Why Your First Class Isn’t Free

In my time as a studio owner, I have had my fair share of interesting questions from prospective clients. Inquiring minds wonder if Pilates is like yoga and oftentimes I am asked about the different types of equipment. People wonder if they should do private lessons or group classes and ask if Pilates can help with their particular injury or weakness. However, without a doubt, the most frequent question I am asked by prospective clients is, “Do you offer a free trial class?” Sigh. No. The answer is no. And 98% of the time, I don’t hear back from that person.

This used to upset me. Why do people seem to think I should provide a free service? Do doctors do a free first checkup? Do hairstylists do free cuts? No and no. So I stopped getting annoyed and I came to realize a few things….

  1. Do some fitness businesses offer free trials? Some do. Usually, these types of businesses are membership based. TRANSLATION: They ask customers to commit to monthly fees in long-term contracts. For those businesses, maybe a free trial period makes sense.  It’s like dating before moving in with someone. Loudoun Pilates does not operate that way. I’m afraid of commitment. No, no…kidding. But really, Loudoun Pilates is not a membership based studio. Clients only pay for what they do. Our clients have the option of buying single classes/privates OR packages of 10 for a discounted rate. Our packages do expire in 6 months, but we WANT you to come and take your sessions. (hint hint…membership based places kinda hope you don’t continue to come in. shhhh….).  I’m not saying my way is right and other ways are wrong. They are just different.
  2. I get it. Pilates is not cheap. And even within the industry, some private studios are more expensive than chains. Why is that? Pilates utilizes specialized equipment. Therefore, equipment classes tend to be more expensive than mat Pilates classes, which tend to be more on par with yoga class rates. At Loudoun Pilates, you are getting the best of the best teachers. Let me fill you in on some industry inside information. (This needs to stay between us, ok?). The baseline number of training hours that Pilates teachers need to have to be ‘comprehensively trained’ is 450. Comprehensive meaning trained on all the equipment and mat. For ‘mat only’ teachers, the hours tend to be 150-200 hours. All the teachers at Loudoun Pilates have at least 700 hours and as many as 950. So, that’s a lot.  I have a high standard when it comes to hiring teachers. They have to be awesome people AND extremely well-trained. Another factor that dictates prices are class sizes. At Loudoun Pilates we keep our class sizes small. This ensures that all of our clients are safe and doing the movements correctly. Pilates is great with its emphasis on posture and alignment. Well, guess what? Those awesome Pilates exercises are not so awesome if you are doing them wrong. And in a big class, there is just no way that an instructor can be sure everyone is doing everything right.  When you take classes with us, you are still getting individual attention you need.  Our equipment classes are only 5-7 people MAX! ALWAYS!
  3. While I don’t do a free class or trial, I DO offer heavily discounted new student packages. These different combinations of services are bundled and give prospective clients the opportunity to try our different classes, services and teachers without going all-in financially.  I do not feel like a 1-off class is going to truly give new clients a true feel of my studio. We have different teachers with different styles and the different types or equipment really need to be experienced. Most new clients start with one of our introduction packages.  Our full studio intro package even includes privates.

You are getting a lot when you come to Loudoun Pilates. Whether you come 1 time only or 4 times per week, everyone is go to get the same experience. Whether you are a healthy athlete or recovering from spinal surgery, you are getting classes and programs at the level you need.  You are getting a variety of class types of the different types of equipment. Most importantly, you are getting our expert instructors and personalized attention. And no, those things are not free.