Charge more & get more students?

ArmorOfGod

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In my area, there are about 20 schools. Almost all of them charge $35-60 per month, depending on the school and the overhead of the school. There are about two or three though, that charge around $100 per month.

My question is, why do people flock towards the higher priced schools? I know I am only telling what I have seen in my area over the past 15 years, but I am positive that charging more here brings in more students.

Before anyone suggests it, two of those three high priced ones stink and the other one is pretty good. Out of the other 17 or so schools that charge around $40, I can name several that are excellent.

So why do people prefer to pay $100 vs. $40 if you are getting the same or even inferior instruction?

I have been thinking about this a lot over the past week due to a conversation I had with my teacher. Several years ago, I gave a free women's self defense course. I was giving it to the 50+ women that I worked with. About a dozen came to me and told me they were coming and bringing some of their female family members. Guess how many showed up? One. Yes, one. Fortunately, about 7 women that I really didn't invite showed up. I was giving it at their church and they had heard about it through some friends. Thank goodness they came.

Anyway, I was griping about what happened and my instructor told me that if I had charged money for the seminar, people would have shown up. I have come to the conclusion that he is right.

I wonder where the problem lays. I have noticed that the more expsensive (and bigger) schools brag more about the associations they belong to and wear the assoc. patches, but none of those assoc. are well know, or even barely known ones. I happen to know that they are only paying a few hundred for memberership per year, which gives them the right to use that assoc. logo and patch.

Around here, the bigger schools are FAR better at advertising than the other schools, but advertsing an inferior product does not make it better. Also, many of our local schools are located in dance halls and ymca type buildings. Those teachers have been in the same location for over 15 years, so they are non "fly by night," but does being in a dance studio vs. a "dojo only" building turn people off?

Why do people want to pay more for something that can be gotten cheaper and quite often better?

AoG
 

HKphooey

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Marketing, Marketing, Marketing!!!! :)

Now if you have a great school, at a reasonable price and great marketing, you have a real winner!
 

Rich Parsons

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ArmorOfGod said:
In my area, there are about 20 schools. Almost all of them charge $35-60 per month, depending on the school and the overhead of the school. There are about two or three though, that charge around $100 per month.

My question is, why do people flock towards the higher priced schools? I know I am only telling what I have seen in my area over the past 15 years, but I am positive that charging more here brings in more students.

Before anyone suggests it, two of those three high priced ones stink and the other one is pretty good. Out of the other 17 or so schools that charge around $40, I can name several that are excellent.

So why do people prefer to pay $100 vs. $40 if you are getting the same or even inferior instruction?

I have been thinking about this a lot over the past week due to a conversation I had with my teacher. Several years ago, I gave a free women's self defense course. I was giving it to the 50+ women that I worked with. About a dozen came to me and told me they were coming and bringing some of their female family members. Guess how many showed up? One. Yes, one. Fortunately, about 7 women that I really didn't invite showed up. I was giving it at their church and they had heard about it through some friends. Thank goodness they came.

Anyway, I was griping about what happened and my instructor told me that if I had charged money for the seminar, people would have shown up. I have come to the conclusion that he is right.

I wonder where the problem lays. I have noticed that the more expsensive (and bigger) schools brag more about the associations they belong to and wear the assoc. patches, but none of those assoc. are well know, or even barely known ones. I happen to know that they are only paying a few hundred for memberership per year, which gives them the right to use that assoc. logo and patch.

Around here, the bigger schools are FAR better at advertising than the other schools, but advertsing an inferior product does not make it better. Also, many of our local schools are located in dance halls and ymca type buildings. Those teachers have been in the same location for over 15 years, so they are non "fly by night," but does being in a dance studio vs. a "dojo only" building turn people off?

Why do people want to pay more for something that can be gotten cheaper and quite often better?

AoG


Some people think if you charge more it is worth more. As training expenses for most people is nothing more than expendable income for thier hobby, it is not a way of life or a passion for an art.

Another possible factor maybe location.

If the ones that charge more have bigger floors and more training area, then people can hide in the crowds to learn. (* Once again not looking for the best one on one training. *)

If one is in a nice neighborhood and others are in bad neighborhoods, the bad neighborhoods will charge less to try to get more to come in, and or meet the income capability of the locals, plus those who can afford to pay more are to afraid to go to those neighborhoods.

Cleanliness. If a nice new location has nice showers and chaning rooms where others have small or no changing rooms (* Change in the Bathroom *) with poor bathroom facilities, people may not go there.

Not sure of the exact location of where you speak and the "other" schools versus the "expensive" schools but there are lots of factors that make up the equation of "WHY" people do things.
 

tradrockrat

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This is a very real phenominon that occours. Psycologically, many people equate money with quality. The more you spend the better it must be. It's a circle of thought that doesn't allow for impartial observation. They want their school to be good, they are paying for it to be good, so it must be good and thus worth paying more for. Reality has nothing to do with it. As far as most people are concerned, the cheap schools are bargain basement, K Mart schools, and again reality has nothing to do with it.

So sad. :(

Now then. What to do? My friend's school is in an afluent neighborhood with two other schools near by. He is an excellent instructor, but struggled to get and - more importantly keep - students until the day he raised his rates 20 $ more a month than the competitors. He now has plenty of students. If you plan on teaching as your sole source of income, it's very important to price your rates competitively with the most well known schools in the area.

It's business.
 

stickarts

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HKphooey said:
Marketing, Marketing, Marketing!!!! :)

Now if you have a great school, at a reasonable price and great marketing, you have a real winner!


Great info from HKPHOOEY! He has helped bring our school from the dark ages into modern times with marketing!

Regarding the womens self defense course, having taught it for approximately 15 years, I can tell you that it is very common to hear a lot of interest upfront but in the end very few will actually committ and actually take the class. It usually takes one or two women to really talk it up and get her friends and family to attend with her.

Some people do equate higher prices with quality and figure if they are paying more it must be better.
Some of my best classes were for free in a cold basement! :)
 

mantis

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people usually do not have a way of deciding whether a school is good enough or authentic enough. they tend to be lead by the idea that a higher-priced school is more professional and more serious. This may not necessarily be true though.

This is not only a marketing strategy, but it's basically taking advantage of people's ignorance and lack of the will to do research before they sign up for schools. But yes, i still find it amazing that this actually happens
 

michaeledward

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People value what the pay for ... not necessarily the other way around.

The more people value something, the more they are willing to spend on it, be that spending in time or money.

I bet if you surveyed the students at different level schools, the people who participate at the schools charging higher fees, quite probably attend class more frequently, are willing to drive further distances, purchase add-on items from class (private lessons, extra equipment, novelty items, books, etc) and practice more away from the studio.

Do they do this extra stuff because they are paying more money.

Or ....

Do they do this extra stuff becaus what they are doing means more to them.


I think the latter. So, the school with the higher fee, is going to attract the student that will value the product more highly.
 

mantis

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you are right michael.
However there's an example of this: I go to a jujitsu class sometimes on the side. The sensei trains us in his garage. and he only charges like 5 or 7 bucks per class (something like 50 bucks a month) the problem is that he's sometimes on vacation, sometimes busy, sometimes this and so on. On the other hand the mantis school that i go to is more expensive but it's always consistent, and it does have a systematic curriculum they teach. I am bummed i pay more but i feel i can get 'return on investment' in it more than the cheap 5 bucks garage class.... just an example
 

pstarr

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Yes, I think that most people firmly believe in the old adage, "You get what you pay for." If something is inexpensive, they'll often regard it as worthless - or worth only what it costs...

Years ago, a company produced beautiful and very strong tools out of some space-age plastic. For an entire set, they charged only $14.99. They hardly sold any at all and they went to a marketing firm to see what they needed to do.

They were told to jack up the price to $29.95. They did and within a few weeks, they could hardly keep up with the demand...
 

Dionysianexile

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To gove a short answer...

The people who pay more are going to attend class mre regularly than those who pay less, why, because they put more ($$) into it, so by skipping it, they are at a greater loss. Same with your free seminar, people will say they will come, but they have not lost anything by "forgetting" about it.
 

pstarr

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Yes, exactly. One of my (Chinese) teachers told me, "The student must have an investment. Otherwise, he will not come to class..."
 

ronin_warrior_j

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In my area we have a great school that offers, Karate, Jujitsu, Aikijitsu, Judo, Filipino Arnis, Tai Chi, and Tae Kwon Do for $3 a lesson because they have a joint venture with some local church and youth groups. You pay a yearly fee of $30 for the Martial Arts Federation and $15 for your belt test but you get you belt and cirtificate included in that price. You also have to buy your own gi and equipment. Its All Headed up by Sensi Jeff Disney and some other instructors. The main goal is to bring quality martial arts to familys that otherwise wouldnt be able to afford it. Even the yearly $30 federation fee can be waived if needs be. Im so proud to be a part of this, and i think that alot of other dojo's should work with local groups to adopt such programs.
 

Grenadier

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When it comes down to it, it's still a business, and whoever runs the business better is going to come out on top.

If people think they're getting better instruction (even if they aren't), then they'll feel justified in their paying more.

In AceHBK's thread, I talked about comparing someone's purchase of a car. I'll put forth another such comparison.

Someone goes out and spends 34,000 dollars for a Jaguar X-type car. This car has a 227 HP engine, and Jaguar's quality / reliability hasn't exactly been that spectacular recently.

That same person could have spent much less, say, 22,000 dollars, for a Toyota Camry that has better quality, better gas mileage, and more power (268 HP) than the above inferior Jaguar. However, that person decided to (ignorantly) buy the Jaguar, simply because it cost more, and that they associated the brand name with "greater value." They bit into the fancy advertising that Jaguar did in some fancy magazine, and were snared, hook, line, and sinker.

If I tell that person that he could have had a better car for much less money, most of the time, he generally enters a state of mind that can only be compared to a voluntarily induced stupor, so that he stays blissfully unaware.

This just goes to show, that people who understand the value of marketing, and play their tunes to the right audience, can generally charge what they want, and get it, too. If what they are selling is perceived to be of amazing value, they'll sell it, even if it's not that good.
 

terryl965

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Yea you are right it is a business, but I choose to run a Martial Art school and hopefully make ends meet once in a while when you run a business, you have to cater to parents that wants 500 patches and water down curriculum with a testing fee every month so little johnny can keep up with the jones.

Just a mild thought from a wise man.
Terry
 

Grenadier

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terryl965 said:
Yea you are right it is a business, but I choose to run a Martial Art school and hopefully make ends meet once in a while when you run a business, you have to cater to parents that wants 500 patches and water down curriculum with a testing fee every month so little johnny can keep up with the jones.

Exactly. Most martial artists who have their own schools aren't in it to make tons of money. If anything, most folks would shudder at the thought of having to compromise quality for quantity.
 

Xue Sheng

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Why pay more for less? It's the American way.

Obviously if it cost more it must be better.

And I actually do not believe that, however I feel that is the mentality. It cost more so it must be better. They charge more so the school can be fancier, flashier and bigger. Also more money for advertising.

Example near me. A new TDK school, big beautiful school with all the latest training paraphernalia, Hell they almost drew me in.

Just down the street a Wing Chun school that has been there for years. In an old building is a considerably smaller room with older equipment and fewer students.

The better of the 2 schools for real martial arts is beyond any shadow of doubt the Wing Chun School. But that school does not advertise nor do they have a website and it charges much less.
 

AceHBK

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Ashame.

I always wanted to learn from an old man who I had to beg to teach me.
He would teach me for hours and would be a surrogate dad and teach me a powerful move that only he knew. I wouldnt pay cause I would do different things that he needed done.




Too many movies....lol!
 

tradrockrat

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AceHBK said:
Ashame.

I always wanted to learn from an old man who I had to beg to teach me.
He would teach me for hours and would be a surrogate dad and teach me a powerful move that only he knew. I wouldnt pay cause I would do different things that he needed done.




Too many movies....lol!

It's not all it's cracked up to be (the working it off thing, not the top secret one touch death strike ;) lol)

My instructor used me like a mule to do yard work, mend dog kennels (he is also a K9 trainer) build fences, clean dog crap, clean up the garage, etc. There were times I just wanted to pay the guy a monthly fee! :rofl:
 

kingkong89

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most people tend to go to the school with the higher price for sevral reasons, one there friends are going, or they think that if they charge a higher price it is a great school, not saying the most exspensive schools are not the best but some aren't the best tey are the worste.
 
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