As more and more Pilates Studios are moving into an Employment structure rather than an Independent Contractor model, Pilates Teachers are wondering how this change will affect them. In this week’s Ask Holly, I will outline some of the great benefits of employment. My studio has operated as an employment structure since opening in 2016, and I have to say it is the best business decision I have made to date, and my staff would agree.
1. Competition-free Zone
Pilates studios with independent contractors tend to have an underlying air of competition that happens between instructors, and this can cause a negative environment for the teachers, but also for the clients. When working as an employee, you become part of a team that has the mutual goal of success. Clients can work with any one of the staff in that team and feel that everyone is working together for their best care and movement experience, rather than every (wo)man for themselves. You have the support of the Studio Management and your colleagues to keep your schedule (and wallet) full.
2. No need for Marketing
Finding clients is a difficult task that requires significant time and resources, often that you are not getting paid for. From business cards to social media exposure, this all costs $$ (pssst, your time has a value, do you account for that?). As an employee, the studio owner is able source clients for you and fill your schedule to the brim, whereas as an Independent Contractor you must find your own clients by law.
3. Uncle Sam gets paid
The hard truth is that we have to pay taxes, regardless of our employment structure. As an independent contractor, you have the job of setting aside a portion of your monthly revenue to cover your income taxes at the end of the year. Employment takes the guess work and the additional account out of the equation as your deductions come right off the top every two weeks.
4. So many additional benefits
The stability of employment is only one of the benefits of this structure. By law, your studio owner is also required to provide you with Worker’s Compensation and paid sick leave. As a Pilates Teacher, we do have more risk than the average desk-jockey that we can get hurt. Goodness knows we are going to get sick at some point. Every time we are down for the count, this costs the independent contractor income – no clients, no money. Employment allows you to continue to earn even for the days that your body demands a time out, as well as the security of knowing that if you incurred a serious injury, you are protected financially.
Some studios have additional benefits they award their employees, like revenue-sharing, annual bonuses and performance increases, education allowances, and fun staff parties.
Shifting from an independent contractor to an employee can be a daunting task but it really is in the best interest of the Instructor, more than that of the Studio Owner. Most importantly, this means that your Studio is making an investment in you and truly believes in your abilities as an amazing teacher. It gives you a place to belong, grow and realize your greatest potential without being bogged down by the day-to-day operations of running your business, even when it’s just you.
Do you have a question related to your teaching or movement practice? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org to be featured in a future Ask Holly.
Holly Wallis, Certified Movement & Rehabilitation Specialist, PMA®-CPT
Director of US Operations, Body Harmonics Pilates & Movement Institute
Studio Director, ReActive Movement, 6200 LaSalle Ave, Oakland, CA 94611
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