Don’t guess.  Read these simple formulas for figuring out your studio’s break even point.

Figuring out how many yoga students you need is a very, very important step to take. The magic number is your bulls-eye. Every business needs to sell enough stuff for enough money in order to make enough profit to stay in business. Yoga studios are no exception.

Here’s a step-by-step approach to calculating the minimum number of clients you need to determine the following:

1. Your total monthly costs (rent, wages/salaries (your salary included), insurance, marketing, loan payments, utilities, supplies, etc.).

2. Your average per visit revenue – you won’t be able to precisely calculate this if you offer a variety of pricing packages unless you’ve been in business for several months.

Be conservative and choose the per-visit price based on a larger package (for example – a 20 visits pack. If you price it at $220, that’s $11 per visit (if you have other teachers teach and they are paid in part per student attending – be sure to use the amount that goes to you).

3.The average number of times a student will attend a class in your studio – again this will vary – some students will attend 3 – 5 times per week, others may attend twice per month.

I don’t have any data supporting any figures, but I would use a conservative figure of 1 visit per week per student.

If you intend to offer products and other services for sale, and you’re pretty sure you’ll earn revenue on these, then you could include them in your calculations. However, since teaching yoga is most likely your core service, I would restrict your calculations to only class/teaching revenues. Any other revenues you earn is a bonus.

Once you have conservative estimates for the above figures, you can calculate how many yoga students you need to stay in business.

Here’s an example

1. monthly costs: $12,000 – includes $3,000 monthly salary for you.

2. average per visit revenue: let’s use the $11 per visit above.

3. average visits per week per client: let’s be conservative and say 1.

Using these figures, each client will spend $44 per month in your studio. $12,000 / $44 = 273 clients per month. Another useful figure is the number of visits per month you need: $12,000/$11 = 1,090 (= 273 visits per week). Basically, you need 273 clients who on average, attend 4 times per month.

Note that you should definitely do these types of calculations before you actually lease your space. The next obvious calculation is determining how many classes you must teach to reach the example figure of 1,090 visits per month.

How many classes must you teach?

How many classes you teach requires figuring out when you’ll have the most visits (i.e. after work, on Saturday, etc.), and how large your studio space is?

You need approximately 20 square feet of studio space per visit. This means if you have a 500 square foot studio room space (where you actually teach – not including office and retail space), you can accommodate 24 students (you take up the 25th space). If you have a 1,000 square foot studio room space, you can accommodate 49 students.

If you’re opening a studio, you won’t know which times will attract the most students. Chances are your evening and Saturday classes will be the best-attended – unless you teach a particular niche that attends at other times. You will have to experiment with class schedules for several months. If you’ve been open a few months, you should be tracking when people attend.

If you have your space leased (or have your eye on a space),  you can easily calculate how many students’ spaces can accommodate at one time. This means you know the very minimum number of classes you must schedule each week (minimum number of weekly visits/number of students that fit in your space).

Using our 500 square foot example: 273 visits per week / 24 spaces = 12 classes each week.

Remember, that’s assuming you sell out every space. That’s unlikely to happen (if it does, you could increase your space and/or the number of classes).

Assuming your classes will attract 1/3 capacity on average, you’ll need to schedule 36 classes each week. The problem that arises is the more classes you schedule, the fewer students per class you will have (unless demand is bursting).

One other issue is if you’re the sole teacher, how many classes can you teach each week? I doubt you could teach 36 classes. If not, then you need to hire a teacher which increases your monthly cost.

Obviously pinpointing the exact number of students you need is impossible – especially when you’re just starting. However, the above exercises are very important to give you an idea about the number of students to shoot for, the size of space you need, and the number of classes you need to hold. I suggest plugging in a variety of numbers so you can get a range.

One final suggestion: talk to other studios and teachers. Yoga Alliance lists many, many established studios. If you don’t want to talk to your colleagues in your town, talk to studio owners in towns comparable to yours who teach similar styles as you. The more studio owners you talk to, the better your calculations will be.