Everyone wants to be at your studio at the same time. It makes sense. The peak activity windows are the after school into evening and Saturdays. But you have a limit to the number of classes you can reasonably hold and the number of students you can actually (and legally) fit in your dance studio.
Obviously kids who are in school can’t take classes during school hours. Logically you schedule your youngest students (who are not in school, preschool or kindergarten) during school hours. But this doesn’t represent a large portion of your student count and doesn’t create enough activity to fill your idle daytime hours.
What do you do? Are you stuck with a block of vacant hours when your studio has no activities and therefore isn’t bringing in any money?
With today’s cost of operations, studio owners are looking at ways to fill idle time so that they can accumulate as many money making hours in their studios as possible.
Here are some pretty common options:
Mommy & Me Classes may attract mothers with toddlers who would like their child to get exercise and begin learning to control movements and work on balance and coordination. This is a great “pre-requisite” (marketing tool) for your Primary Dance or Introduction to Dance Classes.
Mommy-to-Be Classes are becoming more prevalent and have some “proof” that the unborn baby actually benefits from hearing the music and Mommy’s dance moves. (Read a related blog post)
Mom’s Morning Out can attract mothers who need a break for some healthy exercise and fun while their children are in school. This can focus on general exercise and simply allow moms to regain flexibility and work off some stress. If this takes off in your studio, you may see the opportunity to offer different levels of exercise classes.
Adult Classes can attract any adult who would like to learn or re-enter dance instruction. This differs from the Mom’s Morning Out class because it is focused on dance skills and not simply fun and stress relieving exercises and activities. If your first class (for example, ballet) takes off in your studio, you may see the opportunity to offer other types of classes (jazz, tap, hip hop…)
Here are also some creative options:
Instructor Partnerships allow you to offer activities or skills that your facility can accommodate but may be outside of your expertise or certification. You may have heard a parent or even someone in the community around your studio mention interest in a particular type of class. Take this as your cue to offer it. You may not make as much money in doing this, but you also aren’t incurring the same operating expenses as you would if you staffed this. Don’t feel like you should only offer classes that appeal to women if you know of stay-at-home Dads among your studio parents.
Be sure to discuss partnerships with your insurance agent prior to approaching anyone with your ideas.
Yoga or Zumba Morning can be worked out by partnering with a certified instructor seeking out a nice spacious location to offer classes. This can ease the burden on existing staff to teach “extra” classes and help you to introduce your studio to new people who may be attracted by the instructor.
Personal Training, Kick Boxing or Krav Maga may work in the same way. Most of the time these instructors just need space but bring their own supplies and equipment (and often customers).
Mobile Classes give you the opportunity to reach out into your own community or ones nearby and offer select classes. This is a great marketing tool that makes your expertise and style of teaching known in churches, rec facilities, private schools, preschools, kindergartens or child care centers. You may even find neighborhood associations who want to offer a mini-class out of what you offer in their recreational facility.
Limit the hours that you offer mobile classes so that you don’t interfere with your peak studio hours, then go out (or send staff out) to have fun putting an outreach program in place for your studio.
Discuss this idea with your insurance agent to make sure that you’re protected even if you’re not in your facility.
Talk to your customers. Tell them your “idle hours” predicament. Your studio’s parents are likely to have ideas too. There’s no telling what you may discover by simply hosting a coffee cake discussion one morning with your favorite dance moms.