Posted Monday, November 6th, 2023 by Akada
Searching for the best dance studio software? Here’s some help.
We’ve been in the business of providing business software for dance studio owners for over 25 years. We’ve seen certain triggers or stages that prompt dance studio managers to begin the research process for a new software platform for their studio. Typically, it’s one of these:
- A new dance studio owner looking to set the business upright with a full-featured dance studio software solution
- An owner of a growing business that has pushed beyond the limits of generic business management tools, looking to reduce the administrative overhead through software modeled for specific dance studio needs
- An established business studio owner who has had it with their existing dance studio management software. This can be for a variety of reasons ranging from feature availability to support response times.
The search often begins at their web browser, with queries such as “best dance studio software,” “dance studio software comparison,” or “dance studio management software reviews.” It’s a good place to start and will provide lots of relevant pages to read, but bear this in mind: most of the top-ranked pages are created by the software providers themselves. An unbiased viewpoint can be hard to find.
We won’t pretend to be the objective voice in the industry, but we will approach this topic differently than most. We’ll focus on the most essential features you likely want from your dance studio software. Still, we’ll also dive into some other critical criteria that most dance studio review articles don’t discuss. But let’s start with those features….
Essential features for dance studio software
Let’s focus on some of the core business tasks of dance studio owners:
Online registration: Make enrollment quick and easy with a smooth online registration and scheduling process.
Billing: You want to easily charge tuition dues and process credit card payments both individually and in bulk.
Customer profiles and payments: Self-serve features for your students and their parents, allowing them to update contact information and credit card details.
Notifications and alerts: Messaging capabilities allow you to send important information to groups and individuals.
Reporting Capabilities: Virtually any business management software comes bundled with a series of templated reports, but those that cater to dance studios have uniquely valuable out-of-the-box reports for studio owners. For example, Akada Software offers over 200 reports tracking finances, enrollment, attendance, and accounts.
Performance scheduling and tracking: Performances and recitals are a vital part of any dance school season. The best dance studio software will allow you to schedule these, plan costumes, and monitor for schedule conflicts for participating family members.
Time tracking: Track your staff’s work hours either at the studio or while teaching classes. Look for dance studio software that integrates these reports with your payroll process.
Other important aspects of dance studio software
We’ve covered some of the most essential capabilities, but how the software is hosted, managed, and supported can also play an essential role in your purchase decision.
Security: As the party responsible for keeping your clients’ data private and secure, you want to ensure your software provider offers high-end data security and traffic encryption with regularly scheduled backups.
Cloud-based: Working with a cloud-based dance studio management software platform allows studio owners to connect to their data from any device in any location.
Supported by companion apps: Most dance studio software comparisons neglect to mention some of the valuable companion apps offered by some platforms. For example, Akada Software has a mobile app that allows teachers to track attendance at dance classes easily.
Pricing: Look for clear, transparent pricing. The best model for dance studio owners is a tiered pricing structure that offers reduced per-seat pricing as you add more clients. This allows you to achieve pricing discounts as your studio grows.
Trial Period: Try before you buy! We strongly recommend experimenting with any dance studio management software before you commit to a license fee. Many providers offer a 30-day free trial.
Support: Explore the hours of support offered, but you should also dig a little deeper. Is the support staff onshore or offshore? Are they specialists in the specific dance studio software you’re focused on, or are they also servicing adjacent industries such as gyms or spas? You will generally receive better support from teams dedicated to a single dance studio software product.
Some important things most dance studio software comparisons won’t mention
Most dance studio management software reviews offer similar grids and tables with checkboxes for features. That feature list is important, but we believe it only tells half of the story. Here are some additional factors that should be an essential part of your purchase considerations:
Integration: There are plenty of software options for the core business activities to support a dance studio, such as registration, class bookings, scheduling, and payments. The problem arises when you try to cobble these together into a cohesive solution. Your best bet for a smooth operational experience is to find management software that has been designed specifically for dance studios from day one.
Leadership team: Many software companies keep their team behind the scenes. At Akada Software, we believe our leadership and team are one of our greatest strengths. We are a second-generation, family-owned business that has been helping dance studio owners for more than 25 years. We are active in many industry conferences, offer a scholarship for dance studios, and have helped many studio owners drive new levels of business success.
Dance studio expertise: You might be looking at multi-purpose business software and wondering if it suits your dance studio. Remember, many of the solutions marketed as “dance studio software” are generic products also marketed as “yoga studio software” or “gym management software.” In fact, many of the reviews and ratings for these products might come from businesses that are very different than yours. You might get things set up smoothly and quickly, but the honeymoon period won’t last long. As just one example, as the big Christmas recital comes up, does that software so loved by yoga studio owners have integrated features that allow you to:
- Test your schedule to ensure dancers have sufficient time between numbers?
- Ensure that family members all perform together?
- Assign, size, price, and bill for all recital costumes?
Akada Software was created by a dance studio owner who couldn’t find the right tools for the task. Read our story to learn how it all began with a dance.
Location: Providers of dance studio software are based all over the world. A product team focusing on one geographic market has a unique advantage over one serving 20+ countries. A globally focused team must spend time accounting for the localization of language, data and privacy laws, and regional differences. A team focused solely on a critical market, such as the USA, has the luxury of spending its time building great new features for that audience. That’s the route we’ve chosen at Akada Software. We’re based in Atlanta, Georgia, and exclusively focused on the US market.
Experience: Newcomers to the field of dance studio software have to learn by experience, sometimes painful ones, as they grow context and wisdom on the complexities of dance studio operations. Our team has over 25 years of insight and feedback from aspiring and successful dance studio owners. We thank them for it – it’s helped shape the success of our product in countless ways.
Those feature grids we mentioned?
If you’re looking for side-by-side dance studio management comparisons, as well as dance studio software reviews, we recommend two sources:
- Capterra, a directory of software provider listings, has a category for dance studio software
- SoftwareAdvice.com has a similar category covering software for dance studios
Some of the top dance studio management software companies:
We’ll round things out by mentioning some of the more popular providers of dance studio software. They are:
Dance Studio Pro: https://info.dancestudio-pro.com/
Dance Studio Manager: https://www.dancestudiomanager.com/
Gymdesk (comparison) https://gymdesk.com
A final word on selecting dance studio software for your business
Purchasing any new software can be daunting, let alone one that is vital to the operational efficiency of your dance studio. That’s why we created the dance studio software buyer’s guide, a detailed resource to walk you through the many considerations. And hey, sometimes you just need to phone a friend – with over 25 years of experience building dance studio management software, we’ve learned a thing or two. Contact us if you have questions we can help with.