Ask the Experts: Pricing Private Lessons

How do you price private lessons—per session or per hour? What’s your rate? If you aren’t the one teaching the lessons, how do you split the profit between teacher and studio?

Most studio owners offer half-hour or hour lessons with pricing that reflects the type of instruction and services they or their teachers are providing. For example, lessons on technique and general instruction are often priced differently from those that include choreography (which usually makes the cost go up). You may wish to offer private or semi-private coaching options at a reduced price for students in your performance company who want feedback on their solos and duos.

Before you decide what to pay your teachers, it is important to know your liability and responsibility as the studio owner. You might think you’re saving money on administrative costs or taxes by letting students pay teachers directly or paying teachers as independent contractors, but the risks associated with this may be more costly in the long run. If this is the protocol at your studio, you are essentially letting your teachers run a business within your business—and they should provide their own liability insurance and/or pay you a studio rental fee to use the space. We recommend you consult with your insurance agent to know what is covered by you and what should be required of your teachers.

At our studio, we charge students $30 per half hour and $55 per hour for private lessons. We also offer a discount incentive: If parents pay for 10 lessons in advance, they receive 10 percent off the total price. Our teachers are paid as employees with standard tax deductions at this agreed-upon rate—they earn $20 for a 30-minute lesson and $40 for an hour lesson. The studio keeps the remainder to cover the cost of commercial and liability insurance, utilities and office administration. 

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

Teachers Trending
Maks and Val Chmerkovskiy. Photo courtesy Dance With Me

Listening to Maks and Val Chmerkovskiy riff together makes it crystal-clear why each has mastered the art of partnering in the ballroom—they've long been doing this dance in real life as brothers and business partners.

Along with their "Dancing with the Stars" pedigree (and a combined three mirror-ball trophies between them), Maks and Val (and their father, Sasha) also run Dance With Me, a dance company hosting six ProAm Dancesport competitions annually and running 14 brick-and-mortar studio locations across the U.S.

Last year, the pair launched an online component, Dance & Co. The online video platform offers beginner through advanced instruction in not only ballroom but an array of other styles, as well as dance fitness classes from HIIT to yoga to strength training. "DWTS" fans will recognize such familiar faces as Peta Murgatroyd, Jenna Johnson, Sharna Burgess and Emma Slater, along with Maks and Val themselves.

Keep reading... Show less
Teaching Tips
@jayplayimagery, courtesy Kerollis

In the spring of 2012, Barry Kerollis was abruptly forced into treating his career as a small business. Having just moved cross-country to join BalletX, he got injured and was soon let go.

"I'd only ever danced with big companies before," the now-freelance dance-teacher-choreographer-podcaster recalls. "That desperation factor drove me to approach freelancing with a business model and a business plan."

As Kerollis acknowledges, getting the business of you off the ground ("you" as a freelance dance educator, that is) can be filled with unexpected challenges—even for the most seasoned of gigging dancers. But becoming your own CEO can make your work–life balance more sustainable, help you make more money, keep you organized, and get potential employers to offer you more respect and improved working conditions. Here's how to get smart now about branding, finances and other crucial ways to tell the dance world that you mean business.

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers Trending
Courtesy Oleson

American dance educator Shannon Oleson was teaching recreational ballet and street-dance classes in London when the pandemic hit. As she watched many of her fellow U.S. friends pack up and return home from their international adventures, she made the difficult choice to stick with her students (as well as her own training—she was midway through her MFA at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance).

Despite shutdowns and shelter-in-place orders, she was able to maintain a teaching schedule that kept her working with her dancers through Zoom, as well as lead some private, in-home acro classes following government guidelines. But keeping rec students interested in the face of pandemic fatigue hasn't been easy.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.