The Financial Realities of Running a Yoga Teacher Training

 

One of the scariest parts of launching a teacher training is the paralyzing thought: “Will I make enough money?” Creating (or purchasing) a 200 hour teacher training is a big investment, and it’s wise to do a little legwork in advance to have a sense in advance of your return on investment. This process can give you a sense of how you might approach planning a ytt, and it will also give you sense of the minimum number of students that you need to run the training successfully. 

Your Revenue

First let’s take a look at your expected revenue.

Most 200 hour yoga teacher training have a price tag of about $3,000 – $3,300 per student. (For those of you thinking, “Should I charge less for an online or hybrid program?” my firm answer is NO. When it’s well-created, an online program provides just as much quality as an in-person training.)

You will likely run some early bird sales (offer discounts for early sign ups), and you will also be charged about 3% in credit card processing fees on your transactions, so let’s take the “worst case scenario” and say that ultimately you earn $2600 per student.

I would suggest that you run a yoga teacher training with a minimum of 6 students. So let’s see how the revenue would play out:

  • 6 students x $2,600 =  $15,600
  • 7 students x $2,600 =  $18,200
  • 8 students x $2,600 =  $20,800
  • 9 students x $2,600 =  $23,400
  • 10 students x $2,600 =  $26,000
  • 11 students x $2600 = $28,600
  • 12 students x $2,600 = $31,200

Obviously that could be a good chunk of change for your studio or business. But to really understand how much you would make, we have to look at your expenses.

 

Your Expenses

Expenses for your yoga teacher include the following:

  • Paying faculty
  • Space rental
  • Printing yoga teacher training student manuals
  • Marketing

Faculty

Of these, the cost of paying your faculty is the most expensive. If you are planning to bring in other teachers to instruct with you, then you want to be strategic about who you bring on board for faculty. For a variety of reasons, I would suggest paying your faculty by the hour rather than profit sharing, though you may wish to give them a bonus for students sign ups to incentive them to help market the training. 

 

Teacher training rates vary wildly depending on a few factors:

  • If the trainer is providing their own material (handouts etc) or they are teaching yours
  • Their experience
  • Your geographic location and current price point for teaching pay rates

As a very rough ballpark, let’s say that a new teacher trainer may earn $40/hour while a very experienced teacher trainer may earn $100/ hour. That is quite a range, but you could generally think about paying the teacher 50% more than their class teaching rate. 

 

For the sake of our sample budget, we’ll split the difference and assume you are paying your teacher trainer $70/hour. We will also assume that you are paying out all of these training hours. (If YOU teach the training, we’ll assume you are paying yourself $70/hour).

 

  • Faculty expenses = $14,000

Space Rental

If you own your own studio, you will not have to worry about these fees as you can schedule the yoga teacher training around your current classes. But if you are a solo teacher, you will likely need to rent a space to offer your training. Space rentals of course vary, but let’s say that – worst case scenario – you rent a space for $20/hour. As a worst case scenario, we’ll assume you are renting a studio for all 200 hours (rather than doing any of the program online). 

 

Printing Student Manuals

These days, you may just give your students a PDF and ask them to print out the manuals themselves. But just in case you decide to print out a 500-page black and white manual, you can estimate it will cost roughly $50/student.

 

  • 6 students x $50 =  $300
  • 7 students x $50  =  $350
  • 8 students x $50  =  $400
  • 9 students x $50 =  $450
  • 10 students x $50  =  $500
  • 11 students x $50 = $550
  • 12 students x $50 = $600

Marketing

For a yoga teacher training, the best marketing is often organic and unpaid (newsletters, website, social media posts, etc). If you do invest in paid marketing (Facebook promotions, boosting posts, etc.) I usually would suggest a more modest budget to start. 

 

For the sake of our sample budget, let’s say you spend $500 on marketing. 

 

Other Expenses

Other expenses that you may wish to include:

 

  • Processing fees (we calculated these and discounted them from the revenue, above)
  • Travel
  • Utilities at your studio
  • Admin time (registering and communicating with students)
  • Insurance (which you’ve probably likely paid as teacher/studio already)

The Bottom Line

So let’s take a look at where we’ve landed.

 

The “Worst Case Scenario”

This sample budget is looking at the “worst case” expenses. I’m assuming that you are paying a trainer (rather than teaching the training yourself), renting a space, doing the entire training in person (rather than leveraging the ability to teach some of it online), and printing out a substantial manual. 

 

  • Faculty: $14,000
  • Space Rental: $4,000
  • Student Manuals (assume 6 students): $300
  • Marketing: $500
  • Total Expenses: $18,800
  • You pretty much break even at 7 students. For every additional student, your business will earn an additional $2550 in profit.

If you look at your revenue, you’ll see that this means that you need to have 8 students in order for the business to break even on your training.  But the benefits of running the training (even at break even) are substantial: you’ve given your faculty a substantial earning opportunity, increased your brand, and connected with – and supported – your community. 

 

The “Best Case Scenario”

Let’s look at another scenario, in which you are teaching the training yourself, do not need to rent out a studio space, and give the students a PDF of the manual rather than printing them yourself.

 

  • Faculty: $0 (rather than paying yourself an hourly, you will pay yourself whatever the profit is for the program)
  • Space Rental: $0
  • Student Manuals: $0
  • Marketing: $500
  • Total Expenses: $500
  • Profit starts with 1 student. In this case, if you have six students, you will earn $15,100 and increase profit $2,600 for every additional student.

Final Thoughts

Every studio is different, and it’s important to assess your own budgetary needs so that you can weigh the pro’s and con’s of offering a teacher training. Questions you may wish to ask:

 

  • Are there any unique expenses for my situation that I need to consider (for example, taking time off of work)?
  • Is there an appetite for teacher training in my community? (Will students sign up? Have students expressed an interest?)
  • Do I have the bandwidth to create (or resources to purchase) a 200 hour yoga teacher training? 
  • Am I ready to teach a yoga teacher training? 

Taking the leap to offering a yoga teacher training can at first feel daunting, but by creating a budget, you are better able to ascertain whether offering a training is a wise investment for your particular situation. 

 

And – this probably goes without saying – I am a huge fan of yoga teacher trainings, for reasons far beyond their potential to be profitable. Offering a YTT can become a pathway to elevating yourself as a leader in the community and enriching your own understanding of the practice. They are often a calling to “step up” and take our own teaching and leadership skills to the next level. In addition, teacher trainings provide an opportunity to connect deeply with your community and students, and to create an inspirational environment for growth and change. 

 

If you’re interested in offering a yoga teacher training, but aren’t sure where to start, feel free to connect with me for a virtual coffee 🙂



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