It’s rare that you will find a Pilates Studio which hires instructors as employees. For the most part, you will be working as a Pilates Instructor as an Independent Contractor. There are pros and cons to working as either an employee or an independent contractor.

Working as an Employee

In most cases, you will receive a set salary and will not be paid per session taught. Usually, this will mean that your rate per session will be much lower than if you worked as an Independent Contractor. If you work as an employee, the studio can set your schedule and has the right to ask you to sign a non-compete contract and to agree to any number of rules and regulations as they see fit. One upside of working as an employee is that you will have a set income that you can count on every two weeks and you will have taxes taken out through payroll. But in most cases, you will not be free to work in other studios, you will not be able to set your own schedule, and you will have just less freedom in general.

Working as an Independent Contractor

In most cases, you will be paid by the session. Most studios give you a percentage of whatever the client pays or you might get a set dollar amount for mat classes, another amount for equipment classes, and another for privates. In almost all cases, an Independent Contractor will be paid a higher rate for each session taught than they would get if working as an employee. The relationship between yourself and the studio will be slightly different than it would be if you were an employee.

In our studio, since our Instructors are independent contractors and not employees, they are expected to be responsible for a number of things that an employee might not be.

• All of our instructors are responsible for setting their schedules. They are responsible for checking the studio schedule regularly to see if new clients have been scheduled with them; it’s up to the instructor to keep up with this.

• On the other side of the coin, our instructors are also responsible for marking themselves as unavailable well in advance of trips, doctor’s appointments, or for any other reason. If they are going away, it is up to the instructors to find subs for their classes. If an instructor sets his or her schedule as available, that’s it. Once a client has been scheduled, the instructor can under no circumstances make themselves unavailable. This is all part of being an independent contractor. You have more freedom, and you have more responsibility to act professionally on your own without being “managed.”

• Instructors are expected to clean up after themselves and their clients and to leave the studio as they found it (or better). It’s the same as hiring an independent contractor to put up an addition to your house. First, you’d want to make sure they’re skilled and experienced. But once the job starts, you don’t expect to have to micromanage them. They’re professionals, they know what they’re doing, and that’s why you hired them in the first place.

• As an independent contractor you should invoice the studio you work for every two weeks (or according to their pay schedule). Your invoices should be clear and detailed and should include the date, time, name of client, service rendered, and the fee. Your invoice should also include your name, mailing address, etc. Submit your invoices on time. Nothing annoys me more than to have invoices come in late because it holds up the process for everyone.

As an independent contractor there are also some restrictions on what the studio will have a right to ask of you. Here are a few you should be aware of:

• You should be allowed to set your own schedule. This doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want. If you tell a studio that you can work only on Mondays from 9 am until 12 pm, well, they don’t have to do business with you. This works the same way as if the contractor you’re thinking about hiring at your house said he can work only from 2 am until 4 am. If you don’t work with the studio and make yourself available for times that are needed, then you might not be invited to work with them at all.

• You should not be told that you can’t work anywhere else. You might not want to work anywhere else, but sometimes new teachers need to work at multiple studios to make ends meet. As an independent contractor, you have every right to do this. In our studio, our only wish is that there be ZERO solicitation of our clients to visit other studios and that there be ZERO solicitation at other studios for their clients to visit ours. This seems like common sense, but things can get messy very quickly if instructors try to do this. It is completely unethical and we will absolutely end our relationship with any instructor who does this. It’s unfair to everyone involved. If you do work at various studios, just keep it to yourself when it comes to clients. If a client hears it from a friend and tries to bring it up, this conversation can easily be ended by simply saying, “It’s not ethical for me to talk about other studios while I’m working here.”

In part 2, we’ll get into this a little deeper.

Thoughts? Let us know below!

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