I’ve spent a large part of this week confirming the payment details for a new series of classes I’ll be teaching this summer. While it’s taken a number of calls and writing up documents, it’s time well spent. This leads me to the theme for today’s article: Tips for finding and booking Corporate yoga classes.
Last week, I wrote an article called “Ten Tips for teaching Yoga in a Corporate Setting.” While that article gave suggestions for conducting classes, it didn’t provide any idea as to how to find these opportunities in the first place. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Tips on Finding Corporate Yoga Classes
1. Ask your friends where they work: Finding corporate yoga teaching jobs is not unlike finding a regular job: you must network. Ask your friends where they work and if they have ever had onsite yoga classes. Get a sense from them about the company culture. Many start-ups for instance, have a corporate culture that supports onsite wellness programs, especially because employees work around the clock. See who you know that can lead you to a possible gig.
2. Look for listings of the “Best Places to Work” in your city: I live in Boston and each year, the Boston Globe puts out a list of the “Top Employers” in the city. These are employers who have created a supportive and fun work environment and provide tangible benefits to their employees. Many have onsite wellness programs. Find these employers and cold call them or better yet, find someone you know who works there.
3. Call your old employers: Many yoga teachers left corporate gigs to teach yoga full-time. Now is the time to go back to your old employer as a free agent yoga teacher and see if you can get back in to teach classes.
4. Look for stories in the popular media that mention onsite employer wellness programs and pitch to those companies: There are stories all the time on the internet and television highlighting companies that are being creative in keeping their employees active. Set up a google alert for “news about employee wellness” and see what you get. These are employers that are ripe for your pitch regarding onsite classes.
Tips for booking Corporate Yoga Classes
5. Know your rate: Before you go into any negotiation about a corporate yoga (or any other kind of) yoga opportunity, you must know your hourly rate. This is critical for any business and it is a combination of your experience, value and your cost of doing business. You must know what you need to do the job and you must know the lowest rate you can accept and still make things work for you. Don’t forget to take into account travel time as well. The longer you travel, the more that teaching gig will impact your ability to take on another class that same day. There is a cost to you for one gig taking up a significant chunk of your time during the day.
6. Define the length of time for the series: Corporate yoga programs should have a start and end date. While a client may renew after the end of the first series of 6-8 classes, setting it up as a series allows for both parties to evaluate the program before renewing. This can be helpful if either party wants to renegotiate the terms. This can be very helpful for the teacher, who, after teaching the first series, may find that there are aspects of the program that need to be modified.
7. Determine who will pay what for the classes: Corporate yoga classes can be a paid for fully by the employer, fully by the employees or can involve some kind of cost sharing arrangement where the employer pays part and the employees pay a per class fee when they show up for class. Some arrangements may involve employees pre-paying for the series of classes (another good reason to offer classes in a series). How you chose to go will be a function of the employer’s needs, the company culture, the nature of the relationship between the employer and employees, as well as a sign of how much the employer values offering the classes to employees.
8. Decide on the details regarding mats, props and room location before the first class: Take the time to see the location where you’ll be holding class. Decide if there is any room set up to be done each week and if so, who will be responsible for clearing the room. Find out if you need to bring mats or props and if so, be sure to think through how you will transport both (these can be quite heavy to carry).
9. Write out an agreement that clearly spells out the terms of the program: I have a standard Statement of Work that outlines the details of any teaching opportunity (non-studio) that I negotiate. This helps both myself and the client see in writing exactly what we have agreed to, which has usually been discussed both in person and via several emails. This document pulls all the details together and requires a signature of both parties. While it mentions contact and program information, one of the most important sections is on payment. It is critical you find out before you begin how you will be paid.
10. Find out before you start if the client needs a copy of your insurance certificate and if there is any paperwork you need to complete in order to be paid: Many non-studio locations will require a certificate of insurance and many will require you modify it to specifically mention their site. Find all of this out before you begin, as well as if you need to fill out any other paperwork to be paid. The time to find out you needed to fill out paperwork is not after you begin teaching classes.
11. Give both parties an “out” clause: While we never want to go into a job thinking that it won’t work out, in my experience, sometimes the best of intentions still do not build a successful program. Be sure that your client understands that you are there to do your best but if something unforeseen happens and/or the program is not working as expected, you reserve the right to stop teaching at any time. This rarely is a condition you’d need to invoke, but if you are in the middle of an 8 class series and need to move out of the area or you are finding that the classes are not well attended, you may want to reserve the right to end the classes mid-series.
Finding and setting up these kinds of corporate yoga gigs takes a bit more time but they are great opportunities to get your name out there as an independent teacher. Once you start teaching these jobs, it’s inevitable that your name will be out there and other jobs will come your way.