The Top 5 Secrets To Negotiating A Raise At Your Dance Studio

Negotiating For Dummies Book Cover
Negotiating For Dummies Book

“In business you don’t get what you deserve; you get what you negotiate.”  T.Harv Eker

Do you feel uncomfortable, maybe even squeamish, at the thought of approaching your dance studio owner boss for a raise? Do you get flustered or tongue-tied when it comes to discussing money, salary, payroll issues, etc.? Do you avoid these topics at all costs? If you answered, ‘Yes’ to any of these questions, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Most dancers are very uncomfortable discussing money, and tend to be quiet, cautious, and settle for less than they deserve, instead of facing the discomfort of negotiating for the salary that they want. Are you one of those people? If so, I’m here to help.The following five secrets are very practical, and will be very effective for you in negotiating a raise, as long as you separate your emotions from the process of negotiating.

There’s a reason why the phrase, “it’s business, it’s not personal” exists.

Although your love for dance, for teaching dance, for your dance students, parents, etc. may be very personal, the fact of the matter is, a dance studio is a business. Therefore, when it comes to financial decisions, like how much you get paid, it must always be based on what makes the most sense for the business.

Here are my Top 5 Secrets To Negotiating A Raise At Your Dance Studio:

1. Know Your Worth. Do you have a  degree in Dance, or 5, 10, 15, or 20 years of teaching experience? Have you won awards for your choreography? Have you recently completed a teaching course, or received a new certification that is teaching-related? Have you caused significant increases in student enrollment at your dance studio on a consistent basis? All of these things contribute to your worth or value as a dance teacher. These are things that should be in the forefront of your mind as you prepare to negotiate a raise at your dance studio. That way, you know what type of increase will make the most sense for you, and for the dance studio owner.

2. Expect To, and Be Prepared To Negotiate.
There is in fact an art to negotiating anything; a home purchase, a car, etc. Therefore, you should start your negotiations at a number that is higher than what you really want, to give yourself room to negotiate. If you start at your exact final number, then you have nowhere to go but down, and that’s not good. Give yourself, and the studio owner, some wiggle room, so that you can both feel like you’re getting what you want, and end up at a number that’s comfortable for both of you.

3. Think Like A Dance Studio Owner. Be aware of the average hourly pay rate for teachers in your local area, and be prepared to explain how a raise will benefit the dance studio/owner. Have solid facts to support your case. Your yearly rent increase isn’t really a good enough reason to ask for a raise (although inflation/cost of living expenses do play a part in the appropriateness of your salary). The fact that you and your husband/wife want to buy a new house/car/condo/vacation home, or whatever, is also not a legitimate reason to ask for a raise.

Here are some legitimate reasons to ask for a raise:

– Your class enrollment numbers are consistently increasing because so many students love your classes.

– You recently completed a particular course, certification, or training, that now makes you even more knowledgeable and valuable as a dance teacher.

– You received an attractive offer from another dance studio, and are considering accepting it. (Be very careful how you approach this situation.)

– There is a significant change in your teaching schedule. For example, if you’re traveling an hour to an hour and a half to the studio, and your usual five, 1-hr classes are being cut down to only two, one-hour classes. That’s a good reason to ask for a raise.

– You’ve been teaching at the studio consistently, for a minimum of 2 years, at the same salary.

4. Timing Is Everything. Trying to talk to a dance studio owner about a raise in the midst of competition or recital season, is probably not the best time to talk. However, whenever you decide to approach this subject, you should definitely schedule a time to sit down with the studio owner. That way, they will be prepared to give you all of their focus and attention for a specific period of time, and also recognize that what you want to talk about is serious enough that you need to schedule a meeting to speak with them.

5.  Have An Exit Strategy. It’s very important to know where you stand going into your negotiations. If you are not able to get the increase that you want, or an increase at all, what will you do? Will you quit? Will you be okay with it? Will you be bitter for the next year? Figure out what you want, and how you will handle the worst case scenario, and no matter what, always handle yourself in a professional manner. You never want to burn bridges, or damage professional relationships. Most importantly, take time to process the negotiation, and give yourself 24-48 hrs before you make your final decision.

Were these five secrets helpful to you? Have you ever successfully negotiated a raise at a dance studio? How do you handle negotiations? Please share your thoughts below, and share this post on Facebook and Twitter.

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