When choosing dance studio software, there are so many questions that come up. How do you know if you're picking the right option? What do you need to look for? Which one can scale with your studio as it grows? Do you need studio management software at this stage?
We know that using the right dance studio management software is the key to streamlining your workflow and growing your studio. With that in mind, keep reading for our advice on how to choose the best dance studio software. We discuss the key features any tool should have and tips for finding the right one to fit the needs of your studio.
The Best Features For Dance Studio Software
To start, think about your studio, your classes, and the frequent tasks you have to complete. Make a list of everything you know you’ll be doing on a weekly, monthly, and daily business. This helps you paint a picture of what you’ll be looking for in terms of dance studio software to make your studio management easier.
For most studios, you'll want 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
- Top-notch customer support
Let's look at these features 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 most convenient for them. The best dance studio software options let you enter the 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.
Giving your students an easy and seamless way to sign up for classes is a no-brainer, but the best dance studio tools go beyond online registration to help you with all aspects of customer management.
Keep track of your students’ contact information, notes, and previous class history in one place. These tools also 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 software 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:
- Offering access and convenience to customers you may not have reached otherwise
- Getting information directly to your students without you having to maintain a constant phone presence for questions
- 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
Great dance studio software makes registration and customer management easy, efficient, and seamless on your end.
2. Flexible payment processing
At a minimum, dance studio software should give your students (or their parents) multiple, flexible payment options. Allow customers to access payment tools from their laptop, phone, or mobile tablet 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so there’s no time constraints for them.
Flexibility is baked into these programs, though, and goes beyond online versus IRL payments. Many give your students the option for different payment types, including:
- Credit card
- Debit card
- ACH debits
- Class cards
Some tools also allow your students to set up custom payment occurrences, such as one-time or automatic, recurring monthly payments.
Not only should your dance studio software handle payments on your behalf, it should also securely track and manage financial information. For example, your customer may receive an automated message to update credit card information or complete a payment for any failed transactions. Some software solutions also allow you to add discounts and coupons or set different fee structures for classes, competitions, and other events.
3. Financial tracking and reporting
Beyond payments, the most valuable dance studio software tools deliver financial insights and management functionality.
Look for solutions that can:
- 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
With these special features 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
Communicating with students can become 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.
This is in addition to the administrative tasks of enrolling students, responding to requests for more information, sending out marketing messages, and the myriad other communication tasks that running your studio demands.
Great dance studio software makes it easier to stay in regular communication with your 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, invoices, 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 make reaching out to new and current customers a breeze. They also track who you’ve been in touch with and when by email.
Regular communication helps build a studio that has devoted, engaged fans, a long waiting list, and packed classes.
6. Cloud-based system
It’s important to have dance studio software that keeps all of your records organized and available for you to reference any time you need them. A cloud-based system is the way to do so.
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, invoices sent and received, and any other documents you need.
7. 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: you’ll appreciate that you did so later down the road.
When you’re trying to run your studio, you’ll need to be able to reach out for help whenever and wherever you have questions. 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 also 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, but also 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, do not hesitate to 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’re feeling this way, your customers definitely are as well. There is an easier way.
By using dance studio software, you'll be able to 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 you can set up 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 easily keep track of finances
Finances are complex, and become even more complicated as your studio grows. Dance studio software can 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 with ease.
You have no time
When you first began dreaming about your own studio, you likely envisioned something a little different. This happens to many dancers who open a studio. Being a business owner is so rewarding, but it can also be a lot of work. For far 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 actually be able to:
- Enjoy quality family time
- Take a trip here and there
- 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 have created a software tool that makes their day-to-day tasks a breeze while also helping them plan for long-term growth. Our tool 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.