Paying monthly dues
My MA club (Obukan Judo) is currently pretty cheap. I say club because we have no dojo, we practice at a community center. A dojo would be great though, and though the people who run the school (board of directors) have been and continue to save toward that goal, it's not easy to get there when you charge $18 a month (at most).
So my school is coming to a crossroads: Raise prices? Require beginners to buy six-month packages (including gis)? Just continue fundraising? I've only been a student for a little more than a month, but it was the main subject of the last club meeting. It got me thinking, and since I have no experience paying for martial arts elsewhere, I'm interested to know what others think.
I hate contracts. People like me who are just getting into Judo don't want to commit to paying for months and months. I also don't like the idea of being forced to pay a markup on the gi just because of some arbitrary rule. Right now, you pay for the month at the beginning of the month. Nobody is locked into anything. It allows for maximum freedom while taking the minimum from students.
That's all great, but it would be nice to finally go to practice in a dojo. Where we don't get chased out by the wrestlers at the end of practice every time. And where the men's room doesn't smell like a sewer EVERY TIME. I'm willing to pay more per month, and I said so.
But what's reasonable? Is my hatred of contracts just going to have to deal because that's the way it's done in the MA world? Is the dojo a pipe dream unless the club ends up charging over $100/month like Bujinkan? I have nothing to compare any of this to, I just know I like my club. Reactions?
Two words: Bake Sale.
Seriously though, contracts are NOT that common or necessary, I think.
My current gong fu kwoon is run out of a VFW hall and we pay month-to-month dues well over what you pay for Judo, and it still barely covers the rent. I know sifu would love to have a full-time school with nice weapons racks and dedicated rooms for conditioning, sparring etc, and not have to train above a bar full of drunk veterans watching Jeopardy, but in this economy it's what we've got to work with, and it works just fine imho.
In fact, during the summer months we all get the **** out of the VFW and we go train and fight in a nearby park, under a big tree.
I think people put way too much stake into WHERE they train(i.e. fancy dojos with lots of pictures of dead Asian men and news clippings) , as opposed to HOW they train in today's schools...think of how many good pro fighters like boxers trained in absolute **** holes but still turned out fine. I think it's a safe bet many great judoka trained in a **** hole with a mat. I studied Judo in a stinky old college wrestling hall that was ancient and run down, but they kept the mats clean and it had four walls...what more do you really need for Judo?
Contracts suck. I think you'd have a hard time finding people willing to pay half a year in advance for something they may a) not like after the first day (Judo hard) and b) get hurt after a few months and want their money back.
Last edited by W. Rabbit; 3/03/2011 2:07am at .
contracts are not always a bad thing. sometimes they are good for the school and financially beneficial to you. sometimes they are a legal buttfuck.
if you like where you train, work something out with the school owner. if you can't, then find somewhere else to train.
also, feel free to post the terms of your contracts here before you sign them. we've seen it all.
Raise prices but keep it monthly for now. Having a monthly fee is a big draw for noobs like me IMHO, you can also give the option to pay in advance for 6-months to a year and knock maybe 5 to 10 Dollars off the monthly fee if they do so. As a comparable stat for you most MA gyms in the SF Bay Area are around $100/month, up to $200 for big names and/or more personal instruction. I know Portland has a fairly high cost of living as well though certainly not as expensive as it is down here.
But you've got a lot of room to raise prices, and I'm sure no one in your club wants to see it close its' doors which you'll have to do if you can't cover your costs.
I would rather pay more every month and have a dedicated space, I belong to 2 clubs one dedicated to BJJ and one MT and MMA and Boxing, together I pay around R 850 (wich is about 130 Dollars) it's expensive but the gym is always available so before or after class you can hit the weights, spar in the cage, do whatever.
Talking about contracts, I was looking over a contract for a gym here by me and they have a claus the prohibits you from training at any other gym, you cannot supplement your training in any way shape or form not even a weekly tai chi session in the park, Is this normal?
A contract that states you cant train in another dojo ....thats just wrong ! No way in hell id sign that one !! Im like you, I workout in 2 different dojos and if one told me i couldnt go to the other, there gonna lose my money. My dojos cost me around 150.(US) a month.
A good floor. A floor with heavy duty springs, or old tyres, or something (lots of howtos out there, lots of opinions), to make landing less painful, reduce the risk of injury, and increase member retention by not scaring people away.
Originally Posted by W. Rabbit
Good mats—not just clean, but good, with the right amount of give, neither too hard nor too soft. Maybe a crash pad.
That club is too cheap. Raise prices to 40$/month as long as you are doing 3 or more classes a week. That's STILL super cheap for good training and should give the club a lot more revenue for improved facilities.
I pay 135 a month, two schools. 1 HKD, 3 times a week 10th Planet 2 a week. 60$HKD 75$ BJJ.
I have manged to stay away from a contract at 10th planet, but that is going to change.
20 bucks a month seems reasonable for judo, sounds really reasonable.
Practice is twice a week, with a gentleman's agreement standing with the other judo clubs in Portland that we can attend. Not sure if that's "can attend once in a while" or "can attend whenever" but honestly twice a week has produced enough bruises for me, I'll keep learning before I do more than that.
I suggested $35/month if paid monthly, less than that if paying three months, six months, or yearly in advance, with discounts at each juncture. But good god, even doubling my current tuition sounds like it would be super cheap compared to these other places.