What should you charge?

One of the most challenging things about opening a martial arts studio is determining what you should charge. On one hand, you want to turn a profit, but on another hand, you want to make sure you are adding martial arts students and retaining the ones you have. The key is to find a fair price that compensates you for your space and your – or your employees’ – work. Here are some tips for determining your rates:

Figure out the structure
Will your studio offer private classes or group classes? Open studio time? Will you offer family rates? Fixed monthly rate for unlimited service? Will you supply uniforms and belts? If so, it may be possible to charge a bit more, since students won’t have to go out and buy their own. It’s important to determine the structure of the studio before even thinking about charges. Not all martial arts services are equal, and there are some that should definitely cost more than others.

Consider nixing the contract
Many martial arts and other types of fitness classes lock their students into a contract. While this can be a good way to get a lump sum of cash up front, it can prevent people who aren’t sure if martial arts is for them from joining. Consider allowing prospective students to pay per class, at least in the beginning. After all, people are much more willing to shell out $10 than $100 for something they may be on the fence about. This is especially true if you’re gearing your classes towards children. Since kids can lose interest quickly, your studio will appeal more to parents than studios that don’t offer trial classes or pay-per-class rates.

Look at studios around you
A martial arts class in Southern California or New York City is sure to be more expensive than a martial arts class in Nebraska. There’s no set price for the entire industry. Look into other studios in the area to find a comparable rate. It’s also important to look at the types of classes and services offered in your area. If you offer private classes, you can charge more than you would for group enrollment without looking like you’re gouging your students.

Stick with what you decide
If you choose a price for your martial arts studio membership, you need to stick with the price for quite a while. While you may be sure that you could make more money by bumping dues up $20 or so, it may not work out that way. If your students and members feel betrayed by a quick spike in prices, it’s very possible that you could lose a lot of business, potentially causing you to make less money than before. If you do decide to raise prices, be sure to give everyone plenty of notice. Your students and studio patrons will also appreciate the transparency and likely stick around despite the price hike.