$ Charging black belt students $

WaterGal

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When I was looking to re-start training almost 3 years ago, a school in my former organization quoted me $315 for 4 of us - 2 adults and 2 kids. I walked out think “that’s $10 less than my car payment, and I owned my car outright after 5 years.”

Edit: it was for 3 of us. Their policy is they won’t charge for more than 3 people in a family. So everyone after 3 people trains for free, so long as they’re immediate family living under the same roof. I guess it’s great if someone and their spouse want to train alongside their 6 kids.

That seems like a typical price to me. We'd charge about $350-400/mo for 4 people depending on if you sign up for one year or month-to-month. But we're in an area where a 3-bedroom townhouse costs like $300k, and the average household income is over $100k, so everything costs a lot. I'm not sure how a school can charge one person in Houston almost $300/mo. That's some business voodoo that I don't have, lol. I need to learn that.
 

Balrog

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Man, when I was saying that I want to focus on families paying us $300/mo, I meant for 3 students! I have to figure out how to get people to pay rates like that, lol - we're in a higher cost-of-living metro area than Houston and nobody charges that kind of fees here.
Our family program is simple. We take the single student rate, double it, and we don't care how many members of the family are training. Third plus members just have to buy the uniform and gear. No monthly fees and they get a discount on testing fees as well. Largest family we ever had was six. Mom and Dad paid, the kids trained for free.

Suggestion - start raising your rates for new students. If you're getting $100/month now, bump by 10% to $110. Next year, bump by another 10%. Keep doing that until people balk, then back off a little bit and stay there. But make sure that your program is presented in such a way that they see the value in it. Otherwise, they'll go down the street to Joe's Pizza and Karate Place.

If you have a friend who is willing to call the schools in your area and get pricing from them (don't use your own phone for this), you want to be at the top end of the price range.
 

Gerry Seymour

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Our family program is simple. We take the single student rate, double it, and we don't care how many members of the family are training. Third plus members just have to buy the uniform and gear. No monthly fees and they get a discount on testing fees as well. Largest family we ever had was six. Mom and Dad paid, the kids trained for free.

Suggestion - start raising your rates for new students. If you're getting $100/month now, bump by 10% to $110. Next year, bump by another 10%. Keep doing that until people balk, then back off a little bit and stay there. But make sure that your program is presented in such a way that they see the value in it. Otherwise, they'll go down the street to Joe's Pizza and Karate Place.

If you have a friend who is willing to call the schools in your area and get pricing from them (don't use your own phone for this), you want to be at the top end of the price range.
I've toyed with some options for giving discounts like that. I don't teach kids (just opened it up to teens, but probably not going younger than that), so family discounts aren't all that useful for my students. I've been toying with a referral discount. The scheme I'm considering ($X discount per referral currently paying each month) would require database tracking.
 

skribs

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Our school simply has $10 discount per family member. So $90/month is the base cost, $80/month for the second person in your family, $70/month for the third person, etc.
 

Balrog

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I've toyed with some options for giving discounts like that. I don't teach kids (just opened it up to teens, but probably not going younger than that), so family discounts aren't all that useful for my students. I've been toying with a referral discount. The scheme I'm considering ($X discount per referral currently paying each month) would require database tracking.
You might consider printing up some dollar bill size certificates in various denominations. We call ours "dojang dollars". They are like a gift certificate and can be used to buy things in the pro shop or pay testing fees. If someone makes a referral and that person shows up for an intro lesson, the referrer gets ten DDs. If the person signs up for an intro program, the referrer gets another 20 DDs. You can price your referrals any way you want, but this way you don't have to track anyone. Just "pay" for the referral with DDs and then they can spend them with you like cash.
 

Gerry Seymour

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You might consider printing up some dollar bill size certificates in various denominations. We call ours "dojang dollars". They are like a gift certificate and can be used to buy things in the pro shop or pay testing fees. If someone makes a referral and that person shows up for an intro lesson, the referrer gets ten DDs. If the person signs up for an intro program, the referrer gets another 20 DDs. You can price your referrals any way you want, but this way you don't have to track anyone. Just "pay" for the referral with DDs and then they can spend them with you like cash.
I like that. Unfortunately, selling stuff isn't much a part of the program. I have little place to store stuff to sell, and no display area, because I'm in a community athletic center. I'll file that away for the "someday" when I have a location for a store/pro shop.
 

dvcochran

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I see from the numerous quality responses I "shot gunned" my reply and was somewhat misunderstood. Let me be very clear and say all promotions should be performance based..!. What I meant to reference is how, at least in the WTF TKD system, there are stated minimum terms between testing at the BB levels. The inference was that a lot of people in the larger school formats tend to use these timeframes as benchmarks and expect to test when their time is up. Practical? No but that is the reality. I have seen this reality turn into a motivator when a good BB realizes they are way behind the curve and starts back training on a good schedule. I have also seen people allowed to test when they were not ready. Sad but true. This is the typical McDojo format. "I paid $xxx to get a black belt in 18 months." Very damming to the MA community as it saturates the population with people wearing belts they did not earn. Like most organized ventures, it is not a perfect system. Where the problem typically originates from is the lineage and teaching of the head instructor of a school(s). If it has become a purely money making venture then we all know where that is going. If you want to promote a system that accepts all ages it quickly becomes more complicated. Therefore it comes down to taking the time on the front end to clearly let a new student know what is expected of them and what to expect, bruised included. Fear can be a great motivator.

Based on most of the responses it is evident that there are two consistent mindsets being from the larger school format and from the smaller. Do they both have their advantages and disadvantages? Yes. Having worked out considerably in both I have to say I prefer the larger format based on consistent established rules and references. Too often the smaller formats end up isolated, not allowing a student a broad view of the Art/style they are in. I like knowing there is a worldwide system that can always be referenced when needed.

As for the original question, if a BB who I know will be a asset to the Dojang environment and I feel, comfortable letting teach in some restrained format comes back to workout I would not ask for dues. If they offer to pay that is fine. If a BB comes back and is up front that they are out of practice and just needs to workout, they are always welcome but I would not ask them to help with classes. At the very least a discussion of payment would happen and would be resolved amicably on the front end. If a BB just shows up and starts effecting classes, they would be pulled aside and set straight. The common denominator is the resolution is done at the beginning so no hard feeling are introduced into the equation. For me personally, as long as a BB who has been out a while comes back the right way, I likely would not expect payment. However, that is one of the many, many conduits used to teach respect for others and ourselves.
It is harder to keep the relationship personal in the larger formats simply because of the volume. It takes a lot of effort on the instructor(s) part but it is doable.
Damn I got long winded. My apologies and I look forward to the responses.
 

Balrog

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I like that. Unfortunately, selling stuff isn't much a part of the program. I have little place to store stuff to sell, and no display area, because I'm in a community athletic center. I'll file that away for the "someday" when I have a location for a store/pro shop.
You might also let the students use them to pay monthly fees instead of giving them a discount. Suppose you wanted to discount someone $10 a month for a renewal. That's $120 a year. Perhaps you might give two DD certificates for $60 each. For the next two months, they give you one of those DDs and a check for the difference. Or something like that.
 
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