Music Studio Location in Your Personal Home
Music Studio Location in Your Personal Home:
Pros & Cons
A studio location in your home could be in your living room, dining room, home office, or a spare bedroom.
This choice is often appealing for those who are looking to add music teaching as a side income. It’s by far the most common option for people who are starting out. 60% of teachers use their own home for teaching.
Pros for A Music Studio Location in Your Personal Home
Teachers find many benefits to having their studio location at home. Consider the following points:
Just open the door and arrive at “work.” Your students invest the time and expense of travel, coming right to you. If you have a music studio location in your personal home, you don’t spend time traveling to get to work.
You don’t spend money on gas or travel expenses. There are no extra charges for utilities.
Convenient for personal life
You can finish teaching at 6:30 and start relaxing with your family at 6:35.
Perfect for multi-tasking
Just pop dinner in the oven before you teach, and keep an eye on it throughout the afternoon, swap laundry between lessons, or feed the dog while your student washes his hands.
Beneficial for taxes
If you teach from home, part of your rent or mortgage and utilities may be tax deductible.
The guideline is that whatever part of your home that is (solely) devoted to your business may be tax-deductible. What is the square footage of your home? What is the square footage of your office/teaching area?
For example, if your teaching area is 10% of your home’s square footage, you may be able to deduct 10% of your rent utilities as business expenses. We are not accountants and don’t offer official financial advice. However, you should mention this to your CPA to get more information.
Cons for A Music Studio Location in Your Personal Home
Mixing personal and work life can be tricky. When considering a home studio location, think about:
There are limitless potential personal distractions of working from home. Your neighbor locked himself out of his apartment. Your child needs homework help. Your dog needs attention. Your spouse needs a hug after work.
While it’s possible to set clear boundaries when working from home, they are often difficult to maintain. Keeping a high level of professionalism can be challenging in the midst of distractions.
If your home becomes a place where you teach, it needs to be kept clean and comfortable as you host parents and students.
Ideally, have a teaching space and a separate waiting area for the parents, if they stay during lessons. Keeping your home clean will likely take some extra time before lessons, and you might not feel like you’re truly able to live in and enjoy the part of your home that doubles as your business.
A significant challenge of most home-based studios is the use of a restroom. Teachers need to have this available for students, parents, and siblings every single day they teach.
Some homes are set up well for this, with a half-bathroom near the teaching space. For other homes, the layout is less than ideal. Be aware of the potential time you need to allow for ensuring your restroom is clean before you teach each day.
Sometimes your students’ siblings will come along to work on homework. You’ll need to put away anything that you would rather not share with wandering children…or nosey parents!
TRY THIS TIP: Provide some books or games that will help keep people occupied in your “waiting room.”
Teaching in your own home requires specific equipment. While it might seem basic, some elements might become surprisingly costly. You’ll need to have some of the following, depending on what instruments you teach: chairs for waiting parents/students, mirrors, music stands, general office supplies, a piano, etc.
If you have cats, dogs, or other more exotic pets, have a plan for where to put them while you’re teaching.
If you teach in a room with a door, like a specific music room or home-office, simply closing the door will solve this problem. But if you need to teach in an open area like a living or dining room, keeping control of pets can become more challenging. Also, consider how you will talk with students who are allergic to animals, or even afraid of them.
(Remember my story about the 10-year-old boy with the cat phobia?) Pets aren’t a concern for everyone, but this is something to consider if you do have a furry family member.
Operating a business from your home may raise some legal concerns.
Some communities enforce zoning rules against home businesses. Residential zones are technically intended to be different from commercial zones; however, according to the SBA (sba.gov), home-based business make up half of the businesses in the United States! As far as rules go, condos tend to be stricter than apartments, and apartments tend to be stricter than single-family homes.
If you do choose to operate your studio out of your living space, make smart choices to keep your neighbors happy. If you live in an apartment or condo, make sure to teach only during the less-intrusive hours of the day.
A general guide is to keep teaching hours between “the 7s” (7AM-7PM) if you live in a multi-family building. If you are in a house, be sure that your students are parking in your designated area, not blocking neighbors’ driveways or sidewalks.
TRY THIS TIP: In one of our apartments, we went around to all our neighbors to let them know that we were starting to teach lessons between certain hours. We gave them our phone number and asked them to give us a call if certain lessons were ever inconvenient or annoying for them. And we brought them cookies occasionally. We never had any problems. Of course, building friendships outside of your teaching with your neighbors makes it less likely that they will complain to your landlord. (Final tip: make sure the cookies are good!)
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