Yoga came to North America in the late 1800s. By the 1990s there were VHS tapes, DVDs, and popular yoga fitness classes across the continent. In 2022, there were an estimated 40,582 yoga studios in the U.S.
The yoga industry declined slightly during the coronavirus pandemic, with people confined to their homes. The global market is seeing a positive turn, with a 10% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) between 2020 and 2028.
With an upward trajectory for the years ahead, it’s a good time to open your own yoga studio. Studios across the country vary their yoga classes in style and technique, including practices such as:
Here, we’ll talk about the many steps of opening a yoga studio. From market research and branding to customer engagement and web design, here’s what you need to know.
1. Conduct Yoga Market Research
Opening a yoga studio requires a little leg work and market research. Market research is divided into two categories: Primary and secondary research.
Primary market research is research you do yourself. This includes visiting local yoga studios, talking to yoga professionals about certification, and polling potential customers on styles of yoga they want to learn.
Secondary market research is research you access through someone else. Existing online research like the yoga industry market statistics and government reports fall into the secondary research category.
Some of the data to collect during your research include:
- Consumer demographics
- Current rates and service offerings in your area
- Potential add-on services (sauna, massage, pilates, etc.)
- Local demand
- Trends in yoga classes
Market research helps you understand what consumers are looking for, and how to best market yourself to them. It also shows you potential growth or contributing stressors in the years ahead.
Choosing the Right Services for Your Yoga Studio
Yoga isn’t just a form of exercise. It includes a wide range of styles and activities. How do you know which services are right for your studio? Chances are, you’ll teach what you’re trained in. You can also bring in additional teachers with other skill sets.
Some yoga styles require certification. The United States has no legal education requirements for a yogi. However, many studios ask that instructors are registered as 200-hour RYT. Without this basic certificate, it’s tough to find clients and build your brand.
Some services offered by yoga studios, outside of yoga classes, include:
- Mindful exploration (outdoor hikes)
- Infrared sauna
- Fitness fusion classes
Choose your services based on what you uncover during market research. These services can expand and evolve based on your core customers.
2. Analyze the Competition
It’s important to know your competitors so you know where the gaps are in your local market. There’s no reason two yoga studios can’t be successful in one town. The key is offering something the other doesn’t have or standing out as the better studio.
Some ways to analyze competitor yoga studios include:
- Looking at website layouts
- Reading online reviews
- Checking out social media impact and reading comments
- Chat with studio owners in person and take a class to feel the vibe
You’ll find franchise and private branded yoga studios across your state. Some of the big players in the yoga industry to watch for are:
Y6 has more than 150 locations across the globe. It’s a major player in the U.S. yoga studio franchise industry. You can start a Y6 with an overall investment between $294,836 and $499,236. They offer yoga, pilates, barre, spinning, and other exercise services.
As the name suggests, Real Hot Yoga offers hot yoga studio practice. They are another U.S. franchise operating out of New Jersey, South Carolina, and Tennessee. You can own your own Real Hot Yoga for a total investment between $154,000 to $230,000. Prices change based on location and studio cost.
This is a European-based Yoga studio business, which has become popular in the United States. They have more than 50 franchises operating in 7 countries. To open a Hot Pod Yoga, you need an initial investment of £30,000 to £75,000 or $36,769.95 to $91,924.88.
3. Understand the Costs of Starting a Yoga Studio Business
Creating a strategic business plan means creating a realistic budget, and anticipating costs. There are both startup and ongoing costs to consider as you develop your plan. Remember to plan for unforeseen circumstances like equipment or building repairs, and delays in insurance and registration.
What Does It Cost to Start a Yoga Studio Business?
Yoga studio businesses are lucrative in the U.S. Before you start earning, you’ll need to make an investment in your business. Some of the costs new yoga studio owners come across, include:
- Marketing costs
- Legal fees
- Business license and permits
- Yoga teacher certificate
- POS system and fees
- Web design and domain name
- Staff training and wages
- Building lease
- Business insurance
- Product branding
- Office supplies
Opening your own yoga studio on your own costs somewhere between $10,000 and $30,000 before you factor in real estate. For a franchise, you’re looking at a total investment closer to $37,000 to $500,000. The fluctuation in franchise prices is caused by location size, population density, and real estate costs.
A new yoga studio business needs minimal equipment to get started. There are some essentials to buy before students start arriving. Some of the equipment to look for includes:
- Yoga mats ($12 to $85): Not everyone will come to the yoga classes prepared. You can rent mats, offer complimentary mats with your membership fees, or sell mats.
- Yoga blocks ($6 to $30): Yoga block pricing depends on size, weight, and print. Customize your blocks with your logo.
- Mat cleaning spray ($10 per 8 oz): Buy spray in different scents for aromatherapy sessions. You can also make your own sanitizing spray to cut costs.
- Yoga Mat Rack ($50 to $200): Rack costs depend on size and weight. These are essential to an organized yoga studio.
- Infrared sauna ($5,000 to $12,000): You may invest in a couple of infrared saunas as it’s usually one customer per sauna for 15-minute sessions.
You may also choose to sell branded merchandise including clothes, towels, water bottles, and mats. Try Faire or YogaSto Wholesale to get started. A POS system and administrative tools are also required to get started.
Cost of Renting or Leasing a Location for a Yoga Studio
The type of building you lease for your yoga studio business will depend on the type of yoga you practice. Hot yoga studios, for example, will require specialty HVAC systems to distribute sauna-heated air.
Yoga studios tend to be large. Along with the practice space, you’ll want room for bathrooms and showers, and maybe an on-site office.
Commercial properties are charged by the square foot. You might see an advertisement for a yoga studio at $25 per square foot. If the studio is 1000 square feet, that’s $25,000 a year.
Forming a yoga studio business means registering a company name with the Small Business Administration. The entire process is pretty quick and easy. You can file the forms online and the entire thing costs about $300 to $800 including registration and permits.
Business insurance is a necessary cost, and one you’ll be thankful to have should you ever need it. A common insurance product for yoga studio owners is general liability insurance. It keeps you and your brand safe from financial liability should anyone damage themselves or their property in your yoga class.
Along with your rental fees, you’ll need to pay utility costs to keep your yoga studio in heat, water, and electricity. Other utility costs include internet and phone services.
Utility prices change based on seasonal usage and building size. Commercial properties run about $2.90 per square foot for electricity. Your water costs will be higher if you include customer showers on-site.
What Are the Ongoing Costs of a Yoga Studio Business?
Initial startup costs aren’t the only money to pay to open a yoga studio. There are ongoing costs to keep the business up and running. These costs include things like:
- Office Supplies
- Sanitizing spray (for mats and yoga blocks)
- Other cleaning supplies
- Receipt paper and POS fees
- Banking fees
- Staff training costs
If you sell yoga mat products, branded leggings, or any other merchandise, it will also need to be replenished.
4. Form a Legal Business Entity
Before your yoga studio opens, you’ll need to register it as a business entity. The most common entity types are LLC (limited liability corporation), sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporation. Here’s the breakdown.
Limited Liability Corporation (LLC)
A limited liability corporation, or an LLC, is the best choice (in most cases) for a small business. It’s a straightforward and affordable business entity, giving you power over your brand.
An LLC also keeps personal and professional assets completely separate. This protects your personal fortune from being garnished in an on-site accident lawsuit.
A sole proprietor entity is for a single business owner. It can also be formed by a married couple. The business is owned solely by you, and you retain all decision-making rights. Sounds like a sweet deal, but unlike an LLC, all your private assets remain at stake.
If a yoga studio employee sues for an on-site injury, your personal assets could be wrapped up on business legal proceedings.
A partnership entity is just as it sounds. A business formation for two or more partners, where everything is split equally. Everything, including debt caused by the company. If the yoga studio went bankrupt, your savings could become vulnerable.
A corporation is an attractive business entity. It’s strong and keeps personal and professional assets separate. This is a good choice for a large business, but not a new yoga studio just starting out. Corporation entities are expensive and complicated to erect.
5. Register Your Business for Taxes
You must first register your yoga studio before you can offer to teach yoga there. Every U.S. business needs an EIN (Employee ID Number) to legally operate. Your EIN lets you:
- Pay taxes
- Pay employees
- Open a business bank account
Apply for your EIN through the U.S. Small Business Administration. The process is simple. You can also check state sales tax with the U.S. government, to make sure you’re listing process correctly for services.
6. Setup Accounting for Success
Accounting is essential to any business model. A yoga studio requires accounting to manage incoming and outgoing money. From managing Google ad payments to invoicing client membership fees for yoga classes, you’ll want some form of accounting on the books.
You can manage a lot of the daily bookkeeping for your yoga studio with accounting software. QuickBooks is a great example of high-end accounting software. It offers several packages for every budget and business model.
The best thing about accounting software is the number of automated features it includes. It takes all the guesswork out of bookkeeping, leaving more time for you to enjoy the yoga studio side of your business.
Find an Accountant
Accountants are pricey, but well worth the money during tax season. A CPA prices services anywhere from $150 to $400 an hour on average. Fees vary based on experience and services rendered.
Even if you use accounting software for the majority of bookkeeping and invoicing, an accountant streamlines your tax process and keeps everything by the book.
Get a Business Bank Account
The IRS suggests all small businesses invest in a bank account. Their Small Business Tax Workshop explains the pros and cons. To keep finances clear and legal, a business bank account is smart.
Apply for a Business Credit Card
Using a business credit card maintains the financial separation implemented by your business bank account. This is an asset for businesses looking to get set up quickly. It helps establish your credibility as a business entity. It should be noted, however, that business credit cards impact personal credit scores. So, be careful to always pay the balance on time.
Business credit cards come with benefits like travel miles, low or no APR for a period of time, and cash-back rewards.
7. Obtain Business Licenses and Permits
There are no federal agencies for a yoga studio or to be a yoga teacher in America. This means the only license and permits you’ll require are through your state. You can read more about licenses with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
You can also check the Find Local Assistance tool through the SBA to make your search specific to your city.
8. Get Business Insurance
Business insurance is essential for any business. Especially a business where things get physical. Yoga may be a relaxing type of exercise, but there’s always a risk when people work out together. If someone sweats on the floor and slips in it, business insurance protects you from blame.
Most yoga studio business owners choose general liability insurance as a base policy. It protects you and your finances from damage to people or property caused by your services.
If someone strains a muscle holding a yoga pose in one of your classes, your liability insurance covers you. You’ll pay somewhere in the range of $300 to $1,500 based on yoga studio size and income.
Commercial real estate insurance is another important investment. It could be anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 based on your coverage and policy type. If your yoga and office equipment is damaged in a fire or stolen, commercial real estate insurance protects you from financial loss.
9. Create an Office Space
Your yoga studio is a large open space for meditation and fitness. It probably doesn’t double well as an office when the time comes to invoicing, phone calls, and paperwork. Creating an office keeps you organized and on task.
There are a few options for yoga business offices. These are the most popular.
Creating an office at home is sometimes the easiest route for a small business like a yoga studio. It requires no extra leases, contracts, or insurance (unless you’re training, or selling products from home as well).
The IRS allows home business tax deductions up to $1,500 a year based on individual deductions or per square foot.
An in-studio office is beneficial if your yoga studio has the space. It lets you keep home and work separately while limiting the need for additional rental property. Be sure you have space for employee breaks as well as administrative work if you choose an in-studio office.
Coworking offices are another option for a yoga studio looking to get out of the studio for administrative duties. Services like WeWork offer a variety of office options with no long-term commitment.
You use the space based on your membership type and office preferences with no lease or hefty price tags. Coworking offices are affordable and flexible. Perfect for a yoga studio owner.
Commercial Building Office
Commercial office buildings are a little fancier than a home office, and the price tag reflects just that. There’s also the long-term lease agreement, insurance, and other fees to consider. For a yoga studio, a home office or in-studio office is usually preferable.
10. Source Your Equipment
Starting a new business means building everything from the ground up. Sourcing the right equipment can save you money and ensure you have all the tools you need to be successful.
There’s something magic about new yoga studio equipment. Yoga Direct and Everyday yoga offer new equipment, yoga clothes, and meditation accessories. Many yoga studios see students bring their own mats and blocks. Depending on how you run your studio, there may be very little equipment required.
There’s nothing wrong with buying used yoga business gear, as long as you sanitize it before use. Fortunately, yoga equipment isn’t large or overly expensive. The few tools you need to supply can be purchased used or in bulk.
You can find used yoga mats and blocks on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and Play it Again Sports.
11. Establish Your Brand
Your brand is more than a logo, business name, or website. It’s all of these things and more, and it helps you and your customers define your company. Your brand tells customers how you feel about yoga, health, and wellness, even your community.
Build a brand you can be proud of and one that helps you stand tall among competitor yoga studios.
Get a Business Phone Number
Keeping client and friend lists separate ensures you remain professional on the phone. It also makes it easy to track down customer numbers, employee contact information, and vendors calling your yoga studio.
There are many ways to connect to your business. A Google Voice yoga business line starts at just $10 per month. You can also use a traditional landline and cellular business services at AT&T and other big box stores.
Create a Logo & Brand Assets
Humans are visual creatures, which may explain why logos stick in our minds. Like the golden arches of monster brands like McDonald’s, your logo makes you memorable.
Looka is a modern logo creator, which uses AI to make choices based on your own choices. From the color combinations and font style to the size and images used, you customize the final look. Your logo can be stamped onto yoga merchandise, signs, business cards, and even your website.
Create Business Cards and Signage
Sharing business cards gives customers and peers a tangible method of communication. Whether it goes into a wallet or is tossed on the side table, your card was held and read first. This makes your brand more memorable. Creating business cards and signage that reflect your brand will help you stand out.
Try Vistaprint for business card templates for every style and budget Like Looka, Vistaprint takes your preferences to heart before recommending templates. Choose your color, style, size, and more.
Purchase a Domain Name
Your domain name is how customers find you online. With an industry as saturated as yoga studios, it’s a good idea to grab your preferred domain name early. Take a browse at domain sales sites like Namecheap.com and grab a .com for as little as $5.98 each year.
Build a Website
The yoga might be performed in a studio, but customers will look to your website for class times, schedule changes, payments, and more. Some things to remember as you build your site is to keep things mobile-friendly, quick loading, and visually impactful.
12. Join Associations and Groups
Starting a new yoga studio business is busy work. There’s a lot to do, and it’s helpful to have someone to talk to, especially someone who’s been in your shoes. Connecting with groups and associations provides such an outlet.
Local associations provide camaraderie and support. Start your search with the Yoga Alliance. It offers online teaching and training for teachers, tool and event connections, and has over 100,000 RYT members.
Search for local associations by reaching out to local yoga studios and fitness centers. You can also check with federal associations for connections to smaller city chapters. The American Yoga Association is another resource for teacher training, events, and more.
There’s something meaningful in like-minded people coming together. Having positive energy in your space is uplifting for yoga teachers, who embrace a life of balance and mindfulness. Meetup offers a starting point to join or create meetups in your city.
Find nearby yoga events by searching with location, event type, day, or category.
Facebook is an invaluable business tool for small businesses. There are many ways to use the platform for free to enhance your brand. One way to use the site is to seek out Facebook groups for yoga studios and teachers.
Some of the yoga Facebook groups to start with are:
You can also start your own Facebook group for yoga teachers in your state. Use your group to gain useful advice, learn about new popular trends, and let off steam.
13. Focus on Marketing
Branding yourself is only half the battle. Now you need to market your brand so locals recognize the name and services you offer. Marketing comes in many forms. It’s best to use a variety to reach a large crowd.
Ask Friends, Family, and Coworkers
Your friends and family are great resources for early marketing. They already have an investment in you as a yoga studio owner by knowing you and wanting you to succeed. All you have to do is ask for them to get involved and spread the word.
Something as simple as sharing a social media post, leaving a review, or handing out a business card goes a long way. Word-of-mouth marketing is still an effective, and trustworthy, method of advertising.
Digital Marketing Ideas
Digital marketing is becoming a staple for all business models, yoga studios included. Creating social media accounts for your studio is a good place to start. Some others include:
- Listing yourself with local business directories and Google Businesses
- Creating Google and Facebook ads
- Sharing videos and images of a new yoga pose each day
- Making online contests for free classes or merchandise
- Creating an email newsletter signup
- Starting a meditation and yoga blog
Anything that’s easy to like, share, or comment on is beneficial to brand awareness. Remember to comment back to your customers as this increases visibility on those sites.
Traditional Marketing Ideas
Yoga is a traditional training technique. It makes sense to embrace some earlier, and more tangible forms of marketing to engage with customers. Some useful forms of traditional marketing include:
- Community center bulletin board flyers
- Mailer brochures
- Business cards on local shop counters
- Billboard ads
- Setup of a booth at local events
- Handing out coupons
Standing out against the local competition is important. Traditional marketing humanizes your brand by offering in-person and other tangible experiences.
14. Focus on the Customer
Yoga customers are loyal to their studios. Focusing on your customer enhances that bond, and engages them more in your services and offerings. Some ways to become a more customer-focused studio include:
- Offering learning opportunities for students who want to teach yoga
- Adding new classes and services to your offerings list
- Providing free water stations
- Creating custom yoga programs for individual students
- Loyalty programs and exclusive offers
One way to find out how customers feel about your services is to ask. Requisition feedback and reviews are useful ways to improve services for your clients.
We hope you’ve found some useful tips in this guide to becoming a thriving yoga studio owner.