If you’re an entrepreneur starting a yoga studio, you have two options: Start your own studio or purchase a franchise. Yoga studio franchising is fast becoming a viable option for entrepreneurs looking to start their own yoga studio.
If you start a franchise yoga studio, you sign a long-term commitment with the franchisee. Joining an existing yoga brand as a franchise is a fast-track to success in the yoga industry. Established brands have proven models that work, and it’s possible to replicate their success nation-wide.
Here are some essentials you should know about starting a yoga studio franchise:
- Yoga studio franchises require sizable license fees ranging from $5000 up to $30,000.
- Franchises have spending requirements for leaseholds, instructors, interior design, marketing budget, and recurring fees.
- Be prepared for the monetary commitment you make to the franchiser.
If you’re thinking about opening a yoga studio franchise, this guide can help you. This comprehensive guide will tell you everything you need to know about getting started. It also covers the pros and cons of this business model and the top yoga studio franchise options.
NOTE: If you would also like to explore how to start your yoga studio from scratch, I have written a separate detailed guide to help you.
Pros Of Starting A Yoga Studio Franchise
✔ Successful Business Model
Franchising is a proven business model. The risk of starting a franchise business is significantly lower than starting a yoga studio on your own. It’s akin to starting a Starbucks franchise as opposed to starting your own coffee shop.
Yoga franchises have many years of experience in the yoga industry. They’ve taken the time to develop their brand, copyrighted marketing strategies, and provide the best software for yoga studios. They give you immediate rights to use all of these tools, maximizing your chance of success in the yoga industry.
✔ License Rights
The franchise grants you a license to use its logo, brand-name, taglines, trademarked equipment/software, and many other benefits. They allow copying a successful brand and not have to develop your own brand from scratch.
You’re allowed to reap the benefits of an established brand with a strong consumer following and join a network of franchises. You’re also allowed to use all the signature branding on your studio as if you invented the studio brand. Your studio will be nearly identical to all other branches of the franchise.
✔ Support Network
When you purchase a franchise license, you become part of an extensive network. The franchisor will assist in the initial stages of the setup process, such as sourcing out a location, furnishing the interior, obtaining business permits, planning the grand opening, marketing strategies, and more.
You have access to 24/7 support from the franchising company, and they can even arrive on-location to help you prepare the business. Franchisors have years of experience in the industry, and it’s their job to make sure your branch is up to par with their quality standards. This aspect is why each franchisee receives support throughout the setup process and ongoing operational support.
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Cons Of Starting A Yoga Studio Franchise
✖ High Initial Investment
Starting a yoga franchise can cost significantly more than starting a yoga studio on your own. The cost of starting a yoga studio on your own, on average, is $70,000.
NOTE: I have written an analytical piece on the average cost of starting a yoga studio on your own. I have outlined all the capital expenses and arrived at an average cost of starting a yoga studio at $70,000. Head over to my article to review the analysis.
The franchise will require minimal investment funds before they grant you a license. Franchises expect investors to have a large budget to finance the studio, including 12+ months of funding to prove you’re capable of maintaining the franchise until it’s profitable.
The biggest downside of starting a franchise is not the initial license cost (which can be as low as $2,000 for certain yoga studios). However, it’s proving that you have the money to finance the rest of the essentials – rental costs, equipment, and employees – that could add up to $50,000-100,000 in minimal investment funds.
✖ You Don’t Own The Brand
While brand recognition is an advantage because it attracts people to your studio, this could also be a disadvantage because you’re not allowed to change and expand the brand on your own.
If you were to own your yoga studio, you could change the brand name/taglines any time you want. When you own a franchise, you’re not allowed to change anything, such as the name, or they could sue you. You need to follow the brand guidelines provided.
Your franchise has to be identical to all other franchises by the franchisor to maintain consistency and quality of service.
✖ Royalty Fees
Franchises not only take initial licensing fees, but they’re also entitled to some of your annual gross profits. Most yoga studio franchises take 3-5% of your yearly gross revenues on average – some even take 10%.
Franchises do this to pay for upgrading the member management software, maintaining the brand, and funding their support network.
Annual fees are a significant disadvantage for yoga studios that are just starting because if you’re struggling with business expenses at the studio, each dollar counts. Your money might be better spent on marketing or improving the interior. And the parent company is entitled to a percentage of your monthly revenues even if your studio is not profitable.
If you go ahead with a yoga studio franchise, you will be reducing your margin by 3% to 10% just due to royalty fees.
Main Costs Associated With Opening A Yoga Studio Franchise: Checklist
The following is a checklist of the essential requirements that a yoga franchise has to meet.
You have to deal with the same requirements if you were to start your own yoga studio. However, the difference is that all yoga studio franchises impose their own investment minimums (before they grant investors a license).
- The approval process for investors is so strict that the average franchisor only approves 5-10 licenses per year on average.
Here’s a rundown of all the costs that each yoga studio franchisor will request of you as a franchisee:
Yoga Studio Franchise Cost #1) Initial Licensing Fee
The initial franchise licensing fee is known as the basic franchise fee, and it’s the fee you pay to gain access to trademarked logos, brand names, and taglines associated with the brand.
The initial license fee also covers support that the franchisor provides, such as picking out a location, setting up the interior, and training your staff.
The license fee can range from as little as $2,000 up to $30,000 for premium yoga studios. The average license fee is in the $10,000-15,000 range.
Yoga Studio Franchise Cost #2) Equipment Purchase
Yoga franchisors want reassurance your yoga studio will be equipped to their standards before they permit you to use their brand name. Doing so ensures quality and consistency across all franchise yoga studios.
The franchise retains control over which brands of equipment you’re allowed to purchase, or they can withdraw your license. They might ask you to purchase yoga mats from a partner brand or LED lights from a company that each studio uses to maintain consistency. Usually, equipment costs are low and tend to amount to $1,000-5,000 in total.
Yoga Studio Franchise Cost #3) Reflective Mirrors Purchase
Reflective mirrors or ‘activity mirrors’ are a huge investment for the yoga studio, and franchises have different quality criteria and safety standards for yoga studio mirrors.
The franchise might not use plain glass mirrors but request you use anti-shock mirrors that cost more money. You’ll have to purchase wall-to-wall mirrors that reflect the studio interior. The investment for mirrors can be as low as $3,000 and as high as $10,000 for high-end mirrors, depending on the franchise.
Yoga Studio Franchise Cost #4) Exterior Branding Signs
Each franchise cares that its brand is well-represented, and they expect you to invest a significant amount in the logo/sign placement on the exterior of the yoga studio.
The sign has to portray the franchise logo accurately and also have high visibility to attract attention. Franchises expect you to spend at least $2,000-3,000 on the exterior signage and lights in total.
Yoga Studio Franchise Cost #5) Interior Improvements
Improvements to the interior are essential to bringing the studio up to par with standards. Franchisors will expect you to pay close attention to the yoga studio decor.
If you lease a large space and plan to hold a multi-complex yoga studio, you might have to invest significant money in bringing the interior up to par with franchise standards.
Doing so can include changing the floors, windows, light system, energy units, walls, and more. Many franchises mandate at least $30,000 for interior improvements, and some recommend spending over $100,000 if it’s a high-end yoga franchise.
Yoga Studio Franchise Cost #6) Lease Costs
You’ll have to prove you’ll be able to meet the lease costs for at least six months to a year, depending on the franchise.
The lease is one of your highest costs aside from hiring yoga instructors, and some yoga franchises require lease investment budgets of $30,000-50,000 before they grant you a license. You’ll have to prove you won’t run out of money after the first few months, and you’ll be able to pay your rent and keep the lights on.
Yoga Studio Franchise Cost #7) Administrative Costs
Each studio will have small costs they have to pay off, such as the utilities for the studio and business insurance. While these costs can be lower when you’re paying by the month, the franchise will expect you to have the money for a year in advance.
If the business insurance premium for your studio is $400 a month, you’ll have to budget $4,000-5,000 to meet the license requirements.
Yoga Studio Franchise Cost #8) Business Licenses
The yoga studio is a commercial enterprise that generates a profit; henceforth, you’ll have to register with the state and city administration to get the license to operate as a business.
You’ll have to register the business as an LLC or a corporation. You also need to file with the IRS for an EIN business number. Finally, you will need to apply for a business permit at your local city authority.
The city will send inspectors to make sure the yoga studio meets the local safety standards. The city will issue a permit within 1-2 months. You’ll have to account for at least $1,000 in business permit spending.
Yoga Studio Franchise Cost #9) Grand Opening Launch Budget
Many franchises require a ‘Yoga Studio Grand Opening‘ to launch the studio and attract attention from the community. The grand opening is the biggest event you’ll have to hold, and it might take months of planning.
Grand Openings are a huge deal because you’ll have to hire catering, celebrities, fireworks, decorate the interior, etc. Some franchises require a grand opening budget of at least $5,000 and some more than $10,000.
Yoga Studio Franchise Cost #10) Marketing Budget
Not all franchises require a separate marketing budget. However, many of them will mandate you to set aside a percentage of revenues for marketing.
Marketing budgets are essential for the long-term success of the studio. The more you spend on marketing, the more students you’ll attract.
One of the advantages of joining a franchise is that the franchisor will spend on marketing centrally. Marketing and branding happen at the head office level, and so you don’t have to worry a lot about marketing.
Some franchises not only require you to have the initial money to meet lease costs, equipment costs, and business licenses, but you also have to prove you have emergency funds to spend.
This requirement is because studios tend to lose money in the first few months, and you’ll have to prove you have extra cash to keep the studio up and running.
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5 Tips To Be Successful In Yoga Studio Franchising
Tip #1) Treat It Like A Business
If you’re looking to franchise a yoga studio brand, chances are you’re an entrepreneur and not a yoga teacher. However, more and more yoga teachers and instructors are attracted to yoga studio franchising.
You’ll have to treat the franchise as a business, akin to starting any other business. At the end of the year, you want to produce profits to grow your yoga studio business.
NOTE: Here is a yoga studio profit calculator for you to forecast your income, expenses, and profits.
Tip #2) Set Financial Goals
Maintaining a successful franchise is about making profits at the end of each month. The advantage of yoga studio franchises is that the company informs you of the minimal amount of money you’ll have to spend.
Effectively, this means the costs are not vague. You’ll know exactly how much you’ll need to make to set your financial goals. Use the minimal investment requirements of your franchise to estimate your profits.
- You won’t have to predict how much you have to make because the franchise already lays out a blueprint for you.
NOTE: Use my yoga studio profit calculator and the yoga studio churn calculator to model the growth of your yoga studio.
Tip #3) Pick A Franchise Network With A Good Support Network
Opening a franchise is no small business. You’ll not only have to go through the hoops of opening a regular yoga studio (business licenses, registrations, inspections, etc.), but you’ll also have to pass additional inspections by the franchise to make sure it meets their franchise standards.
Expect to spend at least three months continually working on setting up the interior, dealing with bureaucracy, meeting city officials, and furnishing the studio. This process is time-consuming, and it’s why you should seek out franchises with large support networks that can provide support through each step of the process.
Tip #4) Learn The Business Of Yoga
Your job is to finance the studio franchise, attract students, and turn a profit. To achieve this, you’ll have to analyze the competition and figure out an angle that will allow you to become profitable.
If you’re opening a yoga studio in a highly commercial area where there are other yoga studios, you’ll have to have a competitive advantage over the other studios.
You’ll need to know about the local pricing structures of yoga studios, how yoga studios pay their instructors (and how to hire new ones!), which marketing methods work in that community, etc. Learn as much as you can about the yoga business in your area.
Learning the ins and outs of the business is critical for yoga studios in urban areas where the market is saturated – you’ll need something to stand out.
Tip #5) Take Ownership
A franchise, like every other business, is susceptible to failure. There is no guarantee that your franchise will be successful or even equally as successful as other franchisees in the network.
Many franchises from top brands end up declaring bankruptcy as a result of many bad decisions of the business owners.
What is an example of a bad business decision? Well, if you choose a yoga franchise that has high licensing fees and you can barely afford them, you’d be making a wrong decision to go with that company. And if you picked a bad location for the yoga studio, it could affect the attendance rate of the studio.
The success of your yoga franchise will ultimately depend on your actions and deeds. You’ll be in charge of the important decisions such as picking out a franchise, signing a lease, hiring instructors, setting the marketing budget, etc.
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Top 10 Yoga Franchises To Consider
Yoga franchises are popular worldwide, but especially in the US and Europe. Asian countries like China and India also have plenty of franchising opportunities.
Many of these franchise companies can provide licenses to a franchisee on another continent. You only have to get in touch with the company if you meet their basic requirements for franchisees.
- The permission to obtain a license is issued immediately as long as your start-up capital meets the company’s minimal investment threshold.
The following is a list of our top 10 yoga franchise recommendations based on reviews and feedback from the yoga community:
Hotpod Yoga revolutionized the yoga industry by inventing yoga-inside-balloons practice, which allows students to practice yoga in a hot environment with sensory lights.
It is a patented form of yoga (patents available in the US and EU), and you can find their yoga studios in major cities all over Europe. They are very popular in my home town of London, the U.K.
Hotpod Yoga provides its clients with their full franchise model and the patented technology for a reasonable license fee. They also allow their franchisees to add their own personal touch.
It is a niche type of yoga that allows 5-10 students to exercise under a single balloon comfortably, and your studio could have multiple. This type of yoga will immediately stand out due to the way it’s practiced, and it presents a significant earning opportunity for entrepreneurs who want to charge more for yoga classes.
Honor Yoga is one of the biggest yoga brand names in the US, and their studios offer combined yoga and meditation classes for students. It was founded in 2013 and has since expanded to dozens of franchises country-wide. Honor Yoga’s franchising model began in 2016, and they assist with things such as paying the license fees and preparing your finances and inventory.
Its franchisees get toll-free numbers, location selection for the studio, licensed software, grand-opening support, digital advertising support, social media setup, and email marketing. Honor Yoga provides its clients with a full range of job-training and marketing needed to start a successful studio.
Its studios also offers a range of benefits for employers who purchase their franchise license. These benefits include job training for yoga instructors lasting 10 hours per instructor and classroom training of 20 hours, to ensure the franchise meets their quality standards.
YogaOne is one of the most senior and established studios in the world, and they have been servicing clients for over 37 years. Their franchises attract over 72,000 full-time members in 24 clubs located worldwide.
YogaOne’s mission is to improve their client’s lives by providing yoga centers within less than 5 minutes from their office. YogaOne provides training for all employees in a special class, teaching them about different styles of yoga.
YogaOne franchising is only available for large yoga studios that have at least 200 m2/2000 sq. Ft. of space for practice. YogaOne offers training for instructors and assistance with all setup processes for the franchise.
Yoga Pod is a fast-growing yoga franchise, currently opening dozens of new franchises every year. It is a network of yoga studios in the US, most of which tend to host hundreds of students.
It is for large investors who can put up a significant amount of money, and you can contact them to learn about the opportunities to create a yoga community under the Yoga Pod brand. Once you join the Yoga Pod family, you’re automatically part of a large community of Yoga Pod studios.
Polestar Pilates Studios is a large Pilates and yoga studio group that was founded in 1992 and started providing franchise options from 2015. It has headquarters in Miami, FL, and they’re the parent company of the main Polestar Pilates chain.
The main advantage Polestar Pilates Studios offers for franchisers are financial connections. They are one of the few companies willing to help their clients obtain funding for their franchise by connecting them to investors who can cover the initial franchise fee, equipment, leasing, and all costs associated.
Polestar Pilates provides free job-training for all employees of their franchises. If the owner is a teacher, they can sign up for 11-hour job training and 29-hour classroom training. For entrepreneurs who hire yoga teachers for their studios, the franchise requires at least four full-time yoga instructors (which they train at their facilities).
CorePower Yoga Studios is a large yoga education and teaching franchise that boasts over 55 studios in states such as California, Oregon, Colorado, Hawaii, and more. it is one of the largest yoga franchises in the US and currently has over 100 active studio franchises in the nation and abroad.
It is known for its reliable customer service. Its studios stand out by providing intimate spaces for the yoga class, and their chain tends to employ master yoga instructors who are known for delivering high-end training. This brand cares very much about their instructor’s performance to be a cut above the industry.
CorePower is a Colorado-based company founded in 2002 and quickly developed into one of the most sought-after franchises in the world. Currently, the company licenses around 10-20 new yoga studios each year. CorePower provides training for instructors, including yoga training, weight-management training, and sales training, to help studios generate extra income by selling lifestyle and yoga products.
YogaFit studios is a Minnesota-based yoga franchising company that started franchising six years ago and currently offers one of the most comprehensive franchise plans for studios. It stands out among yoga studios by providing different modes of educational learning, such as live instructor classes and online on-demand streaming classes.
YogaFit provides training for at least two people per franchise, one of which must be the yoga instructor and the other the business owner/manager. They each have to be trained according to YogaFit standards and receive the company’s approval once they’ve undergone training.
YogaFit tends to have stricter requirements than other franchises for location. The client has to sign an initial 10-year franchising contract. Once they’ve signed the contract, they have to choose a geographic area for the studio. YogaFit will then assess potential locations and help the client scope out the ideal location for the studio. If the studio is successful after ten years, they can renew their contract.
Arhanta Yoga is an affordable franchise opportunity for teachers who want to start teaching yoga at their own studio, but lack the business experience to start a studio. It will provide them full business training, using a proven business model that can successfully launch new yoga schools throughout the country.
The Arhanta model is to reach out to instructors who aspire to own their own studio and provide them the assistance necessary to make it in the business world. Arhanta Yoga trains business owners in their teaching material while helping them plan new weekly schedules.
Arhanta’s marketing team assists each franchise’s marketing efforts by dominating the SEPR results for studios in their area and helping them lower their digital advertising costs. They guide you each step of the way, including fulfilling legal requirements for licenses. Arhanta studios are popular in Europe.
Pure Yoga is one of the most famous and diverse yoga studio franchises in the world. It creates facilities that inspire newcomers and help students of all ages make yoga part of their daily lives and achieve their goals.
Pure Yoga started as a successful yoga franchise in Asia. It boasts locations in cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Singapore. The company expanded to North America by opening its first New York studios. Now they’re offering franchise opportunities to studios all over the world.
Pure Yoga is one of the most diverse schools for yoga by teaching: Meditation, Yin Yoga, Ashtanga, and Hatha classes. Some Pure Yoga franchises also thrive on offering Power Yoga, Wall Yoga, and Aerial Yoga. Pure Yoga assists with setting up the ideal niche/branch for your yoga and training for all teachers.
YogaSix studios provide dynamic franchise models for yoga studios, which allows entrepreneurs to scale their studios and create their own success progressively. It provides entrepreneurs with assistance when it comes to gathering finances by connecting them with investors who can finance their operations.
These franchises are available for single-unit and multi-unit yoga studios in the US. Franchise owners who choose to franchise with YogaSix benefit immensely from the low licensing fees, excellent EBITDA margins, and assistance from YogaSix, a company with 25 years in the fitness franchising business.
Yoga Franchise FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions About Yoga Studio Franchising
Q: How Much Do I Have To Invest For Yoga Studio Franchising?
A: The license fee depends on the franchise requirements. Most companies will require at least $10,000 in initial licensing fees and requirements for the start-up capital. Some companies will require as much as $500,000 in initial start-up capital before they grant a franchise license.
Q: What Is Included In The Yoga Studio Franchise?
A: Each franchise will include a package of licenses and support bonuses for the franchisee. Usually, franchise companies provide the following:
- Licenses to operate the yoga studio under the brand name and use all associated trademarks
- Assistance obtaining financing and business permits for the yoga studio
- Entrepreneurship training and job training for instructors
- Help with choosing the ideal location for the studio.
- Assistance with equipment and furnishing the studio space up to the franchise’s standards
- Yoga Studio Marketing plan and budgeting assistance
- Live support during ceremonies such as the Grand Opening of the studio
Q: Do I Need Yoga Experience To Start A Franchise?
A: No, you don’t have to be a yoga instructor to start a yoga studio. You could be an entrepreneur who wants to build a business by opening a yoga studio in your area. In this case, the franchise company will provide job training for your yoga instructors.
Q: Are There Any Restrictions?
A: Yes, most franchises won’t let you open a studio in any location you choose. You’ll have to consult with the franchise to gain permission before you open a studio in a particular location. For example, they’ll help you scope out the ideal location in your city.
Q: Is The Income Guaranteed?
A: No, virtually all responsibility for the success of the yoga studio depends on you and your marketing efforts. Many studios from top franchises start with over 300 students on launch day. However, if you start with 10-50 students, you should be able to build that up over a year progressively.
Q: Do I Have To Market The Yoga Studio?
A: Yes, you should do local marketing. In some cases, the franchise will mandate you to allocate a percentage of yearly revenues to marketing efforts.
However, one of the benefits of joining a franchise is that the franchise spends significant money on marketing the yoga brand. So you will also benefit from marketing campaigns run centrally at headquarters.
Q: How Much Will The Franchisor Take?
A: The franchise takes a monthly or yearly cut from your gross sales. This cut could vary anywhere from 2% to 15% of gross sales. Fees depend on the company, and some companies have no royalty fees at all.
If you’re looking for a tried and tested way to start a yoga studio, signing up with a franchise might be your best option. While they’ll take a cut of your revenues, you’ll gain access to a wealth of useful information and resources, making the challenging process of opening a yoga studio significantly easier.
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About the author
Naz Ahm is the founder of StudioGrowth and has spent a decade growing start-ups and venture-backed companies. He writes about sales, marketing, and growth, especially in the yoga, fitness and wellness industry.
Naz has an MBA from IESE Business School and started his journey in the wellness industry when he set-up an on-demand wellness business. Naz currently resides in London, U.K.