It could be argued that half the battle of owning a dance studio is getting people to follow the rules. To ensure your business will run like a well-oiled machine, it helps to have clear expectations in place for students and their families—and, most important, to make sure everyone knows them from day one. Of course, every school is unique, and behavior that may be acceptable to you might be out of the question for someone else. "There are so many studios out there," says Dana McGuire, a studio co-owner in North Kansas City, Missouri. "Know and stand by what you're about." Here, four seasoned studio directors discuss the issues they consider non-negotiable.
Decide on and lay out your dress code in your studio messaging (in your handbook, on your website), whether you designate different leotard colors for certain levels or you're more relaxed about student attire. Don't forget to set policies for dance shoes, too. "We don't allow street shoes on our dance floors," says Kristin Petrou, owner of Tap 'n Arts Dance Studio in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. "If a student doesn't have her dance shoes, she can try to borrow a pair, or sit and watch."