Is this a red flag?

Spinoza

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Hello all,

I've only had a few months of martial arts experience, and I've recently had to move to a new city. I'm having a lot of difficulty finding a school that matches with my previous experience, so I've expanded my search to include other traditions.

One school has really piqued my interest, and I reached out to schedule in introductory session, but they charge $25 dollars for such a session. Is this a red flag? I won't be able to find out what their monthly fees are unless I meet with them . . . but I have to pay to meet with them, and as awesome as they may be, they may not be in my budget range. Now, I 100% understand meeting with a student and making sure your goals are aligned before discussing rates, but this is the first time I've encountered a martial arts school that charges for intros; however, that could just be due to my inexperience.
 

ballen0351

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I dont know if its a red flag but I wouldn't pay it. Personally I'd keep looking
 
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Spinoza

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I'm leaning that direction. It's one of only two Wing Chun schools in the area, so I'm curious. I may just jump on LinkedIn or something and see if I know some of the people who already go there and talk to them personally.
 
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Spinoza

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Like I said, just curious if it is a red flag for unprofessional practices. I have less than a year of experience in this stuff, so it is useful to hear from peer consumers.
 
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Spinoza

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I've been been given two pieces of advice so far and I haven't ignored either.
 

seasoned

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Hello all,

I've only had a few months of martial arts experience, and I've recently had to move to a new city. I'm having a lot of difficulty finding a school that matches with my previous experience, so I've expanded my search to include other traditions.

One school has really piqued my interest, and I reached out to schedule in introductory session, but they charge $25 dollars for such a session. Is this a red flag? I won't be able to find out what their monthly fees are unless I meet with them . . . but I have to pay to meet with them, and as awesome as they may be, they may not be in my budget range. Now, I 100% understand meeting with a student and making sure your goals are aligned before discussing rates, but this is the first time I've encountered a martial arts school that charges for intros; however, that could just be due to my inexperience.
It sounds like you have a good idea what you're looking for from the above statement. I say go in before any paid meeting and check out some classes.
 
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Spinoza

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Great observation. My previous experience was in FMA, and a lot of my difficulty has consisted of classes that were too expensive or that seemed too machismo-driven. I should visit those classes instead of judging them based on dollar-specific fees (without seeing what they have to offer at that price, and without seeing if I can make some lifestyle changes to afford it) and instead of judging them based on online comments.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Honestly, if they don't let you even observe a class without paying, I wouldn't go, even if it was exactly what I wanted on paper. So much of joining a school/dojo is finding out whether or not your interests are aligned, and if they're making you pay for an introduction, their interests are probably money. Even if your interests do end up being aligned, there is a high chance that either their price range or schedule wouldn't work for you, at which point you've just wasted the 25 bucks.
Unless you happen to have a decent amount of money that you wouldn't notice the $25, then go for it.
Also, if I misread and they let you observe, and just charge for 'consultation' observe a class or two, and decide based on that whether or not you want to talk with them.
 

Hanzou

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$25 a session.

You can't observe a class w/o paying for it.

They won't tell you how much it is a month UNLESS you pay for it.

Yeah, those are some pretty massive red flags.
 
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Spinoza

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No, they charge for the first class in general. There isn't an option for simple observation. And I'm finding myself agreeing. I'm incredibly interested in their tradition, but charging for a visitation? That seems questionable to me. Yes, in general, I could pay $25 without being pained, but it doesn't inspire confidence that the payment is necessary to begin with.
 

JowGaWolf

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I won't be able to find out what their monthly fees are unless I meet with them . . . but I have to pay to meet with them
This is a red flag for me. I can understand paying a small fee for a session, but I wouldn't pay just have a conversation with someone about me joining them. I definitely wouldn't join if they weren't willing to tell me the monthly prices.

and as awesome as they may be,
I'm not sure what you think is awesome, but if it was that awesome they wouldn't need to charge $25 just to meet.

What would be awesome is if you pay $25 only to have the school to tell you that you aren't a good fit and they don't want to train you. But hey.. what's $25
 
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Spinoza

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Another great point, JowGaWolf. I think I may be comparing too much of this to my experience as a business analyst. I'd charge for a visitation in my line of work, but that's a little different.
 

ballen0351

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I could see maybe 25 bucks to weed out the tire kickers then taking 25 off your first-month payment. I don't like that they wont tell you monthly fees over the phone that seems to be very common now. I guess its to get you in to do a full sales pitch but its annoying
 

Langenschwert

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It's a red flag but an an irredeemable one. I would be cautious. Most schools allow a free class. That they don't is a bit odd. If they have a variety of pricing structures I can understand them not wanting to discuss it over the phone because it's a pain.

$25 a class is either good or not. Rental spaces are expensive. Our club charges a $20 drop in fee. We couldn't keep the doors open for less... none of the instructors get paid, but rent and insurance add up.
 

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