What’s the going rate for private lessons?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Discussion' started by Monkey_Magic, Sep 9, 2018.

  1. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    I teach my art in class, I offer advice when asked and I will also share the odd video or two - but I am not giving up time that is my own for no good reason, for less than its worth or for someone who doesn’t value what it means

    People teach for free all the time - myself included as I do charity events and will also help people preparing for upcoming events or similar by taking the extra time in class - but as the joker says “if you’re good at something never do it for free”

    If you work overtime you get paid significantly more for the inconvenience- if you get called in that can be double or triple...martial arts instruction is no different; back in the day you used to have to pay for the privilege of even being considered to train so things could be a lot worse

    The is nothing passive aggressive in my tone at all - it’s really simple; you want me to yourself you pay what I am worth

    Friends generally just buy me a Guinness and wind me up with systema videos.....
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  2. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    Look up what a good BJJ guy charges for privates...double that for a “name”

    Look at what seminars cost for these guys - Guro Dan is one example but even a low level “name” in martial arts will command between 1,000 and 2,000 CAD for seminars before flights and meals

    If people cannot afford privates with me they can do classes which ARE more affordable because they are group sessions and time already accounted for

    you don’t work for free or for cheap in your job don’t expect others to do it either
    pgsmith likes this.
  3. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    I'd also like to point out that;

    Not every instructor IS worth £XX per hour - and that is fine.

    An instructor I look up to put it like this;
    If you want to learn to swim, you attend a beginner's swimming class in your local pool. You pay a few ££ per session, and a little old lady teaches you the basic strokes, and gets you from one end of the pool to the other.

    If you decide you want to swim competitively, your local instructor may recommend you visit a regional swimming coach, who will be able to improve your technique so you can swim faster and more efficienhly than you did before.

    If you want to go into national, or international events, you need an instructor who can take you to that level.

    Not everyone wants to swim in the olympics. Some just want a few pointers on how to get the best out of their butterfly stroke so they can enjoy their hobby even more.
  4. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    That is a really crappy situation to find yourself inbut whilst you may find it harsh ask yourself why? Did the instructor lose THEIR income? Did THEY have a new family? Has THEIR rent increased? It isn't always about what you pay so much as what an instructor needs to earn

    My class rates in 5 years have risen once - by $5

    My privates are another story for reasons outlined

    There will be those in a cheaper bracket so seek them - the problem is if it is SPECIFIC training in the SPECIFIC system it isn't always an option...

    Find daytime classes - they are always out there. If there are none, save for the privates...if that is beyond what you can do right now then train at home, join a boxing gym or do anything else to maintain what you have until you are better placed...hell did anyone even READ the quid pro quo? I still do it and in fact did one this week

    And your priorities changed because of your family

    Guess why mine did and why I charge what I do?

    "I have a family and can't pay as much" - that is not ideal, and no one would wish it on anyone, but you are now saying your family time and money is more important than mine...no dice!

    And please don't act like I am Monty Burns just because I don't want to lose money when I am already giving up my time, paying rent, insurance and bills and want appropriate recompense
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  5. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

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  6. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    Score one for DH!!
    David Harrison likes this.
  7. Latikos

    Latikos Valued Member

    Because I have written, that I am sure, that the prices are probably alright, I take it?
    It's not more or less hard or run an MA business, whether or not *I* could afford a lesson at one.

    Where did I do that?

    I don't have an iPhone.
    Couldn't afford that either.

    Now please show me, where I said anything else or, more precisely, where I said anything of the above?

    Where did I say, an instructor has to have time when I want it?
    Where did I say, they have to make me their priority?
    Where did I say, or rather dictate them, what they are allowed to charge? Probably there, where I mentioned, that they're prices probably are okay? I don't even know the prices in Germany, so should I now pretend and claim they have awesome prizes in the UK/ US/ Canada? I can't say anything else but "they're probably okay", because I have no idea. I actually gave them the benefit by assuming that their prices are fair.
    Where I did I say, they are wrong with their charges?

    I said, that it's too expensive for me, or that it's tons of money for me, that I could never afford.
    Nowhere have I written, that they now have to lower their charges, to what I could pay.

    For all I care they could charge 1000 bucks. If they get it - hey, great for them! Honestly.
    I would still mention, that it's a lot of money for me.

    Goes for all my teachers, but no one of them lives from MA.
    But it also goes for most students.
    Just mentioning.

    I didn't say that, but thank you.

    I think, you know me well enough, that I take things like that serious and that I am the last person, assuming no one else is having problems.
    And your mentioned ones certainly are horrific and any sane person will feel sorry for it (even though it doesn't help you).

    But I felt the reason why it (problems people have) was mentioned in the first place, because here it reads as only instructors have to have fight, to get better, to find time to train, making sacrifices to be able to train or get seminars or whatever.

    But, as you mentioned: Everyone does.
    Some more severe than others, certainly, but in the end everyone does, so I don't think it should escalate into a contest, who's had tougher times.

    We're an e.V.
    No one lives from that, all instructors have everyday jobs and only teach a few times a week. As I understood, there isn't something entirely comparable in the UK/ US.

    Entirely possible.
    But this time I felt like some people here would start biting right away, because someone dared to mention, that the costs are too high for his feeling.
    A plumber would shrug it away and hand out the bill.

    Seriously, it's not about being fair.
    Life isn't fair and professionals have a business and can charge whatever they want.
    No question.
    And I can repeat it over and over: I even mentioned, that the prices probably are alright. I will never *know* it, so I go with "probably".
    But is that a reason to insinuate, that people who find the prices high, don't take MA as serious, as they do themselves?
    *That* is, what bugs me.

    I didn't even notice that.
    Thank you for taking away my innocence :p

    Cut the post as to not bloat my post even more.

    This post, for me, sound entirely different, compared to the posts before. Tone-wise.

    I read long enough in this forum to know, that you or Simon work with charities, so at no point was that my problem.

    My problem was, to repeat myself: Calling others stingy (learned a new word!) or less interested in the art(s) then instructors who give private lessons, only because they can't afford it.
  8. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool the merc with the mouth MAP 2017 Moi Award

    This probobly applied to a range of people, people who have it tough, and peope who have different priorities, luckily privates aren't a replacement for classes, just an addition, their not a necessity, just a bonus extra, not having cash for a bonus extra isn't a real problem, the problem is expecting people to Give up their time for no reward,when your not willing to meet them halfway.
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  9. Nachi

    Nachi Valued Member Supporter

    Interesting topic here :)
    First off: Wow, that's pricey as hell :D But... well... we have different prices here, I guess. Something I'd pay for a month at clubs mentioned here would be enough to pay half a year's membership in our dojo. I saw a private classes with our crossfit instructors for 30 USD approximately and it is far beyond what I'd be willing to pay and probably a bit beyond an average private MA class, I think. But I'll gladly admit I am a hobbyist :)

    I live off art and I can see a certain parallel, there. Although I do adjust prices based on who the commissioner is (but in this field they can be very varied, so...).

    It is something slightly different than teaching MAs, but if someone can't afford what an instructor offers, or doesn't want to, the instructor shouldn't be mean and tell them they probably smoke or drink, so if they want the class they can quit that and save. What is that? :D What they do is people's bussiness, too. And you never know. Likewise I see no reason for any instructor to have to defend and explain why they charge this and that. It is clear they want and need to make money, so if they have enough customers, it is obvious the prices would go up. That's just the bussiness.
    I agree with what Latikos said. It is totally pointless and unfair to judge people like that, based on what they can afford. But I am not disputing any prices anyone sets. Ifthey work for you, that is fine. It is up to the customers if they want to go for it, or go for a lower quality somewhere cheaper.
  10. Dylan9d

    Dylan9d Valued Member

    I read most of the replies and I have my own thoughts about it so here goes:

    First off I want to say that I'm training Silat now since 1998 and had a adventure to Krav Maga and Eskrima for a few years as a sidething. My teachers never charged much because in The Netherlands it's very hard to make a living out of martial arts. I work for the Police in Holland so the teaching I do is part time 2 times a week.

    However I don't see myself as a hobbyist teacher because I have spent as much or maybe even more time training than some fulltime teachers.

    That being said, if it's someones livelyhood, then they should charge a decent price for their time. Like @Hannibal and @Simon already stated, it is time that they are away from their family/kids/lives so it needs te be a good enough price to ignore that for an hour.

    For here in the Netherlands $120 or £120 or €120 is alot of money for an hour BUT in the end it's the instructor that sets the price for his time simple.
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  11. Thomas

    Thomas Combat Hapkido/Taekwondo

    We are in a tough spot ourselves where I live. We live in a historically poor area and we actually have a very good quantity of good martial arts instructors. All of them work day jobs to support their families and teach mostly for the fun of it, which means they seriously undervalue what they offer. In the area, most schools will charge $40-$50 USD per month for unlimited classes (well, limited to when they are open) and may charge extra for test fees. Most schools are lucky to bring in enough money to cover the rent and bills most months. This makes it really tough to try to run a top level professional school with realistic prices that would allow an instructor to teach for his/her living. Very few of the instructors offer private lessons because they are already teaching in their "free time" and class sizes are already fairly small.

    On the plus side, most of us get along very well and this allows for a lot of (free) exchanges and get togethers. It also removes most of the 'cut throat' competition since no one's making much anyways!
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  12. Monkey_Magic

    Monkey_Magic Well-Known Member

    I imagine it’s difficult to make a living from martial arts.

    As well as the aforementioned reasons, the market dynamics for martial arts aren’t the same as some businesses, e.g. quality and loyalty.

    Quality: In many (albeit not all) consumer products, the supplier can adjust quality in line with what customers are willing to pay. For example, a lower quality can enable lower pricing, which in turn drives higher volume of sales. It’s how Aldi sells a higher volume of products than Waitrose. In martial arts, however, we’d call that a McDojo.

    What’s more, price doesn’t always correspond with quality in martial arts. There are some outstanding instructors who charge very little. And visa versa.

    Loyalty: For most products and services, a customer can switch without issue. Not in martial arts. The psychological contract between instructor and student typically demands a degree of loyalty from the student. This isn’t a business relationship: martial arts aren’t like many businesses.
  13. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    Economy of scale is class vs. private tuition, isn't it?

    Very true.

    I can think of common business considerations that are analogous. If a business buys into a software, hardware or network solution, it can be prohibitively expensive and time consuming to switch to a different one, and you may even have to replace staff with others qualified in the new system.

    Devaluation of a skill by well-intentioned people doing it as a secondary income is a common problem in many areas. Knowing a lot of musical types, I see that a lot with music tuition. If Fred, a competent but unqualified guitarist, is teaching after work for £10 an hour twice a week, no matter how good his intentions for providing good value are he is making it harder for the people who have invested years of effort and thousands of pounds to provide a superior professional service to earn a living. This not only harms the incomes of individuals, but also creates a scarcity of people willing to provide such a high quality service, therefore reducing general standards.

    All of the above is with the caveat that I agree about your statement that there are plenty of people in MA charging prices way above their pay grade.
  14. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    Come back to what I said above re: swimming lessons.

    If someone just wants to learn to play a few times on the guitar as s hobby, then Fred's £10 fee is ideal for an amatuer teacher teaching a hobbyist.

    If someone wants to play guitar professionally, then they're not going to go to a part-time, amateur teacher. Given their need, they'll look for the teacher to take them to that level.

    Horses for courses.
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  15. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    That's a nice ideal, but unfortunately it isn't often how things work out, from the businesses I know about. Lowering of prices at the lower end tends to drag the other tiers down with it. Plus, even rank beginners will make faster progress, and be in a stronger position to continue their own self-led learning due to having stronger theory, if they start with a more skilled teacher.

    Any industry needs a certain amount of solidarity around pricing to prevent devaluation.
  16. Dunc

    Dunc Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    I believe that private tuition has some benefits other than those mentioned above:
    - You can tailor the content of class to your needs (for example working on developing your game and reducing trial and error as a result or allowing you to train whilst injured)
    - You get instant corrections to your mistakes (note: this is really good for beginners as I believe it's harder to change a habit after it's ingrained than learn it precisely in the 1st place)
    - You get a tough roll / sparring session with much reduced potential for injury

    As others have said the price is the price and you probably have to decide whether it's value for money or not based on your situation

    By way of context: I don't teach private classes for my "home style", but I predominantly learn BJJ via private 121 sessions (largely for the reasons outlined above) and, for me, they are worth every penny
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  17. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    There are pro's and con's.

    One thing that classes give you is a variety of bodies, approaches and attitudes to deal with. I think this is especially useful for building sensitivity, as you have to constantly adapt as you change partner.

    This is why my preference is for very small classes. You can assess everyone as they go along and tailor whatever you're doing to address each person's progression.
  18. Dunc

    Dunc Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    Yup agreed - although worth noting that you don't have to have privates with just one person
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  19. pgsmith

    pgsmith Valued dismemberer

    Threads like this one always cause the Rolling Stones to start playing in my head! :)
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  20. Unreal Combat

    Unreal Combat Valued Member

    Yep. I have been trained by multiple high tier champions in their respective sports at around that price (some have charged me less for travelling a long way).

    The problem is when you have good established people selling themselves for cheap prices like this, you really need to have a little something extra to justify charging more than competition.

    Personally I stick at around the same price when I give 121's but then I do it for the enjoyment of helping someone else develop, not for money or business purposes. As long as I can cover the bills and get new kit when needed I am not bothered about self profit.
    Hannibal likes this.

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