What is your school's payment model?

skribs

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 14, 2013
Messages
6,753
Reaction score
2,101
I've had wildly different experiences with the payment model in BJJ as I have in TKD. My experience in TKD was that you were charged for what services you used. If you came twice per week, you paid the standard monthly fee. There were make-up classes (my joke was always that those are where you "work on your foundation") that you could take for free if you missed class, but if you were regularly attended 3+ classes per week, there was a small surcharge. Then there were special classes or private classes that were extra as well.

In BJJ, it's been the complete opposite. There's a monthly fee, and then I can show up to as many classes as I want. The only extra things I have to pay for are any equipment I buy through the school (which is encouraged, but not mandatory) or private lessons.

In both cases, we've had monthly auto-pay agreements, with the stipulation that if we don't give enough notice prior to quitting, we may be charged for an extra month. This is compared to some schools I've seen online that have massive 1-year or even 2-year contracts that should be paid upfront.

I don't know what the payment models were when I did martial arts as a kid, because I didn't even realize we paid for it.

So I'm curious, what is the payment model of your school? I'm not interested in the exact numbers (notice I didn't post any dollar requirements), but are you charged a la carte or buffet style? And what art(s) does your school have, or at least which art is the primary?
 
OP
skribs

skribs

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 14, 2013
Messages
6,753
Reaction score
2,101
$75 a month, no contracts.
So there's no upcharges for any other type of class or testing or anything like that?
Payment? What payment?
In other words, yours is free? What enables you to provide the training for free? Is it subsidized in some way, done out-of-pocket, or is it done somewhere that doesn't have a cost?
 

Dirty Dog

MT Senior Moderator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Messages
22,068
Reaction score
7,748
Location
Pueblo West, CO
In other words, yours is free? What enables you to provide the training for free? Is it subsidized in some way, done out-of-pocket, or is it done somewhere that doesn't have a cost?
I am able to teach for free (my total lifetime income from teaching is $0.00) because I want to, and because I already had a full time job. I don't pay the Y anything. They don't pay me anything. The Y does charge a program fee, but there are scholarships available that reduce or eliminate those. There are testing fees that cover organization fees, the belt, and certificates. Some students have struggled with those costs, and I have paid them myself.
Students comes and go for many reasons, but I do not think "I can't afford it" has ever been a reason in our program.

Marital Arts training has tons of benefits. For those who can afford commercial schools, great. Those who cannot should still have opportunities.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

MT Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 4, 2012
Messages
11,183
Reaction score
5,124
Location
New York
Of the schools I trained at for a long period of time and recall:

1st: One set price per month for classes + testing fees + private lesson fees. Optionally a 'black belt club' for those who were brown belt and above, and a demo team (which I assume did not cost extra).

2nd: One set price per month.

3rd: One set optional price per month. Was truly optional, he encouraged those who could not afford not to pay-to my knowledge it was just to help pay to rent the location.

4th: One set price for 2x per week, one set price for however many times you wanted. They had multiple classes/styles each day, and even at 2x per week, you could attend as many classes on those days as you wished. There was no set testing, and so no pricing for it -you'd just be given a new belt/rank at the end of class (for adults, not sure if different for children). Not sure if there was supposed to be a fee for private lessons, but I'd gotten a few and was never charged for them.

5th(new one): Prices vary depending on which and how many styles you wish to attend. Additional cost per private lesson. One set price per month, but contracts are optional and heavily discounted (for all 3 styles the pricing is below per their website:
Monthly Membership - $115
3 Month Membership - $250
6 Month Membership - $435
1 Year Membership - $720
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

MT Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 4, 2012
Messages
11,183
Reaction score
5,124
Location
New York
Forgot-there was another school. I didn't go there long but their training method stuck out to me.
They had one set price per month, but if you went 4 days in a week, that week was knocked off the price. So lets say it was $100/month for easy math-if you felt dedicated one week, you could bring it down to $75. If you went 4x a week each week, it was free. The instructor wanted to encourage people to be more dedicated. Also probably earned him some goodwill with his long-term students.
 

Bill Mattocks

Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Feb 8, 2009
Messages
15,207
Reaction score
3,715
Location
Michigan
So there's no upcharges for any other type of class or testing or anything like that?
Nope. We do not charge for testing. We teach weapons on Saturday mornings; students are free to attend if they pay the standard $75 per month. We do not offer private lessons or anything like that.

If a student is promoted and receives a new color belt, we ask them to pay for the belt. If they want patches or uniforms, we can provide them at near our cost. They don't have to buy patches or uniforms from us. Typically a belt is $15, a patch is $15, a light weight student uniform is $40. But again, they don't need any of that if they don't want to buy it from us.
 

Bill Mattocks

Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Feb 8, 2009
Messages
15,207
Reaction score
3,715
Location
Michigan
I am able to teach for free (my total lifetime income from teaching is $0.00) because I want to, and because I already had a full time job. I don't pay the Y anything. They don't pay me anything. The Y does charge a program fee, but there are scholarships available that reduce or eliminate those. There are testing fees that cover organization fees, the belt, and certificates. Some students have struggled with those costs, and I have paid them myself.
Students comes and go for many reasons, but I do not think "I can't afford it" has ever been a reason in our program.

Marital Arts training has tons of benefits. For those who can afford commercial schools, great. Those who cannot should still have opportunities.
I volunteer my time to help teach after work, but I still pay my $75 a month as a student. I guess I pay to teach. Sometimes Sensei doubles my pay and I get 2 times nothing.
 
OP
skribs

skribs

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 14, 2013
Messages
6,753
Reaction score
2,101
I am able to teach for free (my total lifetime income from teaching is $0.00) because I want to, and because I already had a full time job. I don't pay the Y anything. They don't pay me anything. The Y does charge a program fee, but there are scholarships available that reduce or eliminate those. There are testing fees that cover organization fees, the belt, and certificates. Some students have struggled with those costs, and I have paid them myself.
Students comes and go for many reasons, but I do not think "I can't afford it" has ever been a reason in our program.

Marital Arts training has tons of benefits. For those who can afford commercial schools, great. Those who cannot should still have opportunities.
If the Y is charging a program fee, I'd think some of that should go to you. Unless that's in lieu of you renting the place?

I did get paid for being an instructor at my school. Half the money I made from there was put back into the school in some way, shape, or form, such as being used for my black belt tests or buying equipment to use for our demonstration team.

I will say I did enjoy most of my teaching and probably would have done most of it without being paid (and during COVID, where attendance was down 70%, part of my contribution was that I volunteered my time), I don't think I would teach the 4-to-6-year-old class for free.
 
OP
skribs

skribs

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 14, 2013
Messages
6,753
Reaction score
2,101
Of the schools I trained at for a long period of time and recall:
Which styles are each of these schools?
1st: One set price per month for classes + testing fees + private lesson fees. Optionally a 'black belt club' for those who were brown belt and above, and a demo team (which I assume did not cost extra).
My TKD school charged for sparring club (we did some sparring in regular class, but sparring club was dedicated to sparring), but did not charge for demo team. The idea is that sparring club is more of a service to the students to help prepare them for competition, but the demo team was more a service to the school because our demonstrations should help advertise for the school.

There were different parts of the website that used different names for "black belt club" and "instructor club" but most of those I think were just different names for the black belt class.

He did allow you to purchase your black belt early (for the cost of the $50 belt, not the cost of the $700 test), so it could be hung on the wall for motivation. The $50 would then be deducted from your testing fee when it came time.
5th(new one): Prices vary depending on which and how many styles you wish to attend. Additional cost per private lesson. One set price per month, but contracts are optional and heavily discounted (for all 3 styles the pricing is below per their website:
Monthly Membership - $115
3 Month Membership - $250
6 Month Membership - $435
1 Year Membership - $720
I know in general places that offer year-long lump-sum memberships are considered a little sketch, but I feel this makes a little bit more sense when there are options to have it less.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

MT Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 4, 2012
Messages
11,183
Reaction score
5,124
Location
New York
Which styles are each of these schools?
1: Shaolin Kempo Karate.
2: Shaolin Kempo Karate.
3: Judo/Kenpo.
4: Muay Thai/BJJ/Kali.
5: Tai Chi/Shaolin
The un-numbered one I forgot: Tai Chi/other CMA (I only went for tai chi).
I know in general places that offer year-long lump-sum memberships are considered a little sketch, but I feel this makes a little bit more sense when there are options to have it less.
Yeah, I'm normally not a fan. But given that there's no requirement for it, and there are other sizable chunks I don't have an issue with it. I'm still in the 'trial' phase there, but My plan is to sign up for 3 months first and see how I feel after that.
 

MetalBoar

Brown Belt
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
444
Reaction score
403
I've had wildly different experiences with the payment model in BJJ as I have in TKD. My experience in TKD was that you were charged for what services you used. If you came twice per week, you paid the standard monthly fee. There were make-up classes (my joke was always that those are where you "work on your foundation") that you could take for free if you missed class, but if you were regularly attended 3+ classes per week, there was a small surcharge. Then there were special classes or private classes that were extra as well.

In BJJ, it's been the complete opposite. There's a monthly fee, and then I can show up to as many classes as I want. The only extra things I have to pay for are any equipment I buy through the school (which is encouraged, but not mandatory) or private lessons.

In both cases, we've had monthly auto-pay agreements, with the stipulation that if we don't give enough notice prior to quitting, we may be charged for an extra month. This is compared to some schools I've seen online that have massive 1-year or even 2-year contracts that should be paid upfront.

I don't know what the payment models were when I did martial arts as a kid, because I didn't even realize we paid for it.

So I'm curious, what is the payment model of your school? I'm not interested in the exact numbers (notice I didn't post any dollar requirements), but are you charged a la carte or buffet style? And what art(s) does your school have, or at least which art is the primary?
The place I'm training right now (Arnis) is free for the regular group lessons, ~2 hours/once a week, and then there's a fee by the hour for private lessons, with different rates depending on factors (like travel) that I haven't looked into yet. No other fees, or charges of any kind. It's not a commercial operation obviously, the commercial school closed during covid before I started my training. The instructor says that if he takes on the expense of opening a store front location he'll have to start charging again to defray those expenses but I'm almost positive there were no testing fees or contracts with his previous operation so I doubt there would be in the future.

The Tai Chi I was doing before I left Seattle was very cheap and straight forward. It was through the Parks and Recreation department so you paid a nominal fee for each season's class. It was 90 minutes once a week for the class in north Seattle, but you could also join the same instructor's class in Shoreline (city just north of Seattle), also through their Parks and Recreation department, and add a another 90 minute class/week. There was also a 90+ minute push hands meetup once a week for free. Officially there was no instruction at the meetup but a lot of experienced people showed up and you could definitely learn a lot (and get some unofficial instruction) and work on push hands with people from other schools and styles of Tai Chi. So, I think to get 3, 90 minute classes/week (if you count the push hands) it was something like $40/month, but technically you paid ~$60/season up front for each class (thinking about it, it might have only been $45/season, not $60. Either way, it was cheap for anywhere and super cheap for Seattle). No other fees or commitments, unless you wanted to pay for private sessions.

Before that I did some straight barter of strength training for Aikido instruction with one guy and boxing with another. I was also paying $10/session (1-3 hours, once a week) with no other fees or commitments for what was basically group MMA classes out of a garage with a fantastic instructor. I say basically MMA because that's not what he called it, but he had a BB in BJJ and a really strong background in Muay Thai and other things so that's the easiest way to describe it.

If we go back to the last time I was in a store front school, I was paying monthly, no contract, for unlimited Hapkido classes. There were 4, 90 minutes classes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 1 morning and 3 evening. If you wanted (and were physically able) to go to all 4, all 3 days, that was included in the standard monthly fee. There was a small belt testing fee that was just the amount that the international Hapkido organization charged and there might have been some initial fee to join the organization, but I can't recall. The school would also sell you equipment, but there was no requirement to buy from them. Either way, the belt fees and the registration, if there was one, were very inexpensive and you didn't pay the testing fee if you failed.

Actually, I forgot a store front Aikido school that was after the Hapkido school. It was the same kind of deal, they offered 2, 1 hour classes a week and you could go to all of them for a flat monthly fee, no contracts. There may have been some modest testing fees but I don't remember them, so they were small if they existed.

I've seen a lot of other payment models, from paying annually up front, to various long term contracts, discounts if you paid for 3, 6 or 12 months upfront or signed a contract, fees for testing, fees for advanced classes, etc., etc. For the most part I just walk away from any place that requires a long term contract without even bothering to find out if they're a good school or not. If they offer a reasonable trial period before committing I might be willing to try a place out, but I'd be hesitant. I prefer the unlimited model, but I'm not completely against the model skribs described, where you get 2 classes, or whatever, per week and get to make up those you miss. I just feel like that's a lot of headache for everyone involved.
 

Dirty Dog

MT Senior Moderator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Messages
22,068
Reaction score
7,748
Location
Pueblo West, CO
If the Y is charging a program fee, I'd think some of that should go to you. Unless that's in lieu of you renting the place?
No. The program fee covers the expenses of the Y; insurance, building costs, maintenance, etc. The Y does pay those who teach the various programs and that salary is added to the Y's program fee. They offer annually, and Master Valdez and I have both always declined, so there is no cost above what the Y charges (and, again, there are scholarships available).

The Y does ask that we have a sign-in sheet for classes, which they compare to their records to make sure people have paid. We do have a sheet by the door, but I don't spend any time checking to see if people sign it.
I did get paid for being an instructor at my school. Half the money I made from there was put back into the school in some way, shape, or form, such as being used for my black belt tests or buying equipment to use for our demonstration team.
Do not take anything I say as a condemnation or criticism of the commercial school system. It's not. It just doesn't appeal to me.
 

Holmejr

Purple Belt
Joined
Dec 23, 2017
Messages
318
Reaction score
192
We train at our instructors garage or in the park when weather permits. We train as a class on Sundays (after church) from 1:30-5:00. The class fee is voluntary/honor system at $40 per month or $10 each time a student shows. Our instructor also opens his garage to senior students on Wednesday nights at no extra charge, although we put money in the box anyway.
 

Gyakuto

Master Black Belt
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2020
Messages
1,221
Reaction score
944
Location
UK
瞿5 note, each time I turn up to train.
 

_Simon_

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
4,154
Reaction score
2,563
Location
Australia
Ours is actually a class package. Can buy 10 classes for $150 or 20 for $250 (they've recently gone up a little in price due to cost of eeeeverything being crazy here). They expire after a certain amount of months but if you're a regular committed student anyway he waives the expiry anyway.

I actually love this model, as if you miss a class you don't lose out on anything.
 

MetalBoar

Brown Belt
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
444
Reaction score
403
Ours is actually a class package. Can buy 10 classes for $150 or 20 for $250 (they've recently gone up a little in price due to cost of eeeeverything being crazy here). They expire after a certain amount of months but if you're a regular committed student anyway he waives the expiry anyway.

I actually love this model, as if you miss a class you don't lose out on anything.
This is how we structured our strength training business. We sold packages of 10 or 20 private sessions and you used them when you used them. No membership fee, no monthly dues, no contracts. They weren't refundable but they were transferable. They expired 2 years after the last session you used, so you could go away for a long time and then re-start without penalty. We would have waived the expiration in most cases, but I don't think it ever came up in almost 15 years in business. We did have the occasional client move cross country or something, but they either had plenty of notice so that they could use up their sessions, or they'd just give the remaining sessions to a friend. If an existing client knew they were moving and talked to us in advance we'd offer to sell them a custom package sized for the time they had left and refund any remaining sessions (our one refund allowance).

We did have a single session package, but it was intentionally, punishingly expensive because we found it was an unreasonable hassle to collect payment every time someone came in. It really only existed for drop in clients who were doing a similar style of training somewhere else and wanted to get a workout in while traveling. That sort of one off session took a lot more time and work than a regular client so we felt it was fair. I only ever had one regular client use that format long term. He trained with me for over 3 years and he paid individually for every session. He had to move for work a lot and he said he's been burned by a fitness contract once and he'd never do anything even sort of like a contract again. I figured if he decided he liked our training that he'd change his mind. After about 6 months of once a week workouts I offered to create a 5 session package just for him so that he was basically only committed to about a month at a time, which would have cut his cost in half, but he politely declined and kept paying the single session rate for another 2 and a half+ years.
 

KenpoMaster805

Black Belt
Joined
Jun 14, 2016
Messages
694
Reaction score
127
Location
Oxnard California
Ours is actually a class package. Can buy 10 classes for $150 or 20 for $250 (they've recently gone up a little in price due to cost of eeeeverything being crazy here). They expire after a certain amount of months but if you're a regular committed student anyway he waives the expiry anyway.

I actually love this model, as if you miss a class you don't lose out on anything.

That caused a lot i only pay 90 bucks 150 and 250 is for belt testing
 
Top