Who is using contracts?

J. Pickard

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I saw some posts on this topic already but the most recent one I could find was 2008. So just wondering who is using contracts now in 2021? Do you find more people are hesitant to sign up when they hear "contract" now in 2021 versus 12 years ago? If you have a contract, what kind of escape clause(s) do you have?
 

Bill Mattocks

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I saw some posts on this topic already but the most recent one I could find was 2008. So just wondering who is using contracts now in 2021? Do you find more people are hesitant to sign up when they hear "contract" now in 2021 versus 12 years ago? If you have a contract, what kind of escape clause(s) do you have?
Our dojo does not use contracts and never has. I understand why they are used, but we just haven't done it. Strictly month-to-month, no commitment.
 

drop bear

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I think contracts have gone out of fashion. Which is a good thing. They were generally a pretty slimy way to do business.

And because they have gone out of fashion those that do contracts cannot really compete anymore.

So for example major chain fitness gyms are using no contacts as a selling point.

 

MadMartigan

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No contracts per say. I offer a rather large prepayment discount for the 10 month school season... but only to established students who aren't likely to quit anytime soon... and only a couple took advantage of it (especially this year with all the uncertainty). Most do month to month. To be honest, if they did quit, I'd probably just return the unused portion anyway (whether they're entitled to any refund or not).
I understand that a larger school may not have that flexibility (bills to pay); but since my livelihood doesn't depend on the school income, I only need to pull in enough not to lose money.
 

_Simon_

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Out of all the schools I've checked out and trialled, I haven't seen any using contracts... just different payment methods, some more flexible and varied options than others.

Most seem to have an annual fee just to cover insurance/affiliation, and either pay per class, month or term, buy a set amount of lessons to use over a certain time etc, although could that be seen as a contract? Don't know!
 

Yamabushii

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Interesting question. I am curious about a couple things. For the schools who aren't using contracts:
1) How many students does your school currently have?
2) What country is your school located in?
 

dvcochran

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Interesting question. I am curious about a couple things. For the schools who aren't using contracts:
1) How many students does your school currently have?
2) What country is your school located in?
Around 150. Southeast USA
 

Yamabushii

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Around 150. Southeast USA
That's really surprising. If you don't mind me asking, are you growing, shrinking, or generally staying around the same size in terms of number of students?

Also, how much time per month would you estimate you have to chase around students for their payments?
 

Flying Crane

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Interesting question. I am curious about a couple things. For the schools who aren't using contracts:
1) How many students does your school currently have?
2) What country is your school located in?
Im in Northern California, US. Ive got two students, and I charge per session. If you attend, you pay. If you dont show up, you dont pay.

We are a very new training group, only been working together since about July of this year. I have very low visibility, we train early morning in a city park, I have no signage and no shopfront, but I advertise on the local Nextdoor community and I have a website.

My people are adults with busy lives. Sometimes they cannot attend. Sometimes for weeks. But they are interested in the training (one of them has a kenpo background and was a teacher in the past) and they enjoy it and find it mentally intriguing and they come as much as they can so I keep the door open to them. I am convinced that if I tightened the operation and insisted that they pay by the month, to try to encourage better attendance and to guarantee a certain income (I am not breaking even) I would simply lose them altogether. And keeping them is important to me.

I hope the group grows. Other people in the park are taking some notice, and there is the word-of-mouth of satisfied and enthusiastic students. So I think this has potential to become bigger. But I am in no hurry. Things need to grow naturally, not by forcing it.

As I said before, if you offer a quality product at a reasonable price, you will get loyal, repeat customers. Contracts or other structures that kind of rope people into the payments shouldnt be necessary. If one finds them necessary, then perhaps one needs to re-examine the quality of the product and/or the reasonableness of the price.
 

skribs

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I saw some posts on this topic already but the most recent one I could find was 2008. So just wondering who is using contracts now in 2021? Do you find more people are hesitant to sign up when they hear "contract" now in 2021 versus 12 years ago? If you have a contract, what kind of escape clause(s) do you have?
My dojang uses annual direct-deposit payment agreements, but you can back out at any time.
 

dvcochran

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That's really surprising. If you don't mind me asking, are you growing, shrinking, or generally staying around the same size in terms of number of students?

Also, how much time per month would you estimate you have to chase around students for their payments?
Our lifetime average is 135. We ebb up and down but stay pretty close to what I feel is capacity. Including pushing building code numbers.
Near zero on payments. EBT.
 

Kemposhot

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Ive been through 2 different systems of payment. The first martial art I studied used to collect tuition in 3 month increments. Which could be paid check or cash. You werent obligated to sign any contract or anything, which was nice. However, if you left before the 3 month mark it was non-refundable.

The second and current system Im in does it via bank deduction from a bank account. You can quit any time you want though. I havent been through the stopping process myself, but Ive spoken to students who have who say its just a couple phone calls, relatively painless process.
 

CB Jones

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Where my son started training there were 3 options:

Pay month to month $100
6 month contract by direct deposit - $85 per month
1 year contract by direct deposit $65 per month

After the contract is up you stay locked into that price as long as you keep paying direct deposit.

College students pay I think somewhere around the 20 dollar range per semester through the university.

The school typically has around 2025 regular students and 15-25 college students actively training.
 
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J. Pickard

J. Pickard

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No contracts with us. When COVID hit we shut down for over a year. When I started back up every one of my students returned. I couldn't believe my eyes.
We were shut down completely for 6 months due to covid and unfortunately only retained about 20%-30% immediately upon reopening but that is because there were a lot of Job losses in our area so people moved to find new work. We did get about 80% back over the past few months though.
We don't currently use contracts but I have seen some places still do. It just seems like a risky move now a days with all the uncertainty caused by various things in the world right now.
 

AIKIKENJITSU

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I saw some posts on this topic already but the most recent one I could find was 2008. So just wondering who is using contracts now in 2021? Do you find more people are hesitant to sign up when they hear "contract" now in 2021 versus 12 years ago? If you have a contract, what kind of escape clause(s) do you have?
I have been in martial arts fifty years. I had a school and I never had a contract and my classes were filled. Not with kids, I did not teach below fifteen, male and female. Now I teach at my home studio and I have two dedecated man and woman, who are learning 3rd and 6th degree respectively.
You are at the door collecting payment for that month or they don't come in. You can figure the details out.
aikikenjitsu_black_belt@yahoo.com

Puyallup, WA (I taught in california for many years in a small town of Santa Maria. Many mexicans live there now and before I left, a hotshot school moved in with his two men teachers. They will charge more, if they are still there. This was 20 years ago.
 
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