Dancing is one of the most popular sports in the world. It’s also one of the oldest, with archeological evidence showing that people have danced for at least 25,000 years.
Starting a dance studio is a rewarding but costly endeavor. It’s essential to know how much it costs, some of the essentials needed for operation, and what options are available.
Starting a dance studio will cost you an average of $18,000. The price to create your own studio can range from $9,500 – $47,000.
We’ll examine some of the main expenses and some ways to save on first-year expenses.
What is a dance studio?
A dance studio is a facility specifically designed for teaching and learning dances such as ballet, tap, jazz, or other-themed classes. Instruction could also include cheerleading and other disciplines.
Dance studios can range from small storefront facilities to large warehouse spaces that house other amenities like professional rehearsal stages and full-size gyms.
The costs associated with starting a dance studio can be broken down into several categories:
- Rent/Lease/Mortgage payments
This article will break down some critical aspects that you should consider before taking on this venture and explore what it takes financially as well as logistically!
How much is rent?
Depending on the size of the space, location, and amenities offered, studio rents can vary greatly. A neighborhood storefront could cost as little as $450 per month.
Larger spaces in city centers or transportation hubs are likely to be higher at around $1,000-$3,000 per month.
Expect to pay around $10-$20 per square foot/month, with the average dance studio measuring about 2,000 sq. ft. or more.
What do I need?
The most important thing to start a dance studio is an open and inviting space. Besides the dance floor, you’ll also want to consider having a few more amenities such as:
- Lobby area for parents and guests
- Dressing rooms with mirrors, benches, and lockers (for pre-class preparation)
The downside of having dressing rooms is that they take up space. Consider first if you need them before signing the lease or purchase agreement.
If possible, find a location that has a shared dressing room that the other tenants can use.
Dance studios need lots of equipment. There is the obvious like flooring for dance floors, but beyond that, you will also need:
- Curtains and drapes (if any)
- Mirrors (including full-length)
- Lighting fixtures and bulbs
- Sound system
- Projections screen, if required
- Dance bars, if required
The average cost of installing a wood floor is about $7-$10 per square foot, depending on the type of installation. The average dance floor size is 600 square feet.
This means you will pay an average of $5,100 to install your dance floor. A sprung floor will be considerably more expensive.
Construction costs for putting up mirrors and curtains can run between $12 to $20 per square foot.
Full-length mirrors should measure at least six feet tall and four feet wide for optimal viewing.
The average sound system costs between $500 to $1,000 depending on the components (CD or AUX player, mixer, amplifier).
The installation will require an electrician who can cost between $75-$250 based on how accessible your space is and the complexity of the setup.
A projection system can cost $2,000 or more depending on what you need it for (for example if you also want to project instructional videos). A good sound system will require a professional installation which can run upwards of $500.
A dance bar with a mirror will cost around $1,000.
If you consider having dancing poles at your location, expect to pay $500-$800 per dance pole. Dance bars with a mirror and poles can cost $2,000 or more depending on quality of the poles and the type of installation needed.
On average, it will cost about $1,200 for lighting fixtures, including bulbs, lamps, and shades.
The cost of a sign will vary greatly depending on the size and complexity. It could run between $100 to $300+.
If you need seating or chairs for your studio, you can expect to pay $75 – $200 per chair depending on the type, durability, quantity required, etc.
Lockers can cost around $3-$4 per 1 foot of depth. Expect to pay about $1,000 for 20 lockers.
Expect these costs to fluctuate based on the type of dance studio you create and how many students you believe will be using the studio at each session.
What about insurance?
A dance studio is a business, and as such, it needs to be insured against liabilities related to injuries, damages, and general negligence.
Insurance could run between $400 to $650 per month depending on the location, amenities offered, building age, and other factors.
There are several types of insurance to consider:
- Property – Covers damage from theft, fire, water causes, or other types of damage. This will cost an average of $90-$180 per month.
- General liability – Covers damage to people who are not employees (for example, if someone slips on the floor during class). The average cost for general liability is between $400 – $650 a month.
- Workers Compensation – If you are working out of your home, it is not required by law to have workers’ compensation insurance. Still, you should consult with a specialist about providing this for any employees who work in your studio. This will cost an average of $100-$120 per month.
Some of the staff at a dance studio include a dance instructor to an assistant, manager, and receptionist. Like any other business, a dance studio needs to have a method for tracking employee timesheets. This costs an average of $60 per month.
A dance instructor will make an average of $20-$30 per student who attends a class. You can also pay a dance instructor hourly which can cost an average of $20 to $40 per hour.
The average dance studio assistant manager and receptionist makes $12-$14 an hour. This translates to about $140 per week or $520 per month.
To retain talent, a studio may offer benefits such as health insurance and a retirement plan that can run between $275-$400+ a month depending on the type of benefits provided.
Advertising costs can run between $75-$1,000+ a month depending on the medium used (for example, dance studio advertising in a local newspaper would cost less than advertising in an industry-specific magazine).
Expect to spend about $80 per month on business cards. Flyers are less expensive at an average of $40 per month.
If you decide you want to advertise online, you should expect to pay between $300-$600+ a month, depending on where you are located. Expect to pay between $25 -$45 per lead.
Dance Studio Business Plan
A dance studio business plan is necessary for securing loans, grants, and other types of investments. The average cost to create this runs between $1,000 to $4,500.
If you are considering getting outside funding, hiring a professional business plan writer is recommended.
Depending on your city and state, there may be grants available to help you get started. These could run between $500 to $5,000 depending on the type of dance studio and your location.
Finally, you have to price your classes and products. You can expect to charge an average of $25 for a one-hour lesson with no special amenities at a local studio.
For a more upscale location in a large city, you could charge as much as $45 per hour plus extra for specific amenities such as drinks and snacks.
Private classes can cost as much as $100 per hour. A local dance studio could charge between $20 -$40 for a 4-10 lessons package, while a more upscale location could charge an average of $50-$70 per lesson.
Expect to pay between $20 and $65 for each pair of tap shoes, ballet shoes, and other accessories. You can choose to rent or sell shoes to increase your revenue opportunities.
You should expect to charge between $10-$40 for group classes depending on the type of class being offered. For example, a dance accessory store may only charge $10, while a dance studio could price group classes at an average of $20.
Expect to charge between $20 -$30 per hour for private parties. These prices could go up depending on the location and amenities included (for example, a professional DJ or catering).
Renting Your Space Out
Many dance studios operate during the evenings, which leaves plenty of time during the day to rent their space out to other businesses.
This could bring in an extra $500-$1,000 monthly depending on the number of hours rented each day and the amenities included.
Renting your space out to businesses for karate or yoga is an excellent option because they usually only require open space, and they bring their own mats.
This minimizes damage to the dance floor and also doesn’t disturb the other parts of the studio.
It costs between $200 to $400 a month for utilities on average. Make sure your rent includes at least some of the costs associated with water, sewage, gas, and electrical services.
Many dance studios may need more than one phone line. You may want to have one dedicated specifically to the business to avoid getting mixed up with personal calls.
This can run between $25-$80 a month, depending on the type of coverage you need.
Expect to spend around $300-$500 for average renovations each year, including flooring, paint, etc., per square foot of studio space.
Depending on your products and services offered, you may create an extra expense for payroll. Expect to pay about $3 per hour per employee over minimum wage when accounting for payroll taxes and other deductions.
Business incorporation costs vary depending on the state where you are located.
Incorporating can cost as little as $100, with most being closer to $1,000 and up with legal support.
Yearly business registration fees can cost around $50 for most states.
Registration and permits will also depend on your locality, and they could be free or range from a couple of hundred dollars to over a thousand for larger cities like New York City or Los Angeles.
Partnering with Local Schools
A great way to bring in business and expand your services is to partner with local schools.
This will require you to be appropriately insured as well as pass background checks if working with minors.
Partnering with a school may only generate $100-$200 per week, but it could also lead to much larger events depending on each school’s schedule.
In most cases, schools require a certain percentage of the revenue from classes to be donated back for scholarships and other school programs.
You can also partner with a school when building your facility. Many schools will sell or lease their property to dance studios at a discounted rate.
Many other amenities may be provided, including electricity, water, parking, etc., depending on your negotiated terms.
Each partner school will also require dues paid to maintain the relationship, which could cost you between $1,000-$3,000 per month.
Although this may seem high, you save on most of the initial build-out costs of starting your own facility.
As you can see, starting a dance studio can be very complex.
This is why many dance studios partner with schools or local warehouses or gyms to share resources and cut down on the cost of running the studio.
The initial costs can be high, but having your own dance studio will be profitable if done correctly.
To help offset expenses, try to rent out your studio space during the day and offer a partner program with local schools.