I thought I'd share a few methods I use for managing the schedule, client accounts, and employee payroll.  I've had In Balance Pilates Studio for almost 15 years and have learned a lot throughout the years.  My studio is rather small with about 50 clients and I have 2 employees.  We don't have a front desk person or studio manager (other than me) so each instructor manages their own schedule and client payments.    I don't use expensive online software although I'm sure it's worth every penny!   I've definitely considered it but I just can't bite the bullet.  I know we would spend less time returning text messages and emails if we used that type of software, but I like the personal attention we can give each client by doing it ourselves.  I may move into another system one day but for now our current and FREE methods work well.

Client Accounts

I use Zoho Docs to keep up with our client accounts.  Zoho is a cloud-based spreadsheet designer that is free and works just like Excel. I started using Zoho rather than Excel when I started using a Google Chromebook a few years ago.  You have to use web based apps with a Chromebook and Zoho has been great.  When a client purchases a package we enter the amount in the spreadsheet and then use a simple subtraction formula so that each time the student comes in it deducts the amount of the class and voila...their new balance is updated.  The spreadsheet does the math for you so there are no math errors. We use a new tab at the bottom of the sheet for each student and place them in alphabetical order so it's  easy to navigate through the accounts.  When a client has one to two classes left on their account, we let them know they're ready for a new package.  One more plus with this system is the spreadsheet is easy to print if a client wants to look over their account details.


Employee Payroll

I also use Zoho for my employee payroll.  Basically, each employee has their own payroll spreadsheet and logs the name of the client, day and time of the session, and the amount the client pays.  Since my girls are independent contractors I just tally that amount by using a simple addition formula and figure out their commission from there.  Again the nice thing is that the spreadsheet does the math for you so you're eliminating math errors.


Google Calendar

I use Google Calendar for our schedule.  Each instructor has a different color and we can all see the schedule from our home computers or smart phones.  This is great for moments when you're not in the studio and a client texts to see if there's a spot in a class at the last minute.  It's also been a great way for everyone to have access to the schedule at any time but we have had a few issues.  There have been times that changes made from our phones don't get changed on the studio computer, so I usually just check-in with the schedule from my phone but rarely make schedule changes on it.  One thing I really like about Google Calendar is that we can make quick notes on the clients' appointment blocks or even communicate with one another about what a client is working on in these blocks. Google Calendar has been an awesome (and free) way to stay organized and connected.


Quickbooks and Online Banking

All of my employees have access to Zoho and Google Calendar but I keep my QuickBooks and Online Banking secure to only me.  Throughout the week we accept payments from clients but I enter the weekly sales receipts into QuickBooks only once per week.  I also use my bank's smart phone deposit app to enter checks so I don't even have to fill out deposit slips or drive through the bank anymore.  Having QuickBooks online has been a true life saver for me. For years I had to be at the studio or at my home computer to use QuickBooks and now I can do it from anywhere.  I do pay a monthly fee for QuickBooks online but it's totally worth it to me.  I usually enter the sales receipts while I'm in the carpool line or my son is at Gymnastics.  It's an excellent use of my down time.   I mean why just chill???  Ha!


The Communication Notebook

This is the simplest version of communication ever!  Old school pen and paper.  It's basically our backup system for all of the above.  Each time a client makes a payment we make a note of it so just in case a payment wasn't entered into Zoho we can look back and see that a payment was actually made.  This is also how we communicate non-urgent messages like subbing needs for the next month or days off needed which is nice because it often limits the amount of daily texts we're sending each other.


So there are a few of the ways I stay organized as a studio owner and full-time instructor.  I should mention that my employees are amazing which is the main reason all of the above works so well.  I honestly couldn't do it without them.  They make my job of managing the studio an absolute breeze so when I'm teaching I can be fully present and not distracted.  Which also makes my other job as Mom and kid chauffeur that starts at 3pm each day easier to manage.  Note that I said easier not EASY!

I hope this helps you with ideas for making your daily duties at your studio easier to handle.  Do you have any tips to share???  I'd really love to hear them so please post them in the comments below.


4 thoughts on “4 Pilates Studio Management Tips

  1. That’s awesome Carrie! Thank you for sharing! I’ve been looking at Programs and never been A fan of Excel! See you next week!

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Thank you for all the great tips. I have been in business since 2009 and have a small studio too. I use similar tools on my Mac Book to keep me organized. I really appreciate you taking the time to share this information. One thing I haven’t found is an organizer or system to use to plan out my sessions I teach. Do you have any suggestions?

    1. Hi Tamara! Thanks for you comments. I am going to do a post about how I plan out my classes soon but in the meantime I just started using the Tul binder which is really cool! I got mine from Office Depot.

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