How to Start a Home Based Piano Studio
Create a space in your home specifically for the purpose of teaching piano lessons. If you don't have an actual room in your home that will work, then consider sectioning off space for your lessons.
For example, if your piano lessons are going to take place in the living room, make sure the family knows that they are not allowed in the room during your lessons. Put something on the walls above the piano that signify it is a place for music such as a nice music picture or symbol, a finger chart, a chord chart, etc.
Let your students know that you take them seriously. They are receiving a piano education and not just a "lesson", even it is from the comfort of your lovely home. Have some piano materials around the area. It is a good idea to place a small book shelf with method books and even a textbook on piano pedagogy in the vicinity of where you choose to teach.
Remember, you decided to teach in your home so it is going to require some sacrifice of your personal space. And for the love of all things musical, KEEP IT CLEAN!
Putting the Business in Home-Based Business
Did you know that some of the world's largest corporations began as home-based businesses? Companies such as Apple, Mary-Kay Cosmetics, Hershey's, and Ford Motor Company all started as home based business. More than 52% of small business in the U.S. are operated out of someone's home, and many small to medium sized business that operate in a commercial building began in someone’s home. More specific to our post, a large of majority successful piano studios are set up as home-based businesses.
So, what separates the haves from the have not’s when it comes to running a successful business from your home? In a word; professionalism.
All businesses, whether they be big, small, commercial, or home-based the level of professionalism that you exhibit will make or break you. Separate your home life from your business in every aspect.
Before you start teaching piano, make sure that you have the business side of your new project in order. Check with your local government to find out if a business license is required to teach lessons from your home. (Most states don't require any type of licensing to teach music but check anyway.) Find out about any zoning laws that could get you in trouble later and make sure you have adequate space for your students to park so that you don't become a nuisance to your neighbors. (If you have any type of homeowner's association, etc. in your neighborhood it's a good idea to let them know beforehand that you're going to be teaching lessons in your home to avoid any conflict later on.)
NAME YOUR BUSINESS! I can't stress this enough. Even if you just name it, "Amy's Home Piano Studio" having a name establishes you as a legitimate business and someone who is serious about what they do. Register your business name with your state government. In most states this can be done online, it's free and it's painless. Create business card, flyers, and other promotional materials with your business name versus your own name.
Get a tax identification number from the IRS and your state government and separate your business and personal finances. There are several computer programs that can make the separation of funds very easy for you without establishing a separate business bank account. Uncle Sam don't play so keep your money straight.
It doesn't matter if you have a bachelor’s degree in music or if you are simply an experienced piano talent, who has decided to teach, be a professional AT ALL TIMES. Yes, you are at home but you are conducting a business.
Establish policies and guidelines for your lessons keep track of enrollment, give invoices and receipts and require students to sign your forms upon enrollment in your lessons. Always dress professionally. I'm not saying that you need to wear a power suit to teach piano in your home but be presentable.
Your hair should be groomed neatly; your clothes should be clean and at least semi-casual during lessons. Your hands should always be clean and neatly groomed because they are one of the main focus areas when teaching piano. Keep your breath fresh because you will be in close proximity to students most of the time and wear shoes. I know you may want to keep your carpet neat and clean, but again, you decided to do this from your home. A barefoot piano teacher is just not a good look.
Always greet you students and their parents appropriately and professionally. Don't cancel lessons without a legitimate reason and give students enough notice when lessons will be canceled. Don't cook dinner, wash clothes, answer the phone or be otherwise inattentive to your students during their scheduled lesson time. They are the priority so treat them as such while they are in your home.
Make sure you have a clean bathroom available for your guests to use while in your home. Keep tissue, soap and paper towels available as well. Stay on schedule, and always encourage your students rather than put them down even if they're not progressing as fast as you think they should
Join professional organizations, attend workshops and continue your own music education. After all, you don't want your students to outgrow your own ability. Don't post information about your students or their progress on social media websites, including personal ones that aren't "related" to your business. If it has your name on it it's related to your business. Don't get a bad reputation in the community for being a hot-head, rude or inappropriate. Everybody knows somebody who knows you so keep it classy even when you're not teaching.
What's My Limit
How many students Should A New Piano Teacher Initially Take On?
Love What You Do
If you're looking to start a home business teaching piano simply for the money then DON'T DO IT! Starting a home-based piano studio requires patience, time, money, sacrifice and a love for piano along with a want to share that love with others.
Know that the majority of your students will be children and not all will be interested in the piano. If you get into this business simply because you want to make an income you will be disappointed fairly quickly. The money will come based on how professional you are and how you operate your business. However, if you don't love what you do you will find yourself burnt out and ready to throw in the towel very quickly.
How Many Students Does it Take?
My philosophy for starting a home-based business is to think big but start small. Think of it as "testing the waters" first. You don't want to stretch yourself out too thin in the beginning when you're still working out the kinks of having a new business along with honing your teaching skills.
I opted to start out part-time taking on only 20 students a week in my home studio. How many each teacher should take on depends on their level of expertise, other time commitments they may have and how much they feel they can personally handle. Also, don't open up too many slots in the beginning because they might not get filled right away.
If you keep it professional your business will grow and before you know it you will be looking for a new studio space outside of your home!