By Robyn Parets, Pretzel Kids founder
Are you thinking about opening a yoga studio?
Whether you’re thinking about starting a private yoga business, opening a yoga studio in your home, or starting a yoga studio near you, launching a fitness business is not easy.
There are many factors to consider before starting a yoga business, such as:
Do you need a yoga studio business plan?
How much does it cost to run a yoga studio?
Do you need a yoga license?
And, what’s the best yoga studio set up?
In this guide, we’ll break down the basics and explain how to open a yoga studio. Read on to learn more.
Why Open a Yoga Studio?
As stated above, opening a yoga studio is not easy. It takes hard work, dedication, a smart business plan, and a great location.
With that said, many yoga teachers decide to open a yoga studio because they love yoga. But believe it or not, this is not a good reason to start a yoga business. Huh?
Hear me out: A yoga studio business is like any other business. You’ve got to know how to actually manage a small company and this includes overseeing a staff of teachers, handling or outsourcing your accounting, marketing your yoga studio, managing students and customer support, figuring out new ways to increase revenue, and more.
In fact, even opening a yoga studio in your home is a lofty endeavor and it will take you away from your own yoga practice and your love for teaching. I’m not saying you can’t teach yoga classes anymore as a business owner. To the contrary: when you first open a yoga studio, you may be the only yoga teacher there. But this means you’re teaching tons of classes while also running a seven-day-a-week business. And, you may get exhausted and not have the same zest for your yoga practice.
Always keep in mind that this is hard work. Very hard work. I say this because I started a yoga studio in 2004 and ran it until 2016. It was one of the hardest jobs I ever loved. And as much as I loved running my yoga studio, I was very happy to move on and launch Pretzel Kids, where we can help other yoga teachers earn more money teaching children’s yoga classes.
How much does it cost to open a yoga studio?
Ok, let’s dig a little deeper here.
While talking about money is often a taboo subject in the yoga world, you can’t open a yoga studio without factoring in this important question: How much does it cost to start a yoga studio?
So, here are some things to consider when thinking about the cost to open a yoga studio from home or elsewhere:
Real estate or lease costs for your studio space
First things first: You’ll need a space for your yoga studio. While the average yoga studio size varies, you’ll likely need at least 1,100 square feet to comfortably hold classes for 20-25 students, with a small reception area for a front desk and some retail items, like yoga mats, eye pillows and yoga props.
If you have space in your basement, attic or garage and can convert that into a yoga studio, you may be able to set up a studio this way (check your city, county and state for yoga studio regulations). My former studio, for example, was housed in a converted space above my detached garage.
Yet, if you don’t have 1,100 extra square feet available to turn into a yoga studio, you’ll need to scout out local commercial real estate space and see what’s available near you. Most commercial leases require deposits, first and last month’s rent, and a long-term commitment (think anywhere from one year to five years).
Depending on your location, you’ll need to factor in several thousand dollars up front, in addition to monthly lease payments which can range from $800 to thousands if the studio space is in a major metropolitan area.
Once you’ve secured a lease on a space, you may need to do what’s called build-out. This means you’ll have to do some construction within the space to make sure it’s suitable for a studio. For example, you may need to install partitions, put in a new bamboo floor, construct built-in shelves for props and mats, or design and construct a front desk area.
To get started, get various bids from contractors in your area so that you can compare pricing. Depending on your needs, construction can range from $2,000 to $20,000, or more. You can also talk to your new landlord who may be willing to cover some of the build-out costs for you (if you’re super lucky, the building owner may be willing to put his or her own construction crew to work on your yoga studio). It boils down to how motivated the landlord is to get you moved into the space as soon as possible.
Yoga props and equipment
When thinking about how to set up a yoga studio, you’re going to have to purchase and invest in props and yoga equipment. This includes front desk furniture, mats, blocks, bolsters, straps and possibly eye pillows, meditation cushions and other equipment you may need to teach yoga classes.
If you’ve got your mind set on figuring out how to open a yoga studio with no money, you may be able to collect donated props or score used equipment from a yoga studio going out of business. But, for the most part, you’ll need to factor in enough money to purchase necessary yoga equipment. To be safe, set aside at least $1,500 for equipment, furnishings and props.
I recommend consulting an attorney to get all your legal documents sorted out. If you’re opening a yoga studio, you’ll want a lawyer to review your lease agreement. It’s also a good idea for an attorney to review and write any student contracts and waivers, as well as contracts for your new teachers. This can run you hundreds if not thousands of dollars. I’d recommend setting aside at least $2,000 for attorney fees (and honestly, you’ll likely spend much more than that and it’s well worth it to set your yoga business up for success!)
Marketing, branding, and software startup costs
Successful promotions and marketing can make or break your yoga business. So, don’t skimp here and do your homework prior to setting up your yoga studio. Among other things, you’ll need:
- An email marketing platform
- Social media marketing (which may entail hiring an expert to get you started with social media)
- A booking system
- A payment platform
- An accounting/bookkeeping system or bookkeeper
- Logo development and design
- Ongoing branding work
- Online platform provider for virtual classes
Collectively, you’ll want to factor in an initial $1,000 to $5,000 for all of these costs. Once your yoga studio is open, you’ll then need to pay for most of these expenses on a monthly basis and that can run you $500 to $2,000 a month for a small yoga business (and a lot more for a large studio business).
Factor all the costs into your yoga studio business plan
Before opening your yoga business, add up all the costs involved so you know what you need to start your yoga studio. Using the figures in this guide, it’ll cost you a minimum of about $7,000 to set up a studio from home, and on up to $35,000 to open a yoga studio in a commercial location. Keep in mind that these start-up costs do not include ongoing monthly fees like rent, yoga teacher insurance cost, utilities (think: high heating costs in the winter and high air-conditioning costs in the summer!), taxes, payroll, software costs, marketing fees, a virtual platform, and more.
Do you need a license to open a yoga studio?
By now you might be wondering: Do I need a business license to teach yoga? Well, it depends.
While this might not be the answer you were looking for, some states require a yoga license and others do not. For the most part, the yoga industry is unregulated – meaning there are no nationwide licensing requirements. This also means that you’ll need to do your own research depending on where you live and where your yoga business will operate.
In my situation, I got a business license through the town where I ran my yoga studio. And for Pretzel Kids, which does not have a physical studio, I am incorporated in the state of Massachusetts, where my company is headquartered.
Besides a yoga license for your business, you might have heard of other types of licenses. For example, you can “license” a company’s brand, which can help your yoga studio expand by gaining customers. As far as fitness brands go, Zumba and Nike are great examples of companies that license their brand to other teachers and companies.
Similarly to Zumba, Pretzel Kids is also a branding and licensing program. This allows member Pretzel Kids teachers to access and use the company’s logo and branding to promote their kids yoga classes – wherever they teach. A Pretzel Kids “yoga license” enables teachers to diversify their classes, while allowing yoga studios to offer Pretzel Kids branded classes. This, in turn, helps yoga businesses tap into the national Pretzel Kids brand, and list their kids yoga classes right on the Pretzel Kids website.
Becoming a member of Pretzel Kids can help you expand your offerings and grow your yoga business. If you’re already a certified yoga teacher, you can even become a Pretzel Kids teacher without taking the online teacher training course. Just think: for a low monthly fee, you’ll get the license to the fastest growing kids yoga brand! And, if you are interested in becoming a certified Pretzel Kids teacher, this is just another great accomplishment for you, a new yoga business owner!
In summary, thinking about new ways to expand your yoga business is key to your success!
Do yoga teachers need insurance?
Insurance coverage is a must-have when opening a yoga studio or starting a yoga business.
Personal liability insurance for fitness instructors is fairly inexpensive and you can get insured via Yoga Alliance insurance coverage. You can also get coverage through Yoga Journal instructor insurance.
Another company, beYogi, offers superior and affordable liability insurance for yoga teachers; and the beYogi insurance also covers classes taught online or via pre-recorded videos!
For the most part, liability insurance will cost you about $179 a year (or $149 with the Pretzel Kids beYogi discount!)
Besides liability insurance, you may need commercial insurance and/or other types of business insurance depending on your particular situation. Before you open a yoga studio, be sure to reach out to an insurance agent to discuss options for your business.
Yoga Studio Regulations
As we stated above, regulations for yoga studios vary state to state. So, you’ll definitely need to check with your city, county or state to learn about compliance with any regulations.
One thing you may want to consider is whether you can hold a class outside. During the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, many studios moved classes outdoors – to the parking lot, local parks and even backyards. For those running children’s yoga classes, small sessions for pandemic pods were very popular as well. So, you’ll want to check on whether there are yoga studio regulations that will allow you to move your classes to outdoor locations.
Teaching Kids Yoga
While teaching children’s yoga classes isn’t the first thing you may think about when considering opening a yoga studio, it can certainly help you boost revenue.
For instance, you can run kids yoga classes after-school when your studio isn’t busy with adult classes. You can also offer outdoor children’s classes in a local park or playground. Another idea: combine kids yoga with art or music. This is always a huge hit with the kids.
And one final pro tip: Why not team up with Pretzel Kids to help you boost your yoga business? As we discussed in this guide, there’s power in a brand and Pretzel Kids allows member teachers (and studio owners!) to license the rights to use the brand, logo, marketing materials, website and more. Plus, you get to instantly add branded Pretzel Kids yoga classes to your yoga studio business. It’s a win-win!
Are you ready for a yoga studio business?
I know, I know. Deciding whether opening a yoga studio is the best move for you is a difficult decision. Before you jump in, make sure you understand and can afford the costs involved, have all your legal documents in check, have your yoga insurance in place, and can pay for ongoing costs – as setting up a yoga business is expensive!
One more final tip: If you don’t want to run a yoga business and you’d rather teach yoga, than that’s exactly what you should do. Remember, a business of any kind can be stressful and it might not be the right path for you. As I like to say, just because you like to cook doesn’t mean you should open a restaurant. Think of yoga in the same way. If you love to teach yoga, perhaps spending your evenings balancing your budget isn’t in your cards.
So, weigh all your options and make the best decision for you! ?