View Full Version : Looking for others experience charging $

13th February 2002, 02:44
I have been riped off several times and thus I do not want to have any contracts. I just started teaching and am charging up front for 12 week cycles of once or twice per week. What are others experience with training fees, etc.

Thank you.


p.s. I am not trying to get rich, just want to make the rent in the local church hall, and a few bucks extra would be nice.

13th February 2002, 02:56

We pay every 2nd month, no contracts, no obligations.

But this is the prefered method from my Sifu, we can also pay monthly, every 3 month,etc.

She issues an Envelope to every Student with the payment Date and period written on them.

We simply insert Money into envelope and hand it to her. Envelopes are kept at the entrance of the School.

Personally, I like paying bi-monthly as in the month where I don't pay I add the same amount to my little MA Bank.

These way the pain is less when I need to buy gear, Weapons and othre things for training.

So this month 5.000Y to Sifu, next month 5.000Y into bank, etc.

13th February 2002, 14:45
Apparently like you, I do not have my own facility; I use others. At one, they like to do it in 6-week sessions; at another, 12-week sessions. These are not contracts. The first one, you pay for 6 weeks at at ime; the second, they pay 4 weeks at a time, but it is considered a 3-month commitement. There is no problem getting people to adhere to this, so far.

14th February 2002, 16:48
I am not the instructor. However, our dues are $165.00/quarter, and the dojo uses rented space in a church hall (3x/week) and a community center (2x/week).

Robert Cheshire
17th February 2002, 05:46
Contract not needed really. I would charge whatever your fee is up front.

Our dojo is lucky in that we use our City Recreation Center. Our class is a part of their community classes. Our students pay the Rec. Center and we receive a % of that. They even bought our mats (we do Yoseikan Aikido & Budo). If you could find something similar it might help you out. Perhaps check with a local college in the Community Services or Continuing Education Dept. to see what you can do.

Best of Luck!

Shitoryu Dude
23rd February 2002, 06:47
Back in the 80's I paid $10/week (we had a year contract) for 1 hour of personal instruction plus all the group time I wanted to show up for (about 10 - 12 hours a week minimum).

Currently I'm paying $90/month for pretty much the same thing, though others at the dojo pay less for limited access. From what I have seen in the Seattle are that is fairly much the going rate - though I can find places that charge two or three times as much for much less class time. Some of the iado schools in town are practically free, but only have classes on Sunday afternoon.


26th February 2002, 04:07
We're lucky enough to have our own space, rented commercially. It takes alot of students (ok, 30 is 'alot'?)and tuition to keep it going even though our rent is obscenely cheap. Overhead counts for a lot, plus utilities.

Adults pay $70/ month, no limit, no scale. That's for up to 5 classes/ week. Full-time students--6th grade to grad student--pay $50. There are no contracts. It's month-to-month.
And it's $30 annually per student for insurance coverage. We're a non-profit corp., too, and ain't that the truth.

Who cares? The dojo is open and has been for 7 years. We struggle periodically with the idea of contracts, and can never bring ourselves to do it.

"Contracts Or Not"; the bread and butter of Dojo Management discussions. How 'bout it, Sensei Wolfe, how do you guys run your place?

Will Graves
Aikido of Pittsburgh

Shitoryu Dude
27th February 2002, 03:41
I'd have to say 30 is not a "lot" of students. The dojo I attend will have that many students attending an advanced kata class at 7:00 PM on some nights. The biggest dojo I ever saw was Chip Wright's Champion Karate in Medford, Oregon - I'd say he had at least 250 students at any given time (of which about 100 were "black belts"). When I studied Kenpo we had what was considered a small dojo with about 40 - 50 students at it's peak. It was not considered to be a moneymaker by any stretch. While I'm not sure how many students we now have (I don't bother to learn much about most newcomers, they're gone in couple months most of the time) I estimate we easily have 100 or more full-timers.

I would have to say that in order to make a living at it you would need a core of 75 real students. You will have at least that many again who just sort of rotate in and out for a few months and never go anywhere, but they help pay the rent. If you ran it out of your home and had a garage converted to a dojo :smash: (sweet idea, I'm going to do it with my next house) I imagine you could easily take on just a handfull of students and make if fun, interesting, and rewarding while keeping the costs to a minimum.


Mike Williams
27th February 2002, 09:05
Am I the only person whose club charges on a 'per session' basis? i.e., show up, pay your mat fees - a fiver - and train. No other obligation, apart from a smallish annual membership fee for the governing body (£25).

I personally dislike having to pay up front, even for a month, as there will be occasions when I can't train (usually due to work).

If I was training at a full-time dojo that had an 'unlimited-use' type monthly fee, I might be tempted. But for me (as a student), the more flexible the payment structure, the better.



Robert Wolfe
27th February 2002, 13:15
Oops — Will asked a question that I missed. (Hey, Will, how is Masutani Sensei doing? Best regards from our folks!)

Our dojo is incorporated, under Subchapter S rules, primarily for liability protection and to be better able to operate in as professional a manner as possible. We have yet to finish more than a couple of hundred dollars ahead for a year, and that’s with none of the instructors compensated for our efforts. We have our own facility (leased) and average operating expenses are about $2,500 per month. 35 students at our regular tuition would cover the basics. We currently have 41 people, but only 28 are paying the “regular” rate. I figure we need to achieve and maintain an active enrollment of at least 55 members to clear the remaining loans from dojo construction and be really secure.

A regular (individual) membership is $75 per month; a family membership (to include spouse and dependent children) is $115; a commuting membership (for someone who lives at least an hour from the dojo and can attend no more than half the scheduled classes) is $40; and a leave of absence membership (for someone who will be away from training for more than one month) is $25. We do not use contracts.

We have noted that most people who quit do so in the first few weeks of training. It seems that if a student lasts three months, it’s likely the person will hang around long enough to amount to something. We’re now trying something new, to encourage people to get past the first few months and to free me from having to chase tuition.

New students will be required to submit two month’s membership fees upon enrollment (with the first month fee prorated to the point in the month training starts). For subsequent months, members will have the choice of submitting membership fees monthly by electronic funds transfer (EFT) or credit/debit card, or quarterly by cash or check.

I was led to this decision by the knowledge that a number of friends who, in desperation, signed their dojo with billing companies, found their enrollment tripled in short order and now have dojo that are financially secure. I don’t like the idea of billing companies or contracts, but it seemed to me the same fundamental structure for collecting membership fees could be achieved without that association. Turns out, it can.

Most banks with strong commercial sections can set up Automated Clearing House (ACH) transaction capability for a dojo (this is one of those times it *really* helps to be incorporated). I’m in the process now of building the electronic files that support the transactions. Members choosing EFT submit an authorization form and a voided, blank check (or they can use a savings account). Once a month, just before the debits will be transacted, I’ll need to go online to the bank’s secure web site, verify the members billing information (the membership category and amounts), and hit the “Go” button. Presto! The membership fees are in the dojo account the first banking day of the month, and I know exactly the resources I have to work with.

All of the members of the dojo were polled on the idea before anything was put in place. A couple of people have reservations about the idea, but almost everyone saw the option as a convenience. Since we can be hit with fees in cases of individual accounts having insufficient funds when the debits are transacted, I’ll probably get in the habit of sending an end-of-month e-mail reminder to the folks on EFT — that would only add a few moments work to the “billing” cycle.

In 2001, we enrolled 41 people, and lost 45. If our new policies had been in place last year, and we’d kept even half the new members, we’d now be clearing the loans and putting money in the savings account. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for 2002...

-- Bob Wolfe

Dave Pawson
28th February 2002, 15:42

I used to charge by the lesson / mat fee when ~I rented space in a hall. The Dojo decided as a group that they would prefer a place of our own, hence we found a friendly landlord and took on a centre which opens 5 nights per week.

Part of that agreement was that everyone would help get the place in shape and monthly payments would follow, this is necessary due to differences in costs.

i.e paying £30 per week to rent when by the lessons, while now we are paying over £500 per month including rates, water, lighting, heating etc.

But for all that best decision we have made as a Dojo, and yes I do use contracts, and no I'm not commercial, work full time as an IT consultant and everyone of the students earns their grades.


:cry: :cry:

Mike Williams
28th February 2002, 15:58
No idea how commercially viable this would be (and it would need to be a reasonably sized venue), but my ideal training venue would have a gym area as well as the mat area.

A reasonable monthly membership would entitle you to unlimited use of the weights, heavy-bag etc.

If you just wanted to spar with a buddy, you could 'rent' mat space for a nominal hourly fee

Finally there would be a 'per session' fee for participating in actual classes.

And of course the fees would be low, it would have nice showers, be situated next to a pub, and no further than the end of my street



Kevin Meisner
11th March 2002, 03:19
I charge enough to cover the expenses. $15 a month for adults, $10 a month for children (we have a little over 30 students). I keep none of the money. Everyone in the class understands that the tuition goes to the expenses only. I like it this way, I was taught that one should not teach martial arts to make money...

Kevin Meisner