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.
When is payment due each month? Do you offer or require direct debit? When it comes to financial matters, sharing details helps families plan ahead—and ensures you get what you're owed. Don't forget to decide how you'll handle delinquency. At Stafford Dance Company, "if someone's in arrears more than 30 days, their classes are suspended until they pay in full," says co-owner Nicole Dorsey. "They can also sit down with us to go over a payment plan."
What about when students don't use the classes they've paid for? "We don't offer refunds," says Rosenberg, "but dancers can always take a makeup class at their convenience, without having to schedule it."