Moving to a commercial space
Found in: About Business
Evan H., Kansas
Our studio currently operates out of a small commercial space with one classroom, and an opportunity may be presenting itself for us to move into a larger one with multiple classrooms. We wondered if anyone might be willing to help us answer some questions about this? Thanks!
- How many students do you have?
- How many classrooms do you have?
- How many did you start with?
- Are your students fairly evenly distributed throughout the day, or mainly after 4 as ours are?
- If your student distribution is even, did it start out that way or after you had been teaching for a few years?
- Do you believe that a larger, more attractive space with multiple classrooms will attract more students and thereby tend to pay for itself, or just be a dead weight financially?
Carrie L., Michigan
We have a commercial space with 4 rooms. One is large and can hold a large class of 5, the 2nd can handle a class of 3, the 3rd can do a class of 2 and the 4th is a studio for another instrument like guitar.
We have about 150 students currently, mainly piano. We started with 70 about 18 months ago with 3 SM teachers and 1 guitar teacher.
We have students that come from 4-8pm Monday-Thursday and Saturday.
I’d recommend unless you have a large body of students of 70 or more and are willing to have office support staff not to go bigger. There are many other things to consider before going larger.
Laurie Richards, Nebraska
We have around 120 students plus a few guitar students. I have two large classrooms, each able to accommodate classes of 7 or 8 students with enough room for parents in addition. When I expanded to the two studios, we had around 80 students. Our student base is not where I would like it to be.
Our busiest times are of course in the 4pm – 8pm hours; however we also teach a few mornings per week (adults/PAS) and on Saturdays.
Having the larger, attractive space in and of itself won’t attract enough students to pay for itself, nor would I consider it a dead weight financially – there are many factors to consider. Some things to think about –
- How many students would you be able to accommodate in the expanded space (potential income)
- Would you need to hire and pay a teacher or can you handle the additional teaching hours
- If you hire, that involves extra ongoing time and effort
- How many additional students would you need every month, compared to now, in order to cover the additional rent/utilities?
- Do you have ongoing marketing/networking plans to keep your name out there and help maintain a larger student base – very important
Bottom line, if you want to grow, and the additional expense won’t be a burden initially, give it some serious thought. Neil once mentioned something about different ways of growing your business – letting it happen organically and slowly over time, or causing it to happen sooner with your actions. Just depends on what you want right now and what fits in your life.
Evan, I found that a larger space was necessary to allow me the flexibility I wanted in getting groups together. I am still transitioning students from traditional to SM, but found that I wanted to have enough students that I could group students not only by level, but also by age and ability. I have some groups of 2 that go 5x faster than other groups of 2 (the largest I currently am willing to do until their technique is sufficient). I find that I am currently taking a financial loss with another teacher and the training time, but I know it is the only way to grow long term. Just look at the learning curve the 1st year teaching SM (and I already did similar things). It isn’t like there are a ton of great teachers who also are players and not just readers. I think only 10% of teachers in town can play anything simple by ear!
- 65 total, but 1/2 of those are other programs (traditional leftovers to compare and contrast, voice, etc.)
- Three but with many young kids I use one as a playroom for siblings as my waiting room is part of the largest classroom.
- Almost all after 3:30 pm, not even in the studio all day.
- I definitely noticed a difference in perception when I moved to a retail space. Parents just feel it is more professional.