How much is too much to charge?

michaeledward

Grandmaster
Joined
Mar 1, 2003
Messages
6,063
Reaction score
82
As a guitar player, I was sometimes asked to play and sing at Weddings. Usually, the services being negotiated included singing one or two songs during the service, and attendance at the rehersal. Total involvement was, perhaps, two hours worth of my time, and a bit of travel.

I started at $50.00. Only startled looks at the price.
I moved to $75.00. No one even blinked.
I moved to $100.00. People kept booking me.
I moved to $125.00. I was just as busy.
I moved to $150.00. Some people interviewed me, but didn't hire me.

The 'right price', based on the imperical evidence, is $125.00.

That's the way it works in our society. When the cost gets too high, people stop buying. If there are buyers at $300.00, then the price is OK.


People value what they pay for; and you can bet that those paying $3600.00 a year for martial arts instruction value it highly. No doubt, it is a very different clientel, than what is observed entering the 60 dollar a month studio. The quality of the instruction may be no different, at all. But, were you to measure the satisfaction level of the students, I am certain the students paying more, would be of the opinion that they were receiving more; in fact, the students paying 60 dollars a month might think similarly.


Right now, I am at the limit of my value for martial arts. If my instructor were to increase his fees, I would be forced to consider my continued patronage.

Regardless .... people buy $100,000.00 automobiles? One wonders if that gets them where they are going any better than a car at one fifth of that price?
 

Brother John

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 13, 2002
Messages
2,530
Reaction score
58
Location
Wichita Kansas, USA
How much is too much depends on a lot of things, I think.
Like what is your PURPOSE for running a school?
Do you want to make it so that anyone who wants to can enjoy and grow in your school?
Do you want to earn a living at it?
Do you just want to be able to break even??
Do you want to be some BIG WIG martial arts mogul?
Do you just want to run a small "mom & pop" round the corner club?

it depends.....and everyone is different?

Your Brother
John
 

AceHBK

Master Black Belt
Joined
Jan 29, 2006
Messages
1,325
Reaction score
14
Location
Arizona
I see that everyone is bringing up good points in reference to what people pay for other items and all but this topic is based on MA lessons, nothing else.
 

still learning

Senior Master
Joined
Nov 8, 2004
Messages
3,749
Reaction score
43
Hello, If you think this is to much to pay? Than it is "TOO MUCH" for you.

If you made "tons" of money? $300.00 for lesson is drop in the bucket.

If you made a limited amount of income? Than look for something more affordable.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
For $300.00 dollars expect a membership card with your picture next to the Sensi's

One should expect to be pick-up and deliver back home in one piece or several pieces anyway.

One should expect golding lining in the uniforms and belt.

One should expect free water and free use of toilets. (there can be a charge for the paper).

One should expect Professional style of training...HUM?

One should expect to be promote to Black belt quickly (say a year or more?)...after all you are paying more money...lessons should be larger!

For $300.00 dollars a month? .....expect to learn something? (besides learning the lost of your hard earn money?)

Aloha ( for $250.00 I can teach you anything)

PS: I have fives years in training for Anything, (which includes "Anything more")...there is additonal charge to teach..."Anything less".
 

Steel Tiger

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 4, 2007
Messages
2,412
Reaction score
76
Location
Canberra, Australia
People value what they pay for; and you can bet that those paying $3600.00 a year for martial arts instruction value it highly.

Regardless .... people buy $100,000.00 automobiles? One wonders if that gets them where they are going any better than a car at one fifth of that price?

These two statements had me thinking.

The first statement cannot really be argued with. We all do it. If you realise something is good, be it an object, performance, or instruction, you are willing to pay for it, possibly even going beyond your means temporarily.

The second statement is an important one in this instance. Why do people buy expensive cars? Because they are better? Not necessarily, or the Japanese car industry would have died a long time ago. It is the perception that more expensive equates to better, when, in fact, it is usually just more expensive.

Conspicuous consumption is the name of the game. I go for the more expensive because it makes me look better.

There is no evidence for us here that the instruction is good or bad. Personally, I think the tuition asked is too high and that they are taking advantage of the notion that more expensive equals better.
 

tshadowchaser

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Founding Member
MTS Alumni
Joined
Aug 29, 2001
Messages
13,461
Reaction score
730
Location
Athol, Ma. USA
is it more than you nring home in a week then it is to much
if it is more than the avarage person in your community brings home in a week then it is too much

if you can afford it and you like the product then it is fine

in my area it is way to much but I can see people thinking that they get what they pay for and paying it just because they can brag about it.
As for me, well I charge the lowest in the area and also have the least number of students
 

Darth F.Takeda

Blue Belt
Joined
Dec 19, 2006
Messages
292
Reaction score
9
Location
Northern Virginia
If it's $300 a month for group classes, it's too much IMO
If it's 2-5 classes a week, 1 Private a week and unlimited use of the Dojo, then I could see the price being that high.

I am doing alot of thinking about this kind of thing as I am planing on opening up a Dojo/Physical Training Club in the future.
1 personal Training session $65 a session 10-25% discounts on multiple session packages.
Taking Jujutsu classes only? $60.00 a month.
Taking 1-3 Group Physical Training classes- $60.00
Taking Jujutsu Classes and 1-3 Group Physical training sessions a month $110
The Above plus 1 Private MA or PT session a week- $300 a month.

It could add up, but I will have options available for those who have lots of $$ and those who have very little $$$.
 

Fushichou

Yellow Belt
Joined
Sep 4, 2007
Messages
20
Reaction score
0
One should expect to be promote to Black belt quickly (say a year or more?)...after all you are paying more money...lessons should be larger!
This part I really have to disagree with, anybody who says they will promote you to a black belt rank in a year, on top of charging big fees, I'd walk away.

If you're willing to pay that money and think you're getting good training, go for it, but martial arts is one place where paying more doesn't inherently mean you're getting a higher quality service.

I've known excellent instructors that I've learned a lot from and haven't even required payment (just asked politely for about $20 a month to cover expenses), and I've known lousy instructors who charged hundreds a month and all you got out of it was worthless rank certificates and a zillion different colors of belts.
 

MarkBarlow

Purple Belt
Joined
Feb 5, 2007
Messages
345
Reaction score
26
Location
Alabama Gulf Coast
For some folks, paying big bucks for training is as much of the appeal as the training. Many people believe that the higher the price, the more the item or service must be worth. I've never really understood that but there is so much in the world I don't understand one more bit just falls by the wayside.

I charge around $100 an hour for private lessons (depends on what they want to learn and how much I enjoy training them). One of my private students bought mats for his den, ordered a dogi that cost 4 or 5 times what I charge for them and wants 2 lessons a week at $125 each. In one month, he spends more than my regular students spend in a year. Doesn't matter to him because he loves the idea of getting private lessons and paying way too much for them. He wouldn't enjoy class a fraction as much if he paid only $55 and had to share the mat. To him, it's worth it.
 

harlan

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Oct 31, 2006
Messages
885
Reaction score
42
Location
Massachusetts
I don't understand this notion. Being a 'charity case' myself, with free tuition, at the same time I realize I couldn't put a dollar value on I have learned/been given.

For some folks, paying big bucks for training is as much of the appeal as the training. Many people believe that the higher the price, the more the item or service must be worth.
 

MarkBarlow

Purple Belt
Joined
Feb 5, 2007
Messages
345
Reaction score
26
Location
Alabama Gulf Coast
I don't understand this notion. Being a 'charity case' myself, with free tuition, at the same time I realize I couldn't put a dollar value on I have learned/been given.

I agree completely. My sensei taught me for almost 20 years and never charged me a penny. I paid in blood, sweat and broken bones and still consider it a bargain.
 

Balrog

Master of Arts
Joined
Feb 11, 2007
Messages
1,717
Reaction score
402
Location
Houston, TX
Am I just cheap or is $300 a month a little over the top?

Depends. Do you think you will get worthwhile instruction from that school? If so, then you'll find a way to pay for it. If not, you won't.

Schools are businesses, and rule number one of business is to charge what the market will pay. If they are charging 300 clams a month, people are paying it.
 

halfnote19

Yellow Belt
Joined
Dec 18, 2007
Messages
31
Reaction score
0
Location
Orange County, CA
All the schools in my area charge 160/month, but I get to go to as many classes as I want.

Even in my area I would not pay 300/month.
 

YoungMan

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Dec 22, 2007
Messages
779
Reaction score
27
In my opinion, what you charge depends on several things:
1. What the market will bear
In some areas, you can charge $100 a month because people can and will pay it. Where I live, you could only charge, at most, $40-50 a month.
2. What you think your instruction is worth.
Quite frankly, I won't teach for free because I think my knowlege is worth something. I have helped colleagues of mine with their classes; but when I resume teaching, and that includes workshops, I will charge monthly fees because I feel my knowlege is worth a price to learn.
3. What that monthly fee includes.
If you get a climate controlled, carpeted, mirrored, fully stocked, 24-hour accessible gym, you can charge $100/+ a month because it's a top of the line facility. Doesn't mean the teaching is good, but the gym is.
4. If you have access to colleagues with impeccable credentials, you can charge more. If your testings consist of you sitting in a bare gym and judging your own students, that ain't worth much. I'll charge $40+/month, but I also have access to world class-level Instructors and judges.
 

Rich Parsons

A Student of Martial Arts
Founding Member
Lifetime Supporting Member
MTS Alumni
Joined
Oct 13, 2001
Messages
15,948
Reaction score
515
Location
Michigan
There is a school down the road from me that teaches Nihon Goshin Aikido that I wanted to check out. The only issue that I have is that they charge anywhere from $150-$300 a month depending on which "Program" you join.

My question to the masses is how much is too much? I was brought up paying $30 a month for 3 x 2-hour classes a week.

The average in the Clarksville, TN area was about $100 a month (give or take a few). I still need to visit other schools to see what the average in this town is, the program director from the NGA school did admit that they are the most expensive school in town.

Am I just cheap or is $300 a month a little over the top?

I could see different markets having different costs. Higher cost for rent and such.

Also, can the person in question go to ten other schools offer the same thing or so close the beginner student cannot tell the difference? If there is only one then the market could be higher for the access to the limited class space in the area.
 

IcemanSK

El Conquistador nim!
MT Mentor
MTS Alumni
Joined
Nov 7, 2005
Messages
6,480
Reaction score
177
Location
Los Angeles, CA
The short answer is "what the market will bear" but there are certainly other issues. Overhead, etc.

The lowest rate for a comercial school in my town is $100 a month. Some charge as much as $400 a month with afterschool care.

Any instructor needs to take overhead, the market etc before starting a school. I've often thought of having a comercial school in a poor neighborhood of my town. But the City is in the process of gentrifying (read: pushing out the poor) by encouraging landlords to triple the rents. So, in order to afford to run a school in the poorer neighborhood, I'd have to price classes so the folks who live in the neighborhood couldn't afford it.
 

chinto

Senior Master
Joined
Apr 18, 2007
Messages
2,026
Reaction score
36
I guess it depends on the aria and what things cost in general... where I live that is way over priced... but I don't know about where you live.. southern California they charge what I think is insane prices from what I have heard.. but different parts of the country the economy lets them get away with it I guess.
 

chinto

Senior Master
Joined
Apr 18, 2007
Messages
2,026
Reaction score
36
And one's preferences, of course. Personally, I would pay more for Puccini than Wagner. ;)

WHAT?? you would pay for Wagner?? !! EWWW I personally hate the wagnarian singing style... If I have to have opera inflicted on me .. at least make it belconte style... and not that NAZI s.o.b. Wagner.... Handel or Bach or Red Nickels and the Five Pennys, or Kay Kizer or the Beatles or Ervng Berlin or Rogers and Hammerstine... but not the NAZI screamers!! :eek:)
 
Top