Question About Starting a Class at the YMCA

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by wingchun100, Apr 19, 2018.

  1. wingchun100

    wingchun100 Senior Master

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    Hello, everyone. It is good to be back! Haven't posted on here in a long time.

    Anyway, my question was about approaching the YMCA to hold a Wing Chun class. There was a private discussion I had with someone a long time ago with someone, but I cannot remember their screen name for sure, and I could not find the message thread.

    The gist of what they said (from what I remember) was to talk to the Y about hosting it there as a member of their staff, rather than just an independent looking to rent a room there.

    Does anyone have any experience with this?
     
  2. Monkey Turned Wolf

    Monkey Turned Wolf MT Moderator Staff Member

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    @Dirty Dog teaches at a YMCA I believe...he might have some ideas
     
  3. wingchun100

    wingchun100 Senior Master

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    Ah, I had an idea that he might have been the one who discussed this with me previously! Thanks!
     
  4. ravenofthewood

    ravenofthewood Yellow Belt

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    My taekwondo school provides classes in two different community centres, as well as in our permanent dojang space. Instead of renting the rooms to us, the community centres take a 15% commission from each student's monthly tuition. They also allow us to use storage room space for our equipment and to advertise our classes in their catalogue.
     
  5. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    I wasn't around when the program began. But the way it works for us is pretty straight forward.
    The instructors are YMCA staff, officially. We don't go to staff meetings or do anything else staff related, but for the books we're staff. Our Dan holders are all listed as Y volunteers, so they don't have to pay for the program.
    The YMCA charges $40/month for the program, and collecting it is their business. We keep sign-in sheets and the Y uses them to confirm that the people coming to class are actually paying their fees. I don't know how often or how closely they check, honestly, because I don't really care.

    This allows us to function as a completely non-commercial school, and means we don't have to worry about keeping insurance or anything like that. If we were renting space or doing this in a non-staff manner, we'd have to (at the very least...) get our own liability insurance.
     
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  6. wingchun100

    wingchun100 Senior Master

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    Do you hold it there as staff members, or are you paying rent?
     
  7. wingchun100

    wingchun100 Senior Master

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    This sounds like the best option for me. At the gym I am currently using, I am NOT an employee. I rent a room from him. Now here's the thing: if I were to actually get students, then I would collect any money above and beyond the rent directly. The only way he would take more from me is if things got so big that I needed to rent another night. If I get no students, then I am losing money.

    Now if I were staff, I am assuming I would get an hourly wage, which I would earn whether class had 2 students or 20. Only downside is that the GYM would be profiting from all of that...not me.

    Still, I think it would be better to be a staff member with a fixed wage rather than risk sinking a bunch of money into rent that I never make back. Right now, all I need are 2 students to break even, and I haven't even been able to get that.
     
  8. CB Jones

    CB Jones Senior Master

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    What @Dirty Dog is not telling you is that the YMCA forces you to also teach one class a month dressed up as one of the Village People.

    According to sources, he prefers dressing as the Indian....;)
     
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  9. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    It sounds like they have a similar arrangement to my own. At the athletic center (owned by the county) I'm in, I pay 25% of all fees to the county. That's all the "rent" there is. But I do not act as an employee - I am not paid by the county.
     
  10. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    The downside to the "staff" route is that they can cancel the classes at any time. They don't want to lose money on it, either. Of course, if they are on the hook for your hourly fee, they have some incentive to get some students into that room.
     
  11. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    While circumstances no doubt vary widely, in our case it would be virtually impossible for them to lose money. We use a couple of community rooms that anybody can rent out. In the past, if they've had a renter during our class period, they just move us somewhere else - including out onto the front lawn a couple times. But that's fairly rare. For the most part those rooms (during the hours we use them) are just sitting there empty. And since we provide our own equipment, the program fees are 100% profit for the Y; they have zero expenses.
     
  12. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    They don't pay the "staff" instructors?
     
  13. CB Jones

    CB Jones Senior Master

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    No....

    Its just a place where when you're short on your dough
    You can stay there, and I'm sure you will find
    Many ways to have a good time

    You can also get yourself clean, you can have a good meal
    You can do what about you feel
     
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  14. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    In the context of that song, "staff instructor" has a different meaning, I think.
     
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  15. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    They're willing to, but Master Valdez and I have both declined. We want the program as inexpensive and as non-commercial as possible.
     
  16. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Gotcha. You're listed as "staff", and are volunteers (volunteer staff - probably not a designation the YMCA uses). So they really don't have anything to lose. That was how I started my program, but the YMCA wasn't able to handle mid-month joins (literally, their system had no way to do that), and weren't living up to their agreement to put the fees into mats. So they let me start collecting the fees so I could buy equipment.
     
  17. wingchun100

    wingchun100 Senior Master

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    One good thing about not doing a grappling style: I don't need mats. I have 3 pairs of focus mitts, a pair of boxing gloves, 2 pairs of MMA gloves, some protective head gear, and 2 pairs of shin guards. I also have 2 mouth guards, but I doubt people would want to share those. LOL
     
  18. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't think the Y here can handle mid-month joins either, in that they charge for an entire month even if you're only there for the last week. I doubt the Y would agree with this approach, but I've told people not to bother signing in until the first of the month when they pay their fees.

    You don't knock people down? Your system doesn't include any locks/throws/sweeps? TKD certainly isn't what most people would consider a grappling art, but we do include all those things. So we need mats. And we would even if the floor wasn't tile over concrete.
    We have 1.5" thick mats, a couple heavy bags, some heavy kicking shields, striking targets, focus mitts, a bunch of re-breakable boards and a few hogu (that are rarely used). Students are expected to buy their own sparring gear (which can be very inexpensive; Century has cloth covered pads for something like $15.). We require hand and foot pads, and strongly encourage a cup, mouth guard and headgear. Students who leave or outgrow their gear (including uniforms) often bring them in and donate them to the program. We then give them to someone.
     
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  19. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    If you get a wholesale account with AWMA or one of the others, you can save your students a bit of money. It’s not a big deal, but it helps. I sell all of the gear at near-cost (to cover shipping and such), which is a fair bit lower than retail in most cases. But it does create a bit more work, including filing quarterly sales and use tax reports.
     
  20. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    But then it'd be a business...123
     

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