I've been at my current BJJ school for around 6 months after signing a 6 month contract. I knew my 6 months were coming up, so I asked the owner of the school to review the options with me again (there are different options for monthly versus lump sum and a few other number of installment plans). It turns out that there's an increase in price after the first 6 months and the contract length extended to a full year. I'm having kind of a hard time a) justifying this to my wife, and b) figuring out why anyone would operate that way. It's kind of bumming me out.
I like the owner, coaches and school a lot, and would recommend the training to anyone who asked, but I'm having a hard time figuring out whether I'm going to be able to continue at the school. I can't afford the lump sum payment, and frankly don't know about signing a 12 month contract in any case - monthly payments are significantly more expensive. Is this normal for Gracie Barra schools? What would *you* think in this kind of situation?
You may have to find another school. Sure, the training is really good, but if it is breaking the bank, time to move.
Originally Posted by asator
Research your options, then talk to your coach about your predicament. If he can't or won't help you out, move on.
Renzo has a school in my area, and in a recent moment of delusion when I thought my 50-year-old body could take the pounding, I stopped by. They wanted me to sign a one-year conract for I think $2400. (They seemed very nice, too.) I was cured of my mid-life crisis instantly. Now, there's another school in my area run by a very good instructor, Jason Scully, who's posted video on this site that people who know grappling a lot better than I do (not saying much) have commented favorably upon. (I know he's a good instructor because I watched his class, and he was patient, detail-oriented and attentive to all his students.) No contract, monthly dues of I think $130. Ultimately I decided against it because I work long hours and didn't want to take more time away from my family. But if I were going to do it, I would definitely go with Jason, which is not to say that the Renzo instructors I saw weren't good- they were quite good. But requiring someone to make such a long-term commitment seems unrealistic, and while I may be unfair about this, I can't help but think, "they just want my money." I do understand the other side of the argument -they have to do cash flow planning and they want to make sure their students are all-in. But if I were you, I would do some looking around, which it sounds like you may have to do anyway. Also, why would they jack your dues up after you've already demonstrated your commitment to the school? And no matter how good the training, won't that always be in the back of your mind?
Yeah, that's pretty close to the monthly fee. The initial payment schedule was kind of weird - there was an initial fee of $95 to join, plus monthly fees of around $110 per month. The new schedule doesn't include any down payment, but the only options are $130+/month or the entire year in one or two lump payments. Depending on how you look at the initial $95 join up fee, the monthly fee only went up about $10, but my wife pretty much fell out of her chair hearing the monthly check was going to be an extra $25, but that's not really a show stopper. I think the value is there, especially if I can make it to a few classes per week and open mat once in a while.
I'm more or less balking at the year versus 6 months - I haven't got any idea if I'll even have a job in 6 months, so it kind of makes me squeamish to sign anything for that kind of time frame. I was pretty much expecting to review what we had covered when I initially signed up and to hopefully pay for the next 6 months up front.
I prefer to go month-to-month. I have been training for about a year and have been injured a couple times. I also noticed that several of my classmates would sprain something and miss for a few months. Also, I could switch gyms when the instructor started to get on my nerves (too much macho BS). I paid $139 a month versus $1,200 for a year at my first school. Our county rec center has kick boxing and other training programs for about $60 a month.
Good luck and keep working out.
I hear it's cheap and widely available.
Originally Posted by battlefields
I've been emailing bjj schools in NYC in advance of my upcoming move, and I'm finding their obsfuscation about prices really off-putting. I can't seem to get a straight answer from anyone, and Renzo's even wrote back to say (and I quote) "After your free class you can sit with us at the front desk and discuss our membership criteria (including price) at that time." Just tell me already, or do you intend to lock me in the room and choke me until I sign?
People say great things about Renzo's, so why run your business like a clip joint? The judo dojos I wrote to, by contrast, were completely upfront. Damn my feeble knees.
Yeah, there was definitely some of that when I initially joined. Until we actually sat down to talk brass tacks it was pretty much impossible to get an idea of what it was going to cost. I think "it works out to about $100" was what I was told. I remember thinking more or less what you expressed - why is the money aspect so convoluted? I'm guessing the lack of "Oh, yeah, that's totally normal" responses means that it's not all that usual to experience the trade-up after already being a student for 6 months.
Ah well, there aren't very many options around here, and as much as I liked the people at the school I took judo at for a short while, the schedule didn't work out well for me and there were very few students there. It's cheap, but not at all widely available IME. I guess the bottom line is that I can either negotiate if I want to remain training there or just bow out. I just wonder how many people jump at the chance to sign a more expensive longer contract when faced with it, and what the purpose of even going that direction is. Seems like a good way to weed out students who view it as more of a hobby than a lifestyle choice, I guess, but IME, weeding out paying customers is the opposite of what you want to do.
And, no, this isn't a subtle way for them to get rid of a whitebelt spaz - if anything guys I train with criticize me for being the guy who says "Sorry.." after a slightly rough sweep or not being aggressive enough in some situations. "You could have had that if you had just cranked it on" is a fairly common thing for me to hear. I've never come close to hurting anyone in practice.