Learn best practices for starting and running a float center:
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I’ve had the pleasure of giving tours of our HelmBot software. While some of these tours are to established centers looking to switch scheduling softwares, most of the tours have been to centers in the final stages of opening.

In talking about how to set up “The Helm” to offer their floats, the conversation regularly expands into what they are actually selling.

Length of Sensory deprivation SessionSimilar to how restaurants determine their menu, float centers need to plan out what they’ll be offering. Of course the offering is floats, but they have to plan out their float offerings in a bit more detail.

One of the most basic elements to planning a float center, the single float, is often one of the areas people have the most trouble making a decision on.

Length of Float Sessions

The vast majority of people I speak with either want to:

  1. Offer 60 minute long floats
  2. Offer 90 minute long floats, or
  3. Offer both 60 or 90 minute long floats

60 and 90 minutes, of course, are the settled upon lengths merely for ease of scheduling and appointments – revolving around the hour and half hour marks on our clocks.

There’s no universally accepted standard for the perfect length of float. While there is no “right” answer, per se, it’s a decision that each float center must make. Let’s discuss a couple of the merits and pitfalls of these various options:

60 Minute Floats

These are the first floats that are really viable based on an intersection of: offering a substantial float experience for the customer and being financially viable for scheduling and pricing purposes.

As a float center owner, the biggest draw of offering 60 minute floats is simple: shorter appointment length means you can offer more floats. This means that you can get more customers flowing through your center (if you’re able to maintain max capacity/near-max capacity)

Furthermore, 60 minutes is a very familiar length of appointment for customers (on par with massages, yoga classes, etc). This “familiarity” of length means that pricing needs to be somewhat on par with these alternatives as well, which might be difficult for your center to match depending on mathematical feasibility.

90 Minute Floats

While losing the ability to offer as many floats in a given period, 90 minute floats have a few benefits of their own which you might consider, especially if you’re not working at 100% capacity.

From a marketing perspective, 90 minutes is 30 minutes MORE than the “familiar” 60 minute appointments previously mentioned. Adding to the familiarity of 60 minute appointments creates a  “WOW” effect for the customer. The sessions are perceived differently, providing a center with the ability to charge reasonably more than a familiar massage.

Furthermore, 90 minutes is more in line with a natural mental pattern of ours, the sleep cycle. This overlap may allow for a more natural beginning and ending of the float, and lends to a physical familiarity.

Offering both 60 and 90 minute floats

length of float tank sessionsFirst and foremost, it’s difficult to schedule into the future if you don’t know what time appointments will start and end. The first float of the day would be known, but as you get farther away from that time, subsequent appointments would be at the mercy of the customers in between. Having appointments of varying times will also great holes in the schedule where the tanks will sit empty.

If you have more than one tank, you may consider offering different length floats in different tanks, but this causes its own problems. Say you have two tanks, one offering 60 minute sessions, and the other offering 90.

When the 60 minute session is done, you’d normally turn on the noisy pumps and the customer would take a noisy shower with noisy water going through the noisy pipes… see a pattern? –the person in the 90 minute tank still has 30 minutes left and doesn’t want to hear that.

This could potentially be resolved by keeping tanks on opposite sides of a center and soundproofing extensively. However it may be better to create one offering, set on your schedule, and market that as the perfect float.

If you’re still working on the basic elements of your float business, take a look at our Float Center Business Plan, which is designed to help you generate the financial information necessary for presenting to banks and investors.

Want to chat in more detail about this or about anything else float tank related, feel free to email me at frank@floathq.com.

– Frank Ciavarello