Thread: Martial Arts Contracts
1/20/2014 9:46pm, #1
- Join Date
- Jan 2014
- Tensing My Hara
- Hapkido/Aiki Jujutsu/ BJJ
Martial Arts Contracts
I am highly skeptical of the rise of martial arts contracts as a legitimate business practice. I wanted to post some information about contracts derived from other sources and then ask some general questions about how to deal with schools which utilize contracts.
Schools tout the benefits of contracts:
1. You will "commit" to long term training. Many McDojo owners delude themselves into believing this is to the student's benefit since they can't simply quit without giving the school a chance.
2. Students will typically be guaranteed some amount of advancement for investing in training long term. This will invariably not be merit based promotion and is everything that Bullshido hates in martial arts training.
3. Schools cut a "discount" for committing to multiple months or years of training up front. These discounts are typically engineered and fake.
Real Reasons that Schools Require Contracts:
1. Guaranteed Income - You hate training there, they still collect.
2. Up front income - Many schools will sell your contract to a collections agent for <100% of the value to get a lump sum, up-front payment.
3. Many schools suck and hope you won't figure it out until its too late.
4. Turnover - Schools do not have to guarantee that you will get quality instruction if the good instructors leave and poor ones replace them.
In my opinion, there is no legitimate reason for a school offering quality instruction to require contracts. I am very skeptical of schools that utilize this as a standard business practice. Now some background.
The first martial arts school I attended never used contracts. Tuition was paid monthly. Years later I went back to this same school and terms of payment were now 3 months but still did not require contracts. Recently I began investigating a well regarded BJJ school in the Washington DC area and found that they require a 1 year contract. To me this is not a deal breaker. First off, its only a 1 year contract where I have heard that it is not unheard of to offer 2-3 year contracts. Secondly, they are not offering a "black belt program" for signing up. They require bank account info to auto-debit monthly payments.
However, I still want to train at this school. I have been burned by contracts in other areas of my life and want to try to explore a compromise that may work. I do not want to sign a contract or give my bank account info out. This is what I came up with.
I would like to offer to pay for 6mo of training up front in cash, then to pay the second 6 mo (again in cash) after the first 5 months are up. I think this allows the school to achieve their goals and me to achieve mine.
Do you think this will work? We will see... I am going to make this offer tomorrow and then will report back with the results.
PS. If you have interesting stories or horror stories about martial arts contracts, I am hoping that this thread will be a home to air the dirty financial practices of illegitimate mcdojo's for the world to see.
1/20/2014 10:19pm, #2
1/20/2014 10:42pm, #3
- Join Date
- Nov 2010
- Tulsa, Oklahoma
- Arnis de Mano
It all depends if teaching martial arts is your business or just a hobby. Even legitimate clubs sometimes have to make business decisions to keep the doors open. The rent is due every month on the first regardless of when the students pay. The gym I used to teach at had no contracts and a discount program for advance payment. The resultů.after 7 years, the gym closed.
1/20/2014 10:54pm, #4
Uhmmm..... You must be reviewing some terrible contracts. Some schools guarantee rank, others do not. Quite a few offer month to month and contracts with deep discounts.
I understand contracts just like Omega. Suffice it to say, when you are teaching 100 students, but payments equal half that amount or less auto-pay makes perfect sense.
Dirty practices? LOL.
1/20/2014 11:16pm, #5
If I ran a pro school there is no way I would want to manually collect month by month. What a PITA that would be, chasing down every cheap dick. So happy we don't have to deal with that in my club, the Y handles it.
1/20/2014 11:27pm, #6
- Join Date
- Mar 2008
- Mount Olive, NJ
- Jits [2 Stripe White]
Plus a lot of great gyms understand if you're having an off month with low hours or something and need a hiatus. The contract, in that case, is not Pay or Get Fucked or anything.
1/27/2014 4:54pm, #7
- Join Date
- May 2009
It's possible that the OP is complaining about long-term contracts that are hard to break. I get auto-debited every month but I can break it at any time with no repercussions and return whenever I want and that's completely fine. The only downside is that tuition prices creep up over time while mine stays the same as when I first signed up, and if I leave and return I'll have to pay the same price as everybody else. I think this is an excellent system.
1/27/2014 5:01pm, #8
Here is a better question how many of these gyms are willing to go through the trouble of taking you to small claims court over a breach of contract?
1/27/2014 5:14pm, #9
We don't have them.
Hundred bucks a year insurance.
Thirty bucks a week.
Seven bucks a class.
And a lot of students who don't know how good a thing they are on.Whitsunday Martial Arts Airlie Beach North Queensland.
1/27/2014 5:30pm, #10