Studio Rental Cost

Catharine said: Sep 7, 2012
Catharine Regis-Green
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Cello, Viola
Jamestown, NY
2 posts

Hello! How much do you pay for studio space (if you do not teach at home)? What percent of your teaching income (before taxes) is your studio rental? Do you have a separate space for private lessons & group lessons, or can you use the same space? After 29 years in the public schools, I was offered early retirement due to the poor economy & have been teaching privately for the past two years. I had been happily bartering for space in a private school, but this school is closing unexpectedly. I may not be able to negotiate a reasonable rental price there, so I am also looking for other appropriate studio spaces with better rental options. This is new territory for me & there are a lot of variables. For various reasons, I prefer not to teach at home. Thank you in advance for your comments. BTW, this is a great discussion site!

Cathy R-G

Julia Evans said: Sep 8, 2012
Suzuki Association Member
Lebanon, PA
3 posts

I only pay $2.50/student for renting a studio at a local music store. They also have a large room that I would be able to use for group lessons.
Have you tried any churches? A lot of the time the church sits empty throughout the week. I’m sure many would take any donation to use their area.

Charlotte Dinwiddie said: Sep 8, 2012
Charlotte Dinwiddie
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Poughkeepsie, NY
10 posts

Check out nearby churches. Often they will barter space if you offer to play for free…either a recital or with a group when they have special services.

Alissa said: Sep 8, 2012
Alissa Rieb
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
61 posts

Commercial real estate is very reasonable in my area (albuquerque). My
rent for a 166 sq ft studio is $166/month. There is a shared conference
room up stairs I can use for small group classes. $1/sq ft is pretty
standard around here. I have about 25 or so families in my studio.

I 2nd the notion of talking with local churches. That’s where I do larger

Alissa Rieb

Charlotte Dinwiddie said: Sep 9, 2012
Charlotte Dinwiddie
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Poughkeepsie, NY
10 posts

Another thought…….do you have a family that would allow you to teach in their home (family room, basement) in exchange for lessons? I’ve had friends who have done that successfully when the space has been right and had enough privacy from the family’s activities.

Nora Hamerman said: Sep 10, 2012
Nora Hamerman
Suzuki Association Member
Piano, Voice
Reston, VA
4 posts

I ran into the exact same problem. After living in our condo (two level top unit of a three unit stack)
and teaching piano here for two years, last year a new family bought the unit below us even though they knew there was a noise problem in the lower units (poor construction). Then they started relentlessly hounding us, pounding on the ceiling, complaining to the management company, and generally sticking their noses into our lives. There is a rule in the condo covenants that says you can have a home based business but not a music studio, but it is not enforced unless somebody complains. I tried negotiating a schedule with them (no response) and tried moving my piano to the upper level where it is pretty inaudible (asking if that was okay, but again, no response). Finally I have rented a space inside a private home in the next town over and I love it—no neighbor problems, great space with wood floors (also meant moving and tuning another piano). I pay $300 a month for this which takes a good chunk out of my income and means I will have to expand my student numbers. But the biggest problem is that it is not as close to my home as I would like and some of my former families don’t want to travel the extra 15 minutes. In this region, space is at a premium and i was not able to find anything closer, including in local churches.

Nora Hamerman

Jacob Litoff said: Sep 10, 2012
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Cello, Viola
Millis, MA
46 posts

I used to have the same problem renting studio space at the church I was at , well there was only limited times I could use it, and other places got awfully expensive. So I started going to students houses, for most of my students all were from the towns of Shrewsbury , Northborough Westborough , all pretty close together , and frequently right across the street from each other, or in neighboring apts or condos. Sure it takes time to pack up and travel to the next student so maybe I don’t get quite as many students in each day, but I don’t have to pay any rent. It saves me 1000’s of dollars every year. I am often treated to food , even meals sometimes, and more for being so nice to come to their houses(no taxes on that:)) Sometimes I wonder if the kids are less serious when the lesson is at their own house , but actually I’ve hardly been wondering that at all lately. I can schedule lessons much more flexibly, I don’t have to wait till after 5pm when both parents are home and/or the car is available. I try to schedule kids that live close together on the same days. I’m also glad I don’t live in any apt. or condo, but have my own small house, so that the few students who still come to my place in Millis can come any time that is good for us. Even though I now have students in other towns…Marlborough, Franklin & framingham…i manage to find enough in each area on the same days that I have very little driving to do between lessons. Earning less money is great when your expenses diminish even more!

Paula Bird said: Sep 10, 2012
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Viola
Wimberley, TX
386 posts

Do not violate apartment or HOA rules! I had a friend get evicted for violating her HOA rules. This is a legal issue, so be careful!

I rent a studio space and have for years. I treat my private teaching studio like a real business, which it is. I pay for utilities (electricity) and premises liability insurance (required by my landlord). I also provide a water cooler from Ozarka.

I moved my teaching outside my home because it was causing difficulties for my family. My husband had little privacy, and he tried to be quiet and not disturb us, but it is difficult having children and strangers in one’s home all the time. So I moved everything out of the home and into a rental space in a small strip center. I have had two locations since I started doing this over 10 years ago.

yes, at first glance, it seems as if we are losing a large chunk of income to rent (I currently pay $650/month rent, $50-125 utilities, and $80 for insurance), and my rent payment has climbed over the years from $400 to its current amount. But, I found that I got more money back from my income tax as a result. When I deducted for an “office in the home,” I was unable to claim much of anything: a small portion of utilities, perhaps (I own my home, no mortgage). So I did not get any refund. Now, I get a whopping big refund, so what I put in is what I get out. And this arrangement reminds me every day that this is my business. I treat it professionally.

There is something wonderful about having group class space! All of my space problems disappeared. It is wonderful, and I highly recommend that folks do this.

Now, I will confess that I was terrified in the beginning that I would not have enough money to do this, but really, what is the cost? The amount that one student pays in a few months? I can handle that, can’t you?

Write me if you want to learn more. I just recently completed a draft book about how to set up a music studio and make money at it. I would be happy to entertain your questions.

Paula E. Bird
TX State University
Wildflower Suzuki Studio (blog) (podcast)

Leslie said: Oct 12, 2012
Leslie ThackerayInstitute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Taylorsville, UT
26 posts

Paula, that sounds like an interesting book!

Leslie Thackeray
Make Practicing Fun!

Sue Hunt said: Oct 13, 2012
Sue Hunt
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Violin
390 posts

Can’t wait to read it, Paula.

Nancy Wood said: Sep 12, 2016
Nancy Wood
Suzuki Association Member
South Jordan, UT
1 posts

Paula, is the book you mentioned out now? I’d be interested as I’m sure would many others.

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