I own a small gym and group fitness studio that has recently opened. I have two yoga instructors who get paid per student for their classes. They are not gym employees but independent contractors. If no one shows up to a class should they expect to be paid? I want to be fair but I do not want to take a loss on the classes. I want them to have incentive to bring students in, but so far all the students have been gym members. They also get free gym membership as instructors. One instructor has told me that she gets $10 for a class where no one shows at another studio, but that is an established studio that does classes only, where as we have only had three classes so far. The first one, no one came, the second we had two students and the third we had one. Our class max is five, due to the small space.
I think paying per person is a terrible policy. This is basically the 100% commission model. I get it, I get it, you want your teacher to bring people in and have a stake in the class. You want your teacher, who presumably also teaches elsewhere to bring some of that crowd over to cannibalize them from the other studio. Then you want to pay them as an independent contractor as if they are running their own biz, and you are just renting them the space.
My gym does it, but as a bonus. Over 14 people in a class grants a per person bonus. We get an hourly fee, and if the class is empty, we get half our fee.
As an instructing professional, I have costs to cover. Based on 150 classes a yr (3x a week and some vacation)
Yearly certification (Continuing CEC’s, workshops, etc – I’m a pro and take this serious): $290
Yearly private contractor fitness insurance: $250
Quarterly music releases: $49
Gas to and from the studio: $6 per session roundtrip (Unfortunately I drive an SUV and live 45 mins away)
So teaching 3X a week my costs are $10.91 per class. How long would I stick around not getting paid?
I have no control over your marketing. I have no way to comp people who bring a friend. I have no way to offer my own specials. I have no way to change the amenities of your business. I have no control over class scheduling. I have little control over the format (I have some creative control within my category, but I can’t just up and switch from yoga to Pilates or whatever if thats the input from the class)
In short, you want to make the money. This is your business. Putting it on autopilot while not paying people is a quick way to shutting the doors. Finding passionate instructors is hard enough without putting the marketing department on their shoulders too. Gyms are a very local thing. It’s hard to draw outside of your geographic area for something like yoga you can get anywhere. Even my own mom goes to a gym closer to her house no matter how much I beg her to come to the gym I work at. People just aren’t going to drive way out of their way for an hour long class, unless it’s a really unique format. I can hound my facebook friends all day long, but you can’t count on my friends list as being your sales lead list. It’s up to you as the owner to put butts in the seats so to speak. What you offer as a studio, features, and pricing are out of my control. It’s really hard to make me be the one responsible for that with so little control over the situation.