Yoga’s popularity continues to surge as more individuals embrace its health and wellness benefits. If you’re passionate about yoga and eager to share it with others, opening your own studio might be the perfect step. This guide is tailored to help you understand the ins and outs of establishing a yoga business and provides step-by-step instructions to bring your studio from a dream to reality.
A yoga studio is a fitness business that provides space, equipment, and instruction for yoga classes. As the studio owner, you would need to find and rent a physical location, purchase any necessary equipment like yoga mats and blocks, hire qualified yoga teachers, handle legal paperwork and licenses, market your classes, and manage day-to-day operations.
It is important to create a warm, welcoming environment for your students. Many studios offer a range of class styles, levels, and schedules to meet diverse needs. Additional revenue streams can include boutique retail sales, workshops, private sessions, and teacher training.
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The growth of the yoga industry in recent years has led to many people developing an interest in opening yoga studios. About 300 million people around the world do yoga. In the US, yoga is also a big business, making over $9 billion a year. With over 40,000 yoga studios across the country, lots of Americans are into yoga. Plus, more and more people are doing yoga classes online. Experts think this part of the yoga world will keep growing fast, by about 12% every year until 2027.
In the US, some places are super into yoga. Vermont has the most people per capita doing yoga, with Hawaii and Rhode Island not far behind. But in Southern states like Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, not as many people are into it. This could be a chance for new yoga studios to start up and get more folks interested. Knowing where yoga is already popular and where it’s not can really help if you’re thinking about opening a yoga studio.
Steps To Start A Yoga Studio
Step 1: Research the Market
When the idea of opening a yoga studio begins to bloom in your mind, it’s essential to ask yourself, “Will it work in my community?” and the answer lies in doing market research. Here’s how you can investigate the potential for a yoga studio in your area and make your business stand out.
Understanding Your Audience
Your first step is to look at who lives in your area. What are the age ranges, how much money do people generally make, and what kind of lifestyle do they lead? If you find a lot of health-conscious folks or a trend toward wellness in the community, that’s a promising sign. An area with a significant number of potential yoga students is ideal. The Census Bureau has data to help with this stage.
Next up, you’ll want to understand who you’re up against. Are there many yoga studios close by? If so, what kind of classes are they offering, and at what price? Also, when are their classes scheduled? You might discover a gap in the market here; maybe there’s a demand for early morning or late evening classes that no one is offering. Don’t just stop there; experience your competitors firsthand. Drop into their classes, observe the vibe, and take note of what works and what doesn’t. Online reviews also provide lots of great insights. Look for repeated complaints or suggestions that can point you toward improvements you can make.
While studying your competition, start thinking about what will make your studio different and more appealing. It might be a particular yoga style that’s not available in your area, exceptional customer service, or perhaps a unique studio atmosphere. Whatever it is, it should give potential customers a reason to choose your studio over others.
After all your research, if you find that there’s a healthy interest in yoga, room for a new player in the market, and specific ways you can differentiate your studio, you could be onto a winner. If the competition is tough, don’t get discouraged. Use this information to carve out a unique niche for your studio or to offer something better or different than what’s already out there.
Step 2: Write your Business Plan
While the thought of starting a yoga studio is exciting, before moving forward, there’s some groundwork to do. And that begins with writing a business plan. A business plan is a practical tool that helps you map out the details of your yoga studio.
A business plan acts as a reality check. It forces you to move beyond the passion for yoga and look into the practicalities of running a business. By putting your vision onto paper, you’re asked to answer tough questions. Think of it as a stress test for your yoga studio idea, examining if the concept holds up against market realities.
Another benefit of a business plan is the financial projection section. Here, you’ll estimate your income and expenses to determine whether your studio can be profitable. It’s an opportunity to see the financial future of your business before investing time, energy, and resources.
Realizing the potential issues in the planning stage lets you adjust your plan on paper and then realize, after opening your doors, that the numbers don’t add up. If the projections show that your idea isn’t viable, you haven’t lost anything but some time and perhaps the cost of any research you’ve conducted. This is infinitely preferable to discovering financial shortfalls when you’re already committed to a lease, staff, and a schedule of classes.
Related: How to write a business plan
Step 3: Source Funding
Starting a yoga studio requires more than just passion and a solid business plan; it also requires funding. Securing the necessary finances to get your dream off the ground can be a challenging process, but understanding the different options available can make it easier. Here’s a look at some common sources of funding for yoga studios.
Self funding: Often, the initial funds to start a yoga studio come from the owner’s personal savings. This is a straightforward way to finance your business, as it doesn’t involve interest rates or repayment terms. However, it’s not uncommon for personal savings to fall short of covering all startup costs. In such cases, outside funding becomes necessary.
Bank funding: Banks are the most common outside source of funding. They offer loans that you’ll need to repay over time, with interest. To secure a loan, banks usually require borrowers to invest at least 15% of their personal funds towards the total cost of the project. They also look for a good credit score and sufficient collateral. If a bank deems a loan too risky, they might opt for a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan guarantee, which can provide an extra layer of security for the lender.
Friends and family: Another potential source of funding is friends and family. They may be willing to invest in your yoga studio, either as a loan or for a share of the business. It’s important to treat these arrangements professionally and put all agreements in writing. This helps avoid misunderstandings and protects both parties.
Microloans If the funding needed is small, or if traditional bank financing isn’t an option, microloans can be a viable alternative. Microloan programs lend smaller amounts of money, often to startups or businesses with lower capital requirements. Some even offer business training alongside funding, providing valuable guidance for new entrepreneurs.
Step 4: Register the Business
Before you can roll out your mats and welcome your first students, there are some important steps to take to establish your business legally. The requirements can differ by state and sometimes by local jurisdictions, but here is a general overview to get you started.
Business Structure There are four main types of business structures to choose from:
- Sole proprietorship: This is the simplest form of business structure. The advantage of a sole proprietorship is its simplicity and lower startup cost. However, it does not offer liability protection.
- General partnership: If you’re planning to start your yoga studio with a partner, a general partnership is an option. This structure is similar to the sole proprietorship but allows two or more people to share ownership of a business. Each partner contributes to all aspects of the business and shares in the profits, losses, and liabilities.
- Corporation: A corporation is a legal entity separate from its owners. It provides protection against personal liability, but it is more complex and costly to set up than other structures.
- Limited Liability Company (LLC): An LLC combines the flexibility of a partnership with the liability protection of a corporation.
While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer, many small to medium-sized studios opt for an LLC because it offers liability protection while remaining flexible and relatively straightforward to set up and maintain.
Related: Comparison of business structures
Forming an LLC sounds complicated and expensive, but using an entity formation service guides you through the process so you know it was done right.
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Business name registration: After registering the business structure, you may need to register your business name. This process will vary depending on what business structure you pick. Sole proprietors and partnerships will often be required to register a “Doing Business As” (DBA), while corporations and LLCs register with the state during the formation process.
During this time, it’s also a good idea to check if the name you want is available as a web domain, even if you’re not ready to set up a website yet.
Obtain business licenses and permits: There are a number of general licenses and permits most businesses need to register for. These vary based on the state and town where the business is located. Some common local, state, and federal registrations for a yoga studio may include a sales tax permit and an Employer Identification Number if you plan to have employees.
Step 5: Acquire & Set Up the Studio
After getting the funds together and taking care of all the legalities, you’re finally ready to bring your dream yoga studio to life. This next stage covers getting the keys to your studio and beginning to set up the space.
The hunt for the perfect studio space begins by considering its size. You’ll need enough room to host classes comfortably, which means ample space for yoga mats, plus a couple of feet between each student to allow for unrestricted movement. Remember to account for the number of yoga rooms you envision, along with essential amenities and office space.
Next, before signing the lease, make sure the property is zoned for commercial use and meets all regulatory requirements, including fire codes and accessibility standards. Also, consider if you want to include locker rooms, showers, and additional restrooms. These features raise the bar for the client experience but come with extra costs, not just for plumbing and construction but also for ongoing maintenance and cleaning. Don’t forget to plan for a welcoming lobby area, registration desk, retail space for yoga gear, and lounging areas to encourage community building among your clientele.
Once you’ve found the right place, it’s time to make it your own. This could mean adding mirrors, changing the floors, painting the walls, adjusting the acoustics, or controlling the temperature. These changes can add up, so keep an eye on your budget.
Related: Choosing a business location
Step 6: Set Up Operations
After you’ve found the perfect location and transformed it into a tranquil yoga studio, the next step on your journey is to set up the operations.
Let’s start with your class schedule and service offerings. What types of yoga will you teach? Will you offer specialty classes like prenatal or restorative yoga? And when will these classes be held? Think about your potential students and their schedules. Offering a mix of early morning, lunchtime, and evening classes could accommodate a wider range of people.
Next, let’s talk about pricing. How much will you charge for your classes? It’s common to offer a few options, such as monthly memberships, class packages, and drop-in rates. Monthly memberships can encourage regular attendance, while class packages and drop-in rates can provide flexibility. And don’t forget about long-term or student members – a little discount can go a long way in building loyalty.
Once you’ve decided on your pricing structure, you’ll need a way to handle payments. Automatic billing for memberships can make things easier for both you and your students. It’s also a good idea to send payment reminders and expiration notices to keep everyone in the loop.
To manage all these tasks, consider using membership management software. These tools can handle booking, payment processing, and student/class data, freeing up more of your time to focus on teaching yoga. Mindbody, Zen Planner, and WellnessLiving are popular options but do some research to find the one that fits your needs best.
Step 7: Hire Instructors
When starting a yoga studio, one of the next decisions you may face is building your team. Will you be running everything, or will you hire teachers as employees or work with them as independent contractors? Each choice has its own set of pros and cons. Employees typically mean more control over schedules and teaching methods, but this comes with more legal responsibilities. Independent contractors, on the other hand, offer flexibility but less oversight.
In terms of staff, a yoga studio often hires a mix of roles: experienced yoga instructors, reception staff, a studio manager, and perhaps a cleaner or maintenance person. The right team can create a welcoming atmosphere and deliver the quality of service that keeps clients coming back.
Before you start hiring, there are legal requirements to sort out. First, you’ll need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. This is essential for tax purposes. Next, make sure you can verify the employment eligibility of your staff. Also, be aware that each state has different requirements for reporting new hires.
Most states require businesses to carry worker’s compensation insurance. This protects you and your employees in case of work-related injuries. And, of course, you must comply with labor laws, which cover everything from minimum wage to the maximum number of working hours.
Step 8: Prepare to Open!
As the opening day of your yoga studio draws closer, a few final pieces need to be addressed to ensure a solid start. Each studio will have unique needs, but these steps are common areas that need attention before you open your doors.
Business insurance: Secure insurance to safeguard against potential liabilities. This could include general liability insurance, professional liability insurance, and property insurance.
Establish studio policies: Define clear policies for registration, cancellations, payments, class sizes, and studio etiquette to ensure smooth operations and a positive environment for all clients.
Opening a business bank account: Create a dedicated bank account for your business to keep personal and business finances separate.
Create a marketing plan: Develop your brand with a distinctive logo and website. Extend your brand identity to all touchpoints, from signage to online platforms like social media, Google My Business, and Yelp.
Joining industry associations: Engage with associations such as Yoga Alliance, the International Association of Yoga Therapists, or the American Yoga Association for networking opportunities and professional growth.
Preparing for the grand opening: Last but not least, it’s time to get ready for your grand opening. This could involve planning a special event, offering promotional deals, or just ensuring your studio is clean and inviting.
Common Questions When Starting A Yoga Studio
How much does it cost to start a yoga studio?
The cost of starting a yoga studio can vary widely depending on several factors, including location, size, and the level of renovation required for the space. On average, the initial investment can range from $15,000 to $100,000.
Let’s explore some of the key costs involved in this process.
Location: Securing a space for your studio typically involves a lease deposit, often equivalent to one month’s rent. Depending on your area, this can range from a few thousand dollars to much more for prime locations in large cities.
Renovations and equipment: Costs for remodeling and equipping your studio with yoga mats, blocks, straps, and sound systems can vary. Basic renovations can start at $10,000, and equipment can cost upwards of $5,000, depending on quality and quantity.
Business registration: Registering your business can be relatively inexpensive, with fees usually under $300, but this varies by state and the legal structure of your business.
Insurance: Initial insurance payments can range from $400 to $2,000 for basic liability coverage to protect your business from common risks.
Marketing: The initial marketing outlay, which includes brand development, website setup, and promotional materials, can range from $1,000 to $5,000.
Management software: Setting up management software and payment processing systems can cost between $200 and $1,000 for initial setup fees.
It’s important to remember that these figures are estimates and can differ based on specific circumstances and choices.
How profitable is a yoga studio?
When it comes to the potential profits, the numbers can vary widely based on factors such as location, size of the studio, pricing, and number of students. However, by looking at industry statistics and making some assumptions, we can get a sense of what an average yoga studio might expect in terms of revenue, expenses, and profit.
Revenue: Suppose a studio charges $15 per class, runs 20 classes a week, and averages 15 students per class. Monthly revenue would be 15 (students) x $15 (price per class) x 20 (classes per week) x 4 (weeks per month), equating to $18,000 in monthly revenue.
Expenses: Fixed expenses including rent, utilities, payroll, and insurance, may total around $10,000 per month. Variable expenses like marketing, maintenance, and supplies might add another $2,000.
So, the total monthly expenses would be $12,000.
Profit: Subtracting the total expenses ($12,000) from the total revenue ($18,000), the studio would have a monthly profit of $6,000.
Annually, this equates to $72,000 in profit before taxes. It’s important to note that this is a simplified example, and actual profits can be affected by a number of factors, including seasonality, competition, and changes in operating costs.
What skills are helpful in running a yoga studio?
Running a yoga studio successfully requires a mix of diverse skills that go beyond the ability to teach yoga. Here are some key skills that can be particularly helpful:
Business management: Understanding the basics of running a business, such as strategic planning, managing finances, setting prices, budgeting, and understanding the market, is useful.
Customer service: Being able to engage with clients warmly and professionally can make a significant difference in client retention and attracting new students.
Marketing and social media: Knowing how to promote your studio through various channels, including social media, can help you build a strong client base.
Leadership: Leading a team of instructors and staff effectively keeps the studio’s daily operations running smoothly.
Communication: Clear and effective communication with both staff and clients is key to resolving issues and maintaining a positive studio environment.
Adaptability: The ability to adapt to changing circumstances, whether it’s shifting health trends or economic fluctuations, can lead to long-term success.
Time management: Balancing teaching classes, running the business, and having a personal life requires excellent time management skills.
Technical savvy: Familiarity with booking and management software can streamline operations, and basic IT skills can help troubleshoot minor tech issues.
Networking: Building relationships with other business owners, wellness professionals, and the local community can provide valuable partnerships and opportunities.
What is the NAICS code for a yoga studio?
The NAICS code for a yoga studio is 611620, which is classified under Sports and Recreation Instruction.
The NAICS code (North American Industry Classification System) is a federal system to classify different types of businesses for the collection and reporting of statistical data.