Before I started teaching Pilates, I was a manager of a boutique. My contract each year explained my salary, vacation time, health benefits, 401k, etc. I knew how much my paycheck would be every other Friday. And I knew how I could make more with commission. When I was looking at making the leap to teach Pilates for a living, the advice I was given about what to charge was “a little less than the teacher who had been teaching 6 months longer than me.”
That advice didn’t work for me. Determining my rates based on others around me can make sense. But it doesn’t include my personal needs, schedule, or goals. Worse, when I found out who she was basing her rates on and who that person was basing them on, I learned that the person at the “top” had not raised their rates in 7 years!
I was determined to make the money I needed to make so I could teach full-time and not feel like I was “guessing.” While it took a bit of math-ing, I figured it out. Since then, I have been sharing it with everyone because understanding your salary as a teacher/owner is integral to you being able to show up and teach! Even if you don’t do it for the money. Being able to say “no” to teaching sessions or “yes” to a weekend away relies on you knowing how much money you make.
First, teaching for a living is absolutely possible. Second, and something I hope this information helps you see- there is money in Pilates. How much you’ll make is determined by a few things. One is what you consider yourself. Are you an employee, solo owner, or studio owner?
No matter what you consider yourself now, read through each scenario in this 2-part series because your situation might change. You could go from one to another depending on your life’s needs.
Where are my employees at?
Here’s the deal: you won’t be able to set your rates, and you’ll likely get paid between 25-40% of what a studio takes in for the session. But, the risks and expenses of owning the business are also not yours. Woohoo! Depending on where you live, if you teach 30 hours a week and average $35/hour, you can make $50k, including 4 weeks off! In this case, if you want to make more, you often have to work more. However, the costs and stress of running the business do not fall on your shoulders. Yes! You’re 100% essential to a studio. And your awesomeness is what makes clients feel seen. But it’s not your business. Find a studio whose values and goals align with yours. Show up, rock your sessions, and clock out!
You get to set your own rates! You also get to wear ALL the hats. Website, admin, scheduling, teaching you do it all! All the expenses that it takes to teach your heart out need to be included in what you want to make each year. You get to decide your salary and then add in all those expenses. Take what you want to get paid and add on the bills. This means taxes too. We’ll call this number the gross income. Once you have this, you can use my handy free tool to get what you need to charge for every teaching hour. So, what do you want to make?
I want to give you an example, so you can see what IS possible. Someone who charges $75 for a private and teaches 25 hours a week, 48 weeks a year, can make $90k/year. If you want to make more or work less, no problem. It is relatively common to make $75k-100k+ depending on how much you teach and charge. The important thing here is to know that YOU get to decide. It is YOUR business.
Get ready to see how much is possible for studio owners in part 2