How to Start a Yoga Studio

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Quick Reference

Yoga has many health benefits for the body and mind and has been growing in popularity for years. If you love yoga and are skilled at it, you may have considered opening your own yoga studio. It could be a rewarding way to earn a living and do what you love.

Business Overview

A yoga studio offers classes in various yoga classes such as hot yoga, restorative yoga, power yoga, Ashtanga, and many more. Some yoga studios specialize in specific types of yoga. Customers pay to attend the classes for the health benefits and the experience. Classes are taught by certified yoga teachers. Some studios also sell yoga apparel.

Industry Summary

According to IBIS World, 36.7 million Americans practiced yoga in 2016, and it was estimated that 55.1 million people would participate in yoga in 2020. According to Statista, 35% of those people practice yoga in a gym. In 2020 the yoga market was over $11 billion in spite of the pandemic.

Industry Trends

Other exercise trends are growing more popular than yoga, but the yoga market is still predicted to grow. Yoga consistently is on the list of top 20 fitness trends. Types of yoga that are trending are goat yoga, yin yoga, and aerial yoga.

Target Market

The target market for a yoga studio is health-conscious individuals who are interested in the fitness and meditational benefits of yoga. You also may find a market with companies that want to offer yoga classes to employees to encourage a healthier work environment.

Skills, Experience, and Education Useful in Running a Yoga Studio

There are several specific skills and education that you will need to open a yoga studio.

  • Become a certified yoga instructor. You’ll need a certification from a yoga organization like the Yoga Alliance.
  • Business knowledge and experience. Having a passion for yoga is one part of a successful business, but you should also have some basic knowledge of marketing, finance/accounting, and human resources.
  • The ability to offer a complete yoga experience. A yoga class is about more than just the exercises. You need to be able to create a full, positive yoga experience.
  • Customer service. You’ll need to be able to build rapport with your customers so that you retain them as customers and gain repeat business and referrals.

Costs to Start a Yoga Studio

Here are the typical costs you will face when you open a yoga studio.

  • Setting up a business name and corporation costs approximately $200.
  • Business cards, brochures, postcards for marketing $200 – $300
  • Website setup $100 –$200 for a basic, do-it-yourself website, $1,000 – $2,000 for a professional site. It will cost more if you want to offer online class scheduling.
  • Costs to become a certified yoga instructor $50 plus $65 per year from the Yoga Alliance
  • Mortgage, lease or rent $1,500 – $5,000 or more per month depending on the location
  • Studio equipment and space renovations $10,000 – $50,000 (some landlords will provide an improvement allowance depending on the length of the lease signed)
  • Initial marketing such as Facebook ads or search engine optimization for your website, $500 -$1000

Steps to Opening a Yoga Studio

Step 1: Write your Business Plan

After coming up with the idea, the next step in starting your yoga studio should be to write a yoga business plan. The business plan will make you focus on some important aspects of the business, such as who your customers are, how you plan to reach them, projecting sales and expenses, your value proposition to use for marketing, and more. You’ll also need to do some research to calculate exactly what your startup expenses will be and what your ongoing expenses will be.

Not only will a bank require you to have a business plan if you need financing, but multiple studies have shown that having a good business plan increases the odds of starting a successful business. Writing the plan helps you to think through all the aspects of the business and then serves as a guide as you begin.

Related:
How to write a business plan
Free sample business plans

Step 2: Name the Business

Finding the perfect yoga studio name can be challenging. Not only does the name have to reflect what you do and be appealing to customers, but it also has to be available to use. You can check your state’s website to see if the name is available and register your name. Your name should make you stand out, reflect your brand, and tell potential customers exactly what you do.

Related: Tips and ideas for naming a yoga studio

Step 3: Form a Business Entity

A business entity refers to how a business is legally organized to operate. There are four primary business entities to choose from, which include a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and Limited Liability Company (LLC). Each type of entity has its own pros and cons, such as liability exposure, costs, and administrative requirements.

RelatedComparison of Business Entities

Step 4: Select your Location

First, map out what your studio space needs. Will you need one large room or multiple spaces to run several classes at once? Will your space need full locker facilities with showers, or will a simple changing room be sufficient?

The location of your yoga studio is critical and will affect the prices you can charge. If you want to target higher-income customers, you need to be in a more expensive part of town in a convenient location and high visibility. You will pay more, however, for your space.

There is also the option of renting space from another studio to get started to see if there is demand and to see if running a yoga studio is the right choice for you.

Related: Choosing a business location

Step 5: Apply for Business Licenses and Permits

You may need to obtain certain business licenses and permits. These permits and licenses can vary based on the state and town where the business is located. Some common local, state, and federal registrations a yoga studio may need include a sales tax permit and an Employer Identification Number if you plan to have employees.

Related: Common business licenses, permits, and registrations by state

Step 6: Find Financing

Coming up with a good business idea and having the skills to run it are one thing, but getting the funding from a lender or investor to start a yoga studio is another. In order to get a loan, the borrower(s) will need to have good credit and be able to invest 15-25% of their money towards the total start-up costs. Some entrepreneurs use their own funds, a home equity loan, or credit cards, but you are putting your funds at risk and will have payments that may or may not be more than those of a business loan.

Related: Finding the money to start a business

Step 7: Open a Business Bank Account

Keeping your business and personal finances in separate business bank and credit card accounts makes it easier to track the income and expenses of the business.

Step 8: Get your Marketing Plan in Place

A yoga studio will need to set aside a budget to cover marketing costs on a continuous basis. Common promotions for a yoga studio include word of mouth, flyers, social media marketing and, an online presence. Developing a website can be a significant expense, but it can also give your yoga studio greater visibility online.

Related: Low-cost ideas to market a new business

Step 9: Get Insurance

A yoga studio needs several types of insurance for full coverage:

General liability insurance can help protect you from third-party claims of bodily injury and property damage.

Professional liability insurance protects you from claims of professional errors or negligence that result in a financial loss.

Worker’s compensation insurance covers expenses like medical bills and legal fees that a business might face if an employee were ever hurt while working.

Property and casualty insurance protects you if your equipment is damaged.

Insurance policies will vary. To get the most accurate idea of what to budget for insurance, request quotes from multiple providers. When comparing the quotes, consider not only the premiums but also how the plan exclusions, coverage limitations, and deductibles compare.

Related: Common types of insurance a business may need

Step 10: Hiring Employees

You will need employees to help run your yoga studio, including other certified instructors.

In addition to salary costs, your budget will also need to include other employee-related expenses. Workman’s comp insurance, unemployment insurance, and paid time off are common expenses that a business will need to cover when hiring staff.

Related: Hiring your first employee

Step 11: Set up an Accounting System

Setting up an accounting system for your yoga studio is critical to the long-term success of your business.

Staying on top of taxes not only keeps the business out of trouble with the government but the numbers can be used to track and monitor trends and cash flow in the business and maximize profits.

Related: Setting up accounting for your business

How Much Can You Potentially Make Owning a Yoga Studio

Prices for yoga classes can range from $15 – $40, depending on the location. The average yoga studio brings in monthly revenue of $13,495 per month, and the average yoga studio owner makes about $86,000 per year. It will take some time to get enough repeat clients to reach those levels. Selling yoga apparel can increase your revenue potential.

 

Things to Consider Before Starting a Yoga Studio

Running a yoga studio or any business will have its challenges. You need to be prepared and make sure that you know what you’re getting into.

One challenge many yogis face is straddling the line between the emotional aspects of yoga and the realities of running a business. Running a yoga business will require creating and following a plan and understand not everyone is going to like the decisions you will have to make.

Acquiring customers and keeping those customers is key. Your location is a critical factor in getting customers, but the best locations are expensive. You will be putting in a lot of time and money to start your studio and to market it, and that money will be at risk if you don’t succeed. One way to combat this is to offer multiple types of niches such as Ayurveda, Bikram, Belly Dancing, Vinyasa, etc. If these specialties are outside of your experience, hiring another yogi could help expand the offerings of the business.

In addition to classes and workshops, consider having retail items to purchase like apparel with the business’s logo, yoga mats, books, water bottles, etc. This will help generate some additional revenue.

You will face competition, so you will have to make your business stand out and provide a high-quality experience. Follow trends in yoga, and try to offer what people are looking for in any given time period.

Talk to other small business owners for tips on starting a business and do your homework to determine costs.  Visit other yoga studios to see what they are offering and how they market and schedule classes.

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