Start a ballroom dance lessons business by following these 9 steps:
You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your ballroom dance lessons business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
Check out our How to Start a Business page.
STEP 1: Plan your Business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How much can you charge customers?
- What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
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 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.
Who 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
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.
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%).
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our Ballroom Dance Lessons Business Name Generator
When registering a business name, we recommend researching your business name by checking:
- Your state's business records
- Federal and state trademark records
- Social media platforms
- Web domain availability.
It's very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your ballroom dance lessons business is sued.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.
Open a business bank account
- This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with many brick-and-mortar locations, and more.
Get a business credit card
- This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
STEP 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.
STEP 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.
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, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.
In addition, certain local licensing or regulatory requirements may apply. For more information about local licenses and permits:
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office.
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
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.
STEP 7: Get Business Insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.
Learn more about General Liability Insurance.
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.
STEP 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.
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.
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.
STEP 9: Establish your 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.
Start A Ballroom Dance Lessons Business In Your State
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Is this Business Right For You?
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.
Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?
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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 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 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.
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Take the Next Step
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.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
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.
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.