One of the greatest challenges to running and growing a successful Pilates or Yoga studio is managing the ongoing client administration. There’s no hiding from it, more clients may mean more revenue, but it also means more classes to manage, more client rescheduling, more chasing of payments… basically more time spent ensuring good business practice instead of good teaching.
Thankfully there are many software solutions available which can help studio owners to reduce costs, save time, increase revenues, attract new customers and allow owners to easily track their studio performance.
But with so many options on the market, and so little time to try them all, how do you choose the right solution for your studio?
Step 1. Do you run a small, medium or large studio?
A new studio owner, or freelance instructor, will have very different software requirements from that of an established studio owner. If you are just starting out, it will be important to keep your costs in check without compromising on the essential features you will need to help manage your growing client base.
Seasoned studio owners might be happy to pay a bit more for advanced features which allow them to track business revenue from multiple locations and calculate payroll for multiple instructors.
Keep this in mind when comparing different software solutions.
Step 2. What are your non-negotiables?
Everyone has a different idea of what counts as an essential feature. What part of your business do you find yourself most wanting to automate?
From the customer side, students now expect to be able to book and manage their own bookings from their phone. For studio owners, essential features are usually those which mean spending less time doing administration, particularly as their studio grows.
Here are seven popular essential features recommended for Pilates and Yoga studios regardless of size.
- Easy to Use:
- Software which is easy to use saves time.
- Online Bookings:
- Selling online means you can accept bookings 24/7.
- Client Self Service:
- Allowing customers to manage their own bookings 24/7 saves you time.
- Create flexible pricing, waiting lists and studio rules specific to your studio.
- Recurring Bookings:
- Spend less time adding clients into classes.
- Integrated Payment Processing:
- Ensures clients pay upfront and minimises lost revenue.
- Support for iOS and Android:
- Ability to conveniently manage the software/bookings from a mobile phone.
Step 3. What are your non-essential features?
Non-essential features are nice to have, but may not really help you with the day-to-day running of your studio and may incur extra cost.
For example, do you sell inventory? If not, then this feature is not needed. If you do, then also consider that inventory management can quite easily, and often more cheaply, be performed by adding an e-commerce plugin to your website. Do a comparison.
What about branded apps? They sound cool, but consider whether they will really save you time, or grow your business. Sometimes branded apps merely take more time to make, cost more to maintain, and ultimately deliver the same functionality as a well-designed web-based booking platform.
Integrations with various other software services may be helpful if you are already using them. If you are not, you are essentially paying for someone else’s convenience.
Step 4. Weigh up the cost
Once you have identified your essential features, you can start looking for software that fits, and falls within the price you are happy to pay.
When weighing up the cost of software, here are some important things to consider:
- Is the software priced in your local currency or in a foreign currency? If it’s not in your local currency you could end up paying more than you bargained for.
- Does the software lock you into a contract (making it difficult to terminate should you need to) or do they offer pay as you go pricing?
- Does the software have flexible pricing options? Moving between pricing plans can be a hassle if your plan is linked to teachers, locations or features.
- What are the local and international fees for card payment processing? Is it competitive and are there any other hidden costs?
Now that you have a checklist, go forth and conquer the exciting world of Pilates and Yoga studio software.