Ask The Experts: Minimum Number of Students for Profitability

Q: I’m working on a schedule of classes for my summer program, but the initial interest isn’t overwhelming. What’s the minimum student attendance needed to consider a class profitable?

A: It is best to assess your entire schedule when calculating profitability. We asked Jessica Scheitler, business coach and arts and entertainment accountant, to help us create a formula for this. According to Scheitler, it’s important to understand which costs directly affect the income you’re producing. In addition to direct expenses (the teacher’s salary, for example, or merchant fees from the credit card provider), each class needs to cover its share of your overhead (regular expenditures needed to keep your studio running, like rent, administration and supplies). To find out what this share is, divide the total amount of overhead costs by the number of classes you offer. Then, add that figure to the direct expenses to get your break-even point for that class. Now you can figure out how much to charge each student and how many must enroll to cover all expenses. Any enrollment above that number will be profit for your studio.

It is useful to note a minimum enrollment number on your website and in your teacher contracts. There may be exceptions, but with this formula, you can make an informed decision. For example, a small advanced class for your elite program may not be profitable according to this formula, but your large classes may offset the loss and justify running it. Overall profitability is your goal; when you take these considerations into account, you can make confident decisions about minimum enrollment for your studio.

Kathy Blake is the owner of Kathy Blake Dance Studios in Amherst, New Hampshire. She and Suzanne Blake Gerety are the co-founders of DanceStudioOwner.com.

 Photo by B Hansen Photography, courtesy of Suzanne Blake Gerety

News
Getty Images

Despite worldwide theater closures, the Universal Ballet Competition is keeping The Nutcracker tradition alive in 2020 with an online international competition. The event culminates in a streamed, full-length video of The Virtual Nutcracker consisting of winning entries on December 19. The competition is calling on studios, as well as dancers of all ages and levels, to submit videos by November 29 to be considered.

"Nutcracker is a tradition that is ingrained in our hearts," says UBC co-founder Lissette Salgado-Lucas, a former dancer with Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. "We danced it for so long as professionals, we can't wait to pass it along to dancers through this competition."

Keep reading... Show less
Robbie Sweeny, courtesy Funsch

Christy Funsch's teaching career has taken her from New York City to the Bay Area to Portugal, with a stint in a punk band in between. But this fall—fresh off a Fulbright in Portugal at the Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa, School of Dance (ESD), teaching and researching empathetic embodiment through somatic dance training—Funsch's teaching has taken her to an entirely new location: Zoom. A visiting professor at Slippery Rock University for the 2020–21 academic year, Funsch is adapting her eclectic, boundary-pushing approach to her virtual classes.

Originally from central New York State, Funsch spent 20 years performing in the Bay Area, where she also started her own company, Funsch Dance Experience. "My choreographic work from that time is in the dance-theater experiential, fantasy realm of performance," she says. "I also started blending genres and a lot of urban styles found their way into my choreography."

Keep reading... Show less
News
Courtesy Meg Brooker

As the presidential election approaches, it's a particularly meaningful time to remember that we are celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment, when women earned the right to vote after a decades-long battle.

Movement was more than a metaphor for the fight for women's suffrage—dancers played a real role, most notably Florence Fleming Noyes, who performed her riveting solo Dance of Freedom in 1914 to embody the struggle for women's rights.

This fall, Middle Tennessee State University director of dance Meg Brooker is reconstructing Dance of Freedom on 11 of her students. A Noyes Rhythm teacher and an Isadora Duncan scholar, Brooker is passionate about bringing historic dance practices into a contemporary context.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.