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 step guide to starting your yoga studio. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
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 long it will take you to break even?
- 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 yoga studio?
The startup costs associated with opening a yoga studio business are fairly small. Leasing or purchasing a space to teach classes is often the biggest expense, and this expense can vary greatly from one geographic area to another. Other expenses include liability insurance and purchasing mats for participants to use. Business owners also should have transportation to get to and from classes, and a computer and phone to communicate with participants.
Instructors who want to keep their startup costs minimal can begin by renting an inexpensive space only when they have classes scheduled. Local fitness centers may rent out space for classes, and classes can be offered in parks. (Weather can be problematic when teaching in a park.).
What are the ongoing expenses for a yoga studio?
A yoga studio business has two primary ongoing expenses. The business must continue to pay for its space and its liability insurance. If the business has employees, it must also pay their salaries.
Because there isn’t a universal certification standard, instructors don’t need to worry about renewing their certifications. Instructors may want to take continuing education courses.
Who is the target market?
An ideal client is someone who wants to live a healthy lifestyle, and has some discretionary income and free time. People who are particularly interested in reducing stress, learning about the East and improving flexibility are especially likely clients, as these are some characteristics that set yoga apart from other exercise programs.
How does a yoga studio make money?
Yoga studios have a few different pricing structures, but they all make money by charging participants for classes. Studios may charge on a per-class basis, offer a set number of classes at a discount or have a monthly membership fee. A monthly membership fee may entitle students to as many classes as they want, or they might get to attend a certain number of classes for free and receive a discount on any additional classes they go to.
How much can you charge customers?
Yoga studio businesses charge an average of $12 per class when participants pay on a per-class basis. Some studios in large cities charge up to $16 per class. Participants who pay for multiple classes at once usually pay between $9 and $15 per class, and monthly memberships can run around $190 per month.
How much profit can a yoga studio make?
The revenue that a yoga studio business brings in can be significant. A single class of 10 students, for instance, may bring in $100 if each student pays just $10. If a studio has three classes a day that average 10 students each, it may be able to generate a weekly revenue of $2,100 -- or more than $100,000 annually.
From this revenue, however, a business must pay all of its operating expenses and overhead. The actual profit of a yoga studio business will depend largely on how much it pays for space to teach classes, as this is the largest ongoing expense.
How can you make your business more profitable?
Yoga studio business owners can increase revenue by offering additional types of classes. They may provide hot yoga classes, outdoor classes or classes for aspiring instructors.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is very important. We recommend checking if the business name you choose is available as a web domain and securing it early so no one else can take it.
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC prevents you from being personally liable if your yoga studio is sued. There are many business structures to choose from including: Corporations, LLC's, and DBA's.
You should also consider using a registered agent service to help protect your privacy and stay compliant.
For most small businesses forming an LLC is a great option, but if you still want to weigh all your options check our our article, What Structure Should I Choose for My Business?
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.
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.
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 yoga studio business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state 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.
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.
To avoid liability and potential lawsuits, studios should have their clients sign waivers before participating in classes.
- An example of an appropriate waiver can be found here.
Certificate of Occupancy
Yoga studios, like all businesses run 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 space for your yoga studio:
- 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 yoga studio 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 yoga studio:
- You will be responsible for obtaining a valid CO from a local government authority.
- Review all building codes and zoning requirements for you business’ location to ensure your yoga studio will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.
STEP 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.
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 yoga studio
While word-of-mouth advertising and referral programs are effective ways to grow a yoga studio business, they’re often slow ways to grow a business when first starting out. Offering classes outside of the physical studio, such as at fitness centers or parks, are faster ways to recruit new participants. Many people will sign up for a yoga class if it’s at a convenient time and in a convenient place. Some participants who try a class and like it will be willing to travel to the business’ actual studio for other classes.
Many yoga studio businesses offer free or greatly discounted trials that let participants check out a class without financially committing to it. Trials are often for one or two classes, or for a week.
Recommended: Get started with local advertising for your business with a $300 credit from Yelp.
How to keep customers coming back
A yoga studio business can set itself apart by specializing in a certain type of yoga, such Asura or Bikram yoga. Focusing on a particular style not only makes a business distinct, but it also suggests a certain level of expertise. Studio owners can further set their business apart by getting advanced certifications in the style of yoga that they focus on.
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 Yoga Studio In Your State
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
People who are passionate about nutrition, fitness, health and, most of all, yoga may be well-qualified to open a yoga studio business. Business owners should be strong and flexible enough to demonstrate most, if not all, yoga poses. Strong communication and public speaking skills are also helpful, as yoga instructors teach groups of people new poses and guide them through routines.
What happens during a typical day at a yoga studio?
A yoga studio business owner spends a lot of time teaching yoga classes, but they also wear other hats. When not teaching classes, a yoga studio owner may spend time marketing and managing their studio. These additional duties often include recruiting new participants, scheduling classes and cleaning mats (if yoga mats are provided for participants who don’t have their own).
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful yoga studio?
A yoga instructor needs to be a yoga expert. There are not universal standards for yoga instruction, but Yoga Alliance offers a widely recognized certification program. Becoming certified with Yoga Alliance requires completing a guided training program that includes 200 hours of work. The organization has a directory of registered yoga schools where aspiring instructors can complete their training, as well as a list of certified yoga continuing education programs for additional post-certification training.
What is the growth potential for a yoga studio?
Yoga studio businesses range in size from small, independent studios run by a single instructor to large studios with several instructors. A large business may serve only one geographic area, or it might have studios located in many cities and towns.
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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.
How and when to build a team
Yoga studio business owners often hire their first employee when managing the studio, marketing the business and teaching classes becomes too much. The first employee is often an administrative assistant who can sign up new participants, field questions for participants and help manage the studio..
Business owners may elect to bring on additional instructors once they’re teaching several classes each day. Other instructors may be hired as employees, or they can be independent contractors who rent studio space.