Should You Own Your Pilates Studio or Rent Space?

When I was an apprentice I remember thinking that some day I would open my own Pilates studio and call it L Logan Pilates! I had just discovered Pilates the previous year and had a mountain of learning to do, but I concretely knew my own brick-and-mortar location was just a bit further down this exciting road I was traveling. For me it wasn’t a question of should I own or should I rent. Clearly, I would own, so I created a roadmap to get there.

I started off renting space at one studio to start my private client business, but also began teaching at a studio where I was an employee with the added benefit of working under someone I specifically wanted to learn from. Mentor? Check. Clients? Check. Wait! What’s happening? A promotion? See, working under my mentor at a fitness corporation was essential in helping me gain more knowledge in the teaching department. When she went on to take over a teacher training program, her job running the Pilates studio opened up. It was offered to me. This side track was a great experience, allowing me to learn the ropes of running a studio, managing instructors, and build the studio and the individual teachers’ businesses.

After successfully running that studio, I transferred to a bigger studio and then was promoted again, overseeing nine Pilates studios, managing other studio managers. All of this was incredible! What a fantastic way to see into my Pilates-studio-ownership future.

It was about this point that something in my dream changed…

I was coaching so many instructors and managers on their Pilates business, and I was really enjoying it! But, do to more if it, I had to change that road I was traveling. The coaching I realized I wanted to be doing required me to have a lot more freedom. I needed to be able to work with people all over the world. I also needed the freedom to be able to take off for a week or more at a time, because now I needed to travel. For me to teach and coach, I needed to change my business from working for someone else to working solely for myself.

My desire for L Logan Pilates to be its own brick-and-mortar is not forgotten, not discarded either, it’s just adjusted slightly. So, renting space at my friend’s amazing studio is the best choice for me right now. If you are super clear on your goals, abilities, and needs, the choice, such as the one I made, is not as hard as one might think. And my choice is also not set in stone. How can you make the owning vs renting decision for yourself? If you have not taken my “vision and goals” course, then take a moment to do that. Weigh the pros and cons.  I weighed the pros and cons for myself at each benchmark in my journey so far.

Weighing the Pros and Cons of Owning or Renting Your Pilates Studio

Owning Pros

  • You are in charge
  • You make all the decisions
  • You decide location, design, equipment, rates, create the studio schedule, website design, and retail
  • You handpick the renters or hire the instructors
  • You have the freedom to change your mind
  • You choose how your studio markets to future clients

Owning Cons

  • You make all the decisions (yes, I meant to say that in both categories).
  • You handle customer service.
  • Marketing, scheduling, and repairs are all part of running a studio.
  • You are in charge (again, this is in both).
  • You experience the highs and the lows.

Renting Pros

  • You can teach and then leave (cleaning up after yourself of course).
  • You create your own teaching schedule
  • You choose who you want to teach.
  • If you have an issue, you can go to the studio owner for help/advice.
  • You can change your business as you wish.
  • You create your own rates and packages.

Renting Cons

  • You have no control over the studio and changes it decides to make.
  • You don’t get to choose who you work alongside.
  • If equipment breaks down, studio is dirty, etc., you can bring it up to the studio owners attention, but it’s not up to you how things get done.
  • You have to bring in your own clients. You are still doing your own marketing.
  • You are your own customer service
  • You have to handle your clients packages, late cancels, etc.

Being in charge of a studio isn’t something that is a con to me, nor is having to be the one that makes all the decisions or do the marketing etc. Actually, for me, the main con right now is that I need to be more mobile and working for someone or owning my own studio would require me to stay in one place. My retreats and workshops are taking more of my attention, and those efforts would take away from time I could give to my own studio.

There are plenty more great things and potentially negative parts to both of these options. Tell me, what do you think are pros and cons to you? Which should you choose? How do you decide? When was the last time you did this for you and your business? Have you always been renting because that is what you started doing? Maybe now is the time to go out on your own. You can comment below or email me privately.

The more you know yourself as an instructor and as a business professional, the easier the decision will be. If you prefer to be more mobile then, owning a brick-and-mortar might feel like you can’t go off and do things. But, if you love being in charge and you have a vision for how you want your teaching and client experience to be, then open those doors. The beauty about being a Pilates Instructor is that anywhere you go in the world people need Pilates. How you offer it to them is up to you!

xx~LL 

PS: You may find that you love the choice you made but just wish you had help! Check out my Pilates Systems blog or contact me directly lesley@profitablepilates.com. Let’s make sure you are enjoying the way you run your Pilates business.

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Lesley Logan

Pilates Instructor & Business Coach at Profitable Pilates
LL, the founder of Profitable Pilates, offers one-on-one business coaching, skype sessions, weekly classes and online Pilates business workshops – all designed to help you do more of what you love: teach Pilates! Tune in each week for a new Pilates business blog post, or get emails from her here.
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4 thoughts on “Should You Own Your Pilates Studio or Rent Space?

    • Hi Molly, thank you for your comment. I am so happy this helped. It is a tough decision sometimes. If you have any questions feel free to ask. Keep me posted on how you are doing. xx~LL

  1. Love this blog! Staying fluid seems to be the theme. As much as I would love to just take the plunge and open my own studio, renting seems to be the wiser choice for now. Thanks for sharing your experience and wisdom in this matter!

    • Hi L, yes it’s true, fluidity is key! If someday you want to take that plunge go for it! Take my “visions and goals” course and you’ll be able to make the plan for when you are ready to go for it. I like to check back in quarterly on my goals and the pros and the cons. Keep me posted! xx~LL

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