How to open a dance studio (with pictures)

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How to open a dance studio (with pictures)
How to open a dance studio (with pictures)

Dancing has been a traditional element of many cultures for centuries. Many different styles of dance are taught and practiced around the world, and dance studios are a common type of business where people of all ages can take dance classes. Opening your own dance studio can seem daunting, but following this list of steps will help make sure you get it right.


Part 1 of 3: Create a business plan

Start a Dance Studio Step 1
Start a Dance Studio Step 1

Step 1. Establish a budget

Before proceeding with any other planning, you will have to be aware of how much you can spend on the different elements necessary to have your own dance studio. You will need money for the following:

  • rent or mortgage of a space
  • basic services for space
  • Start-up expenses (for example, renovations, mirrors, seating, storage, equipment, painting)
  • advertising and marketing
  • payroll of employees and dance instructors
  • You may have to get a loan or get investors to start the business. Be aware of the terms and conditions before officially signing any agreement.
Start a Dance Studio Step 2
Start a Dance Studio Step 2

Step 2. Choose a geographic location for the business

This is important because location determines the type of clientele you will attract to the business.

  • Opening your dance studio in a fairly family-friendly neighborhood will likely attract a lot of kids, so if you're interested in advertising your dance studio for kids, keep that in mind.
  • Think about what part of the city you will choose for the location. If you plan to offer ethnic styles of dance, for example, then opening your studio in an area of the city where people of that ethnicity live makes sense.
  • Try to open your studio in an area that is highly visible to the community, such as on a busy highway. It may be a bit more expensive, but with constant traffic, your establishment will advertise itself to all passersby.
  • Consider how much you can spend to rent or buy the space for your dance studio. If you are in a big city, for example, then renting or buying a space in the city center is probably quite expensive. Look for areas of the city where the rates are within the price range that you can access.
  • Think about the safety of the area. A particular area of the city might be more accessible, but if it has a higher crime rate then it probably isn't worth it. What you want is for your clientele to feel safe when they attend classes in your dance studio.
Start a Dance Studio Step 3
Start a Dance Studio Step 3

Step 3. Do your research and decide the type of business entity you want to be

This will vary if you plan to be the only dance instructor in a small studio, have a business partner, or hire additional dance instructors.

  • Sole proprietor - An unincorporated business that is run by one person without any separation between them and the business.
  • S Corporation: A type of corporation that can avoid double taxes (for example, some for the business and some for the shareholders).
  • C Corporation - A type of corporation that is owned by shareholders, but is legally liable for stocks and debts.
  • Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) - A structure that offers the limited liability of corporations, but has the flexibility of a partnership.
Start a Dance Studio Step 4
Start a Dance Studio Step 4

Step 4. Decide on the name of your business

This is the most important part for your brand and business, since the name is what will be shared most often. Make sure it represents both you and your vision for the study. These are some examples:

  • Dance all night
  • The tango studio
  • En Pointe Ballet Company
  • Swing dance studio
  • Dance masters
  • Premier dance studio
Start a Dance Studio Step 5
Start a Dance Studio Step 5

Step 5. Identify the ideal market niche and clientele

There are a number of niches that you can enter with a dance studio, and each niche will attract a certain clientele. You have to identify which one will be yours. Here are some options:

  • dance classes for couples
  • individual dance classes
  • dance classes for kids
  • one or two particular dance styles (for example, ballet, salsa, tap, etc.)
  • ethnic dance styles (e.g. salsa, flamenco, jazz, folk, urban dance, etc.)
  • common dance styles (e.g. swing, ballroom dancing, jazz, etc.)
Start a Dance Studio Step 6
Start a Dance Studio Step 6

Step 6. Establish the vision and mission of your company

Identifying these statements will help you stay on track as you open your own studio and define short-term and long-term goals.

  • A vision statement describes the main objectives of your business without establishing definitive plans to achieve them. The vision statement helps both you and your employees conceptualize the goals of the company.
  • A mission statement is a short statement that helps convey the purpose of your business. This statement may change over time if your business goals are different, and is intended to clarify what your business will do for both employees and customers.
Start a Dance Studio Step 7
Start a Dance Studio Step 7

Step 7. Define the brand for your dance studio

The brand will represent everything about your business, and it should be consistent in everything that customers and prospects see.

  • Branding is the equivalent of a promise made to your customers. It should come from who you are and what you want to offer to your clientele. Your company's vision and mission statements should be tied to the brand.
  • Having a strong brand leads to business success. When people know what to expect from you, they are more likely to trust you.
  • Consider what your target niche is and what those customers need, and then tailor your brand to them.
  • Advertise both your dance studio and yourself. Branding includes how you choose to treat your clientele, the quality of dance education you give, the details you provide about how you do business, how you create a personal experience for your clientele, and how you inspire your clientele.
Start a Dance Studio Step 8
Start a Dance Studio Step 8

Step 8. Decide what services you are going to offer your dance clientele

This will largely depend on your niche, so keep that in mind when deciding.

  • Will you offer dance classes for groups? Private dance classes? Both?
  • Have you considered classes for couples? Tutorials? Both?
  • What dance styles do you plan to teach?
  • Will you have a dance team that will compete?
Start a Dance Studio Step 9
Start a Dance Studio Step 9

Step 9. Create a pricing structure for your services

You will need to have an income from dance classes in order to keep your business open, so weigh the services and expenses.

  • Consider what is the amount that customers in your target niche can pay. You don't want to set prices they can't afford.
  • Remember that you will have to pay quarterly taxes if you are self-employed.
  • Get a realistic idea of how much your monthly expenses will be, and make sure you can at least cover the expenses. Losing money on your business will basically lead to you having to shut it down.
Start a Dance Studio Step 10
Start a Dance Studio Step 10

Step 10. Design an advertising and marketing plan

To get dance clients, you will need to have a plan for how you will advertise and market your dance studio in the community. This plan should address marketing both online and in person.

  • Start advertising your studio before it opens. This will help get people excited about opening and being alert even before you're ready to open the doors.
  • Find out what is the cost to create a website and open accounts on different social networks to reach people online. Budget those costs.
  • Take into account what will be the expense for marketing. Printing flyers, creating business cards, advertising in the newspaper and having a billboard costs money.
  • Use people's recommendation as much as possible. Get your friends and family who support your business to help you spread the word about it.
Start a Dance Studio Step 11
Start a Dance Studio Step 11

Step 11. Establish your business policies

This includes a variety of key details that you might not have otherwise considered. These policies have to be clear to customers and employees in order to avoid confusion and problems along the way. You will need to address the following:

  • Payment Methods
  • Late payments
  • refunds
  • business hours
  • communication with clients
  • employee hiring process
  • new customer affiliation
  • laying off employees or ending difficult customer relationships

Part 2 of 3: Build Your Business

Start a Dance Studio Step 12
Start a Dance Studio Step 12

Step 1. Rent or buy a space for your business

After you've identified how much you can afford and the ideal location, enlist the services of a real estate agent to help you secure the space. There are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Square meters.
  • The distribution of space: The space of the study should be distributed between the space of the lobby, the office, the storage and the bathrooms.
  • The division for specific use as a dance studio.
  • Updated building codes for the city you live in.
  • The parking lot.
  • Safety.
  • Neighboring businesses.
Start a Dance Studio Step 13
Start a Dance Studio Step 13

Step 2. Refresh the space as needed

If some renovations are required in the space before you can open the doors of your business, then enlist the help of friends and family to finish the renovations. Remember to keep expenses as low as possible, but you can hire professionals if it's on budget.

  • Keep in mind that the floor is the most important element of the space. It is important to have a proper dance floor. Floor types vary according to the dance styles you plan to offer.
  • Fill the space with the appropriate equipment. The types of equipment you may want for your dance studio include ballet bars, a sound system, sound insulation on the walls, a security system, and a parent observation system that does not distract dance students.
  • Decorate the space according to your brand and the services you offer. If you offer a variety of dance styles, then the space should reflect that. However, if you only offer one style of dance, such as ballet, then adapt the decor to that style.
Start a Dance Studio Step 14
Start a Dance Studio Step 14

Step 3. Declare the business entity with the appropriate government agency

You will likely have to fill out some papers and, depending on the type of business entity you choose, the amounts to pay. Processes will vary depending on what state you are in, so take a look at the state government website.

Start a Dance Studio Step 15
Start a Dance Studio Step 15

Step 4. Design and order the visual elements of your business

Having a specific logo that represents your brand is important.

  • Make sure the logo can be recreated on a number of different platforms, such as the sign on the outside, the website, and the business cards.
  • Take this decision seriously, as you may change brands in the future even though it is challenging. Don't be too quick to make a decision about the logo.
Start a Dance Studio Step 16
Start a Dance Studio Step 16

Step 5. Set up any online accounts or tools you need to help you run your business

This includes a variety of things:

  • a bank account and a credit card;
  • an accounting tool or hiring a professional to keep track of income and expenses;
  • a business mailing address (for example, a mailbox) and a telephone number;
  • technological equipment and software necessary to run the business;
  • online payment methods, if required, such as PayPal or Stripe;
  • a method of paying taxes, either on your own or by hiring a tax professional.
Start a Dance Studio Step 17
Start a Dance Studio Step 17

Step 6. Familiarize yourself with how to complete your own business systems

Tasks like accounting, payroll, billing, and tracking customer information need to be well established before accepting clientele.

  • Create fake customers, invoices, and employees to help you practice. These can be removed or destroyed once you have experience with the system.
  • Familiarize yourself with accounting by tracking expenses during the opening period. Consider what can be claimed as a business expense on your taxes.
Start a Dance Studio Step 18
Start a Dance Studio Step 18

Step 7. Create a website for your business

In the same way that you created a marketing and advertising plan that included things like business cards and newspaper ads, you also have to have a website.

  • Find a hosting service and domain name. You can get them together or separately. Your domain name should be the name of your company and, if possible, end in ".com".
  • Hire a professional to create a framework and theme for your website, or go online to buy these things on your own. There are many pre-made themes available at different prices. If you choose a pre-made theme, be sure to buy the frame. Genesis Framework is the most recommended, and you can buy it separately from your theme or find a theme to match it.
  • Decide on the platform for the website. is the most recommended hosting platform, and most hosting services, ways to install WordPress on your new website.
  • When setting up the pages on your website, make sure you have the necessary pages: home page, "about" page, services page, testimonial page, and contact page. You can also consider having a blog as part of your website if you think you can make frequent posts on related topics.
Start a Dance Studio Step 19
Start a Dance Studio Step 19

Step 8. Create accounts on social media platforms

This is another way to advertise your business through referrals, especially before opening. Here are some options:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest (if you wish)
Start a Dance Studio Step 20
Start a Dance Studio Step 20

Step 9. Hire additional employees and dance instructors if you are financially capable and within your business plan

You may want to do it on your own until your clientele grows large enough to be able to pay other staff members. However, if you want to offer a wide selection of classes as soon as you open the studio or if you want to offer a selection of different dance styles, it is best to hire additional instructors.

  • You may decide that having an office manager or receptionist will take a load off your shoulders. This person can be in charge of recruiting new clients, placing clients in private classes, processing payments, and communicating with clients.
  • Look at local colleges and universities to find dance students seeking experience as dance instructors. They are likely to be more affordable as they are not fully trained yet. This will also allow you to connect with other dancers in the area.
  • Teach new hires about your business policies and systems, if they need to know these policies and systems based on their roles.
Start a Dance Studio Step 21
Start a Dance Studio Step 21

Step 10. Promote your studio as the grand opening date approaches

In the planning stages, you will have come up with a marketing and advertising plan. Now is the time to put this plan into action so that when you open the business, people are interested in becoming customers immediately.

Start a Dance Studio Step 22
Start a Dance Studio Step 22

Step 11. Plan a big housewarming event

This is a good way to promote your studio and get a lot of potential clients right away.

  • Set an opening date based on your renovation and installation schedule. Then make sure you have your renovations and installations ready by that date!
  • Promote the party. It can be a simple party to welcome people to the space so that they become familiar and learn more about your business. You can even offer dance classes to a group during the party.
  • Promote the grand opening party to the target niche. Make sure your ideal clients know about the studio.

Part 3 of 3: Overcoming Common Obstacles

Start a Dance Studio Step 23
Start a Dance Studio Step 23

Step 1. Consider why you are opening a dance studio

No one else knows your motivation for starting this business, so you have to make sure you know why you want to do it. If you lose sight of your reason for doing it, there is a chance of failure.

  • Why did I choose to open a dance studio?
  • What do I want to achieve by opening a dance studio?
  • Who do I hope to help?
  • Why does my community need this dance studio?
  • What will I do to set my dance studio apart from other studios in the area?
Start a Dance Studio Step 24
Start a Dance Studio Step 24

Step 2. Keep your budget in mind and stick with it

Many new studios fail because they have no control of their budget and end up in debt. Make sure to check your budget and know how much you can afford to spend on the different startup costs.

  • You've had to spend a little more money on electrical repairs to make sure the studio is compliant, so… Where else in the budget can you make some sacrifices?
  • You don't have enough money saved to finance this dance studio. How can you finance the rest of the startup costs?
  • You seem to be spending money inconsistently. On what equipment or renovations can you cut costs so that important elements of the study, such as the floor and security, are of better quality?
  • You don't have enough money to buy new floors for every room in the dance studio. What rooms and floor types should you prioritize right now?
  • You've been able to finance all the startup costs and you have extra money left over from the budget! How can you save this money and use it for other studio needs, like future rent payments or repairs?
Start a Dance Studio Step 25
Start a Dance Studio Step 25

Step 3. Stick to the initial plan

As you try to find study space, renovate and prepare, and apply marketing strategies, you may be tempted to take on more tasks. It's best to stick with your plan so you don't overload yourself and your resources. These additional things can be done later, when it is a more advantageous time.

  • Avoid purchasing additional equipment that is not necessary for the immediate operation of the study.
  • Avoid doing any additional repairs or renovations that are not necessary to keep your studio space compliant and ready to receive clients.
  • Avoid comparing your dance studio to another in the city that you think is "better." Continue with what you can do and what you can offer to your future clientele.
  • Stick to marketing strategies you can afford. Ignore the temptation to apply the most expensive and flashy marketing strategies you see in another study.
Start a Dance Studio Step 26
Start a Dance Studio Step 26

Step 4. Communicate with shareholders

If you have shareholders involved in helping you open your studio, as investors, then you need to communicate with them frequently and honestly. If shareholders find out that you have been dishonest or that you have withheld information, they will most likely stop financing you.

  • Contact them if an unexpected but necessary and expensive repair arises.
  • Let them know if the renovations will be delayed and the timeline for the opening has to be postponed.
  • Tell them what their financing helps buy for your dance studio.
  • Invite them to the grand opening event.
Start a Dance Studio Step 27
Start a Dance Studio Step 27

Step 5. Develop relationships with employees

Opening your own dance studio will be stressful, and it will be easy to unload that stress with new hires. However, it is important to develop relationships with them. They will help you get this study started, and you don't want them to quit even before the study opens for clients.

  • Thank them for their help in carrying out projects.
  • Pay them the agreed rate on the agreed date. Be honest about the amount you can pay them.
  • Recognize their hard work and dedication at the grand opening event.
  • Reward them with any benefits you can offer, such as paid time off, insurance benefits, or guest passes to class for their friends or family.


  • Seek the advice of an experienced dance studio or small business owner. It can give you information about how to do things and about common obstacles.
  • Visit the local office of the SCORE association or a similar entity in your region. This is a free small business tutoring service that can help you get started on the right path to opening your dance studio.
  • Until you become familiar with the way you run your business, it is recommended that you be assisted by a tax and accounting professional.

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