General Dance Discussion > Cost of Running a Dance Studio

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by Larinda McRaven, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. Stagekat

    Stagekat Member

    Under the same topic but, something I didn't really see questioned....
    For a dance studio is there an average amount of time where if a new studio has been open for X years it is considered established and relatively "safe" from shutting down and actually turning a profit?

    For example I know stats not too long ago stated that a brand new independently owned and operated Restaurant had to be open for aprox 8 years before the owners would be considered "safe" and possibly turning a profit.

    Is there the same type of stat for a dance studio? I'd imagine that it would vary between independents and chains as well.

  2. rbazsz

    rbazsz New Member

    I was skeptical of private lessons but recently changed my attitude. Privates help me focus on things that would be very difficult if not impossible to pick up in group classes. However, many people just want to have fun and their goals aren't as technically oriented, so group classes may be all they need.

    Generally speaking private lessons are way overpriced so I don't blame people who shun them simply because they are too expensive. It's a shame that the studios make so much money because if they were less greedy the cost of the lessons would go down while the instructors could make a fair living.
  3. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    I get tired of this. Do you have any idea of the costs of doing business? How much of that fee actually goes to the teachers? Rent/mortgage/utilities on the building the studio's in? Floor rental fees if it's an independent teacher?

    It's. Their. JOB. It's a BUSINESS. Even if they were a non-profit they would have to charge enough to make a profit (people never understand that, the object of an NFP balance sheet is always to be in the black, not to break even.) You're free to not buy if you think it's too expensive but as studios and independents are setting prices in the hope of getting as many students as they can handle I can promise you they're not saying "Oooh, let's charge $80 a lesson [which isn't a lot for professional coaching from where I'm sitting, in line with better-than-average skating pros and dirt cheap compared to good show trainers with horses] and we'll get filthy rich!" The dance teachers I know who could be considered better-than-average income-wise are usually working their butts off with hours that would make the average desk-jockey cringe.
  4. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    I also don't blame people who shun private lessons because of cost but:

    The cost of a skilled laborer's dedicated time is high in any field. It's also higher than the income garnered by the laborer.

    There are many threads on DF discussing the cost of private lessons and the business of operating studios. Both issues have been approached thoroughly and from multiple angles. I will see if I can find some; but I'm not sure how much time I have for research at this moment. (Maybe somebody will beat me to it?)
  5. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I agree with much of this. I do think that there are overpriced lessons out there, but, as DL said, that's the topic of many, many other threads.

    But yes. Any good accounting textbook and/or basic business textbook has standard formulae for calculating pricing for service-based businesses. A lot of costs go into the final price charged -- much more than just the cost of the teacher's time. Just because I think lessons should be cheap, doesn't make them cheap.
  6. nottomention

    nottomention New Member

    I wouldn't say "greedy" but there is an unfortunate tendency to look for "easy money" in near-term desperation to make the months rent, via charging premium prices for inexperienced teachers or underpaid ones locked in by studio-facilitated visa paperwork. A more sound investment would be to develop a studio community that has both attractive class opportunities for new dancers and independent expert teachers for the more experienced students, where the business model depends on overall volume rather than concealing the relatively reasonable cost of the expert teachers from the new "studio students"

    Once you have the concept of some students "belonging" to the studio and others to the teachers, you have a business built on maintaining your customer's ignorance. That's an odd position to be in, if the product you are selling is some form of knowledge.
  7. Terpsichorean Clod

    Terpsichorean Clod Well-Known Member

  8. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    For those who've never been in a business-management position where you're actually dealing with numbers (and I get the feeling that's at least a couple) at least read Larinda's posts on the first page of that thread.

    And if you think you have a better model that would be more cost-effective for students yet still allow all your teachers (new and established) to make enough they can afford to do the job, go do it. If it actually works as a business model you'd probably make a lot of money at it.
  9. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

  10. nottomention

    nottomention New Member

    Or one might hope to cover the rent while creating a lot of dancers.
  11. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    ...until you can't pay the gas bill, taxes, etc. and still have enough left to live on. Again, if you can make it work, why don't you? There would probably be a market in some places for a studio focused on quantity at affordable rates. If you can do it and now wind up with those employed there (including the owner, as you do have to have one of those) not taking a bath on wages/living, it would probably be a good investment. (Again, not even NFPs go into operation without considering the potential for profit. Those that do, fold fast when they run out of money.)
  12. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    Gotta add water / sewer to the utilities unless it's included in rent. Toilets have to work in the bathrooms. ;)

    You could maybe cut back on the accountant if you ran QbooksPro or similar but you still have to buy the software and need at least a tax guy once a year (or quarterly).

    Excellent post by Larinda though.

  13. nottomention

    nottomention New Member

    If there is a floor for rent to independent teachers in your area, then it's very easy to know the market value of running a studio facility to support lessons.

    You then take what teachers are willing to work for, and you have the appropriate price of a private lesson for an informed (advertising not required) student.

    The challenge is coming up with a true partnership such that both the studio owner and the teacher have it in their mutual interest to recruit new business by means of group classes, without fighting over ownership of the lessons that result. More usually, that fighting means that good groups and good independent teacher's can't co-exist in the same facility, and so both owners and teachers have a hard time with recruiting and retention.
  14. wooh

    wooh Well-Known Member

    Hmmm, listen to someone that tells me it should "just require" such and such, or listen to someone that's actually DOING it???
    It reminds me of someone that thinks they understand women's dance shoes better than Larinda and all the women on the board. Wonder what happened to him? Since he had it all figured out, I'll bet he's off running a very practical dance studio and cobbling women's dance shoes in his spare time...
  15. nottomention

    nottomention New Member

    Given that I proposed adding up the market prices of what people are already offering, I'm not sure where you see the gap in logic?

    Perhaps it was where I observed that the studio owners and teachers both lose out from their failure to cooperate in recruiting new dancers to be lasting students? We have another whole thread on the scarcity of capable amateurs (at least of whatever gender someone is looking for)
  16. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Personality shows doesn't it? :cool:

    My thought re: independents renting floor space. I'd venture to guess that studios that rent out floor space are not recouping their loaded costs.They're seeing floor rentals as "extra" income. If they were charging independents for what it really costs, I bet independents wouldn't be such a *relative* bargain.

    Another way in which much-maligned studios subsidize the industry (at least in the US) for everybody else.

    My $.0.02.
  17. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    impressive knowlege of our archives
  18. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Yes. And a distinctive communication style. :cool: Eh. It's kinda hard to change the way one builds a sentence. *shrug*

    I had almost forgotten the topic of the thread. Privates vs groups.

    My answer? Both. And add in some low-key, no-pressure practice, if you're a social dancer like the OP. Parties, socials, nights out at the bar. Whatever.

    If you're willing to practice and are unafraid of having your comp routines ruined by lowly social dancing, I think that a combination of all three (actually four, if you count solo practice.) really helps.
  19. tanya_the_dancer

    tanya_the_dancer Well-Known Member

    I think it tends to be an "either-or" proposition, though. The studios either just rent space to independents and live on the floor fees, or their teachers are their employees. I don't know what is better business-wise, but the setup that survives best here is independent kind, in particular if they're big enough (and have liquor license) that they can also rent space for private parties, for example.
  20. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    ya know, I actually know of very few people who actually stay stuck in the unfortunate mindset that social dancing will sully their comp skills...I think that is mostly a temporary phase ....

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