I own a small gym and group fitness studio that has recently opened. I have two yoga instructors who get paid per student for their classes. They are not gym employees but independent contractors. If no one shows up to a class should they expect to be paid? I want to be fair but I do not want to take a loss on the classes. I want them to have incentive to bring students in, but so far all the students have been gym members. They also get free gym membership as instructors. One instructor has told me that she gets $10 for a class where no one shows at another studio, but that is an established studio that does classes only, where as we have only had three classes so far. The first one, no one came, the second we had two students and the third we had one. Our class max is five, due to the small space.
I’ve been teaching yoga for rather a long time, and have taught in a wide variety of situations. I would have to say… it depends. (sorry)
Currently there are a couple of models used.
In some places, typically where members pay one fee for all access yoga is considered part of that package. In that situation the teacher gets a flat rate per class. This rate is often lower than what one would make as a teacher in other situations, but there are many reasons why a teacher would choose to work in this situation.
The situation of fee per head is the other main model, though there are some differences in how places do this. In my market anything from 4 to 6 dollars per head seems common, though this can vary: large studios, well established studios, studios that run training programs and expect teachers to do some of their student teaching for less/free, new studios….. Also sometimes a studio will pay a beginner rate, and a slightly higher rate for a more experienced teacher who has a large following, or will raise the rate of a teacher who consistently brings in new students. And with groupon or such things the per student rate can be less, as the studio is taking in significantly less (don’t get me started on groupon).
Of course, if the teacher is teaching a ‘community’ class that is different (donation based, to help the community…. very common), or if the studio has a policy of offering a free class to new people, or to those with a special coupon…. I would say then it is more common that the instructor is not paid for that person, though of course, it is a good way to build a class.
Subbing is different. Many places I have subbed have a set subbing fee, though others simply pay the regular per student rate.
As to the question you asked (sorry for trying your patience by contexting the answer with so much information) I have been in situations where I have been paid if there is a no show. I have also been in situations where I have not.
Personally I prefer not to be paid unless there are students. This may sound strange, but as I see it, the place I work and I are in this together…. particularly with a new studio that is just trying to establish itself. if I am offering my teaching to them, and they are offering me the trust and opportunity to teach within their studio I feel we have a shared mission to do our best for each other. I hope they will spend time, effort, and funds to market and I will give them the best I have for anything from one to ninety people.
There are a lot of yoga teachers out there. However you choose to arrange your policies I am sure you will find people whose teaching skills, people skills, and financial requirements dovetail with your needs.