One of the first things I ask my Pilates Teacher Mastermind® clients to do is raise their prices.
Yes, I am suggesting that you have to, or should, raise your prices.
In fact, you should generally raise your prices at least 2x per year.
First, you should 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.
Now, that $125/hour equivalence doesn’t just have to come from privates. If you have a mix of online programs, privates & small groups, classes, and maybe a bit of retail or affiliate sales, they all contribute to that sum.
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 still more than 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 clients, while allowing existing clients to stay at their current rate for a limited period. When I raised my rates last month, I started by charging new clients more.
I gave my clients 2 weeks notice that new rates were going to be happening, and the offer to buy up to 2 additional packages at the current price. This made my current clients feel loved.
2. Offer current clients a few packages at current prices.
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 2 packages 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.
Remember, if you doubled your prices tomorrow and lost half your clients, you would still be making the same amount of money in half the time.
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!
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.