I personally don’t offer Groupons but the gym that I contract with does for a few services. I’ve been told that it really does compromise the quality of the services as many people will only use your company as it offers a substantial discount, but are not willing to pay your usually fees.
You’re prices are almost cut in half by the time the groupon goes into effect, but is your staff really ready to eat the difference as it mostly will effect them?
I think sites like Groupon damage the actual and perceived value of a private training, or Pilates session. I also think its shows insecurity on the part of the person offering it, that their service is not that great that it can be discounted. Since classes are not profitable unless they are large, I believe coupon sites act as a chance to pad out a room where gyms or yoga studios want to see if they can pick up a few random members, but for the most part, they are teaching the public that it’s always and only about price. I don’t see doctors, architects, engineers and any service-oriented, confident career person offering discounts through any such service. Why would they need to? And I know for sure that the person who got the $15 PT session is not running to their doctor with some “coupon” to get a cheap diagnosis, after getting an injury from said “lesson.”
I did it, but I’m not a studio owner. I worked with Groupon to offer a deal for my workout DVDs as a bundle set for a bargain price. I slashed retail price by 50%, then of the price that the deal was advertised for, Groupon kept 50%, and I received 50%. However, as far as claiming sales tax goes, you have to claim sales tax on the dollar amount that the end purchaser paid, not the dollar amount that you received. (The sales tax burden falls on the vendor, not Groupon).
I had a wonderful experience working with Groupon. They were very well organized, had a fantastic webinar, and had a terrific sales associate that held my hand and answered all of my questions along the way.
If you go forward with offering a Groupon deal at your pilates studio, just be sure that you look at it as what it is: a marketing tactic. Don’t expect to make money off of this, but instead weigh this option as opposed to other means of marketing. I had done newspaper advertising in the past that proved to be very expensive with very little return on investment. With Groupon, yes, I cut my price significantly, then took a significant cut out of the revenue, but I was able to reach a very large market and receive some returning customers, Facebook and Twitter followers, and (quite frankly) some fans that will follow me to the ends of the earth!
Groupon has an extensive pipeline, so not every business that wants to be featured for a daily deal will be featured. If you ask me, they are a great company to do business with. It was an honor and a privilege to be featured as a Groupon deal in some areas (and side deal in others), and I would highly recommend working with them as a means to market your business.