fitness industry. Pilates instructors can and should take advantage of all of the latest apps and tools so they can spend more time with clients and less on paperwork (still using pen and paper, eh?)

Most independent Pilates instructors are fighting against erosion in demand from:

– Pilates apps

– Classpass

– Big gyms that offer pilates classes

With more people than ever discovering the benefits of Pilates, there is a huge opportunity for professionals who want to create thriving businesses. This cannot be done using traditional methods in many cases. There is too much competition in the marketplace, and modern clients expect a seamless experience that may be beyond the capacity of a small studio.

Here are some of the areas of improvement for typical independent Pilates instructors:

Automation – Get each part of your studio organized and well coordinated

Ease of new client sign-up and onboarding – Forget paperwork! Add students to the app of your choice or have clients book themselves online using your booking site – and all the data entry work has been eliminated, just like that. Presto!

Filling classes – Choose an app that allows you to book multiple folks into one slot

Getting rebookings and retaining clients – It’s hard enough running the business, but now you need to try to get one-time clients to rebook and also try to keep your clients from ghosting. How is it possible to do all of this and still have a life? Answer: Technology! You can use Smart Campaigns to auto-text clients, encouraging them to rebook. You can also auto-text your current clients to follow up with them regarding their experience (and offer them incentives to book additional classes or refer a friend or family member!)

Collecting recurring payments and setting up regular appointments – This is a hassle and a nightmare for beginning business owners. Use something that allows you to automatically track and manage recurring bookings, including charging your customers. Ideally you’d want something that can do all of this from 1 mobile app (no desktop needed!)

Tracking client progress and client management – This usually falls by the wayside because of the litany of other tasks occupying your time. Fortunately, with PocketSuite each student gets their own profile where you can track all the most important info for that student. No more rummaging for paper files or looking up client files on your laptop – just pull it up on your phone in 15 seconds.

The overarching solution that I’m advocating is to invest in the right app that keeps everything in one place. In most cases, this kind of app is not easy to find, especially an all-in-one.

Fortunately, PocketSuite allows Pilates instructors to run a full-fledged Pilates instructor business without the need to take on more expenses like additional instructors on your payroll or tons of new, confusing software.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways that PocketSuite gives Pilates instructors a chance to focus on their core competencies without losing out on any new client opportunities.

Taking Your Studio to a New Level

The traditional way to expand business is to first increase the capacity of that business to take on new clients and automate some of the paperwork.

In most cases, this means hiring new instructors. You probably have to give them a salary instead of just having them be commission-based, which can really cut into your payroll expenses.

One of the biggest opportunities that PocketSuite provides to small Pilates studios is the ability to automate the paperwork and admin work without hiring new people.

Furthermore, Pilates instructors do not really have time to handle everything needed for a growing business. In order to build and maintain a great practice, Pilates instructors must stay ahead of the latest techniques and sequences. This involves research, taking up time that you would normally use on all of the paperwork for your business.

How exactly does the app help Pilates studios expand?

Appointment Booking

PocketSuite has the ability to give a small studio the full range of appointment booking options. Similar to how instructors have a number of different kinds of appointments, including private individual appointments, group sessions, first-time drop-in classes, and series classes.

In many cases, clients find their new Pilates instructor through social media. Social media management can be extremely difficult for a single Pilates instructor that doesn’t have a team already and hiring a social media expert can be prohibitively expensive for a solo practitioner.

Some instructors are even responsible for coordinating recurring appointments and there is always the responsibility of making sure you charge for late cancellations and no-shows.

In some cases, Pilates instructors do not have the time to follow up and collect their fees, including late fees. This can lead to lost income and puts your reputation at risk – if clients do not feel as though they have to show up to their appointments that instructor loses respect and is not considered a reference-able business.

PocketSuite automates all of the above appointment types and more. You as an independent Pilates instructor are no longer personally responsible for booking appointments with clients. (Imagine that!)

Clients and prospects can be categorized into various groups and you can send an email or SMS to them for marketing purposes – automagically! The app integrates with Google Calendar and iCal, ensuring that all scheduling for your students is done efficiently.

Using PocketSuite, independent Pilates instructors can also eliminate the burden of having to follow up on late paying customers, late cancellations, and no-shows. All of this is done automatically and on a recurring basis by the app so the “nudging” and “reminders” are always in progress. At the same time, you as the Pilates instructor are freed up to sign up the next batch of students, grow your business, and keep your 5 star reputation.

Onboarding

Strong, consistent onboarding of new clients is a hassle that many Pilates studios have trouble with. Most instructors are usually using a crude paper and pencil onboarding process or hiring an assistant to do the job, which cut into their profit margins. This expense, however, may not always pay off. Pilates studios do not necessarily receive a steady volume of new clients activity everyday. Yet, regardless of your client activity, your employee has to be paid consistently.

Do you see how this may become a problem?

PocketSuite has the ability to automatically book new clients. Not only are you as the instructor relieved of the pressure of collecting client information to book them, but your clients can also choose which class is best for them and book ahead of time online (or even from your Instagram or Facebook page!)

The consistency of the booking process is also super important. Using PocketSuite, you will easily be able to tell if your marketing efforts are working without having to become a professional marketer.

Part of the onboarding processes includes collecting deposits from new clients. This can be an awkward stage in the relationship, especially if the prospect has not fully committed to taking your Pilates class. Delegating that interaction to an app is such a relief! It makes the choice to pay a deposit a more natural and expected next step for the client (as opposed to an awkward request from you).

No longer does a Pilates instructor have to moonlight as a professional salesperson or bill collector – this is now the responsibility of the PocketSuite app (which never gets nervous or scared about asking for deposit money!)

Promotions

Another huge part of expanding your Pilates studio is offering the right promotions. The challenge is how best to offer promotions to the right people at the right time. If you have to offer a discount to everyone at once, you cut into your profit margins because you are offering discounts to clients who can and have paid full price.

With PocketSuite, you can offer promotions one at a time or all at once. You can send messages to specific groups of students who love you and will pay anything to keep working with you. You can send different messages to other individuals or groups who may need a little more prodding to stick with it and keep attending classes. The bottom line is that you have the power to personalize your marketing message and target your communication to specific client audiences.

You can run your promotions through PocketSuite using your social media. You can keep the entire process in a single marketing funnel as well (instead of having to take your prospect through different processes and tools). Once your prospect agrees to take an individual class or group class, you can have the app immediately collect the deposit and confirm the appointment for that specific class. Should that customer need more nudging, you can schedule and send them a personalized message.

Running the Business

As a Pilates instructor, you are responsible for the wellness of your own studio. However, you are also responsible for managing your team. Your team expects you to be professional and three steps ahead at all times, no matter how much extra work is on your plate. On top of that, you have to maintain your position as the people leader, maintain your skill set, and complete the other million things that are required of you in your business.

When do you actually have time to practice your own Pilates alongside teaching and running a business?

This is exactly what PocketSuite was designed to help you do. Not only do you have the ability to automate onboarding and marketing, but you can also easily schedule and manage your Pilates classes.

If you need to get your team together for a group meeting at the drop of a hat, you can do this through PocketSuite. You can keep records of business income and your office calendar to let people know about upcoming changes quickly.

Your team also needs to easily access client information. Depending on your current tools, you may be the only person with total access to client info. Ideally, you should be able to coordinate your team member’s calendars as well as give them access to accurate client info. PocketSuite is the answer here as well.

Creating a bigger, smarter, and better Pilates business is much easier when you have the right tools on your side. PocketSuite is the ultimate marketing, scheduling and client management tool for you if you are looking to grow your business and maintain your reputation as a 5-star Pilates teacher!

Like this article? You’ll love our guide on how to generate leads for service businesses in 2020, and of course our Frustrations with Square article!

Tired of MindBody’s Complexity and Pricing?

MindBody is great if you have lots of time and money.

As an entrepreneur and self motivated fitness and wellness coach, I’m sure your time is focused on your clients. Designing classes, promoting them, reaching back out to past clients about a new offerings… are just a few of the many things that come with running your own business and practice. The administrative tasks are endless. You don’t want to get side tracked from doing what you do and it is not always an option to hire a full time assistant to manage it all for you.

For large fitness businesses, MindBody is one of the more popular choices when it comes to helping you run your practice. Handling client appointments, class booking, invoicing and so forth. Getting started with software like MindBody can be very scary and difficult to learn, especially for people that aren’t technical experts. For any software, if you have to enroll in a class (much less a university like for MindBody) to understand how to use it is a major red flag. Your goal is simplify your work and save time not increase your workload with a complicated tool.

No Software Please

MindBody requires an in person seminar to onboard new users to their platform because of the complexity and the overwhelming number of features that are included. Users must become experts in the desktop software and mobile application and their clients have to download and log into a portal (which clients don’t love). If you are a large corporation or a gym owner with multiple locations, it makes complete sense why you and your team would be willing to invest weeks into customizing your administrative settings and training your people on how to use the mobile app. For independent personal trainers, yoga and pilates instructors, as well as health and well professionals; however, it is just plain too much.

It’s like learning to ride a bike… once you learn to balance it comes naturally… but try riding a bike and putting on an 80lb suit. That additional weight changes everything. Same goes for a mobile app that helps you run your business. You’re balancing your time between booking and payments as well as delivery of amazing client service, which is where you would like to spend 99% of your time. If you have a heavy suit, your focus is inevitably tilted away from doing what you do best to operational logistics.

PocketSuite would like to help you take the suit off.

Higher Price Always Means Better Right?

MindBody charges 3x to 6x more than other business apps for the health and wellness industry, How else can they pay for expensive onboarding classes and instructors. The fact that an average user has to dedicate 4 to 5 hours on average to learn the basics is extreme. If you are a Pro that has lots of clients, but no time to figure it all out, don’t invest resources in a solution that will require a lot of time and ongoing effort to maintain. You need something that is designed for your existing workflow, requires minimal setup, and automates all of the repetitive tasks that you do every day to schedule clients and collect payment.

The World is going Mobile

There is no denying that the world is going mobile. To meet client expectations for speed, transparency, and predictably you need to have systems that enable clients to book you from anywhere, at anytime, on any device. By definition, desktop solutions don’t make the cut. You don’t have access to them when you are in the field or in session with clients (which is everyday for most of the day). You need to be able to do anything from confirm a booking request, charge a card, look up a client’s payment history, and send a contract at a moment’s notice. When you go mobile, everything comes together. The simplicity of scheduling messages and follow ups with clients is literally a game changer. Mobile helps professionals build deeper, stickier, longer, and more loyal client relationships.

Try PocketSuite today… simplify your daily booking, payments, and client messaging. Automate your work and save yourself time and money.


Over 5,000 fitness, health & wellness professionals use PocketSuite’s free set of features:

Packages Services & Classes

Package any set of services or classes that you offer

Sell packages to clients for immediate and upfront payment

Track all package sessions by client


Recurring Client Payments

Set clients up on recurring payment plans

Auto-charge any client’s card after each week, month, or any period of time

Just a 2.9% + 30¢ processing fee for credit card payments, and 2-day direct deposit


Direct Client Import

Add any client directly to PocketSuite or import clients directly from your mobile phone contact list

Track all income earned from each client

Take notes (text, photos) on each customer for private viewing


Appointment Calendar Sync

Sync all PocketSuite scheduled appointments and sessions directly to iCal, GCal, etc.

Pick and choose which calendars sync (i.e., Google, Outlook, etc.)

Use a single calendar app to manage both client and personal appointments


Mobile Messenger

Send instant text messages to any of your clients

Clients receive messages via SMS text and respond in real-time

Share photos, share contacts, share GPS pin location


4 Tips to Building a Scalable Health and Fitness Business

(Written by Sam Madden, co-founder of PocketSuite. Featured on DaiManuel.com)

There comes a time in every professional’s career when they have turned their business of just a few clients, into something much bigger. If you’re currently there, then you know what I’m talking about. If you’re not, then trust me – if you’re good at what you do, you will get there very soon.

In business terms, this is called an “inflection point”, and that’s when you need to start building in efficiencies to your small business to help you grow in painless and scalable ways. There are 4 core elements to your business around which you can easily build efficiencies to help you not just take on more clients, but to continue to serve your clients well.

Each one of these core business pillars is like a body part that needs to be kept in shape. Just like your body, you need to hone the muscles of your business so that as you take on more work, you can manage easily and not have to spend excess energy (or money!) to succeed in scalable ways.

1. Your Clients: Core

The core building block to every business is your client base. Your clients are the most important part of your business – you need to serve them well, and you need more of them to grow.

In order to provide the best training and health services to each client, you need to know who your clients are, how to reach them, what their needs are, and where they came from.

Putting tools in place to create profiles for each customer is crucial. Give yourself a central location to access all your client information at the drop of a hat. That means who they are and how to reach them. Give yourself the ability to jot down notes and reference them while you’re on the go so you know your clients in and out. Quickly access your transaction and communication history with each client, so you know what you’ve advised the client before, when you last saw them, and what payments they have made or owe.

Putting these “client best practices” in place will make all aspects of client dealings incredibly easy. This will also free up tons of time to allow you to take on more clients without sacrificing any quality of your service whatsoever, and without giving you a headache.

2. Your Schedule: Quads and Calves

Your schedule keeps you moving from one spot to the next. The more organized you are, the more efficiently you can move from appointment to appointment.

Set up a system to allow you to efficiently organize your calendar of client sessions, meetings, appointments, etc. A pen and paper won’t cut it! That’s just another item for you to lug around. God forbid you lose it – do you have a back-up of your schedule? I know this sounds silly, but how about if you run out of space on a page to write?

And don’t simply set up a digital or mobile calendar to make your life easier. Use a system where once you input a session into your calendar, your client’s calendar gets notified as well so you both are easily on the same page. The worst situation ever is for you to show up and your client is a no show. Or for you to show up and your client isn’t at all ready because they simply “forgot”.

Use smart calendars to also set up automatic reminders to be sent to your clients…Maybe a day or two before the session to (again) professionally reinforce the fact that there is an appointment upcoming. Your calendar should show you (and your client) the job details and location, as well as give you easy access to your client’s contact info in case you’re late, or something has changed, or any other little update.

And keep all this info in one central calendar location so you don’t have to be opening up different computers or phones, or apps or calendar programs just to get a sense of what your day or week looks like.

3. Your Payments: Cardio

Payments are what keep the engine going!

You want to not only give your clients an incredibly convenient (and pleasant) payment experience, but you also want to give yourself a very simple tracking system to ensure no payment ever slips through the cracks.

Give your client easy options through which they can pay you. Don’t force them to lug around a check book or make sure they went to the bank to withdraw cash. And avoid making the act of asking for payment feel awkward or uncomfortable. Create a simple system allowing your clients to pay you remotely so you don’t have to be physically in front of them to collect, and so they can even pay you ahead of time for any services you offer (reducing your payment risk completely).

Keep a log of these payments close so you can quickly get a glimpse of who owes you what, and how much you’ve made from each customer. You want to make sure you know who your best clients are and ask them to refer you to their friends…maybe even send them a holiday card! At the same time, you want to know what payments are outstanding so you can efficiently and professionally remind clients to pay, never letting a payment slip through the cracks.

4. Your Business Health: Brain

Exercising this “muscle” drives you to make all the right business decisions.

Instead of flipping through bank statements, or making daily logs of cash payments, leverage technology to know exactly how your business is doing each day, week, or month. Having all your client information, appointments and payments in a central location will allow you to leverage all this data to understand the overall health of your business. This health score gets increasingly difficult to measure as you start to grow as an solo professional, as there becomes so much more information to keep track of. And don’t fall into the trap thinking you have to pay an accountant to tell you how you’re doing!

A major factor in growing a business is also understanding how much to invest for growth. If you know how much income you’re bringing in vs. last month, then maybe spend some of that extra income on marketing or leads or advertising, to bring in more clients.

If you’re making less this month than the previous month, understand why – Were you working less? Did certain clients take up too much of your time? Are you waiting on payment?

Help is Now Here!

Following the above simple steps sounds like a ton of work, but the reality is it’s not. Technology is starting to offer independent and solo professionals (of all industries) valuable tools they need to help them compete, grow, and drive their business to success. The trick is finding the tool that’s right for you, without paying an arm and a leg. But little tips like the above can help you grow your business in incredibly efficient ways to reach that scale you need to succeed.