Business Overview


A ballroom dance business provides ballroom dance lessons in a well-appointed studio. It can train teams that participate in national or regional competitions and also provide dance lessons for those who simply want to learn how to dance. A ballroom dance lessons business may be associated with a recreational center or a club, and may offer classes for both interested dancers as well as teachers.

Who is this business right for?

This business is good for a person who has experience and knowledge of ballroom dancing, both competitive and social, and has access to a commercial space, preferably with hardwood floors. A person without the necessary experience to teach but who has a strong interest in dance could hire a few well-trained professionals to give the classes.

What happens during a typical day at a ballroom dance lessons business?

If a ballroom dance business owner teaches classes, that will take up a good part of their day. Other parts of the day are concerned with the coordination of schedules and lesson times of the instructors. They must make sure that there's no double-booking or any other problem that would interfere with class timings. The ballroom area must be kept clean and the hardwood floors should shine. A business owner can do this either by cleaning the space personally, or hiring reliable help.

What is the target market?

Clients from all walks of life are welcome, especially those people who love social dancing, exercise, and the opportunity to meet new people. Separate classes are encouraged for beginning casual dancers and for professional dancers who are interested in training for local, regional or national competitions. The competitive classes should be held often since rigorous training is necessary to compete at higher levels.

Ideal students are those who enjoy dancing, and who have some discretionary income that can be spent on regular lessons. Otherwise, students can come from all walks of life, young and old.

How does a ballroom dance lessons business make money?

A ballroom dance business generates revenue in several ways:

  • Primary source of income will be from fees for classes
  • Studio space can be leased out to independent instructors
  • Recitals and other special performances can generate ticket sales
  • Social dancing, competitive dancing, and wedding choreography classes can bring in extra revenue
  • Supplemental revenue could come from the sale of dance shoes, clothing, or costumes

What is the growth potential for a ballroom dance lessons business?

Growth potential is related to many factors, including successful advertising, the popularity of TV dance programs in your area, increased per capita disposable income, population spread, and urban density. If all these factors are in place, you can follow the example of the famous Arthur Murray Studios, which expanded greatly by franchising their business.

Getting Started


What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful ballroom dance lessons business?

The owner of a ballroom dance lessons business needs to have a good basic understanding of all types of ballroom dancing, from the simple social activity to the more competitive classes. It is not required that an instructor have certification, but it is preferable, and certification can be obtained from several organizations, including the National Dance Teacher's Association. It also helps to be fairly athletic, as teaching dance for many hours multiple days per week can be quite physically straining.

As owner, you also be knowledgeable about possible levels of competitive exhibition style dancing - local, regional, State, and National.

What are the costs involved in opening a ballroom dance lessons business?

The three biggest costs involved in starting a ballroom dance lessons business are the cost of the studio or building, the cost of insurance, and the salaries of your employees. Buying an appropriate building can be extremely expensive, so the beginner should consider renting and/or renovating a commercial space. You will need to have a high level of liability insurance that covers instructors, students, and guests, plus any attendees at events that are held in the space.

Start-up requirements for a dance studio are estimated to be $50,000 - $75,000. This includes facility costs (dance space, bathrooms, convenient parking, etc.), equipment (large wall mirrors, good sound system, etc.) staff salaries, advertising (signage, website costs, videos, promotional items, and content marketing).

What are the steps to start a ballroom dance lessons business?

Once you're ready to start your ballroom dance lessons business, follow these steps to ensure that your business is legally compliant and avoid wasting time and money as your business grows:

  1. Plan your business. A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. A few important topics to consider are your initial costs, your target market, and how long it will take you to break even.
  2. Form a legal entity. Establishing a legal business entity prevents you from being personally liable if your ballroom dance lessons business is sued.
  3. Register for taxes. You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
  4. Open a business bank account. A dedicated checking account for your ballroom dance lessons business keeps your finances organized and makes your business appear more professional to your customers.
  5. Set up business accounting. Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
  6. Obtain necessary permits and licenses. Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
  7. Get business insurance. Insurance is highly recommended for all business owners. If you hire employees, workers compensation insurance may be a legal requirement in your state.
  8. Define your brand. Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
  9. Establish a web presence. A business website allows customers to learn more about your company and the products or services you offer. You can also use social media to attract new clients or customers.

Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.

Where can I find a business mentor?

One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.

Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.

Recommended: Fizzle.co offers video courses and a supportive online community of like-minded entrepreneurs. Try one month membership for for free.

What are some insider tips for jump starting a ballroom dance lessons business?

If the perfect space isn't attainable at first, consider renting space from the American Legion, or the local Moose or Elks club, or even a school that you can use in the evenings. Teach the classes yourself at first if you are qualified. Ask local schools if there are dance students that are looking for an internship or teaching experience. Once you've trained a few students, consider asking the best students to join your team as assistant instructors.

Growing Your Business


How to promote & market a ballroom dance lessons business

Like the very successful Arthur Murray Dance Studios, offering a free first lesson without any obligation is a great promotional technique. Advertising is crucial - from posters, leaflets, and local papers to web pages, blog posts, Google+, etc. Hosting a local dance competition can also be a great way to generate more interest in your business.

Recommended: Get started with local advertising for your business with a $300 credit from Yelp.

How to keep customers coming back

Think outside the box when trying to attract customers. Present a program on your local cable TV station. Offer a Groupon for reduced rate lessons. Approach local schools and ask if you can put on a performance or demonstration in their auditorium. You can also offer students free lesson on their birthdays, and discounts for regular attendance.

Another great way to attract customers is to invite popular dancers to come and lead special workshops or give performances at your studio.

How and when to build a team

Remember, ballroom dancing is itself a team sport. It will be extremely hard to teach all the classes yourself, so be prepared to hire well-qualified instructors early on in the process. If you lease studio space to other teachers, make sure that your renters have are able to give their input, and that they have the opportunity to meet you and other instructors and renters. A weekly or monthly meeting with snacks or drinks can be a welcome opportunity to exchange stories and information. Later on they may become helpful business partners.

Legal Considerations


State & Local Business Licensing Requirements

Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a boutique tour business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.

Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, check out our informative guide, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.

In addition, certain local licensing or regulatory requirements may apply. For more information about local licenses and permits:

Liability Waiver

It is advisable to provide clients with informed consent agreements to decrease legal liability and encourage transparency. Here is an example of a liability waiver, sometimes called an “informed consent agreement."

Recommended: Rocket Lawyer makes it easy to create a professional release of liability form for your ballroom dance lessons business when you sign up for their premium membership. For $39.95 per month, members receive access to hundreds of legal agreements and on call attorneys to get complimentary legal advice.

Certificate of Occupancy

A ballroom dance lessons business is generally run out of a studio. Businesses operating out of a physical location typically require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO).  A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met.

  • If you plan to lease a studio location:
    • It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO.
    • Before leasing, confirm that your landlord has or can obtain a valid CO that is applicable to a ballroom dance lessons business.
    • After a major renovation, a new CO often needs to be issued. If your place of business will be renovated before opening, it is recommended to include language in your lease agreement stating that lease payments will not commence until a valid CO is issued.
  • If you plan to purchase or build a studio location:
    • You will be responsible for obtaining a valid CO from a local government authority.
    • Review all building codes and zoning requirements for your business’ location to ensure your ballroom dance lessons business will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.

Reduce Personal Liability

Structuring your business as a limited liability company (LLC) ensures your personal assets are protected in the event your business is sued.

What is an LLC?

Form an LLC in 5 easy steps

Earning Potential


How much can you charge customers?

There are many levels of payment, depending on what program the client selects. A beginner package, which might include 4 private lessons and 2 or 3 social lessons, can cost anywhere from $250 to $400. Monthly competitive packages might include a combination of unlimited practice, supervised practice, several drills and rounds from $140 a month up to $500 a month.

What are the ongoing expenses for a ballroom dance lessons business?

Ongoing expenses for a ballroom dance lessons business include rent or mortgage payments, salaries for yourself and your employees, liability insurance, electricity, computers / wifi, and cleaning expenses. There will also be the cost of advertising in all formats.

According to www.glassdoor.com, the average salary for a dance instructor is around $32,000. That means for each teacher on your staff you should expect to pay around $2,500 monthly, depending on your location.

How much profit can a ballroom dance lessons business make?

According to a recent online study, ballroom dance classes have benefited from dance-inspired TV shows, and are more popular than ever before. Let's say you have a total of 200 students paying $150 per month, or $30,000. Deducting regular expenses, it is possible to generate 10-20% profit.

How can you make your business more profitable?

You can make your business more profitable by adding classes and setting up a few side businesses, like selling ballroom-appropriate shoes, clothes, and dance costumes. Another way to increase profits would be to expand your studio to the nearest metropolitan area. With more locations, you’ll be able to reach a much wider population and attract many more students.

If you can establish a reputable and successful brand for your business,, and especially if you can connect your business with a famous dance professional, there is a potential for franchising your dance studio. Fred Astaire Dance Studios estimates that each franchise will cost between $87,500 to $190,000. As the business owner, you would receive a significant portion of the initial franchising fee, plus a percentage of all of the franchised business’ annual earnings (usually 8-10%).

 

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