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pacman2323
4th November 2006, 18:24
I know in the past it has been asked average rate for attending a school.
I am not sure if there was ever a thread on this topic.
I am looking for different opnions on this topic.
So the question is if you have a potential student who could not meet the price a month for class how low or what percent would you go so you can have that student? Or in business terms how much would you be willing to loose in order to gain? Also if you can please provide your reason for that amount be it profit,rent,equipment and so on. I hope this thread can come to use for those who are sincere practicers and looking for ways to practice with money issues-chihiro jonesone

MikeWilliams
5th November 2006, 09:22
Nothing.

Special cases set a very dangerous precedent, and will make it difficult to collect money from that student in the future, and will lead to bad feeling from other students, or at least give them the expectation that it's OK to pay late, less or not at all.

If you have concessionary rates for students or the unemployed, then they need to be clear, open, and apply across the board.

The only exceptions are if a student is actively giving something back to the school, e.g. website design, or admin duties. Extra gratis coaching for star fighters who are going to compete for your school fall into this category.

This goes for supplying cheap or free equipment too - the criteria for getting it need to be laid out openly, understood by all and applied fairly.

My tuppence worth.

pacman2323
5th November 2006, 17:56
Mike thank you for your response looking for more responses as well
because I know there are many sides of this.It is true I have met teachers who would not budge in their prices others who would give student discounts
and others whos contracts were private set same as a discount rate if you brought one or more people each would pay maybe 80.00 a class instead of 100.00 so I am looking for all angles on this. I believe Budo should be open to everyone who has a sincere heart in practicing it but that is my opnion :)

-Chihiro Jonesone

setboy
5th November 2006, 19:48
My Sensei gave me and my brothers a discount if we helped clean up the dojo 1-2 times a week. Now i am a black belt and my brother will be testing for his in Dec.

trevorg
7th November 2006, 22:22
It is my belief that a real teacher is not guided by money but what he can teach to someone who is willing to learn.

Some of my teachers have never asked for money and so I have left some in an envelope for them.

I appreciate many schools are run as a business, or as a supplementary income stream, but even in business there has to be a loss leader from time to time. I dont think precedents come into it. Either a teacher wants to pass on his knowledge or not. I dont think you can put a price on it.

Osu

dodgyknees
8th November 2006, 17:47
Hi,

Personally, I'd take each situation as it arises.

Many years ago I was given a sound bit of advice by a martial artist I still look up to and consider a friend and mentor. His comment was that money should never be a reason not to practice martial arts. There are many reasons why people may choose to stop, but financial should not be one of them.

A couple of years back I noticed that a promising young lad hadn't turned up at the dojo for 2-3 weeks. I telephoned the house to see if everything was OK as although he had only been with me for a few months, it was unusual.

Once I spoke to the Mother, all became clear. The father, the only breadwinner in the home, had been made redundant and they had no money for any luxuries - naturally this included childrens clubs and leisure activites. My response to the Mother was for her son to continue training with me at no cost until they were in a financial position to pay for his sessions. I also apologised if I'd offended them and asked them to take this as a genuine offer - after all, "money should never be a reason not to train."

The child in question returned to training the following week, the father shook my hand and thanked me - and I'll never forget the sincerity in his face. He gained work a couple of months later and started to pay again - he even offered to pay for all the previous unpaid sessions which I declined. The family in question moved away from the area last year, but he still trains and is now a 1st kyu.

Situations like the above come up occassionally and if I feel it is in the students best interest, I'll help them out. Knowing full well my faith in others means I won't be taken for a ride and have no need for fixed rules.

niten ninja
9th November 2006, 02:20
That's very good line to take on this issue.

pacman2323
9th November 2006, 04:52
Thank you for everyones input so far I hope this thread can come to help others both teacher and students in their training.

-Chihiro Jonesone

desparoz
9th November 2006, 05:38
Hi,

Personally, I'd take each situation as it arises.

Many years ago I was given a sound bit of advice by a martial artist I still look up to and consider a friend and mentor. His comment was that money should never be a reason not to practice martial arts. There are many reasons why people may choose to stop, but financial should not be one of them.

A couple of years back I noticed that a promising young lad hadn't turned up at the dojo for 2-3 weeks. I telephoned the house to see if everything was OK as although he had only been with me for a few months, it was unusual.

Once I spoke to the Mother, all became clear. The father, the only breadwinner in the home, had been made redundant and they had no money for any luxuries - naturally this included childrens clubs and leisure activites. My response to the Mother was for her son to continue training with me at no cost until they were in a financial position to pay for his sessions. I also apologised if I'd offended them and asked them to take this as a genuine offer - after all, "money should never be a reason not to train."

The child in question returned to training the following week, the father shook my hand and thanked me - and I'll never forget the sincerity in his face. He gained work a couple of months later and started to pay again - he even offered to pay for all the previous unpaid sessions which I declined. The family in question moved away from the area last year, but he still trains and is now a 1st kyu.

Situations like the above come up occassionally and if I feel it is in the students best interest, I'll help them out. Knowing full well my faith in others means I won't be taken for a ride and have no need for fixed rules.

Congratulations on your approach to this - it is commendable, and IMHO, you have epitomised that which makes a true teacher who cares more about her/his art and students than the dollar.

Rin
11th November 2006, 15:14
Special cases set a very dangerous precedent, and will make it difficult to collect money from that student in the future, and will lead to bad feeling from other students, or at least give them the expectation that it's OK to pay late, less or not at all.

If you have concessionary rates for students or the unemployed, then they need to be clear, open, and apply across the board.

The only exceptions are if a student is actively giving something back to the school, e.g. website design, or admin duties. Extra gratis coaching for star fighters who are going to compete for your school fall into this category.



I agree that if you make exceptions for students in certain situations, they should be made public and available to all students who attend the dojo. Threre was a particular family where I used to train that paid nothing when they first joined up at the location I was training at(they had trained with the instructor before and had become close friends of his). For either free or reduced fees, they were to keep up the dojo website...however, the website was never updated and they continued to train there every week. It seems as if they were pushed through and rushed ahead of others waiting for shodan and given classes to teach (presumably to keep up their free or reduced fees) - web site was never updated, and some students quit showing up on nights one of them was teaching. They contributed nothing extra to the dojo itself (admittedly that I could see -remember, this is a one sided story right now). I assisted with the children's class for a year and a half and every week I was at the dojo keeping it spotless. I also organized all the fund raisers, subsituted whenever the instructor had an emergency and couldn't make class (I should say that I wasn't the only one - one of my fellow students was good with helping out with painting the dojo, teaching, always volunteering when needed - and he paid his fees every month in full on time just like I did). Never once was the offer of reduced fees or free training made to me (or him) - though I would have refused had it been made. Eventually I quit that dojo (as did my fellow classmate) due to the politics and several other reasons, but I understand that the family who are good friends with the instructor are still attending and teaching. Now, I have no idea if they are paying monthly dues or not - perhaps by now they are. You know, as I sit here and think about this, was I so horrible a student that it was worth it to loose my tuition over a non-paying customer?

So yes, when you give special considerations to one student, it does cause ill feelings with the rest - if that special student is not living up to their end of the bargan...and if others are doing the same thing but not getting any consideration. Money should never be a reason to quit training. Politics, maybe, but not money.

Amir
12th November 2006, 14:35
So yes, when you give special considerations to one student, it does cause ill feelings with the rest - if that special student is not living up to their end of the bargan...and if others are doing the same thing but not getting any consideration. Money should never be a reason to quit training. Politics, maybe, but not money.

The rules should be clear, at least to a certain point. But, if someone has fallen upon hard times, he should remain a club member. Fairness should be at the basis of all, but so should compassion.
The business side should have impact only to a point. If a dojo member (or prospective student) has a financial problem, the rest of the dojo members do not have to know about this, he should not feel humiliated in addition to his problems. The rules should adapt to the specific situations, thus, it is not necessarily the assistance which equals a certain discount (business point of view) but rather the personal situation.

One should show he is serious and respective of the knowledge he receive in some active way instead of payment. Otherwise, people tend not to appreciate the gift of knowledge and miss one of the more important points.

Amir

Adam Westphal
12th November 2006, 15:01
I appreciate the way my Sensei back in the States runs his dojo. It's his only income but it's focus is not the business side. He doesn't press people for money, and for his students paying late won't get you kicked off the mat or an invoice.

With that said, if dojo members don't pay their fees, he doesn't eat -- literally. Training should come first but all-in-all, it's a luxury. If someone can't afford to train, they should be focusing on other aspects of life. Paying on time and the full amount is discipline in-and-of itself. If they don't have that discipline, then what?

Douglas Wylie
14th November 2006, 06:43
I've never seen anything good come from cutting anyone some slack, so I'm getting to the point where I dont want to give discounts. It seems that those who are not responsible enough with their finances to make dues are also not responsible enough to train properly.

Latest installment- someone e-mails me that they are having money problems and can't attend for a month or so. I tell them they can come for free until they can afford to pay the dues (honor system), with a nice speech about not having a gap in their training and not letting money disrupt their training... They didnt even bother to show up for months.

Generally, I find that anyone who asks for a discount is out to abuse my generosity. But, I'm a softy so I let them slide with a sob story.

Nyuck3X
15th December 2006, 15:57
Last night a couple of kids dropped by my place. (Their mother was getting a
manicure next door). I invited them in to see my fish tank and birds. We
started talking and I asked if they did any karate. They replied that they did
at a local ATA. I asked how long have they been training and they replied
about a year. I said "Are you an orange belt?". They said that they haven't
been back to class because they couldn't afford the belt fees. I gave them
one of my brouchres and told them that that wouldn't happen at my place.
A few minutes later they came back with their mother. The mother
complained about how the ATA was only out for money and that they
give them belt tests every couple of months and charge a huge amount each
time. On top of that, they are required to compete where she has to pay
for entrance, kata, kobudo & kumite fees. Needless to say, She is trying to
break her contract but the ATA won't let her out unless she moves to an
area that has not ATA.

I teach for more than just money. It is not just the students that are
benefiting from this relationship. I live in this community. If I screw the
residence, I have to live with it. I also accept pro bono cases. Sharing
brings wealth onto itself. I may end-up on the street some day, but at
least I will have a clear conscience and a lot of friends.

Your relationship with your students should be confidential, like a Doctor.
No one needs to know what the other is paying. Simply ask the students
to keep it on the down low and things should be fine.

Peace.

Daekir
21st December 2006, 09:01
Hello everyone, first post for me on this very interesting forum :)
I strongly disagree with Douglas Wylie about “bad finance management” = “bad training”. Those are 2 completely different worlds and I would never mix them together. I know I have bad finance management because I just do whatever I need to not to get into debts or trouble regarding money. But otherwise, I don’t care about money! On the other hand I never missed training in 4 years (I am a beginner of course) and I was never late either. And I know I am not the only person in this situation. I can even add that my apartment is often a mess and I hate doing the dishes. But I take great care of my sword (I practice iaido) and my Gi is spotless and iron regularly. The reason is simply that I spent my time and energy on what I care about (training), not making money…
So of course I have to agree with the « money should not be the issue » side. Martial arts should not be about money even though in today’s world money is trying (or is already) running most things. For private dojo whose senseis live upon the fees, I would say that they should think seriously about why they decided to open a dojo to earn a living… if it is because it’s the only thing they know how to do to make money, I don’t think it’s a valid enough reason. If it is to pass on knowledge, I would guess (or hope) that the money issue won’t even be raised (as some have already posted earlier).
In my dojo, there are yearly published fees (regular, student, unemployed) on the web and on our brochure. You are supposed to pay them for the whole year upon registration. However, if you come up to the teacher and say you cannot pay the whole amount in one payment, then they work out something (as in my case), whether monthly, bimonthly or whatever you want actually as long as you pay by the end of the year.
One consideration is whether you attend regularly or not (considering professional or personnel problems of course). If a student shows willingness to come and train regularly, then the teacher will cut him/her some slack. If it is someone that shows up once in a while AND dont pay, then they will be ask not to come again.
This consideration is used to control the knowledge the teacher is giving to the student. Not the financial balance of the association.
Again, before asking the question of how long do I need to wait before kicking a student out for not paying, teacher should try to evaluate why this student is training. And then take a decision about money issue.
Surely martial arts should be more than money issue ?

--------------
If you think about not thinking,
It is already thinking about something.
Do not think, even about not thinking. Takuan (1573-1645)

paul_sheps
22nd December 2006, 09:42
I too have students who are reluctant to come forward with their (very reasonable) fees, or who constantly owe me money as they are "hard up that Month".

I wonder how many of them worry if I have enough money to pay the dojo rent that Month, or would be willing to pay more if there wasn't enough to cover it, not many I think.

The funny thing is they alway's have enough for the latest mobile phone or for a night in the pub, it seems for many their karate comes way down the list of priorities.

I let students have a discount if they help with the teaching but that is all. Unfortunately there always those who will take advantage of a generous nature, so it's best to start as you mean to go on and stress the importance of paying fees on time at the very start of training.

Yojimbo558
1st January 2007, 22:23
Hi there,

The first part of the problem with this is that it often tends to miss out on a key thing for the Instructor...namely Rent. If the Instructor is operating as I do, teaching out of local parks or beaches...then rent doesn't become a pressing concern and the instructor has a bit more leeway.

But I have had students approach me in the past saying that they were going to have to end their training due to finances. I always talk to them to find out what the situation is & the most popular response always ignores the "Why" & seems to nearly always start with, "I don't think martial arts should be tied to money, and that a person should be teaching because it's in their heart & the person wants to learn."

When I push further, I have found that the competing costs were often due to other curricular activities that they wanted to or were engaging in. One of the cases was the students love of skiing. When I suggested that rather than paying the fees for skiing that he drive up to the slopes and tell the ski lodge & vendors that he doesn't feel that the love of skiing should be tied to money, and that the cost of lift tickets or a room for the night shouldn't be what comes between a person wanting to perfect or study the art of skiing.

Needless to say the student laughed, and said that they wouldn't do that because they'd never go for it. So I asked him, if they won't do that, why should I sacrifice my income, and remove my own ability to take care of my family?

I have seen one school where the instructors gave lots of discounts for various students so that they could afford to train there. The result was that they wound up losing a lot of their other students who could afford it, because they resented the fact that they had to pay full fare.

When do I stop charging a student? When they achieve a level of proficiency that I am willing to upgrade my perceiving them from that of being a Student to becoming a Training Partner.

Most often on these boards we see the comments about how the Teacher should have to eat the cost...if they want to price themselves out of the market...that's their fault...but the students also have to decide if studying is what they want. Ammusingly there was one guy that I used to teach for free years ago...he had a horrendous attendance rate, then one day I started charging him...he never missed a class after that...because he was paying for it and was responsible for paying for classes he missed without providing 24hrs notice.

When this happened, I stopped making deals for people. The only allowance that I still have is trades. If the person has a martial skill that I don't have, but I want to learn...then I'll trade lesson for lesson...otherwise I tell them that my time like theirs is valuable. If they want to train, great, if not that's ok to...but it's not up to me to provide free training so that they can do other things...and risk dropping the morale of my other students who're paying full fare.

Eric

Thad D.
16th January 2007, 02:12
This is still very much a hypothetical question for me,

But my take on it is, that for a good enough student, I'd hopefully train them without pay, if they were a benefit to the class.

Weather by assisting in teaching less advanced students, or helping to keep the dojo maintained.

My Sensei doesn't make a living off teaching.
He worked as skilled labor until he retired.

He has announced in class that "if you can't afford to pay for class don't let that keep you from attending".

That among other things I have heard him say, and seen him do are why I have the respect for him that I do.

I believe that he teaches from a true love and appreciation of karate and desire to share it, rather than personal gain. I don't have the words to express my graditude, for what he has taught me. He's not perfect, but niether was Gitchen Funakoshi.

To each their own. But if and when he suggest that I start a class, I plan to follow his example.

I've got a full time job, but I wouldn't at this time take money from my family to opperate a dojo either.

I've read "Karate-do My Way of Life" by Funakoshi, and think thats the way he'd have done it.

I should also point out that you pay each class, its almost nominal cost, and over the last couple years at least half the students have been training with him for 20 years or more.
Thad

Thad D.
16th January 2007, 02:30
Edit # 2.
If the student shows up driving something nicer than I do, no slack given.
If its so they can spend their disposible income on sking or other leasure activities I'd probably turn them away also.
If I believe I'm improving the quality of life, teaching somebody thats really learning something worth while, or mentoring an apprentice, are the reasons I'd justify free classes.
Thad

Erik Calderon
16th January 2007, 04:12
If you want to offer discounts for those that "can't" pay, then have some kind of program. Maybe call it a "soto-deshi" program. Arrange a set number of hours with job descriptions, that they "must" work in order to "pay" for their dues. Then make sure they keep their word.

Have them sign a contract.

I guess that would also put "value" into their learning.