Note from Kaleen: Katie is one of my dearest friends, whom I met while working at Balanced Body. She is outgoing, loud-mouthed, smart and an awesome Pilates instructor who has her own busy studio. I help her with her website and graphic design, and since she raves about Tula so much I asked her to write something for you guys. I hope you enjoy!
In the world today, there are a lot of choices out there for us. Hundreds of resturaunts, multiple coffee shops and clothing stores galore. And if you cannot find what you need in a physical store, then you just go online. Or these days, you go online first and nix the stores all together. There are so many choices that oftentimes it can be overwhelming. Too many decisions can make a person confused.
This is also true when there is a lack of choices. If you only have one or two choices you just hope that they are going to deliver what you need. Due to the small market that Pilates occupies, we as Pilates professionals aren’t always given many choices when it comes to our career needs or studio operation requirements. For training you often have to travel to a far away location in order to attend, and for equipment there are really only three quality brands to pick from and. Plus, you can search long and hard and not find qualified instructors to hire for your studio. It’s tough!
This is especially true when it comes to scheduling and software. Who is the first company that comes to mind when I say Online Studio Scheduler? MindBody right? Across the board, it’s MindBody. It’s the largest company in the realm of fitness studio software systems. And yes, it is impressive that they have grown along with an industry that is gaining quite a bit of traction and notoriety in our world today. But does that make them the best? Are they the superior choice for what your Pilates studio needs?
I have a unique position on this. My day job for the last 3 years has been in Customer Service of a major Pilates equipment company. On any given day I talk to between 10 and 20 Pilates instructors and studio owners. In order to help them analyze their studio equipment needs, we talk. We talk about the size of their space, how many clients they see, where they are located, what classes they want to teach or add, how their website is looking and working and what software they use for their schedule and payments. Most say MindBody. So I ask why MindBody? And typically the answer is: Because everyone else does.
I never hear anyone say they use Mindbody because it’s the best!
Listen, we are all busy. Pilates instructors and studio owners don’t have time to spend hours digging online for other options. Sometimes, it’s just easier to go with what is right there in front of us. It doesn’t matter if it is more expensive, less user friendly, harder to set up, harder to use, isn’t pretty, they haven’t heard glowing reviews about it and it captures your clients as its own leads. It’s there and known, so people use it.
After years of hearing my peers complain about MindBody, when it was time to open my studio I realized I had to find an alternative. I am here to tell you that I spent hours doing research on scheduling systems. HOURS!
Little tidbit about me: I am SUPER anal and obsessive when it comes to this sort of thing. I’m the kind of person who will research something to death, then mull it over and over and over in my head, lay in bed running circles around it mentally, and make people listen to me while I talk it to death before making a decision. I want to make sure I have exhausted my options (and the ears of my husband) before I decide which path to take. In this case, I knew I didn’t want to use MindBody so I purposely set out to find a better option.
I did my homework and tried out 2-week free demos for three different services. I tested them with clients, tried to integrate them with my website, and compared features I knew to be critical to my business success. After all this testing, the service I decided on was Tula Software.
Tula isn’t a huge corporation. They are a small company that started when the founder’s wife opened up a Yoga studio. When they weren’t happy with the options out there for software, they decided to make their own. The result is a web-based software system that takes just minutes to set up for your studio, and even less time for your clients to make an account and register for classes. There are custom iPhone apps, a find-a-sub feature, electronic waivers, website widgets, multiple permission levels for your teachers, online payment and registration and no contract required. They can also migrate your data over from your current software, so switching your service provider is easy.
One of my favorite things about Tula is that they match the color of your website in their website widgets so the scheduling and payment functions are seamless! No bouncing clients off your page to a boring-a$$ white MindBody schedule. You can have a hot pink and black schedule!!!
You are probably thinking, WHAT?!? Oh yes, people, options galore. Freedom to be freaky. Freedom to jump in your app, make a change in less than 2 minutes, jump out, and carry on with your life. Who doesn’t want that? And they are about half the price of MindBody. HALF!
Plus, if you do get stuck on something and refuse to read their easy-to-find-and-understand Users Guide and frantically email them IN ALL CAPS (hey, I was freaking out!), the owner is one of the guys who gets back to you in less than 10 minutes every time you have a question. This company is amazing. Simply amazing.
Tula isn’t paying me to tell you this. Nope. Tula didn’t ask me to talk about them on Instagram or Facebook. They don’t even have an affiliate program, so I don’t get anything if you go sign up after reading this. I am just one of those people who, when I find an amazing frozen yogurt place, will be like DUDE I found this amazing frozen yogurt place, you have to try it!!!! I have a big mouth and I like to share good stuff. I love when people share with me what they like and what works for them. So now I’m sharing Tula with you. Tula works.
If you want to see Tula in action you can visit my studio’s website at www.getheartcore.com . Just try not to drool on my website, ‘cause you can have that too– it was done by my lovely lady friend here at The Fit Reformer.
Want to find out more about Tula? Check out these links:
- Podcast interview with Tula founder
- Tula website overview (YouTube video)
- How to build a website with Tula and Squarespace (YouTube video)