Scheduling Realities for Pilates Instructors who offer Private Training

By: Carla Ricalis

One of the benefits of working in the fitness industry is that we can often claim the status of independent contractor. This allows us to organize our schedules in a way that guarantees we are in control of them.

For Pilates instructors who pursue other interests, such as dance, athletics, acting, academic pursuits, etc. being able to manage their own schedules can ensure that these activities remain priorities. As we work towards establishing and retaining a large enough client base that produces a steady and reliable income, we also have the opportunity via our scheduling to focus on personal goals.

Below are 4 points to consider as you learn to organize your time and create a schedule that establishes a successful and strong client base.

1) Prime Times

When establishing your schedule at any given studio, make sure you’re clear on the prime times. Having a good read of the area of town you’re in can help. 

For example, if you’re setting up a schedule at a downtown studio, chances are early mornings, lunch hour and evenings are going to be lucrative times for those who want to get a Pilates workout into their work week schedule. 

Contrast that to a neighbourhood studio where there might be more demand for training during the mid-morning to early afternoon when kids are at school or on the weekends when there’s more down-time. 

Knowing when the clients are more likely to come in to work out is key when establishing your availability.

2) Shift Duration

Often, new instructors will provide large amounts of availability and then find themselves working shifts that have several hours unbooked between clients.

When you’re first starting out, a good way to monitor your working hours is to make available a 4 hours shift that you know you’re able to extend by at least one hour on either side. So, if you are able to do 7am – 10am, then allow for the flexibility and possibility of a new client wanting to come in for 6am or 11am. 

This, along with knowing when those viable hours are, can help you build up solid shifts that are long enough to be lucrative, but short enough that the workouts you provide are thorough and well prepared.

3) Maintain consistent hours

Some change is good and almost always inevitable. But frequently changing your hours of availability not only frustrates whomever you’re working for, but also those you’re working with. 

As you take a look at your availability, ask yourself what an ideal schedule might look like given other areas of your life that need attention. And be honest in knowing whether you’re able to commit to it. 

At Studio³, instructors who work the evenings do so because they enjoy having their mornings to themselves. Instructors who want their afternoons and evenings free, get into the studio for a 6am client and are out by 1 or 2pm. 

Having the freedom to organize your own schedule is an opportunity to be honest with yourself in terms of what is your best time of day to train clients and keep what’s important to you a priority. 

4) The fine line between accommodating clients and overextending yourself

The reality is that some (not all!) clients can be quite fickle when it comes to committing on a regular basis. But it’s part of the biz to acknowledge that there are times when we’ll have to accommodate a client in order to maintain our weekly income. 

This is an important flexibility to have and in my experience, clients are usually very gracious and appreciative of the accommodation. 

However, your time and how you spend it is one of your key assets in being successful. 

So while it’s wise to accommodate your regular clients once and a while, it’s just as prudent to avoid overextending yourself for the client who is constantly changing and rescheduling their sessions. 

Commitment to both the time slot and the workout is required from both of you. This is what will promote longevity for you and results for your clients. 

Looking for more tips on how to manage your schedule and clients more effectively? Email us for more information on how to get in on our instructor workshops that address this topic and more to help you succeed in the industry!

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