When choosing dance studio software, there are so many questions. How do you know if you’re picking the best one? What do you need to look for? Which one can help scale with your studio as it grows? Do you even need studio management software at this stage?
Using the right dance studio management software is key to streamlining your workflow and growing your studio. Below, we discuss key features, such as flexible payments and online management, and tips for finding the right one to fit the needs of your studio.
Key Features for Dance Studio Software
To start, think about your studio, your classes, and your tasks. Make a list of everything you do on a weekly, monthly, and daily basis. This helps narrow down the specifics of what you need to run things more easily.
Most dance studios need the following features, at a minimum:
- Online registration and customer management
- Flexible payment processing
- Financial tracking and reporting
- Event and costume management
- Automated customer communication
- Cloud-based system
- Online class support and integration
- Top-notch customer support
Let’s look at these in more detail.
1. Online registration and customer management
Online registration gives your students and their families the opportunity to sign up for classes whenever it’s convenient for them. The best dance studio software options allow you to enter dates, times, and instructors for your classes, and allow your students (or their parents) to sign up for classes directly from your website. If the class gets full, it will automatically add those students to a waiting list or suggest other options.
But the best dance studio tools go beyond online registration to help you with all aspects of customer management.
These tools help you chart your class attendance rates, keep track of active students, and determine trends for slow days or times. Some tools come with pre-made waiver and registration templates you can use to streamline class or competition sign-ups. Other innovative options offer Google Search Integration, which allows new clients to sign up for your trial or drop-in classes directly from search results pages.
All together, the best dance studio software tools provide value by:
- Getting information directly to your students
- Offering access and convenience to customers you may not otherwise reach
- Cutting costs due to less necessary paperwork for new and returning students
- Allowing your students the flexibility to sign up for classes, competitions, workshops, or events at any time of the day, no matter their schedule
2. Flexible payment processing
Your dance studio software should give users multiple, flexible payment options. This makes it easier for you to get paid, ensuring a predictable cash flow to better manage your business.
The best studio software also allows customers to access payment tools from their laptop, phone, or mobile tablet 24/7. Flexibility is baked into these programs that goes beyond simple online versus in-person payments.
Find an option that accepts a variety of payment types in one integrated tool, including:
Some tools also allow customers to set up custom payment occurrences, such as one-time or automatic, recurring monthly payments. With others, you can add discounts and coupons or set different fee structures for classes, competitions, and other events. You can also allow customers to set up automated payment plans for larger expenses. Not only should your dance studio software handle payments on your behalf, it should also securely track, manage, and store your customers’ financial information.
PaySimple is a best-in-class payment solution provider that offers a seamless payment experience for your customers. Collect flexible one time and recurring payments for monthly dues directly from The Studio Director software or online with the customer portal. PaySimple also keeps your customers’ credit card information securely on file for easier check-outs. Financial information is safe due to PaySimple’s fully PCI-compliant database. Learn more about all of our credit card processing features here.
Finally, our partnership was built to better serve the unique needs of studio owners. Our goal is to ensure you’re getting the most use out of the platform, including our competitively priced, integrated payment processing. You’ll enjoy credit card processing rates of 2.49% per transaction or lower depending on your application details. Have questions? With PaySimple’s award-winning customer service team, you’ll always be able to reach a real-life human to help you troubleshoot issues or answer any questions.
3. Financial tracking and reporting
Beyond payments, the most valuable dance studio software tools deliver financial insights and management functionality.
Look for solutions that:
- Track and identify outstanding accounts so you can tend to past due payments quickly
- Connect to accounting software such as Quickbooks, for automatic and accurate revenue syncing to your books
- Provide revenue dashboards to easily show financials over specific time periods
With the right dance studio software, you can have superior support managing the financial side of your business.
4. Event and costume management
During recital season or before major competitions, you’ll need all the help you can get. Great dance studio software makes it easier to manage your event registration as well as costume management.
With these tools, you can:
- Assign specific dance costumes to classes or age groups
- Store your students’ measurements for this event and the future
- Collect payments for costumes or event registration
You’ll be able to ensure all of your events run smoothly and won’t be spending time tracking down costumes when recital time comes around.
5. Automated customer communication
Communication is a large part of your job as a studio owner. Your students obviously want feedback and progress reports, but generating these by hand can be a lot of work.
The best dance studio software makes it easier to stay in touch with customers, staff, vendors, and partners. Many streamline the communication process for you, so you can spend more time with your students.
Look for tools that help you automate and standardize key communications, like class confirmation letters, billing notifications, teacher schedules, student progress reports, and more.
From there, some tools also automate your dance studio marketing campaigns. Many come prepared with email templates to reach new and current customers a breeze.
6. Cloud-based system
It’s important to have dance studio software that keeps all of your records organized and available whenever you need them. A cloud-based system is the way to go.
Let’s say you’re out of town for a dance competition, but you need to pull up proof that Cindy signed her waiver before she can compete. With a cloud-based system, you can log on anywhere with an internet connection and simply print it out or pull it up on your phone.
A great dance studio software tool gives you access to information at your fingertips, keeping thorough records of all transactions, tuition billing sent and received, and any other documents you need.
7. Online class support and integration
Online dance classes offer unmatched flexibility to students, whether they’re traveling for summer break or need to practice from home. The key to offering these classes is a seamless experience from start to finish.
Find a dance studio software solution that prioritizes set-up and management of virtual or hybrid classes. The best tools integrate online class registration and scheduling directly on your website, even allowing students to log into their classes from your website or portal. They should offer virtual classrooms through a number of tools, like Zoom or Google, to make it easier to manage.
Want to learn more about transitioning to online classes? We encourage you to read how Berest Dance pivoted into virtual options for their 300+ students in over 60 classes!
8. Top-notch customer support
All of these features are important, but if you can’t figure out how to use the software or get help to do so, even the most exciting features are meaningless. Simply put, any dance studio software is only as great as the team that supports it. Look for the best support team: you’ll be glad you did.
When you run a studio, you need to be able to get help whenever and wherever you need it. If you’re reaching out for support, you’re likely already frustrated. Therefore, being able to find the “support” link to reach someone immediately is a must.
It should always be easy to get a hold of a real person, by phone or chat, when you have questions. The best tools connect you with a team member by phone during regular business hours, and provide email or chat options outside of that.
The software’s customer service team should also be patient and understanding. A good customer service agent can help you feel heard and understood, while quickly and efficiently solving your issue.
If there is a software option you are considering, get on the phone with their customer service team first and feel out how they handle your questions. This can help you gauge the way you will be treated if you run into questions or issues.
This is a vital step that shouldn’t be missed. Find a dance studio tool that not only supports your business now, but is always ready to help it grow in the future.
Is It Time?
Now that you know what features to look for, it’s time to consider if it’s the right time for you to bring studio management software into your business.
These are three signs that you could use the help of dance studio software. If you find that any of the following remind you of your situation, it’s probably time.
Communicating takes up a large part of your time
If you feel like this, your customers definitely do, too. There is an easier way.
By using dance studio software, you will keep your customers in the loop, easily. You can choose how you would like information to be delivered (via text or email) and how often your studio is reaching out. Customers can also sign up for alerts, giving them control over how many messages they receive.
Some examples of alerts include:
- Registration alerts: Inform current and former students when online registration is available
- Payment reminders: Notify students of overdue payments or expired credit cards
- Cancelled classes: Let students know when weather or a sick instructor causes a last-minute cancellation
- Event promotion: Notify your list of upcoming open houses, camps, recitals, competitions, or other events
- Progress reports: Let parents know how their kids are doing or the new skills they learned in classes that week
With better communication you keep everyone involved, without the extra effort of constant manual communication.
You can’t keep track of finances
Finances become even more complicated as your studio grows. Juggling different payment methods across multiple systems that don’t sync with each other—like cash in person, an ACH provider, another credit card processor, and a mobile payment tool—can quickly spiral out of hand, risking your predicted cash flow and customers’ financial information in the process. If you’re facing this issue, it’s time to find a more integrated solution.
Dance studio software can also give you a high-level overview of your current finances, as well as details about your cash flow. In other words, it keeps track of the movement of money coming in and going out of your business. Having a system that tracks your finances allows you to keep all of your information in one place. Everything is kept on one cloud-based system, able to be analyzed by your team (or a financial professional during tax season) with the click of a button.
With dance studio software, you’ll be able to manage your financial data and payments with ease.
You have no time
When you first began dreaming about opening your own dance studio, you likely envisioned something a little different. This happens to many dancers who open a studio. Being a business owner is rewarding, but a lot of work. For too many, running a studio begins to take up all of their time.
Studio management software takes a bulk of the administrative work off your shoulders. With automated and streamlined systems, you’ll be able to:
- Enjoy quality family time
- Take a vacation
- Have a relatively normal schedule
- Get a healthy amount of sleep
- Enjoy other activities outside of dance
You have the right to be a person, too. Dance studio software is specifically created for people like you who love what they do, but also need some time for themselves.
Learn More About Studio Director Software
If you’re ready to grow your studio in a sustainable way, dance studio software can get you there. And, with must-have features like the ones we listed, you can return more of your time to your love of dance, choreography, and creative expression.
The best dance studio software tools don’t just help out. They revolutionize the way you manage the ongoing success and growth of your studio.
At Studio Director, we created our comprehensive dance studio software tool to streamline your key business tasks so you can focus on doing what you love. We’ve worked with studio owners for years and created a software tool that makes day-to-day tasks a breeze while also helping you plan for long-term growth. And, we partner with best-in-class providers like PaySimple to bring more ease and flexibility to your daily tasks. Our studio software includes all the features we discussed here and more. We think it’s the best dance studio software out there and can’t wait to show you what it can do for your dance studio.
Want to learn more about how Studio Director software can make your dance studio management easier and maybe even a little more fun?