Dream of Starting Your Own Yoga Studio? Here’s What You Need to Know

Jessica Elliott

Jessica couples her 24 years of restaurant and hospitality industry experience with meticulous research to deliver insight into technology, operations, and marketing topics. Her optimized copy helps companies engage their audience while strengthening their communication with clients, employees, and management.

Are you a registered yoga instructor dreaming of starting your own studio? Or perhaps, you’ve been practicing yoga for many years and want to become a teacher and run a studio? Going into business for yourself and doing something you love is rewarding.

Group of people in a Yoga with an instructor coaching and adjust correct pose.

Like any new adventure, there are challenges. Success varies by the studio and by definition. Whereas one person may dream of a large center with multiple instructors, others prefer to keep it small without a large overhead. Before you start planning your new venture, consider these ideas.

Yoga studio: Statistics versus reality

There’s no doubt that yoga has experienced phenomenal growth. As people look for ways to balance their lives, improve mental wellbeing, and become healthier, yoga is a great outlet.

Even with the difficulties in 2020, the pilates and yoga studio industry “saw a 5% growth” in the number of businesses over 2019.” There are currently an estimated 40,930 companies in this sector.

However, 2020 also exposed vulnerabilities in the market. The market size grew by 1.1%, resulting in a market size of $12.82 billion in 2020. And as shutdowns rocked local communities, only 12% of people said they were very interested in learning yoga or meditation through a video call or virtual class.

No business is free from disruption, and putting all your eggs in one basket can be disastrous regardless of the industry. Therefore, it’s critical to assess your financial situation before starting a yoga studio and think about ways to diversify your income streams.

Top questions to ask before starting a yoga studio

Few of the following questions have a simple answer. However, to turn your dream into reality, these are questions that you should research and get concrete answers to. Doing so helps you conquer your fears and start a business.

How much does a yoga studio cost?

The main cost associated with starting a yoga studio relates to the space you’ll use. Buying a studio can easily cost upwards of $100,000, whereas you can rent a 20 by 20 yoga space, waiting room, and bathroom for $1,000 or more per month.

You’ll have many other startup and ongoing costs to take into account, such as:

  • Yoga studio design and decor: If you need to update your studio or opt for those yoga-friendly, yet expensive, bamboo floors, your costs will rise.
  • Yoga studio equipment: Fortunately, you don’t need much to open a yoga studio. But you may want to add mats, blocks, chairs, and mirrors.
  • Utilities and rent or loan payments: Your fixed costs make up the bulk of your budget, making this an area to pay special attention to.
  • Insurance: Yoga studios need both general liability and professional liability insurance to protect yourself and your business.
  • Licenses: Your local, state, and federal government may require various one-time and yearly fees to open a yoga studio.
  • Legal fees: It’s essential to register your business as a limited liability company (LLC) or corporation to protect personal assets.
  • Software: When you start your business, you can get away with low-cost software solutions costing less than $100 a month. This may include accounting, social media management, online booking software, and a customer relationship management (CRM) system.
  • Website: A website may cost $10 to $100 a month based on the platform you use and if you have built-in tools for subscriptions, booking deposits, and e-commerce.
  • Marketing: The Small Business Association recommends companies with a 10% to 12% profit margin spend 7% to 8% of their gross revenue on marketing.
  • Yoga instructor fees: If you’re a certified instructor, you’ll need to pay yearly dues of $65 to Yoga Alliance.

How profitable is a yoga studio?

A yoga studio can be extremely lucrative, with many owners earning well over $10,000 per month. However, it’s highly dependent on several factors, such as:

  • Cost per class
  • Sessions per day
  • The average number of clients per class
  • Days per week
  • Number of working days per year

Why do yoga studios fail?

Like other types of businesses, yoga studios often fail due to a lack of business expertise. You can be a beloved yoga instructor, but if you don’t adequately price and market your services, it’ll be hard to make enough money to pay your bills.

Do you need professional yoga training?

Although many areas don’t regulate yoga or require a license, professional training can boost your reputation & legitimacy and provide many benefits. Yoga Alliance offers designations for:

  • RYT: Registered yoga teacher
  • E-RYT: Experienced registered yoga teacher
  • RCYT: Registered children’s yoga teacher
  • RPYT: Registered prenatal yoga teacher

Of course, you can also earn certifications in specific niches such as yin yoga, yoga medicine, vinyasa, power yoga, or ashtanga.

Opening a yoga studio: Top considerations

If you’re passionate about yoga, then starting a yoga studio can be a fantastic idea. It can be profitable, personally satisfying, and help you meet life goals. Set your business off on solid ground by creating a checklist for starting a business and using the following recommendations.

1. Learn how to run a business before opening a yoga studio

The traits that make you an excellent yoga instructor aren’t necessarily the same ones that make you an exceptional business owner. In fact, a lack of business knowledge is a big reason why first-time owners fail.

Fortunately, many free and low-cost resources exist to help you prepare. Get help starting a business by speaking with your local Small Business Association office. The key areas to brush up on include:

  • Financial tracking and planning
  • Marketing and branding strategies and tactics
  • Business and employment laws
  • Local, state, and federal requirements
  • Tax planning and payments
  • Digital technology services

2. Dedicate time and money to branding your yoga business

Your brand is nearly as important as anything else you do. People want to know what to expect before they schedule an appointment. Can they trust your business? Do friends and family recommend your studio?

With a strategic plan, you can make your yoga studio a recognizable name, leading to more referrals and word-of-mouth marketing. Moreover, social channels, your website, and email list give you access to current clients, their friends, and many new leads.

Knowing what problems your clients want to solve goes hand-in-hand with using Instagram or email marketing successfully.

3. Be prepared to operate at a loss for at least 12-months

Although your startup costs are less than fitness centers, it’s still no small chunk of change to get your business up and running. Plus, you’ll have ongoing monthly costs that must get paid even if clients don’t show up or you need to close your doors for a week.

Having access to money to pay your bills for at least one year can give you peace of mind while you work to build a client base and increase your revenue.

4. Establish relationships and get good PR

Getting coverage in the local news, doing radio or podcast interviews, and being featured on influencer social channels can all attract clients to your business. However, building meaningful relationships with other business owners also is beneficial.

For example, local health centers and medical clinics are good places to meet new people, chat about complementary health services, and ask for referrals. Furthermore, you can attend local business meet and greets, senior or family expos, and community center open houses.

5. Think about multiple income streams before diving into ownership

Although you may not imagine yourself doing anything else than teaching yoga, having extra income streams can be a vital lifeline. Many yoga instructors turn to other passions to supplement their yoga studio income. Some health and wellness business ideas include:

  • Essential oils
  • Corporate wellness programs
  • Private lessons
  • Online wellness courses
  • Local mindfulness workshops
  • Life coaching
  • Yoga and brand-related merchandise

Starting your yoga studio: Next steps

If you’re feeling stuck in any of the areas above, consider reaching out to an expert. A coach with yoga experience can help you organize your business, design a profitable pricing structure, or explore new income streams.

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