How to Set Up a Pilates Business in the UK (Part 1)

I always have a chuckle at myself when I read my own blogs…..(no fat head here!)

I always say to Paul “I wish I had this when we started” and you know what… It’s great that I now have an opportunity to share with you today tips in order to give you an insight into setting up a Pilates business. I hope you can take advantage.

So first of all – YOU MUST REGISTER YOUR BUSINESS with HMRC (UK TAX).  Whether you are going to treat this income stream as a hobby or actual business – you must register.   The last thing you want is the tax man knocking on your door with a massive tax bill, which you WILL payback.

My best advice, if you are clueless like I was when I first started my business, is to speak to an Accountant.  Many Accounting firms will offer a FREE consultation so you have nothing to lose by going to have a chat with them.  Ask any of your business owner friends who they use or google and find one with good reviews.

The company I started with registered my business for me and also did my self-assessment at the end of the financial year and that cost me around £350 as my business was only a part-time business then.   I did all my own bookkeeping it was the main stuff I let them do.

I have created a whole different blog that goes into ACCOUNTS and I have a little surprise for you!

In relation to bank accounts – you do not need to have a business account to start with.  You can use your personal, however, it gets rather complicated when you go through your bank account to check your expenses and income. Therefore, setting up a spare account would be the best option. Once the business gets bigger, then you may want to consider changing over to a business account.

set up a Pilates business in the UKTo register your business you also need a name.  It’s not the be all and end all, but you need a name to register your business with.  We have changed our name three times since we started so it can be changed. A logo is not necessary, but if you’re dying for one (like I was) then is a good place to go.

I also use a graphic designer and his name is Gabor Hevesi ( Gabor designs all my flyers or any kind of imagery that I need and his prices are very reasonable and he provides a fantastic service.

One thing that helps graphic designers is to start a PINTREST board with colours and things that you like.  It’ll give them an idea of your personality and what you like.


I know many Pilates & Yoga business owners that do not have a website.  They run their business purely from Facebook.  Your main focus of a website is to collect contact details from potential clients so that you can continue to market to them and provide good valuable information to them.

set up a Pilates business in the UK

If you do decide to have a website – you will need a DOMAIN, which is your website address.  So ours is, which is also our business name.   You will need to check if your business name is available in domain form and you can do this by visiting GODADDY where you can buy a domain, and the price varies.

You need a domain to have a website, however some website building platforms will give you a free domain if you build your website with them.

If you are fairly competent on the computer you can try something like WIX which is fairly simple (if you know how!).  I’ve also used SQUARESPACE  before, but now we are using WORDPRESS.

On that note – BE VERY AWARE if you are going to get your website built for you.  I paid £500 for our current website and I paid £520 for the website we had before.    Some companies will charge you £1000 upwards!!!!  So I just wanted to mention that… don’t be suckered into a £1000 website!


set up a Pilates business in the UKNext thing to consider is making sure that you have insurance. You MUST have insurance to teach!  Some of your venues will require you to provide evidence of this and they ask for a public liability insurance of £5m, which is about £70. I use REPS and Paul uses BALENS.  There are many out there, but these are two of the most common ones. I have REPS because our Level 3 Pilates Teacher Training is also registered with them, for which you can get 20 points. REPS is the Register of Exercise Professionals.

Another thing which could come along and bite you in the bum is a music license. I know plenty of people that don’t have a license and you are really taking a chance. You could land up with a big fine, and on top of it – THEY WILL CHECK. We have been checked twice already!

There are two licenses which are PPL & PRS and you need to ensure you have if you’re playing “any” music. However, it is costly and I think it is in the region of £4.50 per class.  So 3 options for you:

  1.  pay the license charges
  2.  don’t play any music at all
  3.  buy LICENCE FREE music.

We went for option 3 and we use license free music, which has been checked by the licensing office!   So we use ICHILL or DAVGAR music.  They are both PPL & PRS free.   When purchasing license free music, you need to make sure that it is free of BOTH licenses.

The last thing, but probably the most challenging thing of all the points above….. is…….VENUES.

When I started, I had great ideas that I was going to work in one town on a Monday and another town on a Friday or whatever…

And it didn’t actually work out that way.

I had to take what I can get and make the best of it.

Many halls already have regular hirers or maybe other pilates there so your biggest challenge will be to find venues unless you’re planning on working in a leisure center.

So where do you find a suitable venue?

Here’s a list below of venues that I’ve used and still use:

  1. School Halls / Dance studios
  2. Conference rooms
  3. Village / Community Halls
  4. Scout Huts
  5. Girl Guide Halls
  6. Hotels (some are happy for regular bookings)
  7. CHURCH HALLS is probably your best bet
  8. Council buildings like Guildhall

My suggestion is to start contacting these venues.  Go onto google and put in HALLS TO HIRE IN (ADD TOWN NAME) and you should get a list of names come up.  But you will need to think outside of the box.  Some Dr’s are happy for you to use a room or even at the hospital – old age homes etc.

Pricing for these venues can differ from £8 / hour to £30 for 4-hour slot.  Our current halls are £24/h, £14.40/hr, £15/hr but we have to have it for 2hrs.  So hopefully that gives you an idea of the costing.   The bigger venues like schools etc will want payment up front, either for term time of monthly, but smaller halls will either take payment on the day OR invoice you at the end of the month.


That was a lot of information and we do go through this on our teacher training course and it’s in the training manuals that we have created.

Thank you for your time and let me know if this was useful!.   By all means, if you do have any questions please contact me at

In the next blog post,  I’ll be talking about MONEY / ACCOUNTS.  Another very important aspect of the business that we don’t really think about until the taxman knocks on our door!

Lots of love

Tanja & Paul


Cresta Social Messenger