The Ultimate Guide To Opening A Yoga Studio (15 Step Checklist)

How To Open a Yoga Studio (Advice From 10 Studio Owners)

Opening a yoga studio is both exciting and also very overwhelming! I opened my yoga studio after a 9-month refurbishment on an old building and believe me when I tell you I spent hundreds and hundreds of hours researching every tiny detail of how to open a new yoga studio.

Opening a yoga studio requires a combination of passion, organization, and patience. You are on your way to becoming a business owner and as such, there are many details to keep in mind when setting up your new studio. I have been there and done that and this article is my 15 step guide to success.

Each is analyzed and discussed in greater detail. But first, let’s take a moment and look at the benefits of opening a yoga studio.

Yoga-tip: Opening your own yoga studio is a massive step that can be very stressful and also rewarding. If you want to read more about the business side of yoga, check out the top yoga business books on now.

The Benefits of Opening a Yoga Studio 

The world of yoga is constantly booming and expanding. According to a survey by Yoga Alliance and Yoga Journal, there are 36.7 million U.S. yoga practitioners, up from 20.4 million in 2012.

Courtesy Public Affairs

Additionally, they found that people spend an incredible $16 billion on classes, gear, and accessories, which is up from $10 billion three years ago. To be more specific, $5.8 billion is spent on yoga classes, $4.6 billion on yoga clothes, and $3.6 billion on yoga mats and other items.

Although owning a yoga studio is a very competitive space, these figures who that you can become part of a booming market. Additionally, creating your own yoga studio gives you the opportunity to build a community and create a business that you love from the ground up.   

Let’s now go through the 15 steps to opening your new yoga studio.

Establish your business plan

When you decide to open a yoga studio, you are turning your passion into a business and for this reason, you must treat it as such. The first step is to create a business plan. Your business plan will include everything from the style of yoga you want to teach to the rent you are willing to pay.

Your business plan is the foundation to any successful business and is the very first step to take in this journey as it will pave the way for the following steps.

Certain elements to consider for your business plan are:

  • Who are your ideal clients/students? Think of the key demographic you can and want to appeal to. For example, if your key demographic is the older population, then you may want to have more restorative and therapeutic classes.
  • Do you have any competitors? Are there any other yoga studios in your area and if there are, what do they offer and what could you offer that they don’t?
  • Do you have a financial plan? Setting up a new yoga studio is going to cost money. Well more accurately. Setting up a new yoga studio is going to cost a lot of money and time. Do you have money for this investment? And do you have the time and energy to work on this project? 

The following steps go into the requirements of the business plan in greater details, covering all the factors and details you will need.

Pick the ideal location  

The success of your new studio depends on location, location, location. Somewhere easy for people to reach. Not too near any other yoga studios, not too far away from parking, not too noisy if there is no insulation and not too dark as daylight is lovely for morning classes.

I have changed three yoga studio locations and the truth is that is is almost impossible to find the perfect location that licks all the boxes. What I did to find my latest studio was I made a list of things the location had to have. My list was:

  • Easy parking nearby
  • Not on a busy road
  • Have many windows
  • Be easy to find
  • Far from another yoga studio
  • Walking distance to the city centre
  • Not have a noisy business nearby

Of course, everyone’s list will be different and you make not be able to tick all the boxes. But the main point is that you are able to tick most.

Choose the ideal size of yoga studio

Different states and counties have their requirements regarding the minimum size a yoga studio can be. And so once you have determined how small it can be, explore how large you want it. This will depend on the money you can spend and whether or not you want to studio to grow into a large business.

Most yoga studios have anywhere between 5 – 30 students per class. If you want each practitioner to have enough space around them, then you may want roughly 21 square feet for every student.

1 student21 square feet
10 students210 square feet
20 students420 square feet
30 students640 square feet
Space required in yoga studio depending on number of students

And so depending on the sizes of classes you want and expect to have, aim for the corresponding size of yoga studio.

So for example, if you are expecting to have classes that can have up to 20 people, then aim for a yoga studio space that is approximately 420 square feet, which could be 20 x 21 feet.

If you are starting off new without any existing student base, then a good rule of thumb is to aim for a space that is slightly larger than you would anticipate requiring. This is because the cost will not be that much more when doing the renovation and also to prepare for any possible workshops or events you may host that will require that extra space.

Yoga studio design is key

Yoga studio design is a major part of any yoga studio. It sets the tone and provides the character of the yoga studio. If you can, work with an interior designer for the nest results. Of you are working on a budget, do a lot of research to find the perfect design for your needs.

Whether you work with an interior designer or not, do your research so you know what you like and what you don’t like. I spend hundreds of hours looking through pictures of yoga studios on Pinterest.

Every little detail was examined. And so here are things to look for when designing your yoga studio:

  • The colors of the walls. Most studios tend to have light-colored walls with perhaps an accent wall.
  • The type of flooring. Most yoga studios have wooden floors and a cheaper option is laminate flooring. Wood is much more expensive but more durable.
  • Adding plants. Plants can really change a space and so it is worth adding some to your studio, especially if you have a lot of daylight.
  • Adding objects. These can vary from candles to ornaments to the artwork on the walls. A good rule of thumb is to start off simple and with time add more if you feel your space needs it.
  • The lighting. Choose lighting that helps create a soft and more ambient light. Also, dimmer switches are a nice option especially towards the end of the class if you want softer lighting for savasana.

Talk to your students   

If you already have students, it is worth asking for their opinion on your new yoga studio. They may have some insights that you may not have even considered. Especially if you have an established relationship, they will want to follow you to your new space and so listen to what they have to say.

When first found my yoga studio space, I had a handful of yoga students that I knew and trusted to come and give me their honest opinion. I realized that they were honored with the fact that I valued their oiniojn and this made them feel part of the project.

They gave me their honest feedback and also some tips I hadn’t even considered. It is true that as a teacher and business owner we sometimes forget to see things from the perspective of the students. And so I did take on board the suggestions they made and in the end, with their advice I was able to create a beautiful space for us all to enjoy.

Start small

Courtesy Luna active fitness

Try to grow with your business. So it is perhaps worth considering to start off with a less full schedule. This way the students will not be too spread out throughout the classes and this will give the impression of the studio feeling more full. Low attendance can be demoralising so this may help.

Taking baby steps towards your goal will help your business grow organically. With time you can have offers and with time students may bring along friends who with time may bring other friends. And this is how many yoga studios grow. Slowly and steadily.

At first, it is also worth teaching most of the classes yourself and with time introduce more and more teachers, if that is the direction you want to go in.

Have a good logo and website 

Nowadays brand identity is of key importance, even in the yoga industry. If you want to set yourself apart from your competition make sure you have a well-designed logo and a clear and easy to navigate website. Your website should reflect your studio’s character and identity so do your research.

Certain things to consider are:

  • Website design. Will you hire someone to build your website or will you do it yourself. If you do decide to do it yourself, one option is to use the website building site Wix. It is a very user-friendly template-based website which allows even those with no experience to make their own website exactly the way they want.
  • Business management software. Will you use software to help you manage your bookings? One option is to use MindBody, which is actually very commonly used in yoga studios around the world. MindBody is user friendly both for yoga studio owners and for your students.
  • Logo design. Will you hire someone to design your logo or will you do it yourself? If you do decide to do it yourself, an affordable option is Canva, while Fiverr may also prove to be a very good solution.

Get ready to market your yoga studio 

Almost all businesses rely on social media nowadays. You will want to have a good presence on social media as this is how you will promote your business and set yourself apart from the competition. Spend time researching the style you want and gradually build your online community.

Certain things to consider are:

  • Social media manager. Are you going to hire someone to manage your social media or will you do it yourself? One very affordable option for Instagram is Tailwind, which is a popular Instagram tool which posts directly to your Instagram account, it schedules your posts and stories, it finds the best times to post for your audience and it also recommends hashtags to drive engagement.
  • Use beautiful photos. Social media rely on pretty pictures, so try to either hire a photographer to take photos you can sporadically use, or invest in a good camera for your photos. One affordable and good camera for beginners is the Canon EOS M100. It can be easily used by amateurs and also has manual settings for professional studio photos.

Hire reliable and experienced teachers 

The teachers you choose to hire for your yoga studio should be a perfect match for your views on yoga, and also for your business goals. They will be teaching the students in your studio so you need to make sure they have the necessary experience so you can rely on them and them on you.

When you are able to form a good relationship with your teachers, you will notice that they soon become more than staff and most times they become your friends.

Try to be available to them when they need your advice when they want to communicate any thoughts or troubles they may be experiencing.

For any new teachers, you could ask them to teach a class in order for you to see their teaching style and also how they interact with students.

Finally, one important factor to consider is payment. The two main ways yoga teachers are paid are:

  • Fixed-rate. With a fixed-rate fee, your teachers will be paid the same whether the studio is empty or full. As you can imagine, this is a good payment option for you as the studio owner if there are always busy classes.
  • Per number of students. This payment option fluctuates depending on how many students are present in the class. This could be considered as the fairer option, and it is also an incentive for the teacher to bring in more students. Win-win.

Hire additional staff as you grow

Especially at first, in order to keep costs down, you will most likely be doing everything yourself. Teaching classes, cleaning, sorting bookings, dealing with payments, managing the social media and answering the phone. All these tasks are demanding and so as the studio grows consider outsourcing.

You can start with hiring a cleaner and slowly building up from there. One other option is to offer your students work exchange. Many studios use this option and so you can offer a free classes in exchange for simple tasks around the studio. These tasks could be:

  • Tidy up after classes
  • Hoover once in a while
  • Mop after hoovering
  • Make sure there is soap and toilet paper in the bathrooms
  • Water the plants

As simple as these tasks may seem they will save you valuable time and energy.

Check out the competition

With so many yoga studios around the world, it is likely that you will have some competition with your new yoga studio. Check out their location, their website, their social media posts and the kind of students they seem to attract. Aim to see what they are not offering and go ahead and do that.

Some things to consider are:

  • How is your studio different from your competition?
  • Will you offer classes that they don’t?
  • Do you want the focus of your studio to be something very different to them? For example, if they seem to offer more dynamic styles of yoga, would you like to offer more gentle classes tailored towards older people and pregnancy classes?

Arrange your monthly payments

You want to price your classes cheap enough to be able to compete with your competition, but also not too cheap so as to be able to pay the bills and make a living for your self and your teachers. Check out your competitions’ payment plans and consider any possible incentives you can also offer.

Some things to consider are:

  • What will be your drop-in price?
  • What will be your unlimited monthly membership?
  • Will you have an offer for beginners?

If you are interested in finding out the average prices of yoga across the US, I wrote an article where I put together a list of prices of both average drop-in and monthly membership fees depending on the size of the US city.

Create additional streams of revenue    

More and more yoga studios seem to offer retail in the form of yoga mats and yoga clothes. Though it may not seem like much, it may be able to help boost your income if managed well. Consider using products that you already know and love and even sell the mats that you already have in your studio.

Additionally, one big source of extra revenue is to offer yoga retreats and teacher training. Both are increasingly popular nowadays and in high demand.

Estimate your start-up cost

The size and location of the yoga studio are two of the main factors that will affect the price of the property, whether you decide to rent or to buy. Make sure to factor in the costs of any required work and equipment that you will need to get a true picture of your start-up costs.

Once you have found your ideal place, get bids from local contractors in order to be able to calculate the construction cost.

Then, go on to calculate how much it will cost to equip your yoga studio with yoga mats and props. Naturally, the more the students, the more the equipment. You could always start small and then buy more as you see your business growing.

Some costs to consider are: 

  • The lease or the cost to purchase the property.
  • Refurbishment costs in order to make your space the exact way you want it.
  • Legal expenses for the rental or purchase of your new studio.
  • Equipment in the form of yoga mats and props.
  • Teachers wages, unless you decide to start small and only teach yourself at first
  • Website building and hosting, such as Wix.
  • Member management software, such as MindBody.
  • Social media management software, such as Tailwind.
  • Utility bills

Calculate your ongoing costs

Once you have set up your yoga studio, the final thing to consider is the ongoing costs you will have, as well as monitoring your earnings so you are aware of how the business is going.

Lets first have a look at the ongoing costs required to run the business. The estimate will be based on a yoga studio in Seatle, where the last time I checked, the average price for lease for a commercial space is $20 per square foot.

For the point of this example, let’s say that we want to be able to host 20 people, so that means a space of 420 square feet. So the rent would be approximately $8,000 per month.

ItemMonthly cost
Teachers’ salaries0 at first
Billsfrom $400
Insurancefrom $200
Website hostingfrom $17
Member management softwarefrom $129
Social media management softwarefrom $9.99
Total monthly cost to run you studiofrom $8,756
Monthly cost to run a yoga studio

And so by knowing your monthly expenses, you are able to calculate how many students you need to break even. And then you can take it from there.

So for example, again using Seattle as an example, from my article Why Is Yoga So Expensive we know that a price for a monthly yoga membership in Seattle is $120. So let’s have a look at how many monthly memberships are required to break even and even make a salary.

Earnings per monthIncome per month
1 student$120-$8,636
50 students$6,000-$2,636
100 students$12,000$3,244
150 students$18,000$9,244
200 students$24,000$15,244
Monthly earnings at total income per number of students

And so with this Seattle example, you would need between 50 and 100 students to be able to break even and from there be able to earn a salary. And remember this is an example is without factoring the cost of hiring teachers and also it is without factoring the additional students these other teachers could bring in.

In this example, the actual number of students we would need to break even is 73 students.

And keep in mind that the chosen yoga studio could fit up to 20 students per class. This means that you would need to teach at least 3 classes per day in this scenario.

Related questions

How much does it cost to set up a yoga studio?

The expenses to keep in mind are:

  • The lease or the cost to purchase the property
  • Refurbishment costs
  • Legal expenses
  • Equipment
  • Teachers wages
  • Website building and hosting
  • Member management software
  • Social media management software
  • Utility bills

Here is an example discussed in this article about the monthly expenses of a 240 square foot yoga studio in Seattle.

Can you make money owning a yoga studio?

You can indeed make money as long as you run it well. In the example used in this article, with 72 students you are able to break even and with 150 students you can earn $9,244 per month!

How much space do you need for a yoga studio?

Most yoga studios have anywhere between 5 – 30 students per class. If you want each practitioner to have enough space around them, then you may want roughly 21 square feet for every student.

Why do yoga studios fail?

Yoga studios fail because of a variety of factors. These could include bad management, not having a solid business plan before starting the studio not considering one of the 15 steps discussed int his article.

What makes a yoga studio successful?

Following the 15 steps discussed in this article will be able to give you more chances to succeed. You need the winning combination of a solid business plan, good teachers, a great space, and a steady flow of stunts coming in.

How to open a yoga studio in a small town

All the 15 steps discussed here apply to open a yoga studio in a small town. Two key factors that will be different are less competition and lower rent. both these factors could help make sure your business is able to succeed.

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