Should I tip my Pilates instructor?




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Attending Pilates classes can positively affect your life, so you may want to pay it forward. Is it common practice to tip your instructor if you’re satisfied with the service, or does it look out of place?

Tipping a Pilates instructor is acceptable but not as expected as in other industries. Usually, Pilates instructors only receive tips around special occasions like major holidays, birthdays, or if a major milestone has been reached in class.

Now that we know it’s acceptable to tip your Pilates instructor let’s dive deeper into related subjects. I will explore how much you should tip your instructor, what sort of holidays and milestones you should tip your instructor at, and whether instructors expect tips.

How much should I tip my Pilates instructor?

The average tip for a Pilates instructor is the price of one class. However, since tips are not the main source of income for Pilates instructors, you can tip less or more as you see fit. It’s common to get your instructor a gift instead of a cash tip.

This also depends on where you live. In the UK, gifts are usually given instead of cash tips. In the US, an occasional cash tip is more common.

Gift ideas for a Pilates instructor

You can show your appreciation towards your instructor without having a clear monetary value attached by giving them a gift. Here are some gift ideas for your instructor:

  • Massage gift certificate. A massage gift certificate is my favorite gift idea. Your Pilates instructor has provided you with a valuable service—why not provide them with one in return? After all, they deserve some pampering and with all the exercise they do, their muscles will thank you for it.
  • Athletic clothing gift card. It’s always a risky move to buy clothes for someone—it’s a mystery whether new clothes will fit. However, you can get around that problem by getting your instructor a gift card for a high-end athletic clothing brand, such as Contur. Since Pilates instructors have a physical job, you can be sure they’ll get plenty of use from your gift!
  • Small treats and luxuries. Other small treats and luxuries your instructor wouldn’t purchase for themselves would make a great gift. A few examples are artisan chocolate, delicious coffee, or baked goods.

Don’t feel like you have to stick to my list of gift ideas! The best part of choosing a gift over a tip is putting your creative spin on it, so feel free to get them whatever your creative juices muster up. If you are creative, perhaps create homemade gifts for the truly personal and unique touch.

Do Pilates instructors expect tips?

Pilates instructors do not expect tips, even around special occasions. No fitness professionals receive tips regularly, so if you decide to leave a tip to your instructor, you will make their day, even if it’s around a major holiday.

Unlike service industries, especially those in America, the fitness industry doesn’t rely on tips to earn a living. In fact, most Pilates teachers would be more thrilled to receive a handwritten note of thanks than cash gifts, let them know you appreciate their hard work and how it has changed your life.

Will a Pilates instructor deny my tip?

Usually, Pilates instructors will not deny a tip from a student. However, if they work for a studio or gym, they may have rules around accepting tips. In rare cases, your Pilates instructor may polity decline your tip because of these regulations.

The same might be true when it comes to receiving a personal gift, but you should be fine with handing them a note of appreciation.  In fact, if they do work for a studio or gym, it could be a good idea to leave your feedback with the management team directly, let them know what a value to the team your instructor is.

When should I tip my Pilates instructor?

The most common time to tip a Pilates instructor is around the Christmas season. However, you don’t need to stick to common tipping times. Some alternative times to tip are when you hit a major milestone related to Pilates or your instructor’s birthday.

While any holiday season is the obvious time to tip, out of season tips or gifts are often considered more thoughtful because they’re unexpected.  I love to celebrate milestones with my clients, the feeling that we’ve been on a journey and reached the first of many objectives gives us both a real boost.

Major Pilates milestones to tip your instructor

Here are some major milestones you may reach through your time in a Pilates class that would make for a great tipping opportunity.

  • Reaching a weight loss goal. I don’t encourage weight loss as a goal, I always want clients to aim for a healthier lifestyle.  Of course aiming for a healthier life will naturally lead to a change in your body and if you’re using Pilates to get in shape, reaching a weight loss goal is a prime opportunity to leave a tip. Be sure to mention how they helped you reach your goal.
  • After injury rehabilitation. A popular reason for taking up Pilates is injury rehabilitation or prevention. If you joined a Pilates program for injury rehabilitation and found success, it may be time to leave a tip. After all, I bet being injury-free is worth a lot more than the cost of tipping your instructor.
  • When you’ve finished a block of lessons. A common way Pilates instructors sell lessons is in regular blocks, either done as a number of lessons (e.g. 10 lessons), or time (e.g. 3 months). If you enroll in a long-term Pilates program, the end of a block of classes is a great opportunity to show your gratitude with a tip.

You can see the common theme is acknowledgement of them helping you progress in some way. While we instructors often dish out the praise for a session well done, it’s nice to hear from clients that they recognise they couldn’t have reached their milestone without our help.

Should I tip my online Pilates instructor?

Tipping an online Pilates instructor is optional, just like tipping an in-person instructor. However, there can be some logistical problems around tipping an online Pilates instructor, as they aren’t available in person to collect a cash tip.

However, it is likely to be a lot easier to give them a monetary gift than a physical gift as they should have an online payment system in place.

Ways to tip an online Pilates instructor

If your instructor gets you to send the class price through a common money transfer app like PayPal, you can add a tip on top of your class cost. Additionally, often applications like PayPal allow you to add a note, so you can add something like, “thanks for the great service,” to your tip.

If your Pilates instructor collects money in a way that doesn’t let you add a tip to the regular cost of the class, you can ask your Pilates instructor how they would prefer to receive a tip. However, if your Pilates instructor says they don’t accept tips for any reason, you should respect their decision.

You can also check out their social media profiles and see if they use a service such as Ko-fi, a quick and easy way to accept donations from fans.

If you’re looking to dive into online Pilates learning, you can check out Can you learn Pilates online?

Final thoughts

The world of tipping is a tough one to navigate. Different industries, countries, and people have different expectations regarding tipping. Pilates instructors are specifically tough to know whether you should tip because it’s not an industry everyone interacts with, like hairstylists and wait staff.

Thankfully, when it comes to Pilates instructors, tips are always appreciated but never expected. This means you can tip when you feel you’ve experienced exceptional service, and you never have to feel an obligation to tip your Pilates instructor.

A thoughtful gift might be appreciated more, but honestly the best gift you can give your instructor is feedback on the difference they’ve made to your life.


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