How Much Does it Cost?

Discussion in 'Chinese Martial Arts - General' started by ShortBridge, Jan 24, 2017.

  1. ShortBridge

    ShortBridge Black Belt

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    I run a small Wing Chun school in Seattle's Chinatown. There's no storefront. I don't teach kids and my web site describes it as "non-commercial". The only statement on cost that I make on it is:

    "Modest monthly dues enable us to share the expense of our training space and a few essential pieces of equipment. We do not require contracts or sell anything and never charge for tests, awards, or certificates."

    95% of all inquiries just say something like "I'm interested. How much do you charge?"

    That's it? No other questions? Not about the system or how we train or anything? Just cost?

    Something about that just frustrates me. I get that money is tight for some people and I actually would rather teach working people. It just seems like the wrong way to approach it. Not really a question, I'm just venting and wondering if you all have similar experiences.
     
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  2. Kickboxer101

    Kickboxer101 Master Black Belt

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    Well no ones going to train somewhere that charges a huge amount of money
     
  3. KangTsai

    KangTsai 2nd Black Belt

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    Well, they managed to find your under-advertised school and they clearly want to learn. To be honest I would ask that too, I mean, they surely have the most basic baby's grip on what the heck wing chun is, they know they're going to be taught it, and whatever else happens doesn't matter however it plays out. It would be frustrating, for sure, but I don't think they lack any respect.
     
  4. Tames D

    Tames D RECKLESS

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    I think they want to know if they can afford it before getting too excited about the details of the art.
     
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  5. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    Most people don't know enough to ask much before they walk in. Most are calling to find out if it's worth visiting. Let's say I want to train in MA (and I am untrained), and live next door to your school. So, living next door, I'd probably just visit and find out what the place is like and what it costs. However, if I lives further away, I'd call first to see if it was worth the trip. It wouldn't matter how good you were if it cost $250/month. That's not the highest rate I've seen, but it's more than we can afford right now.
     
  6. Jedmus

    Jedmus Orange Belt

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    Personally, I would need to know how much I could be expected to pay before I looked into a club. If I went somewhere and absolutely loved it but found out I couldn't afford the fees I would be extremely disappointed and would have wasted the instructors and my time
     
  7. clfsean

    clfsean Senior Master

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    I was teaching CLF at a rec center more than a few years back & didn't charge. People didn't believe me & I nearly no students. I started charging close to $100 a month & I had people lining up.

    Charge what you can based on what the area supports.
     
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  8. ShortBridge

    ShortBridge Black Belt

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    I get it. I understand that cost and finances are important.

    ...I get it...
     
  9. yak sao

    yak sao Master of Arts

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    If I came across your advertisement it sounds like a place I would definitely check into .
    Maybe reword your advertisement . Instead of saying we charge modest dues, don't charge for anything etc. , state right up front the cost of classes, no contracts , no hidden fees.
    So instead of justifying what you're charging to people you are stating right upfront what you expect to be paid.
     
  10. ShortBridge

    ShortBridge Black Belt

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    Not bad advice. I just hate that it has to be about money.
     
  11. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    It's not really about the money. The money is just something you have to deal with so you can teach.
     
  12. ShortBridge

    ShortBridge Black Belt

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    A friend who is a software developer once said "It would be a much better job if there were no users."

    I guess it's kind of the same thing.
     
  13. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    Yes. If I were wealthy, and it wouldn't hurt other instructors, and people would show up for "free", I'd just teach for free. Unfortunately, that's 3 "if's" that don't hold up.
     
  14. ShortBridge

    ShortBridge Black Belt

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    I considered teaching for free as well, but I needed to rent a space and I wanted to incorporate, so that if someone got inadvertently poked in the eye it would be hard for them to come after my house. And, I spend a bit of money keeping my website up and a few other misc expenses.

    My monthly dues are exactly on-par with a few similar schools in town and well under others. One of the reasons I don't make them public is that I don't want to undercut anyone. I would never want anyone who wanted or needed training not to get it because they couldn't afford it, but I also don't want to lure people away from other choices with my low-low prices. I've tried to take money out of the equation as much as possible so that people could make the choices that are right for them and we could focus on training.

    I suppose that I feel differently when someone is inquiring and it's ONE of the things they want to know vs THE thing they felt compelled to contact me about.

    Eh, I'm just whining. Ignore me.
     
  15. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    It is a wonderful filter. Consider it a gift.
     
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  16. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    Something that has shown up in some research is that not telling the price can increase a customer's focus on price. This appears to be especially true when you talk about the price without providing it. Best approach appears to be either don't mention money at all, or go ahead and put the price out there.

    (Note: I've seen evidence that contradicts these findings, but these seem to be the more supported conclusions.)
     
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  17. ShortBridge

    ShortBridge Black Belt

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    That makes sense. Maybe I'll change the verbiage for February and make note of the results.
     
  18. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I'd love to hear an update after you try that. I'm currently doing both approaches, at once. My website mentions no price. Flyers at the center where I teach provide price. I don't do any other marketing, so neither has much impact.:rolleyes:

    (I'm currently running a Groupon promotion. That obviously includes price, but that's a different matter.)
     
  19. ShortBridge

    ShortBridge Black Belt

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    I might and I will update you if I think I get some data. I only have 2 maybe 3 spots available right now before I have to start turning people away. I generally try to stay below the radar and then advertise once a year in coordination with Lunar New Year (which is this weekend) and then drop below the radar again.

    So, this is not the week to experiment and as Bill pointed out, it's a good filter and I need a filter during this annual campaign, so maybe it will suit me.

    It's a weird thing that we do...
     
  20. Kickboxer101

    Kickboxer101 Master Black Belt

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    Honestly I'd say that's good they're asking the price. Most untrained won't know a thing about martial arts so won't really know what to ask and they could ask silly questions like can I be a ninja turtle in2 weeks but if they're asking the price that shows they're considering it and considering paying out.

    Fact is money is important in this world it'd be great if it wasn't but it is. Money and savings is more important than martial art training so most aren't going to go broke doing classes that's why they ask
     
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