Payroll isn’t a fun topic, but it is a necessary one. So, when it comes to payroll and building a payroll structure, what do you look at?
“One of our main goals when building our payroll structure was to pay teachers as well as we possibly could,” said Tracey Lanham, a co-owner of Mudra Yoga Studio in Denver, Colorado. “We are passionate about doing our part to make yoga teaching as an income stream as sustainable as possible.”
When determining how the payroll structure would work at Mudra Yoga Studio, Lanham said they surveyed pay at other studios in the area, eventually settling on a pay-per-head structure. If a student is credited a class or uses a Groupon, Lanham said this doesn’t affect the teacher’s pay.
Over at Main Street Yoga in Bloomington, Illinois, owner Carmen Champion said she uses a sliding scale model. “The bigger the class, the more work it is for the teacher, more bodies that they have to connect with and guide through,” said Champion. “The value of the class is based off of that person having that one-on-one connection with the teacher, where they actually feel like the teacher is engaged with what they’re doing, and vice versa.”
Classes at Main Street Yoga have a minimum cap of two people and a maximum cap of 14 students, with teachers’ total pay dependent on class size. By having a minimum that needs to be met an hour before the scheduled class, Champion said it’s a blessing in disguise.
She explained cancelling a class can save teachers from driving to the studio, getting frustrated when no one shows up and losing their energy. Champion based it off of her past experience in the restaurant industry, where workers were on-call certain nights, and she has seen it change the attitude of her studio.
By having a max cap, Champion said that although her teachers are paid for each student, they won’t go overboard. They can’t fill the class to the brim, which has elicited complaints in the past.
Kerry Bestwick at PYP Studio in State College, Pennsylvania, said her incremental pay scale puts their MINDBODY software to use. Front desk staff and the studio’s manager can utilize the clock in the program for logging hours and documenting who taught what class. Although she empowers her staff to take accountability for their hours, subbed classes, etc., Bestwick said it does help out her accountant.
“Our accountant has been incredible and truly keeps everything in order legally and for tax purposes, allowing us as owners to put our time and efforts into what we do best, which is growing the business,” said Bestwick.
In order to keep mistakes at a minimum, Lanham explained the simpler the pay structure, the better. “The less complicated it is, the less often mistakes happen and the easier it is for teachers to track what their pay will be as they teach,” she said. “No surprises on paychecks means less corrections, less follow up, less back and forth and happier teachers.”
On top of Mudra Yoga Studio trying to pay its staff an income stream that’s as sustainable as possible, keeping payroll on time and correct can show your teachers you mean business. “Payroll should be timely and accurate because it’s important to the teachers that work for you,” said Lanham. “Attention to payroll is one way to show your teachers that they are a priority.”