Hey folks! I was wondering if any of you experienced teachers out there have tried different pricing and class structures? I've been doing 4-week series for the past year and a half. I tried drop-ins and it didn't work, though I know that's how most instructors do it and it works great for some. I'm considering doing drop-ins again.
Here are the pros and cons for a series:
-guarantee of set number of students at the beginning of the series
-progressive curriculum enables steady, noticeable progress
-feeling of accomplishment and self-empowerment in students at the end of a series
-everyone starts together and we learn the same material at the same pace, everyone gets equal time
-community/family building atmosphere as the group gets to know each other
-greater commitment of money from each student than drop-ins
-eliminates many students who cannot commit that much time or money at once
-eliminates students whose schedules are irregular
-eliminates students who want to join in the middle of a series
With a drop in, anyone can come and go but there's very little guarantee that anyone shows up. Plus I'm concerned that I'll end up teaching the same material to new students over and over again every class, which gets quite boring for both me and the regular students. And it won't be fair for the regulars who want new material, hence the benefit of a series. Many of my students like the series, and many others won't join because I have no drop in option.
My solution: offer drop ins for a set fee, and then greater commitment of multiple classes for a discount. They can come when they choose. There are two choices here for the discount: packages, or subscription.
Packages of 4 and 8 classes would be like a dance card and get used up whenever they come. 1, 3 and 6 month unlimited subscriptions would be more like a gym membership.
The benefit of packages are greater flexibility for students as to when they come because they're not limited by the days. The flipside is less consistency is almost guaranteed; if they don't have to come every week they won't - stuff comes up, they get busy, and 8 months goes by. This can be mitigated by setting an expiration date. The benefit of memberships is guaranteeing some steady students and consistency in learning - they must come weekly to use their membership to its fullest. With the package, I have no idea if my class will be packed or full; with a membership I can predict the class size and at least the studio will be paid for in advance.
I can also offer the subscription with a series as well, since they're both based on monthly increments.
Thoughts, ideas, feedback?
Those are great points! I start teaching adult classes next week. I'm allowing drop ins for a set price and people who pay for 4 classes in advance get a discount. I plan to have this as an ongoing class, not just a series of 4. There are things you can do to add variety and make moves more difficult for more advanced hoopers while the newbies are still learning. For example, have experienced hoopers hoop in reverse while the newbies are learning to waist hoop, etc. I want to keep my classes fresh and interesting though, so I'm looking forward to seeing what other people have to say about teaching ongoing classes vs. a series.
This is typical practice. As a student I would rather buy the card and save the $20. I think eliminating drop-in is a bad idea. Even if I am teaching the same thing over and over, as long as they are eager to learn. I am willing to teach. In my opinion the secret to keeping students is to forge a relationship. If I am happy and feel like my teacher cares and is suportive, then I want to go back. Even if I am not progressing, I like the positive enviorment. I liked your class. You are in control. You take your craft serious. I find most don't take the hoop serious and are just looking to hang and make friends.
Excellent post! I've been thinking of doing a pass card but wasn't sure exactly how to implement it and the way you've laid it out really makes sense.
I've been leaning towards packages of 4-8 or Buy Four get 1 Free type of thing. I've been doing drop ins and need more of a steady commitment otherwise I'm really wasting my time/money.
Thanks for bringing this up, will be interested in hearing more!
So I teach every single day of the week now (crazy!) and some days have 4 classes a day. And every place I teach has a different structure. I personally don't have any interest in a deeper business end of things. This has all grown organically for me, from finding myself in the hoop, losing weight and simply wanting to pass it along. So I'm not in a place where I have to crunch numbers to pay bills, and it makes it that much easier for me, since I hate that :)
That being said, 99% of the places I teach are drop in. Most of those are places that are membership based-so I get paid a set rate per class, and it doesn't matter who ends up coming, I get paid regardless (sometimes that kinda stinks, on the opposite end, as I had 30 hoopers in a class this week, imagine if they all paid ME, bwahaha!)
Anyway!! I do get all the money when I do corporate classes, I require a min of 6 to run the session and if people are interested but we don't have 6 (hasn't happened yet, I have a waiting list :D), I simply offer to increase the cost PP to allow the session to run.
I am going to be going out on a limb and pursuing more session based as I segue into minis classes and advanced hoopnotica levels 2/3 next month, as IMO those are something I feel people need to commit to in order to see progress and drop ins are not going to be conducive to the flow I'm looking for in an advanced setting right now, starting off. All my other classes are beginner/intro, so drop in is fine, I can modify for those that have been hooping regularly to challenge them while still meeting the needs of newbies.
No idea if that all really helped or not, but just what has worked very well for me.
Thanks for putting lots of thought and detail into your post!
I only teach session classes, and have for about 3 years.
When I started teaching, I had some drop-in classes and they helped me learn how to teach many different personality and body types very quick.
At one point I was teaching drop-ins and sessions on the same day. The students in my session class were much more happy, confident, friendly with each other after 6 weeks than the drop-in students were after 15 or 20 classes...for the reasons you listed above!
I find teaching drop-ins tiring, and teaching sessions is energizing. In a drop-in, that one new person needs a certain amount of attention, hand holding, and encouraging, different from the group. There are some students who are really hard on themselves when they start and they learn MUCH quicker if there's someone else next to them being equally awkward...these are the ones for which I feel hooping is most powerful medicine! In a session everyone has their first day together, in all it's awkward glory, then move on as a group to get into dancing, tricks, and games.
I also like the attitude of session students more than drop-in. Session students are committed and want to learn and want to GET IT. Drop-in students often just want the experience. I have some students who PREFER paying large sums of money in advance of class, cause that means they'll go and that means they'll be happier. I'm the same way, left to choose at Monday at 5:30 if I want to go to something and nooooo way. But if I've paid, I'm going! I recently started pole dancing and chose the session option, even tho it was MORE expensive than drop-in.
Also, on a personal level, if I have to commit to being somewhere at the same time every week, on sunny patio days and gloomy windy days, I want my students committed to being there too. And if they choose to follow the breeze, I still pay for the space AND make a living!
And yes, when you only have sessions there will be people who don't have time/money/focus to commit. AND THAT'S OK! That leaves room for someone else to step up in the community and be the teacher who does drop-in classes. Also...you don't have to teach everyone! It's OK to only teach to the students you want.
If you can offer lots of classes, the subscription is interesting. Like, sign up for a session and for a bit more get access to all drop-in classes. I have lots of students who would love 2 (or 3 or 4) classes a week. Depends on how many classes you offer and how full they are.
Of course this all depends on YOUR niche and YOUR community and what YOU like to teach! SO! A good thing for you to do is to ponder what you like to teach and who your favourite students have been. Teach a structure that they will like!
Where is the thumbs up for this post???!!!
This is so helpful!
Does anyone have suggestions for this scenario:
I only teach once a week. Right now I teach drop-in but have lately been gettings so many students I won't be able to fit them in.
Let's say no one goes for the sign up class, do you guys cap your drop-in class? I suppose you do have to at some point... how do you go about telling someone who shows up that they can't join the class?
I do a series but offer different payment options. My students can pay per class, that way they don't lose out on money if they can't make it, or they can pay for the full term (10 weeks) which is cheaper than paying for each class separately by $15. Or as an alternate option, they can pay for half for any 5 classes, and get them ticked off when they come, then if they want to they can pay for the other classes. I have a course planner that they can look at to see what I'm covering each week so they can pick and choose if they're not coming to every class.
This is the first time using this method, and I haven't started it yet but will be in 2 weeks... so hopefully it works out ^__^