Start a zumba studio by following these 10 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 zumba studio. 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 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.
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.
Who 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.
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.
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
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 Zumba Studio 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 zumba studio 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?.
Small Business Taxes
Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).
You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:
There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.
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.
Open net-30 accounts
When it comes to establishing your business credit, net-30 vendors are considered the way to go. The term "net-30," which is popular among vendors, refers to a business credit arrangement where the company pays the vendor within 30 days of receiving goods or services.
Net-30 credit terms are often used for businesses that need to obtain inventory quickly but do not have the cash on hand.
Besides establishing business relationships with vendors, net-30 credit accounts get reported to the major business credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business Credit). This is how businesses build business credit so they can qualify for credit cards and other lines of credit.
Recommended: Read our guide on the best net-30 vendors so you can start building business credit now, so you never have to worry about cash flow in the future. Keep in mind that poor cash flow is the #1 reason businesses fail!
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 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.
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.
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.
If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
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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.
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.
STEP 9: Create your business website
After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.
While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:
- All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
- Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
- Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.
STEP 10: Set up your business phone system
Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.
There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use.
Recommended: Find the best phone system for your business; check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2021.
Start A Zumba Studio 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?
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.
Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?
Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!
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 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 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.
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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 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.
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?