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#1400999 - 03/21/10 11:24 PM Studio Teachers Salary
michiganteacher Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 69
Loc: Michigan, United States
Hi,

I currently manage/teach in a private piano studio in my home, but am opening a new music studio in Michigan in September. The studio will offer weekly private lessons in a variety of instruments, and a comprehensive program of general music education will be offered along with the private lessons.

The instructors who work there will work under my direction and will follow my tested program and system of education. So I will not simply be renting out space to random instructors. This will not be a low-quality "school" that is referred to so poorly on this forum!

Anyway, I recently started searching for instructors and, after putting out several fliers/ads for positions, have scheduled over 30 interviews in May with potential instructors - all of whom have at least bachelor's degrees in their respective instruments, and many master's degrees - most from University of Michigan.

Now that you know a little background, I can get to my question. I am hoping to get some advice on salaries for these instructors. I would like to pay a standard/competitive rate, but am having a hard time finding out what that is for studio teachers. I know that when I was teaching in a church studio a few years ago, the studio charged $21 per 30 minute lesson, and I was paid $15 per that 30 minute lesson.

However, that is really all I know. I have had a hard time obtaining that type of information from other studios in the area. I know that many of you have, or still are, teaching private lessons in other established studios, and I was wondering if I could take a bit of a survey on what the studio you work for is charging, and how much of that tuition you receive per lesson.

I know this may sound like a rude or inappropriate question! I sincerely apologize if it comes across that way. I am really just trying very hard to make a good, fair decision and am looking for as much information as possible before I do.

So, if you would kindly let me know:

1) How much the studio you work for charges per lesson

2) How much you receive out of that fee per lesson

3) How much you think I should pay my instructors (assuming they have a degree, are deemed qualified by me, and are following my established system/program) if I am charging $26 per 30 minute lesson.

Thank you so much!
_________________________
Jessica S.

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#1401143 - 03/22/10 08:06 AM Re: Studio Teachers Salary [Re: michiganteacher]
ToriAnais Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/24/08
Posts: 244
Loc: Australia
I work one day a week for a "music school". They take $27:50 per half hour lesson, and give me I think around $11.

I don't know much at all about running a studio, but here are a few things I think you should consider in setting your payrate:

If it's too low, you will have a high turnover of staff, which will mean a lack of consistency for the students and in general a low quality of teaching. That is the case with the "music school" that I work for. It's not uncommon for a student to have 4 teachers in a year. Really not acceptable in my books.

However, you can't set it too high, becuase you will have a lot of overheads, such as paying for rental space etc during the holiday months when no-one is teaching, administrative staff, cleaning staff, etc.

Good luck with getting your studio up and running! smile
_________________________
Piano teacher since August 2008.

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#1401169 - 03/22/10 09:26 AM Re: Studio Teachers Salary [Re: ToriAnais]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12046
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I do not teach in someone else's studio, but the local conservatory charges around $25-27 per half hour, depending on the degree of the teacher. That will be something you'll have to keep in mind, that generally teachers with a master's degree will make more than teachers with just a bachelors. Also, if a teacher gets a higher degree in music while in your employ, it is expected that a raise will be given. As far as what salaries they get, I don't have any current information on that unfortunately.

If you have a teacher who is salaried, be sure that they have a minimum number of students or you might find yourself running out of money very quickly. Perhaps to start up you may need to pay them a per student rate - unless you've been advertising already and have students signed up for next Fall - until they get to their minimum student load. This will also encourage them to advertise for your business.

You seem to have plenty of teachers available, but can the market handle a school of them? Is there a need for this service in your area? The reason I ask this question is that if you want to have a high-quality school, you will have to have high-quality teachers. In general, good employees are hard to find. Therefore when you do find them, you will have to be able to offer them decent salary and benefits as well as a good facility in order to prevent your school from becoming a "stepping stone" for all of you teachers, as mitts off mentioned.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1401194 - 03/22/10 10:00 AM Re: Studio Teachers Salary [Re: Morodiene]
michiganteacher Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 69
Loc: Michigan, United States
mitts_off - $11 out of $27.50 seems really low to me...perhaps that is the main reason the school you work for has such a high turnover rate? Thank you for the info!

Morodiene - Almost all the instructor's who applied with me have at least one master's degree. Most of them also teach in one or more places already and are seeking more students, so I think the per student rate will work fine for most of them as they will be working only one or two nights a week at my school.

Yes, this area has excellent demographics for a music school - average incomes are on the higher end, there are really good schools here and a lot of dedicated parents, there is growth everywhere, and there is a very large asian population - which currently makes up about 70% of my own private students. I opened my own private studio in my home one year ago and am full to the max with a waiting list.

I wholeheartedly agree with you about having high-quality teachers. This is the part I was most nervous about - until I got an overwhelming response from qualified, experienced instructors in every instrument. I will be interviewing in May and will have choices of instructors in every instrument. It was when I realized just how high-quality these instructors are that I began to get nervous about how much I could pay them - which is why I am consulting you all here. I was able to find a beautiful, professional facility at a good rate, and I do believe the combination of my developed program and the higher rate will attract more serious students, as has happened with my own studio. I really am trying to create a professional, high-quality environment for both students and instructors.

Thanks Morodiene!
_________________________
Jessica S.

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#1401229 - 03/22/10 11:05 AM Re: Studio Teachers Salary [Re: ToriAnais]
R0B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/08
Posts: 1439
Loc: Australia
Mitts off,

I think you are being seriously exploited at your music school.

They are paying you less than 50% of the lesson fee???

That fact alone, shows what they are all about.

If you really need the money, then I understand, but I think you could do better, taking out an ad in your local community paper, and teaching either from home, or travelling short distances to students' homes.

You could easily clear $25/half hour, for yourself!
_________________________
Rob

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#1401246 - 03/22/10 11:30 AM Re: Studio Teachers Salary [Re: R0B]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5512
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: R0B

They are paying you less than 50% of the lesson fee???

That fact alone, shows what they are all about.


Oh, this happens more often than you can imagine.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1401250 - 03/22/10 11:35 AM Re: Studio Teachers Salary [Re: michiganteacher]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5512
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: michiganteacher
potential instructors - all of whom have at least bachelor's degrees in their respective instruments, and many master's degrees


While this looks good on paper, it doesn't always mean they will be awesome teachers. Most students that come into a music school will be beginners with very little musical abilities, so you'll have to find teachers who specialize in this niche.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1401256 - 03/22/10 11:50 AM Re: Studio Teachers Salary [Re: AZNpiano]
michiganteacher Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 69
Loc: Michigan, United States
AZNpiano - I agree. Fortunately, many of these teachers also have quite a bit of teaching experience already. I actually place a higher value on their experience than on their degrees. Because I personally grew more as a teacher through practicing my teaching than college, I guess I tend to assume that would be the case for most instructors.
_________________________
Jessica S.

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#1401938 - 03/23/10 10:10 AM Re: Studio Teachers Salary [Re: michiganteacher]
ToriAnais Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/24/08
Posts: 244
Loc: Australia
Thanks for the concern Rob smile I do the driving around thing for $30/half lesson one afternoon a week, and teach before school 2 mornings and after school one afternoon at a private school for $27:50 per half hour, but can't seem to let go of my one day at the music school, not for financial reasons but because I have become attached to the children I teach there. They are MY projects and i'm not handing em on to anyone else dammit!! Haha...I really should quit it, so I can take on better paying work in that timeslot, but I keep setting deadlines of when I am going to quit (after christmas, after easter, at the end of second term...) but can't quite bring myself to do it. Ah well, I'm grateful I enjoy my job enough to do it for more than just the money!
_________________________
Piano teacher since August 2008.

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#1401989 - 03/23/10 11:25 AM Re: Studio Teachers Salary [Re: ToriAnais]
R0B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/08
Posts: 1439
Loc: Australia
I totally understand smile
_________________________
Rob

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#1402262 - 03/23/10 07:30 PM Re: Studio Teachers Salary [Re: R0B]
Candywoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 850
I would want to get 80% of the take if I was working for you. That's what our top music school pays. The highest I've seen in ordinary music schools is 67%.

You could phone a similar school in another state and get more info.

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#1402292 - 03/23/10 08:32 PM Re: Studio Teachers Salary [Re: Candywoman]
michiganteacher Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 69
Loc: Michigan, United States
Thanks Candywoman. I'm not sure I can afford 80% this 1st year...I guess I was thinking a little closer to 70%. I was also thinking about raises in the future, though.

Great idea about talking with schools out of state! I just can't get any around here to talk...
_________________________
Jessica S.

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#1402408 - 03/24/10 12:17 AM Re: Studio Teachers Salary [Re: michiganteacher]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
mitts_off I suddenly realised you were talking AUSTRALIAN dollars!!! That's OUTRAGEOUS!!!!!!!!! That's the same kind of money I pay my babysitter!!!!!
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

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#1402454 - 03/24/10 02:08 AM Re: Studio Teachers Salary [Re: Elissa Milne]
ToriAnais Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/24/08
Posts: 244
Loc: Australia
It's pretty bad isn't it! I just went and checked my payslip, and the exact amounts I get paid are $11:40 per half hour lesson, and $8:60 per 20 minute lesson. I teach a half hour lesson for the kids signed up for 20 minute lessons anyway, because what can you do in 20 minutes?! Especially with a kid who's supposed to be preparing to sit an AMEB exam. And I'm on level 5 payrate out of 6 levels - most people working for this "music school" are on level 1 or 2, and getting paid around $3 less per half hour lesson than I am. This means generally anyone teaching there is either someone with no experience trying to get their foot in the door (the reason I started there) and using the students as guinea pigs to figure out a teaching style that suits them, or people who don't know jack about children or teaching and wouldn't be able to maintain a consistent income from teaching any other way.

It's a shame there is no monitoring of piano teachers in australia (or anywhere?), because forget the teachers, the real people being exploited in this situation are the parents who think they are doing the best for their children and are getting ripped off paying professional rates for hack job teaching.
_________________________
Piano teacher since August 2008.

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#1402480 - 03/24/10 03:09 AM Re: Studio Teachers Salary [Re: ToriAnais]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
New Zealand has legislation formalising the Registered Music Teachers, and while you can teach without being registered there is a greater awareness in NZ about registration and the consumer protection it provides. The act of parliament was passed about 100 years ago, I believe. And I don't think any other country has anything similar (certainly not in English speaking countries).

Meantime, why the heck is a student preparing for an AMEB exam on a 20 minute lesson?????!!!!!! (the excessive punctuation replaces all the expletives one might care to use in this situation) They shouldn't be allowed to remain on a 20 minute lesson once they are that advanced..... What an absolute disgrace......
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

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#1402677 - 03/24/10 11:04 AM Re: Studio Teachers Salary [Re: ToriAnais]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5512
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: mitts_off
It's pretty bad isn't it! I just went and checked my payslip, and the exact amounts I get paid are $11:40 per half hour lesson, and $8:60 per 20 minute lesson.


I checked the exchange rate between Australian Dollar and US Dollar. My goodness, how do you stay afloat? And there are teachers who get paid less? This is a crime on so many levels.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1402942 - 03/24/10 05:51 PM Re: Studio Teachers Salary [Re: AZNpiano]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5945
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: mitts_off
It's pretty bad isn't it! I just went and checked my payslip, and the exact amounts I get paid are $11:40 per half hour lesson, and $8:60 per 20 minute lesson.
I checked the exchange rate between Australian Dollar and US Dollar. My goodness, how do you stay afloat? And there are teachers who get paid less? This is a crime on so many levels.
This is very very low by Australian standards too. Hourly fees start at around $50 ph where I am, and the average is much more like $70. However, I don't have any experience in what some music schools do - it sounds pretty bad!
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#1402955 - 03/24/10 06:12 PM Re: Studio Teachers Salary [Re: currawong]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
I think it might be a good suggestion that you 1) analyze all your expenses for the operation of your first year business and 2) project the number of paying students (contracts) that you will enroll.

When you know the parameters of your ability to either employ (lots of requirements on your part including the possibility of providing health insurance, vacations, and all the things a small business owner must pay out) or avoiding all that, having your teachers act as contractors.

I think the teachers who work with you would like to receive a steady schedule of employment and have a contract between you as to what the tasks are and the job description and the maximum of students and the minimum.

They are going to probably looking at you as a first time owner of this business as much as you are going to be looking at them for their abilities, availability, sense of responsibility and committment, and cooperation with your enterprise.

Could you find this price you will pay them (equitable or adjusted for their resumes, abilities and experience or instrument?) by paying all $20 per half hour with a 25% ($5) additional charge to the student for covering the "shop time". This would be your fee for administration and for expenses.

Perhaps since you are using your music teaching program, you should find contractors who are willing to take basic instruction from you as to what and how you want them to structure lessons. Are they accountable to you for their teaching, behaviors and actions?

I think that if I were interested in doing this, there would be a huge amount of planning and decision making and there would be likely to surface things that I had no inkling about.

Perhaps before you interview all of these people, you should send out a survey of their requirements for pay and whether they are available for a year at a time or not. I think you would reduce your interview time greatly to qualify the inquiries more than you have. The more stability you can put into the plan the better it will work for you.

I would also be cautious about over hiring. I would want to see the student contracts in place and a schedule created for each teacher before hiring that teacher.

I'm sure this is an exciting time of your life and I wish you well!

Betty Patnude

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#1403374 - 03/25/10 09:40 AM Re: Studio Teachers Salary [Re: Betty Patnude]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Jessica, have you ever done an economic or business analysis of your home based teaching studio's operation? Have you accounted for the costs involved, such as instruments, maintenance, office equipment and supplies, time spent in non-teaching related tasks, and most importantly, costs involved in taxes and government regulations and compliance? You will also need to set aside a certain amount every month for replacement expenses, and then an additional amount for unexpected expenses.

When I have done so on my operation, my actual pay to myself is well below 50% of gross.

As a studio owner/operator, you need to know up front precisely what these expenses are and will be and what will be left over to use for paying teachers who work for you.

The reason so many small businesses fail is that they do not adequately forecasts all expenses.

Music stores often use teaching studios as loss leaders. If you have an hundred students coming into your store every day for lessons, you've got a secondary walk-in trade which might translate into sales, however small.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1403562 - 03/25/10 02:17 PM Re: Studio Teachers Salary [Re: John v.d.Brook]
michiganteacher Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 69
Loc: Michigan, United States
John,

Yes, my father (who is a business man and accountant) and I have written up several detailed business plans including conservative, moderate, and aggressive financial plans from years 1-3. The financial plans include estimated gross revenue (different revenues for different plans), variable costs, fixed costs, and start-up costs.

Even in my conservative plan where we have 68 students (we expect to have many more), we are looking good. The main reasons for this are two-fold:

1. We have had many, many choices of commercial space because landlords are so desperate for tenants right now. Several landlords have offered to pay for the entire build-out, cover the first three months of rent, and charge a great rate after that.

2. Start-up costs such as instruments, furniture, advertisement, signage, technology, business registration fees and a generous misc. category will be covered by my savings. I have been saving up for this for several years.

I am attending Sam Beckford's Successful Studio Strategies seminar in July and have been working tirelessly on this business in every spare minute for the past 6 months.

My dream is not to make a million dollars, but to own a high-quality, innovative music teaching school where both instructors and students are happy. However, the plan does naturally include me (and the business) making some money.

The only part of the financial side which is not set in stone yet is the variable cost of paying my teachers. That is why I asked the question that I asked. I already have a little bit of an idea what I will be paying, but I just want to get as much information as possible to back my assumptions and decision.

I think one of the best pieces of advice I heard so far was Betty's comment about asking the instructors ahead of time what they expect or require for compensation. I mean, in this first year, if I have instructors who are happy receiving $17 per 30 minutes, yet I am confident that they are not only capable, but excellent instructors, then that is a win-win situation! I can always give raises in the future (and I would love to do so), but I certainly cannot go the other way and cut pay.

There are just so many teachers right now who are looking for work. I have been simply overwhelmed by the interest I have received.

So I guess I am not looking to determine all my fixed and variable costs and then pay my teachers whatever is left. I simply cannot afford to do that. My objective for this first year is more along the lines of securing excellent teachers who will accept a specific rate for two main reasons:

1. They love working at the school and teaching the type of students who attend there
2. They are hopeful for a raise in the future

To answer a few of Betty's questions (thank you by the way for the thoughtful response!):

Yes, the instructors will be accountable to me. I am almost finished writing a comprehensive "Instructor's Manual" for instructors at my school to adhere to. The system includes many aspects of what I believe works in private lessons. It also stresses organization and record-keeping. They will observe some of my lessons in the beginning and will also observe each other's lessons from time to time. The system is rigid enough to produce the type of results I am looking for, but also flexible enough to where teachers can certainly maintain their own personal style and strengths.

This is part of why I have been so confident recruiting college-age instructors. My constant attention to their training will boost them to a higher level of teaching.

As far as having each teacher's schedule in place before hiring them - that is just not possible. I would love to do that, but most of my advertising for the studio will take place this summer after my instructors are in place and the studio is built and ready for visitors. My instructors will simply have to be happy enough to wait in the wings a bit for students - especially instructors in less popular instruments. I think most will be understanding of this situation given the fact that this is a new school. Most applicants appear to be young and passionate and excited about life and music. They are energetic and open to new ideas.

Sorry for the long post. I wanted to address some concerns, questions, and comments that I heard.

Thank you again for all your thoughts. This has been most enlightening for me. smile
_________________________
Jessica S.

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#1403598 - 03/25/10 03:10 PM Re: Studio Teachers Salary [Re: michiganteacher]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Jessica, if you are effectively providing training then you should confidently be offering a lower rate than if you were seeking to hire people who required no supervision (leaving aside the obvious quality control issues). On the other hand, once these teachers have been with you for a year or two they will be better trained than they are now, and of course a pay rise will be in order. But I would take this training benefit into account when working out a rate.....

And I second John's comment about the actual take-home pay as being at best 50% of gross takings.
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

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#1403606 - 03/25/10 03:18 PM Re: Studio Teachers Salary [Re: Elissa Milne]
michiganteacher Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 69
Loc: Michigan, United States
Hi Elissa,

So are you suggesting that, considering John's 50% comment, it is fair and acceptable to pay my instructors 50% (after taxes)? That is a lower number than I am considering, but what would be the reasons that would be unacceptable?
_________________________
Jessica S.

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#1403615 - 03/25/10 03:25 PM Re: Studio Teachers Salary [Re: michiganteacher]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Hmm, well what do you mean by after taxes? I'm not up on the taxation system in the US, and there may be taxation implications about employing people which might change the formula.....

But I do think that in the circumstances you describe there are good reasons to be looking at about this figure (without knowing how tax impacts on the equations).
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

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#1403621 - 03/25/10 03:34 PM Re: Studio Teachers Salary [Re: Elissa Milne]
michiganteacher Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 69
Loc: Michigan, United States
Well, I guess I meant take home. So if I gave my instructors 60%, but they ended up taking home 50%.

Thanks Elissa!
_________________________
Jessica S.

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#1403738 - 03/25/10 06:40 PM Re: Studio Teachers Salary [Re: michiganteacher]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Just to clarify, so no one jumps to wrong conclusions here, I meant that in my in-home studio, after expenses, my take home is roughly 50%. But then, I have to pay taxes on my take-home, which are 15% self-employment, and 25% income tax. So, if I charge students $50/hr, I get $25/hr, and after paying the government my personal taxes, I end up with $12.50/hr.

I'm guessing you're going to have to pay 1/2 of Medicare tax, which will be going up soon, because you really cannot write off these teachers as private contractors, not if they have to be at the studio at set times each day.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1403765 - 03/25/10 07:10 PM Re: Studio Teachers Salary [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
This is pure curiosity now, John - what is the 15% self-employment you are talking about? Also, in Australia most teachers wouldn't earn enough to pay 25% in personal tax, although some would. Most would probably be paying 17% maximum and probably more like 12% (with a decent accountant) on their after-expenses income.
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

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#1403772 - 03/25/10 07:19 PM Re: Studio Teachers Salary [Re: Elissa Milne]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
All self-employed workers pay a flat 15% self-employment tax. Workers who are employed pay 7.56% and their employer matches that. This tax is split among several programs: social security, medicare and medicaid.

The reason I pay 25% income tax on my work is that my wife also works. As my work is variable, every additional dollar I earn gets taxed at 25%. If you're single, you're right, the tax would be lower.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1404456 - 03/26/10 05:25 PM Re: Studio Teachers Salary [Re: R0B]
ChristinaW Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/05/04
Posts: 152
Loc: Washington DC
<<So are you suggesting that, considering John's 50% comment, it is fair and acceptable to pay my instructors 50% (after taxes)? That is a lower number than I am considering, but what would be the reasons that would be unacceptable?>>

This doesn't make any sense. You can't do their taxes for them, you have no idea what their net income will be after they do their taxes. People's tax rates vary tremendously depending on their exemptions, investments and total income, and if they file jointly with a spouse. You also can't pay some people more than others based on discriminatory criteria, such as if they are married or single, or if they own a home so have mortgage deductions, or any of the many things that affects their taxes.

YOu need to know what professional competitive salaries are in your area for these type of people, their taxes are none of your business. They probably aren't going to be the best or they'd be teaching in conservatories, universities, etc and they wouldn't work in a place where they just followed the instructions of the owner as to how to teach, so I think you can pay lower than the best music teachers would get, obviously. I've been self-employed and mark up my rates about double from what I consider I think a decent salary in order to compensate for the things you don't get when doing casual work -- ie, no health insurance, no vacations, no sick pay, etc. So if I thought I was worth about $75K a year for example, that's roughly $35 an hour. SO then I'd charge $70 a hour if I were getting nothing but money for that just as an independent worker. So that's another thing -- no one can say what you should pay since you'd said nothing about benefits.

At the music school I attended until a couple years ago, the teachers were very good (meaning they also might perform professionally at times, teach in universities etc) and that school now charges $50 a half hour or $95 an hour for piano lessons. This isn't a conservatory but about the closest you'd get in this city and is considered one of the best and prepares students to be professional, if they want, and to get into Juilliard, etc. Now I don't know what they pay their teachers, though. I think they charge about $60 for a half hour violin lesson in Suzuki method (not group).

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#1404477 - 03/26/10 06:11 PM Re: Studio Teachers Salary [Re: ChristinaW]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Christina, I think you're taking the numbers out of context and that's why it doesn't make sense to you.

And you should also be aware that the figures you cite are quite high compared to most of the USA, including economically depressed Michigan.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1404534 - 03/26/10 07:41 PM Re: Studio Teachers Salary [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Can I ask this question from another direction to clarify another possibilty for paying teachers.

What would it cost if the piano teacher paid you to rent a teaching room? You would sell your space and also take a cut of the tuition fees to cover your operating expenses and give yourself an on-going salary as "finder, scheduler and business administrator of your music teaching program". You would still need a contract commiting to the services they would provide - such as adherance to the "manual" you are creativing and signing on for a year of teaching at a time. Or, whatever stipulations work best for you.

Without you thinking of yourself as "Numero Uno" to be paid meet expenses and be paid first for your services to the teachers before you "hire" or "enlist" them, you can't guarantee that the business will function to your benefit for the long term.

Start small and make it work on small numbers - how many students do you have to have to break even? How many students can one teacher handle? At what level is each teacher able to teach well? You have a lot of probabilites the more people you add to the mix.

Could you afford to start with only yourself as the primary teacher? Could you add one new teacher at a time. You don't want to have teachers waiting in the wings whom you can not put to work soon.

Can you see any possibilities in this alternative arrangement?

And, with every business, the owner must have a plan for recognizing when he has to quit the business. At the same time, after all this work to establish it, you may decide in 5 years, with a thriving business to market it for sale with guaranteed students and teachers to a new owner. Or you might have to hire an administrator and lead teacher to oversee the business.

You have to think about what obstacles could upset the business plan.

I hope you got all that in the way I mean - not as negative things - but as empowerment so that all bases are covered in advance.

And, with the savings that you have and all the new expenses to starting, you will want to get the most for your money in every way and you will want to preserve your capital and not part with it easily in your enthusiasm.

Do you know anyone who has started a similar business?

And, please tell us about the "music store/studio marketing plan you mentioned you are going to be attending. I'm not aware of the presenter you mentioned nor what might be covered in such a class. To me the legal requirements, IRS, and state business license, insurances would be a very demanding process to get through.

Betty

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#1404754 - 03/27/10 05:46 AM Re: Studio Teachers Salary [Re: ChristinaW]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5512
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: ChristinaW
At the music school I attended until a couple years ago, the teachers were very good (meaning they also might perform professionally at times, teach in universities etc) and that school now charges $50 a half hour or $95 an hour for piano lessons. This isn't a conservatory but about the closest you'd get in this city and is considered one of the best and prepares students to be professional, if they want, and to get into Juilliard, etc. Now I don't know what they pay their teachers, though. I think they charge about $60 for a half hour violin lesson in Suzuki method (not group).


wow This is definitely not the norm.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1406116 - 03/29/10 10:01 AM Re: Studio Teachers Salary [Re: Betty Patnude]
michiganteacher Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 69
Loc: Michigan, United States
Betty - thank you for your comments! The best response I have for all of them is to say that all these things have been very well thought-out by not only me - but several others whom I trust and are experienced in business.

The legal business registration process is actually very straightforward and simple (for a sole proprietorship which is what this will be). The taxes and accounting part are not so easy - my father (accountant) is working with me on that aspect.

As far as my savings - I am not parting with it easily or enthusiastically, trust me. smile

Here is the website for the "Successful Studio Strategies" conference.

https://www.danceseminarpreview.com/

I know that not every one of Sam Beckford's strategies will be useful to me, but I am excited to learn what ones will be.
_________________________
Jessica S.

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#1410277 - 04/03/10 08:41 PM Re: Studio Teachers Salary [Re: michiganteacher]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
I hesitate to resurrect a thread that has pretty well spent itself, but this month's American Music Teacher has a most interesting article on running a studio and grossing (not making) $100,000/yr. Worth a read, if you're an MTNA member. If you're not, and you live in the USA, shame, shame!
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1410341 - 04/03/10 09:56 PM Re: Studio Teachers Salary [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Hmm, John is there any way this article can be accessed online? (paid online subscription, or similar?)
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

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#1410352 - 04/03/10 10:21 PM Re: Studio Teachers Salary [Re: Elissa Milne]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
You might want to contact them via email and perhaps they could pdf you a copy.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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