In today’s post I respond to Rishi, who is trying to decide between a cheaper $6K float pod or an expensive $19K float pod.
I am in something of a fix. I have an option between going for a $6K pod and one that costs $19K. The expensive one looks gorgeous and is much simpler to install and operate for obvious reasons. It is also aesthetically pleasing and I notice customers find it more appealing to get into.
Would you say 19K is too much for just a tank? I’d be taking a loan at that!
This question is becoming more popular as both float tank centers and float tank manufacturers continue to pop up around the country.
I think there are two factors that will play a role in your answer. First, is how much debt you are willing to enter for your purchases. Second, how much additional income will the more expensive tanks net you?
Ease of installation and operation of tanks is another thing to take into consideration, which i’ll discuss in an upcoming post.
Personally I hate debt. I don’t own personal credit cards, and I never took on school loans (I don’t have a college degree), and I’ve always bought used cars with cash. While we did go into debt in order to open the Float Shoppe, we wanted the amount we owed to be as small as possible. To facilitate this, all of our float tanks were purchased used. Had we bought $20,000 tanks, we would have taken on much more debt that we would have felt comfortable with and we would not have been able to afford our recent expansion that we took on after being open for just a year and a half. While taking on debt can lead to more immediate options, it can also be debilitating in a long term view.
That being said, purchasing an expensive float tank can open up options for your float center that wouldn’t otherwise be available.
The Pizzaz of a New Float Tank
If the Art of Floating’s readers were to survey a random group of people, I bet the number who have seen a float tank would be less than 30%. Since most customers coming in won’t have an expectation of what a float tank looks like, having a visually stunning tank isn’t that important. Your tanks will define what a float tank should look like in their mind.
Your approach may need to be different if you’re not the first float center to open in your city. When we opened, there were already float centers operating in Portland. We wanted to create an image of floating that was incredibly friendly and we wanted float tanks that were both high quality and also exceptionally friendly to enter. For that reason we chose spacious, friendly and open feeling float tanks, all previously used. Not only did we want to create a quality float, but we wanted to be sure potential clients who would otherwise never step into a boxy float tank would want to float with us.
How to Decide?
I feel that we were able to get the best of both worlds. We were able to find both beautiful and friendly float tanks at a low cost. This has become more challenging in recent years as the price of even used float tanks has skyrocketed. Fancier float tanks will often require a large financial investment new or used. So how do you decide if it is worth the price? Despite how common it is for people to say they wouldn’t want to float in a boxy tank, I think the number of people who would outright refuse to float in that style of a tank is quite small, maybe 10% of all potential customers. So my question to you is this: Will attracting an additional 10% of customers bring in an additional $13K of revenue? Is the prospect of being further in debt worth getting that additional customer base? Spending time with these questions should help you find the answer that is right for your business.
Laurie Bowers says
I would like to add that it may be important to investigate which tanks meet your Dept of Health (DOH) guidelines. In Florida, for instance, the DOH considers all float tanks as swimming pools, therefore our tanks must meet the same safety and filtration guidelines as a pool in addition to special criteria just for tanks. Seems unfair, I know. However, not considering this in our state can potentially put you on a hit list for closure by the state. The bureaucrats here are not interested in understanding floating, they just want to drop it into an existing category and make it work (or not), Though I haven’t seen a blanket response by the state, I have seen individuals put-off, strongly discouraged by legal counsel, and informed they must absolutely close their doors until they are able to meet the guidelines. It may benefit you to do some “stealth-like” research with your DOH, meaning you wouldn’t want to call attention to a problem that doesn’t exist in your state. I would like to see more compliance minded tank manufacturers in the US as establishing a health and safety standard for float tanks is a wonderful way to increase awareness and confidence, and put floating on the map for good. 🙂 If only the DOH would come and float.
Dylan Schmidt says
Laurie, I couldn’t agree more with your points. My approach to writing this was “all things being equal” and only focusing on the ‘flash’ of new tanks versus cheaper new and used boxier float tanks. I think when it come to purchasing a tank there is a TON more to cover. You can expect more posts on how to choose a tank in the following months. Thanks!
Jessica Montana says
Aloha Laurie, Dylan, and blog readers!
I am in Maui, Hawaii and have left several messages with the Dept of Health. When I spoke with people in the Sanitation Dept, they had no idea what I was talking about. I left a message with the head of the Dept, and no call back (its been 2 weeks). I don’t want to call attention to a problem that doesn’t already exist, but I do want to find out information on permits, permission from the state as I am getting closer to my dream of offering a beautiful float facility on Maui and eventually the other Hawaiian Islands. If anyone out there can advice me what to do next I would greatly appreciate it. Perhaps a visit in person?
Mahalo Nui Loa!
How is it going with the Float business on Maui? Still trying to do it?
Jessica Montana says
Yes we are doing it. I ordered an Escape Pod from Jeremy Warner who is excellent. We are putting it in our home. Should be up and running this October!
Peace, Love, and Floating
How is the pod working out in you home. Also do you still have the same issues of compliance with the doh if the pod is being used in the home for personal use?
Nathan Morris says
Hello Laurie, Do you happen to know which tanks meet the Florida guidelines? I am looking into investing and would like to know where I can find that information.
Yes, there are a couple of manufacturers that Mark (my hubby) and I worked with directly as they went through the Florida Dept of Health validation process and they can be found here. http://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/swimming-pools/index.html
In addition to running our own little slice of heaven in Orlando, Mark and I now also consult with new float centers as they open. He is in the loop with what’s going on with new tank developments and regulations, and can help you choose the perfect tank for your scenario. Please feel free to reach out to Mark@eastcoastfloats.com with any questions. Happy Floating!
robin gordon says
….. there are places that have reasonable float rooms for the price of a high end pod. I will probably be purchasing the “couples float room” from silver essence float spa- their “single float room” is 4.5 by 8 and is about $17,000- and he finances.
There is also a gentleman out of Dallas TX- http://atpeacefloatationspa.com/pricing/. Seems that all is there except for the insulating walls, lighting, intercom, in that first option priced at $8500. If your a handyman or know a handyman this might be very feasible.
If you can get a float room- get a float room. The float room i floated in at zero gravity institute has 6 foot wide 8 foot long float rooms. It makes a huge difference in your float to physically and mentally stretch out. Much more air also in the float room than in a pod….
just my 2 cents
much love to all yall
Dylan Schmidt says
Awesome, thank you for sharing Robin!
There’s also the third option of building your own. Looks like Float Therapy ( https://www.facebook.com/FloatTherapy?fref=ts ) did a pretty kickass job. I don’t recall how much the owner projected it would cost when he was planning it, but I think he did 3 rooms for less than the price of one new float pod. And I think they’re sexy.
Maybe commercial manufacturers will see this and start lowering some prices 🙂
Well Dylan. I believe you now own a flashy i-sopod float tank. Perhaps you can tell us what your customers think as a comparison to the others tanks that you have?
Dylan Schmidt says
Oh yeah, customers are loving it! I recommend listening to our podcast to hear in more detail how we built the room for this tank, how customers are enjoying it, and how it has effected our business.
Luke Smith says
I like your comment about how the choice for what sort of float tank to purchase should be influenced by what is available around you. I can definitely see how for the first float center opening in an area the way the tanks look wouldn’t matter as much as a second or third center. For someone buying a personal float tank for their own use, the look is probably the least important item to consider.