Are you considering opening and owning a Pilates studio? If so, one of your primary concerns is likely the profitability and longevity of the studio. After all, a profitable pilates studio allows you to combine your livelihood with your passion.
Pilates studios are a profitable venture, with some studios reporting several million dollars in profit. Net profit depends on client demand, the stage of your business, and effective expense management. A pilates studio investing in growth will have minimal profits than one focused on maximizing the bottom line.
This article will explore whether the potential revenues of a pilates studio outweigh its expected expenses. That way, you’ll be able to make an educated decision about owning and operating a profitable pilates studio.
Additionally, you can review my ultimate guides on the pilates industry to get further insights:
Pilates Studio Profit Calculator
Use this profit calculator to forecast the potential profits of your pilates studio. Enter the details specific to your pilates studio and the pilates studio profit calculator will give you the monthly profit for your pilates studio. Use this pilates studio profit calculator to forecast your revenue and breakeven point to profitability.
How Much Money Does a Pilates Studio Owner Make?
Pilates studios can provide a healthy income for the studio owners. Depending on the stage of your pilates studio (growing or stable), you can expect a predictable income.
The average pilates studio owner makes $5,800 in gross monthly income, about $69,600/year. The profit margins of pilates studios range from 5% to 30%. The studio owner can top up their salary with dividend payments if the studio is profitable, bringing their yearly income to six figures.
If you are focussed on growth and investing heavily in sales and marketing, you will see minimal profits, if at all. However, if you want to minimize expenses and increase the bottom line, you can see substantial profits that you can take from the business as dividend payments.
Additionally, you’ll want to consider local client interest and demand, retail property leasing rates, and the cost of offered services to understand your specific profit margin.
We estimate profitability by calculating potential expenses and relating them to potential revenue/sales—for example, a one-hour session of pilates costs between $50 and $150. If you operate a pilates studio large enough to accommodate twenty clients, you will earn between $1,000 and $3,000 per hour.
However, pilates studios tend to accommodate 3-10 customers per session, given the need for reformer machines.
As a simplistic example, a studio that’s open for twelve hours each day can enjoy end-of-day revenues of between $12,000 and $36,000. If this hypothetical studio is open six days each week, the annual revenues could range from about $3,000,000 and $10,000,000. However, this revenue range doesn’t reflect expenses.
Expenses of Running a Pilates Studio
No matter how much revenue/sales your pilates classes bring in, you can still lose money if you’re not prepared to handle the expenses of owning a Pilates studio.
After leasing or renting a building, you’ll likely need to refurbish it to make it suitable for your clientele. You’ll also need to invest in pilates equipment, high-quality instructors, and marketing strategies to help your business grow and attract new clients.
When attempting to understand profitability, we must first examine expenses (costs). As such, let’s look at the most common pilates studio expenses.
Rent and Utilities for a Pilates Studio
A pilates studio requires ample space to allow clients to freely move around and house the equipment. So, the first ingredient to a successful Pilates studio is a building that offers plenty of room.
Utilities are another factor you’ll want to consider when estimating expenses. While utility rates vary by location, the 2012 Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey found that most commercial properties spent about $1.40 on electricity per square foot.
So, if you lease a 1,000 sq ft (92.90 sq m) retail property at $30 per square foot, you’ll likely spend about $32,000 every month on rent and utility costs.
However, many pilates studios are starting in garages or spare rooms at residential properties. We see studio owners significantly reducing their monthly expenses by doing so.
Bottom line: Pilates studio owners can spend $20,000 on commercial property rent and utilities monthly. However, creative studio owners can pay as less as a few hundred dollars on rent and utilities for their studio.
Unless you’re purchasing an established pilates studio, you’ll need to refurbish the commercial property you’ve leased to transform it into a studio. Refurbishing a pilates studio can cost about $18 per square foot, potentially more, depending on your budget.
Bottom line: If you’re leasing a 1,000 sq ft (92.90 sq m) commercial space, you’ll need to budget about $18,000 to renovate the property.
After ensuring that your retail property looks excellent, you’ll want to equip it with pilates equipment. Naturally, those purchasing established studios might not need to spend as much in this area.
However, if you’re starting a pilates studio from the ground up, you won’t want to skimp on:
- Reformer machines
- Pilates chairs
- Floor-length mirrors
- Foam rollers
- Resistance bands
- Pilates mats
- Pilates rings
Many of these bits of equipment (foam rollers and resistance bands) are relatively affordable and easy to acquire. However, reformer machines and pilates chairs can be somewhat pricey. Additionally, reformer machines can be hard to source at times of high demand.
A single high-quality reformer can cost about $5,000. If you’re looking to hold classes of 20, you’ll need to spend at least $100,000 on reformers. When you add other gear, this cost rises to about $110,000.
Bottom line: You can expect to spend between $70,000 and $120,000 on pilates equipment when outfitting an empty commercial space. However, we have also seen pilates studios operating with a single reformer machine or none.
In addition to equipment, you’ll need a fully-trained team of staff members to get your pilates studio off the ground. Generally, it’s best to have one Pilates trainer per 10 clients per hour.
I have written an in-depth article on how studios pay their teachers. You will most likely have a combination of full-time and freelance teachers. Apart from the lease, instructor salaries will be your most significant expense.
To help create an instructor salary estimate, let’s utilize the average salary for fitness instructors: $21.84 per hour. A Pilates instructor who works 40 hours each week can earn about $3,500 every month.
Bottom line: You can expect to pay your instructors about $3,500 every month (per instructor).
I have written a detailed guide on how to become a pilates instructor. Review it if you are exploring a career as a pilates instructor.
Any new business needs marketing efforts to attract clients and customers. Consequently, you’ll need to anticipate marketing expenses when opening a brand-new pilates studio or attempting to increase client numbers.
Fortunately, marketing costs are highly variable. You can try free marketing tactics like maintaining a social media page, or you can publish digital and paper ads in your local newspaper. You could also choose to hire a marketing manager to help you create and execute different campaigns.
The right choice for you depends on your intended outreach and marketing budget. Most small businesses can expect to spend about 7% of their net profits on marketing.
I wrote a comprehensive article on building a marketing plan and executing the strategy for studios. The guide covers all aspects of marketing for a brand new studio.
Bottom line: If your studio earns $500,000 per month, you’ll want to spend about $35,000 on marketing campaigns and advertising each month.
Website Maintenance Costs
If you’re looking to attract more clients, you’ll want to ensure that your business website is updated, aesthetically pleasing, and fully functional. However, creating and maintaining a website can be challenging if your primary expertise is business or fitness.
For that reason, it might be best to hire a web designer to help you stay on top of your online presence. According to the National Federation of Independent Business, you can expect to spend between $200 and $5,000 on a small business website for your pilates studio.
This price may include a year’s worth of maintenance services, or it might not. Maintaining and updating a business website typically costs a few hundred or thousand dollars each year.
However, we recommend using DIY platforms like Wix, Squarespace, or Carrd. You will spend as little as $10/month if you use such platforms.
Bottom line: Website maintenance costs for pilates studios range from $400 to $8,000 per year. However, you can spend as little as a few hundred dollars a year using DIY website builders.
Scheduling & Member Management Platform
Operating any pilates business at scale will require you to invest in member management and Pilates studio software. The requirements for scheduling in a pilates studio are pretty unique. Due to this, you cannot simply use any scheduling platform on the market.
Your workflow will involve scheduling both teachers and reformer machines based on availability. The appointments feature in StudioGrowth is explicitly built for pilates studios to manage and schedule teachers and reformer machines.
StudioGrowth also becomes your member management database allowing you to automate your business, including taking payments, managing cancellations and waitlists, etc.
The cost of an end-to-end business management platform for your pilates studio will set you back $30-$300 per month.
Owning a Pilates studio could be an exceptionally profitable venture if you choose a retail space in a location with a high demand for fitness/wellness services and get a great price on the retail space. Executing effective marketing strategies and using a purpose-built business management platform also play a key role in your success.
Some aspects of your studio’s profitability are under your control. You can either continue growing your business using the revenue generated or not invest in growth and increase the bottom line (profits). Consider all variables when determining whether now is the right time to focus on profits for your pilates studio.
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About the author
Naz Ahm is the founder of StudioGrowth and has spent a decade growing start-ups and venture-backed companies. He writes about sales, marketing, and growth, especially in the yoga, fitness, and wellness industry.
Naz has an MBA from IESE Business School and started his journey in the wellness industry when he set up an on-demand wellness business. Naz currently splits his time between the U.K and the US.