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Starting a New Business? Try Creating a Partnership Program

Pilates BusinessStarting your own business can be daunting. The time demands, planning, strategizing and worrying about cash flow are all part of the “Start Up” process. In today’s real estate market, many small business owners are surprised at how expensive retail, medical, or office space can be. An alternate option to high rents is to develop a partnership program within an existing facility, like a gym or wellness studio, a chiropractor or physical therapy office. There are many upsides to choosing this route over the traditional model of office/ retail space with a long term lease and added expenses.

To find the perfect space for your partnership program, it’s good to develop relationships with existing gyms and wellness facilities. Teach a class at your local community center or offer your services as post-maintenance for rehabilitation. You want to find a spot that has a lot of foot traffic. For example, if you are considering space in a gym, there are already pre-existing clients that will become aware of you as you start to spend more time there. Facilities are often open to added value propositions and can be structured to create a “Win-Win” situation for the instructor, facility, and client.


Any time you start a business, you need a plan. Get the dimensions of the proposed space, and figure out how much you are willing to invest. What equipment will fit? If you find you want options for group and privates to run at the same time, make sure you have the room for that. You can also ask if the facility is willing to match you or offer any additional funding. Look at the space, what equipment is affordable and practical, and how you can maximize revenues within that space. Set weekly, monthly and quarterly goals to make sure you are on target.

Make sure you also figure in to the financial planning that you’ll need to still pay for insurance and any business licensing fees for your state. Most facilities require studio liability insurance above and beyond personal liability when you own the equipment. Check with the facility to make sure you don’t need any extra permits to teach Pilates in their space. Factor in extras, like external marketing, taxes, small props, and after class cleaning supplies.


In a partnership agreement with a facility, you can negotiate a percentage split. Starting off you may be a little slow, so it allows you to focus on building the clientele base and not having to worry that you have to come up with next months rent. The bonus is for the facility when you do better, they will do better, and they make more money when you do. You can also ask the facility that they “cap” or shave back their percentage after you have hit a certain criteria (hours worked, or a net amount of money). As questions and new situations arise, you may need to foster flexibility in your relationships to deal with these situations.

You can also ask that they include you in newsletters, mailers, internet and email campaigns to current and future clientele. Other benefits include sharing services such as internet, fax copiers, phones, and utilities. You can have your contract with the facility for a short or long term agreement, or month-month, but it’s best to give yourself some wiggle room, with a 30 –60 day written notice of termination of the agreement.
Make sure your contract spells out the details on the financial arrangement between you and the facility. Does the facility take and hold the money, or do you keep your books open and collect the money? If there is damage to the studio or space, who is responsible? Who does the clientele belong to? Making sure these aspects are detailed and covered may save you headaches in the future.


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Once you have your contract and your equipment is on its way, make sure you get out on the floor to meet the existing members, potential new clients, and speak to the marketing director about announcing your program. Get out to the street and speak to your neighbors, bring professional materials and brochures to nearby offices and show people the benefits of Pilates!


By · Posted on November 10, 2008 · Topic Business

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One Response to “Starting a New Business? Try Creating a Partnership Program”

  1. Starting Out | Pilates Scene on February 14th, 2009 7:34 pm

    […] on the business model is a big part of the process too and this article from Pilates Digest can help out, considering the idea of partnership […]