Haggle on school fees?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Emptyhand, Nov 12, 2008.

  1. Emptyhand

    Emptyhand Orange Belt

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    I am not looking to get flamed, I am just asking.... :)

    My question is, are school fees "set in granite" or is there a chance to negotiate lower fees? I certainly want to pay what an instructor and the school are due, but I was just wondering if the prices listed are non-negotiable?

    Basically, what is customary?

    The reason I ask is with the distance to some schools, price will come into play with fuel and toll costs to attend etc...especially to attend classes on a regular basis which is my aim.
     
  2. SensibleManiac

    SensibleManiac Black Belt

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    Are you willing to pay for 10 years in advance?:uhyeah:

    Seriously though.
    I feel there are many places where haggling just doesn't belong, and the martial arts is one of them.
     
  3. JadecloudAlchemist

    JadecloudAlchemist Master of Arts

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    Explain your situation to your teacher be honest.

    If you are unable to pay the price of training the teacher may give you a discount till you're on your feet.

    A teacher may just say that's my price and if you don't like it theres the door.

    Teaching is a business so it should be respected as such. With that said alot of things depend on the teacher same as a manager in a business if he wants to give you the discount.
     
  4. bluemtn

    bluemtn Senior Master

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    I know of only one place in my area that offers a kind of fund raising thing for students that aren't able to pay the full tuition. On the other hand, it never does hurt to talk to your instructor. Another instance happened way back in the stone age when a friend of mine in high school offered to do cleaning and such for their instructor. Just some thoughts.
     
  5. MBuzzy

    MBuzzy Grandmaster

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    As everyone has said, it doesn't hurt to ask....but I really don't think that haggling is a possibility for most studio owners. Depending on the school size, many school owners depend on their fees to pay rent, studio registration, etc. Therefore, if it is a larger school, you may have a better chance than with a smaller school.
     
  6. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    Is it possible to successfully haggle over fees for instruction? Probably not.

    Is it possible, with some instructors in some situations, to discuss the financial situation with them and perhaps come up with alternative ways to pay? Yes. Since I don't teach commercially, I can easily work with a student. After all, my goal is to share my art and honor my teacher -- not get rich! But if I enrolled students through a community center rec program or something like that -- I probably couldn't change those prices. And a true commercial studio has to meet their bills; they may be able to help a few students, but they can't work with every student.
     
  7. thesandman

    thesandman Orange Belt

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    It varies from school to school I'm sure. I have in the past put students on "scholarship" until whatever hardship they were facing had past. This was always based not just on need, but merit.

    As far as haggling just to save a few bucks, it strikes me as pretty ungrateful.
     
  8. bostonbomber

    bostonbomber Orange Belt

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    What's the worse that can happen when you haggle? They say no? I know there are some people out there that may get offended when you try to talk them down, but that's a bit ridiculous and it's their problem. A good student can offer much more to a school than simply fees.

    Haggle everything! (But also be reasonable.)
     
  9. Jade Tigress

    Jade Tigress RAWR

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    I think haggling would be acceptable only if you've already been a regular student at the school and have fallen on hard times. In that case you can explain your situation to your instructor and see if he's open to it. I don't think you can walk into a new school and start haggling fees because you can't afford to train there at the moment. If that's the case, you have to wait until you're back on your feet before seeking a new school.
     
  10. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I think that this is probably a very good approach. Most instructors that I know are willing to help their students. Someone right off the street whom they have no bond with well maybe not as much.
     
  11. BrandonLucas

    BrandonLucas 3rd Black Belt

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    There are some instructors that help out...but asking, like everyone else has said, is the key.

    I agree that it's better if you're already a member of the school, and you're attendance is regular. But, in some cases, I think some instructors would be willing to work out a deal, depending on the reason you need the assistance.

    For example, if you go to a new instructor, and explain that he/she is the closest to your area where you live, and you need to train somewhere, but you are unable to afford the travel as well as the cost of the training...some instructors might actually say, "Well, I can help you get started here...let's try taking a few bucks off the monthly charge for the first 3 months and see where you stand financially. If you aren't able to pay the regular tuition, then it may be time for you to evaluate your priorties...and attending class may not be the highest on the list....we can even see about just doing a 3 month contract to make it official."

    Other instructors may not be in a position to work something out, and that should be understandable. But I don't think "haggle" is the correct term to use....when I think of haggling, I think of something going like this:

    "Hey, this chair costs $75. Can I get it for $30?"

    "No, I can't go that far, but I can knock it back to $70."

    "Ok, well can you go down to $50?"

    "Not that far down, but I'll let you take it right now for $60."

    "Sold!"

    That's what I would consider haggling. Now, I can't really see that happening speaking to an instructor about his/her class. The charge is set up for a reason. To negotiate a permanent discount on the price for tuition, in my opinion, is disrespectful. If anything is negotiated, it should be on a temporary basis, with the understanding that you will pay the full tuition as soon as you are able to financially.
     
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  12. bostonbomber

    bostonbomber Orange Belt

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    I agree, "haggle" can have a negative connotation. But I still think there is nothing wrong with a bit of reasonable negotiation.
     
  13. Grenadier

    Grenadier Administrator Staff Member

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    Negotiating on school fees? Tread gingerly.

    There are two types of negotiations.

    One is where a student, or prospective student wants to train, and sees the fees as reasonable, but can't quite afford the whole thing. In those cases, I don't see any problem with someone asking for a temporary reduction (until things get better financially), as long as they make it up in the end.

    This doesn't necessarily mean that they have to pay all of the money owed, but rather, that they can find ways to pay back the dojo in ways that aren't monetary. For example, someone who is a certified CPR instructor can offer to certify your staff in exchange for part of the tuition owed, or someone who makes signs and banners can put his craft to work for the dojo in a similar kind of exchange.


    The other type of negotiating, though, tends to come forth as more of an insult to the school owner. When a prospective student insists that the programs aren't worth the money, and demand a significantly lower tuition rate, without offering to make up the difference, it's really not worth signing him up. Unfortunately, often times, these kinds of students don't see the value in your program, and are more likely to run afoul of the financial matters.

    The way I see it, let such people find a school elsewhere. If I were a car dealer, and sold brand new Honda Accord sedans for $19,000, and someone came in demanding that they only pay $13,000, I'd ask them to go shop elsewhere. If the usual people stop coming into the hypothetical dealership because they think my prices are too high, then I'll make adjustments, since dollar figures will do the speaking correctly.

    Do such people have legitimate complaints? Maybe so... After all, if a school is charging 300 dollars a month (yes, there are schools that do so), and if the programs are full of fluff and no substance, then they do have a point. However, if they don't like such schools, then they should simply not go to them.

    Those are privately owned businesses, and how they conduct their business is the choice of the owner, not the students. Those who disagree can simply speak with their wallets, and not sign up.
     
  14. Drac

    Drac Sr. Grandmaster

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    Just ask nicely..
     
  15. Carol

    Carol Crazy like a...

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    The best way to negotiate is get together with some other people and get them interested in training with you. Nearly all schools offer a discount when two or more people sign up together, and the more people sign up at once, the less everyone pays. Plus if you train together you'll be able to practice together, which will help your art...and you may be able to carpool together which will help your wallet even more.
     
  16. rhn_kenpo

    rhn_kenpo Yellow Belt

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    In a business where the 'customers' mingle with each other often and in come cases have longstanding personal relationships, multi-tiered pricing schemes are a very bad idea. People talk, and it would be difficult/awkward to have some students realize that the person training next to them is paying 20% less.

    R
     
  17. Most schools do offer a group or family discount and car pooling would help with gas and tolls. I don't think it would be a great idea to go into a school you don't train in already and try to get a lower price but a school where you are already a member... it can't hurt to ask maybe you can do something in exchange.
     
  18. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    I have just the opposite take on this. I chose my instructors very carefully, and I train with them because I respect the value of what they teach. I would only ask for a discount if I were in a really tough spot. And if that happened, I know it wouldn't be a problem.

    Last month my instructor closed the school for a couple of weeks while he was traveling out of the country. When he returned, I asked if, considering the lost training time, I owed him for a full month. He said, "Pay what you want". When I pressed him further, he mentioned that a couple of the other guys paid the full fee. Well, there's no way I was going to disrespect him by paying less! You "haggle" for stuff at the swap meet. MA training is something altogether different for me.
     
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  19. bostonbomber

    bostonbomber Orange Belt

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    If you feel the fees are reasonable and you can afford them then no need to negotiate. If you aren't able to pay them without a significant burden, then why not try to negotiate an arrangement that will allow you to train with someone you want to? The worse they can say is "no, my prices are firm." I don't understand why many Americans and Western Europeans think it is an insult to negotiate. It doesn't have to be negative. If you say something like "your prices are too high, it's not worth it!" then yeah, that's negative and that's not the right way to do it. I'm not advocating low-balling your sifu. My sifu in the past has worked out creative arrangements with people down on their luck and you know what, they're pretty damn grateful, work hard, and contribute to the school.

    Maybe my first post was a bit extreme. In my business, contract negotiations can take months. I'm not at all offended when people ask for lower prices or want more work for the same amount of money. If they don't, then it means I screwed up and I didn't charge enough in the first place! When I hire someone new, I worry when they don't try to negotiate a better deal!
     
  20. Kacey

    Kacey Sr. Grandmaster

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    It depends on where the class is, too - I teach at a Y, and half my students are on scholarships - but it's not up to me; it's up the Y, they set the rates. So in a sense, I suppose that's "haggling" if you ask for a scholarship - and if you qualify based on their income guidelines, then you get a reduced rate.

    I have had students who couldn't afford uniforms or equipment work deals with me - on more than one occasion I've paid for uniforms for students who mowed my grass or cleaned my house, because there's really nothing they can do for the dojang, since the Y takes care of the physical facility.123
     

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