Opinion on school's pricing plan

Anarax

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My friend told me about an interesting experience he had at a Dojo.

He entered the establishment and asked about a particular class he was interested in attending. He was told non-paying members can't watch nor participate in the class(even the beginners) until he pays for two months in advance as well as training gear.

What are your thoughts on this? For those that run a school, do you let people attend a class or two for free? Watch a class for free? What are your tuition/pricing plans?
 

MetalBoar

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My friend told me about an interesting experience he had at a Dojo.

He entered the establishment and asked about a particular class he was interested in attending. He was told non-paying members can't watch nor participate in the class(even the beginners) until he pays for two months in advance as well as training gear.

What are your thoughts on this? For those that run a school, do you let people attend a class or two for free? Watch a class for free? What are your tuition/pricing plans?
I personally wouldn't train someplace that wouldn't let me at least watch a class first unless they had some really good explanation (that I can't even imagine) for why I couldn't. I've trained with a lot of schools over the years and checked out a lot more and I don't think I've ever had one tell me I couldn't watch a class outside of one or two that said I could try out one or more for free but they didn't allow an audience.
 

dvcochran

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My friend told me about an interesting experience he had at a Dojo.

He entered the establishment and asked about a particular class he was interested in attending. He was told non-paying members can't watch nor participate in the class(even the beginners) until he pays for two months in advance as well as training gear.

What are your thoughts on this? For those that run a school, do you let people attend a class or two for free? Watch a class for free? What are your tuition/pricing plans?
The best thing he could do is walk away.
We gladly let people try a few/several classes. If you believe in your product it is not something to worry about. Exposure is the best seller in this respect.
 

Dirty Dog

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Weird. But a commercial school often has to do things that seem weird to me to keep the doors open. I'd just wave good bye and go find a different school.
 

JowGaWolf

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For those that run a school, do you let people attend a class or two for free? Watch a class for free? What are your tuition/pricing plans?
We had free trials. I forgot for how many days, people were allowed to watch. We figure if they are watching then they are one step closer to joining. Better that they watch in our school than some other school.

I don't remember our pricing but we had 2 plans Individual and Family. As far as my thoughts on not allowing people to watch or try a class. I don't think much of it. I personally wouldn't train there. My curiosity doesn't work that way. Some people would join because they feel as if they are training in a secret society and that's the selling point. The down side to secrets is that very few people know them which is bad marketing. And when the secret is finally let out, it usually doesn't live up to it's hype. The things in this world that have last the longest are things that people knew about.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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What are your thoughts on this?
Many years ago, one guy walked into my school (I was alone in my school). He asked what would he learn in the 1st month. I showed one basic form for him. He said, "Just 1 kick?" He then left. I stood there and felt I was an idiot. If I could show him an advance form (with jumping kick and tornado kick), I might be able to get some money out of his pocket.
 

isshinryuronin

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Expecting someone to buy ANY product sight unseen is ridiculous. The only logical conclusion is that there really is no (quality) product and it's a con.

Or perhaps it was a test. Sounds like something the old masters would have pulled to screen out undesirable students. Who would want to teach someone with so little sense to agree to such a thing?
 

dvcochran

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We had free trials. I forgot for how many days, people were allowed to watch. We figure if they are watching then they are one step closer to joining. Better that they watch in our school than some other school.

I don't remember our pricing but we had 2 plans Individual and Family. As far as my thoughts on not allowing people to watch or try a class. I don't think much of it. I personally wouldn't train there. My curiosity doesn't work that way. Some people would join because they feel as if they are training in a secret society and that's the selling point. The down side to secrets is that very few people know them which is bad marketing. And when the secret is finally let out, it usually doesn't live up to it's hype. The things in this world that have last the longest are things that people knew about.
I can't remember too many people purely watching more than one or two classes. I/we actively engage spectators, even if it is a parent waiting on their kid. Really helps evaluate and value the program.
If someone came and saying they were transferring from another school or variant I would likely spend more time with them, both to help them understand any differences and for my own education.
 

dvcochran

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Expecting someone to buy ANY product sight unseen is ridiculous. The only logical conclusion is that there really is no (quality) product and it's a con.

Or perhaps it was a test. Sounds like something the old masters would have pulled to screen out undesirable students. Who would want to teach someone with so little sense to agree to such a thing?
This is the difference between a commodity item and a service item. Most of us buy stuff sight unseen everyday (I assume you have bought something online?). You may 'know' you are buying the same widget you bought last month but how do you know it is not slightly different or defective when looking at it on a screen or just pushing the reorder button.
The service industry does not or at least should afford this luxury.
 

Tony Dismukes

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He entered the establishment and asked about a particular class he was interested in attending. He was told non-paying members can't watch nor participate in the class(even the beginners) until he pays for two months in advance as well as training gear.
Absolute deal breaker for me. The only possible exception might be if the teacher was a highly in-demand coach with a proven track record of consistently producing champion fighters. Even then I'd be dubious because I wouldn't be sure whether the coach's teaching style was a good fit for me personally.

I think the gym I teach out of offers a free sample class or two, but at the very least I would expect to be able to watch a class before making a significant financial investment. If I can't see a class, how do I know whether the instructor has the knowledge, skill, or teaching ability to be worthwhile? How do I know whether their teaching style fits my learning style? How do I know whether the training atmosphere is safe, friendly, and productively focused?

That sort of "pay me first and then I'll show you what I have to offer" approach makes me suspicious that the instructor doesn't actually have much of value to attract new students.
 

hoshin1600

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I used to give adults one month free. It's a trial period for both of us. They get to decide if they really want to train, I get to decide if I really want to teach this person. Either party can say nope sorry.
Retention for me is important. I dont want to waste my effort and floor space on someone that is going to quit 4 months in anyway.
 

Buka

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Obviously Martial Arts secrets abound there!

I wouldn't go anywhere near that place. Neither would anyone I know.

I always let prospective students train for a month for free. I wanted them to know what their training was going to be like. It worked pretty well, as everyone else helped them. They did light sparring as well.

Then if they signed up, they had one month to get a gi.
 

WaterGal

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Requiring you to pay for 2 months of classes before you can even watch a class is pretty weird.

IME, most schools do one of two things. They either 1) let people come and take a free class (maybe a few free classes) to try it out, or 2) they have a low-priced trial membership, like 2 weeks for $20. The first one gets more people to come by and try it, but it means that you have to deal with some time-wasters who just want a free thing. So it depends on your process and how much you're willing to deal with time-wasters. We've tried both, and both can work.
 
OP
Anarax

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Update

They also said he would have to buy their training gear even though he already had brand new gear of his own.

Their website and pamphlets made claims of a "World Renowned" coach that teaches the class. Come to find out it was two "junior instructors" with less than two years experience between the two of them that teach both classes(beginner/advance). The "World Renowned" coach never teaches the class. He chose not to sign up for their class and has found a decent looking place he's trying out now.

Thank you guys for all of your input
 

dvcochran

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I used to give adults one month free. It's a trial period for both of us. They get to decide if they really want to train, I get to decide if I really want to teach this person. Either party can say nope sorry.
Retention for me is important. I dont want to waste my effort and floor space on someone that is going to quit 4 months in anyway.
Attrition is pretty high at most schools. What is your percentage?
It is a crystal ball that is usually cloudy. I agree there are some people you can tell will leave quickly but I leave that up to them and make sure I know why they are leaving and that it is amicable and on good terms. That can quickly be the wrong kind of advertising.
 

dvcochran

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Obviously Martial Arts secrets abound there!

I wouldn't go anywhere near that place. Neither would anyone I know.

I always let prospective students train for a month for free. I wanted them to know what their training was going to be like. It worked pretty well, as everyone else helped them. They did light sparring as well.

Then if they signed up, they had one month to get a gi.
I can buy lightweight uniforms for about $7 bucks with our logo on the back. I give one to every new student. Basically free advertising. Soon after they figure out they need at least two uniforms and that the first one is low end. Almost always ends up with them purchasing another uniform from me. With the exception of the really high end uniforms like an Adidas adiflex master ii I can be competitive with online sales and they have it right away.
 

Buka

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I can buy lightweight uniforms for about $7 bucks with our logo on the back. I give one to every new student. Basically free advertising. Soon after they figure out they need at least two uniforms and that the first one is low end. Almost always ends up with them purchasing another uniform from me. With the exception of the really high end uniforms like an Adidas adiflex master ii I can be competitive with online sales and they have it right away.

Seven bucks with the logo sounds great.

Remembering the days of having only one gi makes me nostalgic. :)
 

dvcochran

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Seven bucks with the logo sounds great.

Remembering the days of having only one gi makes me nostalgic. :)
They are Choi Brother lightweights so they are a thin poly/cotton blend. Great for a beginner/novice and cheaper than a pair of sweats and tee shirt (which I have looked into). The worst thing about them is when a person is a heavy sweater. They have that terrible 'tacky' feeling and pit stain like crazy.
If you purchase regularly you need to check out Choi Brothers. They are fantastic. Have been with them since the '80's and have most stuff (the common items/0-5 uni's, sparring gear,etc...) set up on auto recurring shipments which makes things much easier.
Good times.
 

Buka

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They are Choi Brother lightweights so they are a thin poly/cotton blend. Great for a beginner/novice and cheaper than a pair of sweats and tee shirt (which I have looked into). The worst thing about them is when a person is a heavy sweater. They have that terrible 'tacky' feeling and pit stain like crazy.
If you purchase regularly you need to check out Choi Brothers. They are fantastic. Have been with them since the '80's and have most stuff (the common items/0-5 uni's, sparring gear,etc...) set up on auto recurring shipments which makes things much easier.
Good times.

Thanks, I would if I was still purchasing gis. Not training like I used to I'm pretty sure my heavyweight gi will last me until I croak.

I had lightweight, fairly inexpensive gis for the students. Most of the long term guys went to heavy weight gis.

Billy Blanks' first wife was a talented seamstress. She used to make us heavyweight gis made out of canvas sail cloth. Took about a year of training and laundering to even break those suckers in. But once broke in, best damn gis I ever wore.
 

dvcochran

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Thanks, I would if I was still purchasing gis. Not training like I used to I'm pretty sure my heavyweight gi will last me until I croak.

I had lightweight, fairly inexpensive gis for the students. Most of the long term guys went to heavy weight gis.

Billy Blanks' first wife was a talented seamstress. She used to make us heavyweight gis made out of canvas sail cloth. Took about a year of training and laundering to even break those suckers in. But once broke in, best damn gis I ever wore.
They do have a great feel. My first black trimmed top is canvas. Faded and well broke in.
It is Gi style by the way. Well before the dobok style became popular in TKD.
One of the tie strings is ripped off and I need to get that fixed.
 

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