General Dance Discussion > Cost of Running a Dance Studio

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by Larinda McRaven, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I mostly agree with this. I would reiterate, though, that the underlying costs are largely out of control of the teachers and studios. Utilities, rent, etc, are their cost of doing business. To stay in business, they have to find a way to cover those costs and still make a living. *shrug* It is what it is.
  2. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Thats it..
  3. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

  4. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    DerekWeb is right, it is about the market, but I think what some people who've complained about pricing seem to want is not fair market value but for private lessons from established pros to cost the same as what the modern-dance major from the local community college charges for a tango group class at the senior center. And the reasoning seems to be "They're EXPENSIVE and I can't AFFORD it *whine* so IT'S NOT FAIR that other people can. They should charge less so I can do it, too." I don't know many pros who are relying on one or two very wealthy students and are so booked they don't worry at all about attracting new clientele, so if there weren't a market at the prices various teachers and studios charge, they would have dropped their prices.

    Though that comes with the issue of balancing what the market will bear with the cost of doing business--studios have raised rates lately because the simple cost of being open has risen. I think people who complain about pricing also forget it's not a matter of teachers pocketing the entire lesson cost, and that things like utilities and supplies haven't gotten any cheaper.

    While I agree with tiger that of course you don't have a right to have a job you enjoy (heck, no one has a right to be happy, just to pursue happiness--no guarantees about achieving it) the caveat is, it's not as simple as saying "Well, you could have been an engineer/doctor/lawyer (or, heck, plumber/electrician/roofing contractor, but you just chose not to be." Not everyone has the aptitude to be one of those professions or skilled trades that might pay more than certain jobs, certainly not to do it well. Plus, the market determines what someone charges for a service like dance lessons--just because someone THINKS the price is too high doesn't mean the service provider ought to automatically lower the costs and reduce their own standard of living because that nurse/doctor/lawyer/engineer/whatever says "Your services aren't as important as mine." If there are other customers who are willing to pay the asking price, the service isn't in fact overvalued.
  5. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    I dont know what planet you are living on, but i can tell you emphatically, that dancing, for the majority, lesson wise is NOT long term , I only wish it were ! ( and please dont quote comp. types, they are such a small percentage of most schools business ).

    And do you really believe that cost is the determining factor why people quit ?.

    I think I know what your studio ownership background is ( did I hear None ? )or are you being polemic ?.

    The turnover in most schools is thru the social strata,and the percent that go past 1yr, is at best in the low 20s, and I am able to base that upon multi yrs of ownership and management, in Indies and Chain schools in small and larger cities and towns.

    Oh.. and by the way, by changing your " name " it didnt change your " spots" .
  6. DOI, I was wondering your thoughts on something... and everyone else's thoughts, for that matter. It pertains to a "hypothetical" situation at a "hypothetical" studio. (Harp plays, begin dream sequence.)

    There is a franchise studio where the instructors often try to get their students to go to comps (all franchise comps, of course). When the students ask, the instructors/managers/owner all state that, "Well, if a lot of students go, of course we will be able to give everyone a better price to spread the cost around." The owner owns multiple franchise studios in the same general area, and one of the students in Studio A asks how much it will cost. They are told that for airfare + hotel + meals for two people (the student and their pro) + time for teacher's lost lessons comes out to, let's say, $11,000. Meanwhile, three students in Studio B, who want to go to the same comp (and all three student have the same pro instructor), are told that for all of the items above, the price for them to go compete is... (drum roll please...) $11,000 per student. After these students meet up at the competition, they start comparing notes, and find out this little fact about their prices. Okay, end dream sequence.

    So my question is this: How does such a situation figure into the "Cost of running a dance studio"? In particular, how is it possible that all the students at Studio B are paying the same price as the Studio A student when the 3 Studio B students are competing with the same pro?? Or does this all just fall into the category of "prices being as high as the market will bear"? Being a noob to BR dancing, and having never competed before, maybe this is just the way things are done in the ballroom world, but for some reason, something doesn't seem quite right to me.
  7. nottomention

    nottomention New Member

    Over the long term, you end up with the clientele you cultivate. If you are a business person rather than a dancer, and seek to open a studio as a business investment, then perhaps doing a huge amount of advertising and having a rapid turnover of short-term students makes sense. But if your reason for opening a studio is to teach dancing, and develop dancers, then you might want to structure it around creating and encouraging a core clientele who will stick around for a few years.

    That competition is so often presented as the only purpose for in-depth study is one of the largest limitations on ballroom, compared to other partner dances.

    I don't believe that's an argument I have made. But the lack of value probably is a factor. And lack of value comes in many forms - unskilled teachers, skilled teachers not including the skills necessary to enable the material they are teaching, or even skilled teachers teaching all the needed skills, but without helping their students find something to do with the resulting dancing other than take more lessons.
  8. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    So to summarise succinctly, you have no long term empirical evidence , only that which YOU believe to be factual on a pan or endemic basis ( or is that parochial ?) .

    You seem to want live in utopian dance world, and pragmatism never sems to enter the door . You may choose to ignore the facts as you may, and, Im still waiting to hear WHAT you base your assumptions upon ? .
  9. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    this is correct... and what my father taught me years ago.
  10. nottomention

    nottomention New Member

    I'm pragmatic in different ways than you are, because my goals are apparently quite different than yours.

    For example, I don't recommend owning the studio. That immediately removes a huge amount of heartburn and distraction from the actual teaching of dance.
  11. nottomention

    nottomention New Member

    Actually, I don't think most of the stronger teachers charge as much as "a" market would bear, because if they did, they'd probably not get to do much of the types of teaching they find most rewarding.

    I was kind of surprised by danceronice's allegation that some are asking for private lessons from top professionals at trainee group class rates - I must have missed those posts. What I do see people upset with is the tendency to charge as much or more for inexperienced teachers on the "business side" as for experienced ones on the "dancing side", and to steer students towards the most expensive form of dance instruction, ie 1 on 1 attention.
  12. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    You have no clue what goes into running a studio. Please do NOT TURN this thread into another diatribe of yours where you tell us everything about the industry is wrong. And it all comes down to your favorite gripes, newbie teachers, pro-am competition, baby social dancers, franchise studio managers.... this thread is about running a studio and the monetary flow.
  13. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    Actually one of my students told me just last weke I should RAISE MY PRICES because I am overbooked. He has a hard time getting on my schedule. He would like me to weed out a little bit the ones that are not as dedicated as himself. And actually ... they all are as dedicated as him.... and would gladly pay 5-10 extra a lesson. And I am already charging over the national average. So if the market not only will bear it but asks for it... perhaps it is time to raise my prices.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2016
  14. nottomention

    nottomention New Member

    The fact that I do is precisely why I choose not to.

    Perhaps the thread that was really needed was "the costs of offering dance training"
  15. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    Someone started this thread because they wanted to talk about Financially RUNNING A STUDIO. If you don't like it then go start your own thread...
  16. nottomention

    nottomention New Member

    The OP of the first half of the thread or of the second?

    I got the impression that the second half was to get the debate over lesson costs accounting out of the group v. private thread.

    Since there are two models for offering lessons, I made the apparent mistake of assuming both belonged here. Frankly, I don't see what the point in having a discussion is if there's no openness to considering alternatives.
  17. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    Yes, this is about accounting and paying for things like insurance and rent and utilites, ans thing most people never even see like paying for designing and printing of flyers, sponsoring events, and buying pens that everyone steals.

  18. nottomention

    nottomention New Member

    That was a direct response to an inaccurate accusation by tangotime.

    If my post was off topic, so was his.
  19. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    You may talk to me about "goals ", whenever you have reached comparable numbers in my list of things done and achieved, in the dance industry .
  20. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    Obviously you mean to reference dance goals because pitting yourself against somelses personal achievements has no place here...

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