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Should you close enrolments?

Updated: Nov 18, 2022

Closing enrolments off for the year is a big decision for your studio and one you should really think about before you do it.

All studio owners know the chaos that is the end of the year!

You're in the thick of concert time (and all the questions, organising and decisions that go with it), planning for the following year is in full swing, you're negotiating with teachers over everything from costumes to which classes they're going to teach next year... and you're doing it all while trying to maintain some semblance of normal family life! Arrgghhh, no wonder we all go crazy come Term 4!!!!

There's no doubt Term 4 is the busiest time of an already-packed dance year for studio owners, so it makes sense some will opt to take one thing off their plate and close off enrolments to new students. But is turning down business in the current economy really the smartest thing to do?

Can you afford not to accept them?

I get it. Accepting new students in Term 4 presents a number of challenges. Do you put them in the concert? How do you source a costume for them? Will all the logistics of the concert be too much for new families?

These are all valid concerns and often come up in conversations with studio owners who decide to close enrolments to new students in Term 4. In fact, they were questions I asked myself when I was running my studio and those late enquiries would come in.

But when I've always been of the belief that if a new Term 4 enquiry wasn’t able to enrol at my studio, it was extremely likely they’d just enrol somewhere else that would take them.

This means that not only would I miss out on an extra couple of hundred dollars in Term 4 fees but also, potentially, the thousands of dollars that student would translate to over the years to come. Weigh that up against the relatively minor hassle of fitting that student into your studio at concert time and the decision suddenly becomes a bit easier.

Know their value

Knowing the lifetime value (LTV) of a student in your studio will definitely help give you some clarity when deciding if closing enrolments is the right choice for you and your studio.

In business, the LTV is calculated by multiplying the value of the customer to the business by their average lifespan and helps a company identify how much revenue they can expect to earn from a customer over the life of their relationship with the company.

Say your Term 4 enquiry was the parent of a 6-year-old who was interested in a recreational jazz class and you charge $170 per term for that class. Now, let's say you accepted that student and they continued with jazz the following year. The year after that, they added a hip hop class and then two years later they added contemporary.

  • Year 1 (1 class) - 1 x $170 = $170

  • Year 2 (1 class) - 4 x $170 = $680

  • Year 3 (2 classes) - 4 x $320 = $1280

  • Year 4 (2 classes) - 4 x $320 = $1280

  • Year 5 (3 classes) - 4 x $470 = $1880

In classes alone that's an extra $5290 (and we're only talking 5 years here). Add in the money that family will spend on concert tickets, uniform, costumes, merchandise etc. over that same period and you're looking at around an extra $3000 taking their total value over 5 years to $8290.

Now imagine that same family stayed with you until that child was 18 - that would be around $20,000 extra revenue in your studio.

What’s the answer?

If you can manage to fit the new student into the concert in some way, I would 100% recommend you do it. Make sure you explain to the parent the work that goes into concert routines and that might mean their student isn't involved in the whole number but that you'll fit them in where you can so they can participate. Depending on the level of the student, you could even give them extra duties backstage to help them feel more involved.

If putting a new student in the concert isn’t an option for you for whatever reason, it doesn’t mean you need to lose enrolments (and that $20,000 LTV) to the studio down the street.

Consider adding a non-concert class to your schedule that could accommodate new students in addition to current students who aren’t involved in the concert. A combo class or even a general flexibility or dance-based fitness class is a great idea here as it covers lots of bases and can work for multiple age groups.

You could even promote short 6 week "taster" courses at your studio in Term 4 to take advantage of those families who are looking to enrol their child in dance the following year or that have been turned away by other studios in your area who have closed enrolments.


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