Something in the world of floating have you stumped?
Come listen to Graham and Ashkahn pick the brain of Juliet, who are all in the studio talking about the State of the Industry Survey that has been released by Float Tank Solutions (hey! That’s us!). To find out what’s new in this year’s survey and information on where to go to fill it out, check out this episode!
Listen to Just the Audio
Transcription of this episode… (in case you prefer reading)
Graham: Hey. Here we are again back behind the microphones.
Graham: I’m Graham.
Ashkahn: I’m Askhahn.
Juliet: And I’m Juliet.
Graham: That’s right.
Juliet: Oh, didn’t see that coming.
Graham: We have a third host.
Juliet: Bet you didn’t see that coming.
Graham: An occasional host, if you will, on the podcast. Juliet’s joining us because we have an exciting non-question to answer.
Graham: Non as in not a question.
Ashkahn: We don’t answer any questions anymore.
Graham: Yeah. So all of them are kind of non-questions.
Ashkahn: It’s just statements now.
Juliet: Yeah. What we’re really doing right now is we’re hoping to get people to fill out our industry survey, which we do every year. You can do that-
Graham: Just to clarify, we’re giving people the honor of being able to fill out our industry survey.
Juliet: That’s true. It’s really a privilege to be able to-
Graham: There we go. Yeah. This is the right thing and contact.
Juliet: It is because it helps the industry in a huge way, which we’ll get into a little bit later. But if you want to get started now, you can go to floattanksolutions.com/survey and fill out the industry survey if you’re an existing center or just planning to start one and if you’re looking to expand an existing practice by adding float tanks to it.
Graham: If you’re like planning on planning on starting a center, we don’t have a survey for you yet, but you can go and just take a look. Just sort of take a look at the survey. Dip your toe in the water. See if you like what you see.
Ashkahn: Think about it for a couple years.
Graham: Yeah. Then come back when you’re actually planning where to go.
Juliet: Yeah. It can be a really useful primer for figuring what direction you should be looking at.
Graham: Actually that is true. If you’re even thinking about planning. If you’re planning to plan to plan, go download the survey and just read the past years of results.
Ashkahn: Do you think those people are listening to this podcast?
Juliet: I hope so.
Graham: Oh boy. Yeah. It’s hard to reach people who are planning to listen to your podcast as part of the download.
Ashkahn: Because they don’t know. I mean, they don’t know.
Graham: Right. They’re just talking about it.
Juliet: We’re future proofing this for people who find the episode later because they heard about, if you’re planning to plan on having a float center, then you should listen to this episode.
Graham: That’s pretty smart of us.
Juliet: People from the future, hi, welcome. So glad you found us. Now you know what to do.
Graham: It’s pretty cool. We’ve been doing this for a few years since 2014. Which that’ll make this the sixth survey that we’ve actually accumulated, which is pretty cool. It really is a privilege on our part actually to be able to release this. It’s one of the things. We have a lot of various free sources of information in this podcast included on Float Tank Solutions. I honestly think the industry report has the broadest reach and the biggest impact actually on people’s lives and on both future float centers and existing float centers for things they’re able to accomplish that they couldn’t without the industry report. Really impactful and you do get to be a part of it.
Juliet: Yeah. It only takes a few minutes to fill out the survey. Every bit of information that you put out there being as accurate as possible, which shouldn’t be hard. It should be everything that you already know about your center and running it. It’s just jotting it down real quick.
Graham: It’s like, you know when your teacher called on you in class and you didn’t know the answer to the question and you get all stressed out? This is like the opposite of that. The questions will make you feel really good because you definitely know the answers to them and you can fill them out really quick.
Graham: It’s a good feeling is what I’m saying.
Juliet: It is. It’s a good feeling.
Graham: Another one of those privilege to take this kind of things.
Juliet: It really is just the best thing that you can do to help the industry. Right now there aren’t a whole lot of people collecting data like this, and I think we’re the only people that put out any sort of report like this.
Ashkahn: I put out my own separate Ashkahn’s Float Jam. Not a lot of people have really been picking it up yet, but I think it’s going to be pretty big. So I just wanted to throw that out. Ashkahnsfloatjam.com.
Juliet: Yeah. With this-
Ashkahn: You can find that link in our show notes.
Juliet: Oh. Dammit.
Graham: As well as a water buffalo having a tea party with a giraffe. Like a drawing of a water buffalo having a tea party with a giraffe with some sort of either water buffalo or giraffe or tea pond included in their dialogue. It’s going to be in the show notes.
Juliet: Yeah. It sure is. So the industry survey, it’s gotten better every single year, and we’ve had more-
Graham: It wasn’t bad to begin with.
Juliet: It was great-
Graham: Am I right, here? Am I right?
Juliet: It was great to begin with, and it’s gotten even better. We’ve gotten better at collecting data and asking useful questions.
Graham: That’s true.
Juliet: Which makes this the best possible year to hop into answering the industry survey. Do you want to share some of the things that the report has been used for, for float centers, so that they can get an idea of what this goes towards?
Graham: Boy, do I. Well, just on the float center side as far as being useful to people getting started and in conversations or even for existing centers that are expanding. This is one of those resources that banks really like to see. It’s actual data, not just taking some person who’s applying for loans, word for what’s going on in the industry. The fact that we have this year over year data that’s coming out and is very consistent and shows this growth in the industry and positive trends ends up legitimately making it so that more float tank centers can open and actually get funded with loans.
We’ve had personal emails come in from people saying this survey alone was really helpful in showing that the bank or their loan office that they weren’t just crazy. That there’s a whole industry out there and it is in fact a successful one. That’s one of them for sure.
Ashkahn: Yeah. We also get a ton of just the news contacting us, asking for exactly this. We get various people wanting to write some sort of story on floating and the float industry. They’re curious if there are any statistics on the float industry, and it’s great that we actually have this to pass along to them. It’s like exactly what they’re looking for when they contact us.
Graham: Yeah. Similarly as loans, people getting leases for buildings. Really anything that you have to go out and apply for, these kind of industry stats just make you seem that much more legitimate and make it more likely that you can get, again, a good lease on your building or better terms even on your loan, or get approved at all. Very cool.
Juliet: The real time result of this or I guess, release of it, always coincides with the float conference. If you do go to the float conference, you can stop by the Float Tank Solutions booth and pick up a hard copy of it, which is awesome. They’re really pretty. They’re just this nice glossy paper, and it looks really nice. Ton of graphs.
Ashkahn: We’re talking pie graphs. we’re talking line graphs, maybe. I mean boom.
Juliet: This year, actually-
Ashkahn: Scatter plots.
Graham: Not so much.
Ashkahn: Cake graphs. There’s good stuff in there. You guys.
Juliet: Cherry, apple …
Ashkahn: Your graphic files are going to like … They’re going to love it.
Juliet: They’re sexy graphs is what.
Graham: Yeah. Good curves.
Juliet: Yeah. We’re doing some fun things that’s new this year that I think is worth going over as well. Before we talk about the new things, do you want to talk about some of the questions that we always ask so that people have an idea of what useful information is out there?
Graham: Yeah. Absolutely. There’s things like, what is your spirit animal?
Juliet: That’s not in there.
Graham: Sorry. Wrong list. Hold on one sec. Switch to my personal health group. Yeah. How many tanks people have, how long construction took them, how much revenue they’re pulling in.
Ashkahn: How many employees you have, how long it was before you hired your first employee, basically your questions about other questions.
Graham: What are you talking about?
Ashkahn: Float center related data. You know, all sorts of stuff.
Juliet: What type of marketing has been most useful?
Graham: Yeah. Number of floats people run on average per float tank. If there’s additional practitioner services or non-practitioner services added on.
Ashkahn: There’s one question in there that will help us identify if you are reptilian or not. So this is proof.
Graham: Don’t tell them which one though. Don’t tell them which one.
Ashkahn: I know. You won’t know which one, but we’re on to you now. We’re on to you.
Graham: And we have some interesting data compiled from previous years on reptilian plans. So that’s it. I mean we have the proof now.
Juliet: Great. That’s just for existing centers. Future centers have a whole slew of questions that we ask them as well as including how many tanks they’re planning on having and how they learned about floating. Seeing how those things track compared to what people actually experienced is-
Graham: Reality. Yeah.
Juliet: … is often a fun kind of comparison, but it’s also really useful just finding out where people are at. Since we’ve been releasing the reports, some of those numbers have gotten a little more accurate. I think we’re tempering people’s expectations sometimes. Which is-
Graham: Yeah. I think there’s actually kind of this beneficial feedback loop going into the industry report where because they get to look at data from previous years, their answers to some of the questions about what they’re expecting when they open their center and how many floats they think they’re going to run and stuff like that. All of a sudden it started drifting a little more into reality. Yeah. You look at the answers of some of the first couple years of the industry report, and it’s just like the existing center’s data and what a prospective center thinks is going to happen are just on two polar opposites. It has actually been cool seeing those get close together. You’re right. It is some pretty hilarious data to kind of look at the trends over the years.
Juliet: Yeah. Yeah. I think … Do you want to talk about changes now? Do we have anything else we want to talk about?
Graham: I don’t know. Yeah, go right into changes.
Ashkahn: Change it up.
Juliet: Okay. So this year is going to be the first year that we’re going to be doing a cross year analysis which is pretty cool. Since we’ve been doing it for six years now and-
Graham: The old CYA.
Juliet: Yeah. We’re going to be-
Ashkahn: That’s what that stands for.
Juliet: Yeah. That’s what that stands for.
Ashkahn: If you ever hear, that’s a cross year analysis. Yeah.
Juliet: Yeah. It’s a good thing that you clarified that because it’s a real CYA answer.
Graham: Yup. Real cross year analysis answer.
Ashkahn: That doesn’t make sense. I don’t understand.
Graham: It was a cross year analysis answer.
Juliet: Yeah. Like literally.
Ashkahn: Next year, we’re going to record another podcast and we’re going to reference this sentence in there. Is that what you’re saying?
Graham: Does that make it work in your mind?
Ashkahn: Yeah, yeah.
Graham: Okay. Then yeah. That’s what I’m saying. Yes, I’m saying it.
Ashkahn: All right. I’m writing it down.
Graham: Carry on.
Juliet: Since our data has been getting better every single year because every single year, we’ve had more and more respondents which gives us a more accurate view of the industry than this year, when we do our cross year analysis, what we’re going to see is just how much the industry has grown, how much it’s changed, and what we could probably expect in the future if trends continue. Which is really cool.
Graham: It will make us into fortune tellers.
Ashkahn: Is that how you become a fortune 500 company?
Graham: It is. If you can predict your own future.
Graham: Or really the future of-
Ashkahn: Anything. Yeah.
Graham: Yeah, of 500 companies.
Juliet: Yourself and at least 499 other companies.
Graham: Yeah, better than them.
Ashkahn: Not really.
Juliet: Then do you want to talk about the exciting change that we’re having for Helm customers?
Ashkahn: Not really.
Graham: I will. You know what, I’ll rise to that challenge.
Ashkahn: All right.
Graham: Yeah. This year, we are also including the option for Helm customers who are doing their scheduling through the FloatHelm to contribute and let their stats from Helm be aggregated so we can collect data that’s a little more precise. For example, when we’re asking how many floats people run, with everyone who’s giving us access to the Helm, which is already I believe over 50 different centers?
Graham: We’re pretty early in the collection process. We’re going to get a lot of good data on exactly what the average amount of floats that goes through a tank in a month is, for example. Even that precise of center and how that relates to cost or type of membership. Just the sheer amount of very precise data that we can pull out is going to be great. Again, it’s totally aggregate, totally anonymized. Yeah, if you are a Helm customer, I really strongly suggest you think about giving access to that. Yeah. Again, we should have some really cool stuff coming out that’s a little more than just self-reporting. Which as far as what banks are after, that’ll really help. Anything that we can do to prove that these are real numbers and not just stuff that people are kind of saying off the top of their head when they’re sitting down to breakfast is awesome.
Juliet: Everybody who looks at hard data or data in general does not always trust self-reporting.
Graham: Yeah, for sure.
Juliet: So the thing that’s useful-
Graham: I wonder why.
Juliet: The thing that’s useful with self-reporting is getting a large collection pool, which we’ve been doing better and better at every single year. Even if you’re not a Helm customer, answering the survey and providing as much information as you can is incredibly helpful. It helps round out the rest of the answers as well. Add a little weight to the whole report. Sometimes literally because it keeps getting bigger.
Graham: Yeah. Fun stat on that actually. It started as just a 19 page report. It was about equal between existing centers and prospective centers for what we asked them. Over time, that existing center especially side of things, has really grown. It’s up from 19 pages to 56 pages was last year’s.
Ashkahn: That’s a bunch of more pages.
Graham: You nailed it. That is the precise ratio. Yeah. And there’s going to be even more this year with the Helm stats with the cross year comparison. Yeah. Every year, it also just grows in literal, yeah, weight.
Juliet: Yeah. It’s been really exciting to work on, and it’s been an absolute privilege to get to put this together honestly. I personally kind of recognize just how important this is for the industry when working on it. I think if people go into answering the survey with that same sort of weight, it can help you get a personal connection to the report and maybe the industry as a whole.
Ashkahn: You will love the report.
Ashkahn: And it will love you.
Juliet: I know, I just-
Ashkahn: That’s basically what we’re talking about here. We’re forming a deep, deep bond.
Juliet: Well, the industry is already so connected, right? It’s not like other businesses. It’s the float industry.
Juliet: It’s kind of like a family. Surveys are not typically things that you do with your family, but maybe-
Ashkahn: You don’t know my family.
Juliet: I do know your family.
Graham: The yearly Jahromi survey. 31 pages for all of us kids. Oh, man. Sorry. You really got me with the surveys. It’s not something you usually do with your family. I’m like, “Yeah, that isn’t the most familial thing.” So where were you going with that? Yeah. I didn’t mean to interrupt, that was just funny.
Juliet: For this family, it really does help. It helps everyone, and it’s just really cool. It’s such an easy thing to do. Again, that’s FloatTankSolutions.com/survey.
Graham: Just to end with a couple fun stats for you.
Graham: As long as I’m on the whole stat train, you know, and we’re winding things down.
Graham: As far as growth, we started with just 56 existing centers who filled it out, which is also a sign of the industry back in 2014 and people who were kind of actively big enough to report. That grew to 293 float centers that were reporting from last year which is really exciting.
Ashkahn: Many branches more.
Graham: Hopefully we can get more than that this year. Again, this isn’t mandatory or anything like that even though we should make it mandatory.
Juliet: That would be cool.
Graham: Turns out, no, we’re not just allowed to pass laws. There’s no float police. But just voluntarily, that’s amazing. Even if we don’t hit that high a number, it won’t necessarily mean the industry is going down or anything, but you can be a part of making sure that number continues to grow. So far, every single year, the number of existing centers who have filled it out has done nothing but go higher, which is another one of these things that looks great to the media and looks great to banks and building owners.
Again, hugely helpful and just a sign of that as well is our first survey had nine people who filled it out who had funded their center in some way with bank loans. Last year, we had 122 people who had gotten bank loans for funding some part of their float tank center.
Juliet: So almost half.
Graham: Yeah, exactly. Almost half, as opposed to yeah, like a fifth before.
Graham: And just the sheer volume of bank loans that are actually going out and helping people start their float tank centers is really amazing. Again, this industry report is a big part of allowing them to get funding and prove that this industry is real and valuable and thriving. Again, hugely beneficial. Please, please take just a few minutes to go to FloatTankSolutions.com/survey. Select whether you’re an existing center or a prospective one.
Ashkahn: Don’t forget to go to Ashkahnsfloatjam.com too and fill out that survey. It’s equally important.
Graham: How long does that one take to fill out?
Ashkahn: That one takes like maybe three to four years. We do it annually, so you’re going to have to start a couple of them at the same time to really make sure that you’re able to do it. I haven’t really figured that part out yet. It’s going to be really good when the first one comes on.
Graham: That’s very thorough. I will say that.
Ashkahn: See you. Yeah.
Graham: What do you think Ashkahn’s favorite type of jam is?
Juliet: I don’t even know the jam.
Ashkahn: It is actually all jam related, but I’m working the float thing in there somewhere soon too.
Juliet: Is it like different types of floats like root beer floats and …
Ashkahn: Parade floats.
Juliet: Parade floats.
Ashkahn: Yeah. That’s a good idea.
Graham: It might take five years of every. Awesome. Again, FloatTankSolutions.com/survey. FloatTankSolutions.com/survey.
Juliet: Yeah. The cool thing is, I hope now that we’ve explained the direct impact that this has that maybe people are maybe more excited. More excited if possible to answer these questions.
Graham: I hope they’re feeling very FloatTankSolutions.com/survey about it personally.
Ashkahn: Yeah. I mean I FloatTankSolutions.com/survey as well.
Graham: All right, everyone. We’re going to FloatTankSolutions.com/survey you later.
Ashkahn: Yeah. Don’t forget to FloatTankSolutions.com/survey.
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