What does your dojo charge for tuition?

What does your dojo charge for tuition?

Postby gmattson » Wed Dec 21, 2005 4:46 pm

I'm on mailing lists and receive a couple email a week from the business gurus in the martial arts. They brag about how they are charging their students nearly $200 a month for "upgraded" lessons, whatever that means.

My students always told me they were broke (although many drove expensive cars) and couldn't afford to pay me tuition. So my tuition fees were alway quite low.

Now that I'm going to have a commercial dojo, what should I charge? Should I have contracts? What kind of down payment is reasonable?

Come on you Uechi dojo business tycoons.... Jump in here and help me out.
GEM
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Contracts

Postby Norm Abrahamson » Thu Dec 22, 2005 3:19 pm

Beware of long term contracts. In many states, including Massachusetts, there was a backlash after many health clubs collected fees against long term contracts and then went out of business. As a result, legislation was passed that restricts that practice. Dojos are considered health clubs for purposes of the statutes.

Check your state laws regarding long term contracts.

Sincerely,

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Postby Uechi Dude » Tue Dec 27, 2005 4:42 pm

I don't believe you will find many business tycoons that teach Uechi.I find the majority of the people in Uechi do it for the Love of the art, not the monatary gain.I know the average and low price's range from 50 to 65 a month per student *Adults* 35 to 50 for Children. I do have a friend that teachs Uechi and charges 85.00 per month ,but he also teach's Ju Jitsu with it. I think that is a good deal .The class's I teach cost 32.00 per month for the kids.I do not set the rates for adults. However I dont see anything wrong with 65.00 per month for adults. These Gurus charging that 200.00 a month,are teaching so called private lessons, and guarntee a BB in a 1 yr or 2. This was not Uechi I have seen this,it has been in the way to many Mc Dojos out there. Hope this helps you out :)
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Postby Guest » Tue Dec 27, 2005 5:15 pm

The price you charge has to cover your time and location.
If your rent is $2500 per month you should certainly charge more than if you are paying $200. And yes some rents are that cheap.
The second point is the amount of your time you are giving up to teach. If you spend 8-10 hours a day teaching or doing the other business of the Dojo you should be compensated for it.
The 3rd point is if you need employees to teach some of your classes. You need to allow for their compensation.
Even if they freely volunteer to teach for you, this will end.

All of those magazines, which I was told to laugh at and discard by more than one Uechi senior, work under the "charge what the market will bear premise". If you Dojo is bulging and needs classes added, more maintenance, painting, toilet paper or whatever make sure you are charging for it. No one is going to offer more than what they are paying.
I would start high and work your tuition down if necessary. It is always easier to lower it than raise it I find.

If I was to move to Florida and open a Dojo I would guess $65.00-$130 would be fair depending on the location and quality of the training facility.
By quality of the facility I mean a fully padded or beautifully floored space with ample changing rooms, showers and a full store full of gear. Lots of equipment in good shape and great parking in a nice area. Convenient daily classes and workout times. A great staff of professional martial artists helping with the classes.

As things are removed from the list, lower the price.

F.
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Good advice... thanks all..

Postby gmattson » Tue Dec 27, 2005 5:25 pm

I just visited my our new "digs". Its in a busy mall with lots of parking in front and private parking in the rear. We will have to do quite a bit of work inside, but essentially, the space (20'X60) is one big open room with two large windows in front. The rent is $1200/mo but there was a large security payment and the landlord required a huge insurance coverage which is costing over $2000/yr.

I can get the real expensive type mats from China. (anyone else need some) But in order to get the best price, I'll have to order a container of them! :(

Signage: There are restrictions on the kind of signs we get. Thinking of just having a big "KARATE" sign over the dojo and doing more detailed description/picture on the windows.

Plumbing: Need to put a shower in, mirrors and some nice M.A. training equipment which we already have.

We are having our formal open house February Th, following WinterFest. Hope you all will be able to join us.
GEM
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Wishing you best with new Dojo

Postby CANDANeh » Tue Dec 27, 2005 6:40 pm

Not bad overhead in rent/insurance
Could add insurance cost one time payment anually per student at registration i.e. $50.00 each assuming your going for min. 50 students. True some will not stay entire year but it is an acceptable cost few question (I pay $60.00 every January). Then the tuition can be lower (but profit should be realized) and any extra from insurance can be for those little extras like focus pads or whatever. I`m not in a commercial dojo however rent must be paid and I personally believe instructors should have seminars or other related MA activities subsidized as all students benefet. Therefore, even "non profit" dojo should have usable cash flow.
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Thanks Leo

Postby gmattson » Tue Dec 27, 2005 7:00 pm

I agree that a dojo should not be something subsidized by teacher. I was quite content teaching three times a week, (twice at the community center and once in my "swamp" dojo, but the students wanted a more formal dojo. (I can hear the snickering from the peanut gallery) Those of us who have been around awhile tend to overlook the "real" reasons people not only take up the art of karate, but why they stick with it for many years.

It is easy to say "Oh, they are only there to learn how to defend themselves" and I can argue "Its much easier and cheaper to take a gun course and buy a gun... and a Pit bull"!

It is that "other" qualities of the dojo, the teacher, the fraternity, the formality, the rank, the discipline etc. that is the glue that not only brings them in, but keeps them active in the dojo for years and years and years!
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Postby Guest » Tue Dec 27, 2005 7:51 pm

Insurance sounds steep to me.
check out www.karateinsurance .com

Rent sounds reasonable. The best way to buy mats is when there is a nearby judo tournament and buying them right after.

I agree with the Karate sign. No ones outside our world can even pronounce Uechi.

Contact Jimmy Pedro for the mats. He now works for Zebra mats. JimmyPedro@zebramats.com

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Metro..

Postby gmattson » Tue Dec 27, 2005 9:39 pm

We got our insurance with Karateinsurance ... they offer a nice discount to IUKF members. However, the landlord wanted extra coverage which, even with our discount, was quite expensive.

I'll check those mat sources. We'll be teaching traditional Jiujitsu on Thursdays, so will need mats.
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Postby CANDANeh » Wed Dec 28, 2005 12:31 am

It is that "other" qualities of the dojo, the teacher, the fraternity, the formality, the rank, the discipline etc. that is the glue that not only brings them in, but keeps them active in the dojo for years and years and years!


Must be some truth to that. I`ve been hanging in there since 1976, lined up with thousands over the years and 3 others from the seventies still line with me. Some moved on to start thier own dojo`s
Considered just doing the informal thing recently with others but I agree ...not the way to go. Ok for short time but not the same "magic".
Considered my own dojo down the coast but then Victor wouldn`t worry about what I`m teaching on Thursday nights :twisted: He has allowed his senoir ranks the freedom of expression, he often lines up with the class and lets me and others teach.
One of the key factors in a dojo is the head instructor, he/she must have the ability to evolve yet maintain the core values that is Karate-Do regardless societies "whims" of the day. We are in a "want it now society" and many misunderstand respect. You may have acquired your skills through years of dedication but now it`s simply a product..."What is the timeline that I can posses it?"
Drive through Karate classes :lol: ??
In my opinion, the dojo should be an escape from what is occurring in our lives, those that understand that are the students of the future.
You can take speed reading course to read your book real fast, or you can curl up with a good book


:wink:
My God...I think I`m getting old :lol:
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Postby Guest » Wed Dec 28, 2005 6:34 pm

One of the Judo Dojo I practice at uses "puzzle" mats doubled up and get by. Definately the mats from Zebra are better but your looking at 5-10 grand.

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Postby CANDANeh » Fri Jan 06, 2006 3:19 pm

the problem of attempting to justify tuition charges or operations with black belts who will fight everything being done... because it is different from what they have become comfortable with in their years of being involved with the dojo. Hmmm.... interesting.

Darn black belts :lol:
Can understand that and being spoiled (paying same fee as in 1976) you will have the option of charging what the services are worth without having to offer cheese for the "whine"
Wishing for your every success
You earned it remember that
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Postby Guest » Sat Jan 07, 2006 6:28 pm

And in negotiating tuition with gullible karate dojo owners!


dont forget the gullible karate students George :D !! :lol:

theres nothing wrong with charging whatever you want as long as it`s clear , upfront , and delivers on the promises made by the instructor .

It`s a simple contract , supply and demand , no what your paying for and receive it , and set cost .

good luck !!
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Postby Kevin Mackie » Sun Feb 05, 2006 1:08 pm

There’s a misconception in business that somehow your costs have anything to do with what your customers will pay for your product.

Your costs only come into play in two ways, what’s your break-even point? and what change in sales volume can you gain/lose with a price change.

The best way to arrive at a price is a value based system that was developed by a firm in Boston, The Strategic Pricing Group. I had a graduate course taught by one of its founders, Richard Harmer. from his web site b2bpricing.com .

.” While at Boston University, Dick also founded the Strategic Pricing Group with Thomas Nagle, author of The Strategy and Tactics of Pricing, soon to appear in its 4th edition.”

Get the book.You can get a used copy on Amazon for around $6. The concept is to start at a baseline price for you service and work up or down based on the features/benefits you have/don’t have vis-à-vis your competition.

To do this accurately as possible you’ve got to do some market research in your area.

Take a dojo aimed at kids as a starter. Don’t just look at dojos, you’ve got to look at all businesses that compete for parents/ dollars, dance academies, soccer leagues, music lessons. Then look at the dojos.

Now you’ve got to compare what each school offers, flexible schedules, large waiting room, free coffee on Saturdays, etc.

Then add or subtract if you offer/don’t offer similar benefits.

A shower room would add nothing to your value proposition for a kid’s pricing model, whereas a large comfortable waiting area would.

Add more for your location. If there’s a café or coffee shop next door, that’s an adder for parents.

But then again, you’re offering Uechi training from you. That’s priceless!!


Regards,

Kevin
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Postby Arron.Grammond » Tue Feb 21, 2006 7:57 pm

One local guy is doing it right. He owns the building he built as an investment property. Then opened a Dojo (Read Puppy Mill) that has 3 floors that are used by various classes (not limited to his Karate classes). The Dojo pays the morgage on the property as its property value grows.

His classes, I think its about $120 monthly or $95/mo if you go direct payment method (with a $20 setup fee). Then you hold belt promotions at $30-$50 a pop per student, in addition to the monthly rates. Hold promotions every other week. (Hey is Little Dragon, kiddy Karate, Its not like they won't be back for adult belt progression later)

So outside the kids times you rent out the unused floors for $400-$700 a class (1 hour slot). Personally I think a persentage better, so that as classes grow so do thier payments.

Once the property builds up equity. Sell it and roll over into a new location with a new property.

The liabilty insurance is the killer for a Dojo. If you carry the insurance thats part of how you can pull in other styles to pay you rent. They don't have to bust out with all the money for the insurance.

You need to be smart in your buisness not just good at fighting.

The other angle to work is work up a brand name and Logo. Then sell the students all their gear through you not have them purchase elsewhere. Then come up with a signature item of equipment or a defensive tool like a knife, stick, Rock on a string... anything, Then develope a signature system that focuses on or plays with that items. Then market the item AND the training (plus the videos).

Never underestimate some good PR and getting in a few newspaper and mags in your area.

"Jo Blow - Green Dragon Karate, is holding a womens self defence seminar FREE." Invite some of te local ladies from the papers and news stations to participate. Your time is cheaper than BUYING advertisments. You could work it up as marketing and write it off even.

Find a way to make your $$$ work for you, not you working for your $$$. Then you can teach whatever you want with secure $$$ backing for yourself.

Thats my 2 cents...
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