Start a zumba studio 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 step guide to starting your zumba 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 initial 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. Skip on ahead to the Business Overview for more detailed answers to all your questions.
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.
After registering a domain name, consider setting up a professional email account (@yourcompany.com). Google's G Suite offers a business email service that comes with other useful tools, including word processing, spreadsheets, and more. Try it for free
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC prevents you from being personally liable if your zumba studio is sued. Consider using a registered agent service to help protect your privacy and stay compliant.
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account
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.
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.
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.
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.
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
A Zumba studio provides customers a safe and fun place to get fit. It offers trademarked Zumba dance fitness classes, which combine various acrobatic and dance movements, including salsa, mambo, and hip hop. Classes can be hosted at an established gym or a dedicated Zumba studio.
Who is this business right for?
To run a successful Zumba studio, you must be dedicated to consistently delivering quality classes to your students. You must be passionate about helping your students reach their fitness goals and motivating people through dance.
What happens during a typical day at a zumba studio?
Many Zumba instructors get their start teaching classes at large gyms that offer a multitude of different fitness classes. With the popularity of Zumba on the rise, however, many entrepreneurs are finding greater success opening a “boutique studio.” Your day-to-day activities will vary, depending upon which route you take.
Daily tasks include:
- Preparing for upcoming classes - learning choreography, picking music, and practicing
- Making sure the studio is safe, clean, and comfortable
- Teaching classes
- Hosting and/or attending community events
- Market your business and network within the community
- Attend Zumba conferences, building on your education and certification
Once your business has reached its short-term growth goals, consider expanding your team to include someone to handle administrative duties. This will ensure you’re able to focus on the parts of the business you’re most passionate about.
What is the target market?
There are a surprising number of individuals within your community who are willing to pay to sweat it out learning new dance steps. The target market for a Zumba studio is all-encompassing, offering a number of great marketing opportunities.
Potential clients include:
- Individuals with health issues
- Corporations who are dedicated to facilitating healthy living for their workforce
- Sport clubs
- College students
- Fitness gurus who are seeking variety in their workout regimen
Once you’ve identified the audience(s) you wish to cater to, you can begin to build a marketing strategy that will successfully reach this market.
How does a zumba studio make money?
When teaching at a gym, you will generally be paid a flat rate, regardless of how many students attend your class. Dedicated Zumba studios charge per student, for each class that they attend. Many Zumba studios offer class packages to ensure student retention.
What is the growth potential for a zumba studio?
While most new business ventures take an average of three years to turn a profit, many Zumba business owners have realized accelerated growth. By the end of the first year, many have been able to reinvest a portion of their profits, opening several additional locations in their region.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful zumba studio?
Leading a successful Zumba business requires a high level of business prowess and leadership skills. Zumba instructors must possess strong interpersonal skills and an outgoing personality that helps them lead their students with confidence. Awareness of others and their personal needs will help you connect with students, ensuring a successful class and, ultimately, studio.
Leaders in the industry urge interested entrepreneurs to spend some time working in a gym setting. This firsthand experience will help in understanding the needs of potential clients, successful marketing techniques, and the administrative side of running such a business.
What are the costs involved in opening a zumba studio?
Costs vary, depending upon the size of your start-up operation, number of employees, and specific services you offer.
Start-up costs include the following:
- Zumba teaching license - $200-$350
- CPR and first-aid training/certification
- Liability insurance
- Location - If you decide to start out teaching at an established gym, this will significantly reduce your initial costs. It will also, however, slow down the growth of your business. When venturing out on your own, choose a studio space that is centrally located and easily accessible. Try to make it in an area with a diverse population. Make sure your space has at least on street-view window to inspire those walking by to sign up.
- Website and marketing materials
Standalone studios can be opened for as little as $30,000, while high-end facilities can cost upwards of $500,000. Entrepreneurs are urged to cut down on costs by keeping it simple.
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.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a zumba studio?
Zumba industry leaders offer the following advice:
- Establish cleanliness guidelines and stick to them. Make sure your studio is always clean and safe and that all necessary repairs are completed in a timely manner. The ambiance in your studio directly affects client participation and satisfaction.
- Know your routine music inside and out. If you don’t have every beat and sequence memorized, your students will know.
- When first starting out, stick to easier songs and choreography that doesn’t have a lot of quirks, which are difficult to memorize.
- If musicality isn’t one of your strengths, study music. Learn how to follow the downbeat and phrasing.
- Don’t stop at Zumba certification. Attend different types of fitness classes, taking note of their warm-up and cool-down routines, how they teach, and what motivated the group.
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Growing Your Business
How to promote & market a zumba studio
When you join the Zumba team, you are automatically part of a family with powerful brand recognition. Use this to your advantage. Utilize the Zumba-provided marketing materials, such as business cards and flyers with the Zumba logo. Make sure your profile is registered on their site - this is a great way for students across the country to find a qualified instructor near them. List your studio in search engine business directories and register for an account with Yelp. Utilize free resources such as social media to connect with both current and future customers. Offer discounts and other benefits to customers and followers that share your content.
Many Zumba business owners have also found success sharing fliers and brochures throughout the community. Health food stores, gyms that do not offer classes, and medical facilities offer a multitude of potential Zumba students.
Recommended: Get started with local advertising for your business with a $300 credit from Yelp.
How to keep customers coming back
In addition to offering a fun and safe environment, with outstanding customer service, consider offering a variety of packages and membership programs. Your client walks away with the satisfaction of knowing he/she has saved some money, while you secure your repeat students.
How and when to build a team
In the Zumba business, the skills and abilities of your instructors are paramount to the studio’s success. When you are ready to start building your team, be very clear about what you are looking for and do not settle. Make sure each instructor is certified and experienced. As part of the interviewing process, have prospects lead a class. How enthusiastic was she/he? Did she get the crowd moving? Was the choreography easy to follow? What about his/her song choices?
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a Zumba business, if you’re opening your own studio. 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.
For 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.
Maintain Personal Asset Protection
Don’t think that just forming an LLC, or any other type of business, will save your personal assets in case of a lawsuit or other matter by itself.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your LLC is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Two of the simplest steps that will protect your business, and yourself, are to:
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.
Certificate of Occupancy
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 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 Zumba 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 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 Zumba business will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.
To avoid liability and potential lawsuits, Zumba businesses should have their clients sign waivers.
An example of an appropriate waiver can be found here.
How much can you charge customers?
Students pay anywhere from $5 to $20 per Zumba class, depending upon the level of instructor and location. Many studios also offer a variety of discounted packages for new students, returning students, and monthly subscriptions. These packages start at $25 and go all the way up to $200 each.
What are the ongoing expenses for a zumba studio?
In addition to standard operating expenses, such as rent, utilities, and phone, expect to budget for the following business costs:
- Insurance for employees and the business
- Travel and education costs - Once you are Zumba certified, you won’t be required to renew each year. However, true success comes from continuously growing and expanding your skill set.
- Payroll expenses - consider reducing this expense by hiring instructors on a 1099 basis
- ZIN(Zumba Instructor Network) membership - Membership offers invaluable business and instructor support, as well as marketing tools. $35 per month
- Marketing and business tools and website maintenance
- Purchase and ongoing maintenance of equipment
Experienced business owners report a range of ongoing expenses from $2,500 to upwards of $15,000 per month, depending upon how the business is structured.
How much profit can a zumba studio make?
Entrepreneurs who have been able to expand their portfolio to include two or three locations report an annual revenue of more than $350,000. Profits are directly tied to your dedication and ability to understand and meet the needs of your target market.
How can you make your business more profitable?
To maximize your business’ profitability, consider building a well-rounded facility that meets the needs of a broader audience. Potential strategies include:
- Offer a Zumba instructors program
- Host community based dance classes
- Teach choreography
- Provide instruction in various dance styles, not limited to just cardio-based dance
- Offer dance production and consulting services
- Merchandise sales
- Coordinate social events that incorporate your studio’s services
- Host a destination Zumba retreat