What is it and who is it suited to?
Planning and preparation
Rules and regulations
How much can I earn?
Tips for success and useful contacts
One option to consider is to buy into an existing franchise, such as Baby Ballet or – if you are interested in offering drama and singing classes too – performing arts franchise Razzamataz.
This removes much of the risk from starting your own business, as you are buying into a tried and tested formula and your franchisor has already made their start-up mistakes and learnt the lessons. This means you can benefit from their several years of skills and experience from day one, and will receive training to learn the tricks of the trade.
Joining an already-established business also means much of the back room work is done for you. Some franchisors employ efficient database systems to minimise franchisee paperwork, as well as providing support with licensing and legislation. That is not to mention the marketing benefits of being part of a high profile, trusted brand.
“It can be very lonely running your own business,” points out Denise Hutton-Gozney, founder of performing arts franchise Razzamataz. (Best-known for raising £85,000 investment from Duncan Bannatyne in the 2007 series of Dragons’ Den.)
“Our franchisees receive a minimum of two Skype calls from our management team per term and we have an annual sit-down business development review. We also provide a weekly business newsletter, which keeps them up-to-date.”
She adds that Razzamataz further provides a website specifically for its franchisees, where they can find everything from teacher contracts and health and safety templates to PR and marketing tools – doing much of the legwork for you.
However, becoming a franchisee won’t be for everyone. If you don’t like following a structured system, this may not be for you. Of course, to buy into a franchise, you also need a sufficient body of capital saved up.
A dance or performing arts franchise in the UK will generally cost you between £8,000 and £25,000. This is likely to include your franchise licence, some initial training, merchandise and marketing support. Remember though, your start-up costs won’t end there.
You’ll also need to shell out for Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks, first aid courses and similar expenses. Your franchisor may also request you have a launch budget put aside of a few thousand pounds. Look carefully at your franchisee agreement and assess the total costs. Then decide whether you think the contract offers good value for money, or if you’d rather go it alone.
One up-and-coming opportunity within the dance franchise space is Zumba Fitness®. This fusion of Latin dance with international music has boomed in the last few years, due to its focus on fitness and the party atmosphere it brings to classes.
Zumba is not a franchise in the traditional sense of the word – you're not buying into a business as such, but Zumba is a registered trademark, created and owned by US company Zumba Fitness LLC. To start teaching it, you initially need to attend a one-day Zumba instructor training course (priced at around £300), then maintain an up-to-date instructor licence throughout the time you teach the class.
This is a relatively affordable franchise option, but a crucial one. Any dance teacher who includes ‘Zumba’ in their class titles (or teaches it) without having a current certificate of completion is in violation of trademark and copyright laws.