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#165872 - 07/09/05 10:18 PM Membership fees?
FightSchool Offline
Newbie

Registered: 07/06/05
Posts: 23
Loc: Windsor England
Most dojos /clubs charge fees to become a member. I currently do not, apart from the increased income what advantages / disadvantages are there with membership fees?
_________________________
Kind regards Shi Miao Zun
www.fightschool.co.uk

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#165873 - 07/10/05 10:05 PM Re: Membership fees? [Re: FightSchool]
Kintama Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts
Non-affiliated membership fees for MA are similar in marketing strategy as contracts. They are both only for finacial commitment and are for the business owners financial security and/or greed.

It's been show in health clubs, that membership fees and contracts do not deter someone from quitting when they really want to.

If you aren't making enough to keep the dojo open, then be honest and increase the monthy dues. Membership fees are only legitimate if students need to be members of an affiliated organization. Could I ask: Do you pay yearly membership to the Shaolin Temple? and are your students required to do so?

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#165874 - 07/12/05 07:26 PM Re: Membership fees? [Re: Kintama]
FightSchool Offline
Newbie

Registered: 07/06/05
Posts: 23
Loc: Windsor England
Thanks for that. No i dont need the membership fees for cash flow that is why i did not introduce memebership fees in the first place.

As for Shaolin and sending money to the temple, no i dont. I do however make donations to Fawang temple which is where i was living its about 6 miles from the Shaolin Temple. Shaolin is now a tourist attraction, i would send money there but shaolin has changed massivly in the last 5 years. The government closed and knocked down all the schools and has rebuild the whole town just to be a tourist spot. It is all about money now, noone trains there. The wushu guan is next door and the only school that was allowed to stay open. I was only trained in Shaolin for a few weeks before it was destroyed, my school moved to Fawang temple and i trained under Sifu Shi Heng Jun, then began training with Sifu Shi Yan Jang and later traned a little with Sifu Shi De Yang. Most of the Schools are in Deng Feng now, no donations to the temple go anywhere toward what the temple once was.
_________________________
Kind regards Shi Miao Zun
www.fightschool.co.uk

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#165875 - 07/13/05 01:56 AM Re: Membership fees? [Re: FightSchool]
Kintama Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts
That is truely sad. I'm sorry you witnessed that...it probably made it all the more painful.

My scepticism comes off as disrespectful...I'm working to improve my communication skill on that. no ill-intentions to you or your school.
-Ed

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#165876 - 07/13/05 06:38 AM Re: Membership fees? [Re: FightSchool]
GaryHanson Offline
Member

Registered: 05/25/05
Posts: 83
Loc: London, England
My sensei makes two charges.

a) a charge per lesson
b) a yearly charge

According to sensei, the money he charges for the lesson goes to pay for the rental of the hall.
The yearly membership fee is there to cover our insurance payments.

I can't really see what difference it makes; but he says it is easier for him to keep it seperate.

Gary
_________________________
... I'm just moving clouds today; tomorrow I'll try mountains.

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#165877 - 07/13/05 09:11 AM Re: Membership fees? [Re: FightSchool]
Mike_Massie Offline
Newbie

Registered: 07/12/05
Posts: 7
Loc: Austin, TX
I don't see anything wrong with charging a membership fee for the use and upkeep of the facilities, so long as the money goes toward buying new equipment and maintaining the studio. We typically charge a minimal fee when someone joins, in addition to their monthly tuition, that is used to help defray the cost of wear and tear on our equipment and facility.

Facility upkeep and equipment replacement can get really expensive, especially when you have some really hard training going on. (I'm sure we've all seen someone rip a kicking shield or accidentally kick someone into a wall during practice.) But, most students don't consider that their instructor has to replace equipment on a regular basis. That money has to come from somewhere, and there's really no reason why it should come out of the instructor's pocket when it's the students who are "borrowing" the instructor's equipment and facility.

On the other hand, charging an unreasonable sum of money for a "down payment" doesn't sit quite right with me. In my opinion, schools do this based on the knowledge that the majority of their students will quit within the first year. Therefore, they try to get as much money out of the student up front as possible.

Still, if you're charging a reasonable amount for facility and equipment upkeep (or for insurance, etc.) then by all means it's quite alright to shift those costs to your students.
_________________________
Michael Massie, author "Small Dojo, Big Profits" www.Starting-A-Martial-Arts-School.com

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#165878 - 07/23/05 01:39 AM Re: Membership fees? [Re: Mike_Massie]
Kintama Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts
That sounds reasonable Mike, but there still is one grey area...If a sensei is maintaining a dojo for a living (full-time without regular supplimented income)...he/she has to work in his/her salary as part of the dojo costs which get passed on to the student....which is also reasonable.

my question is simply this: How much salary does a sensei pay him/her self? A public school teacher gets about $40K. A full-time private university professor get's about $100K. Should a dojo owner give themselves $297,000 and pass the cost on in the form of business plans?

Thank-you in advance for your reply.
-Ed

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#165879 - 07/24/05 07:47 PM Re: Membership fees? [Re: Kintama]
Bushi_no_ki Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/03/05
Posts: 1667
Loc: POM, Monterey CA
Kintama, a reasonable salary for a dojo owner/sensei would be based upon some sort of percentage of the net profit, with the rest going into the account to be saved for later expenses (ie replacing the mats/larger equipment, major redecorations/upgrades, maintaing a computer for business needs). After a few years, if the dojo savings account is flush with more than enough cash (and that amount depends upon all your running costs and size of school), then a dojo owner might chooses to increase their salary.

A membership fee can be reasonable, as long as the amount is reasonable. I won't set a dollar amount, because $50 US might be reasonable for my area, but is unreasonable for a smaller area, and would be piddly pocket change for some larger areas.

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#165880 - 07/24/05 10:03 PM Re: Membership fees? [Re: Bushi_no_ki]
Kintama Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts
my point is greed. would an owner remove the extra fees if the income was sufficient? some...but certainly not the ones personally raking in $200,000+ per year.

bushi, salary means takehome pay before taxes...this is NOT the money put into the dojo necessarily.

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#165881 - 07/25/05 09:32 PM Re: Membership fees? [Re: Kintama]
Bushi_no_ki Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/03/05
Posts: 1667
Loc: POM, Monterey CA
Yes Kintama, but the mistake that many dojo owners make is that they consider all the profit to be their pay for operating the dojo, and don't leave any behind for the dojo. So the well meaning sensei who's trying to teach real MA and charges reasonable prices ends up flucshing his dojo down the toilet, whereas the mcdojo down the street ends up making a bundle because the owner went to business school and knew how to run a business.

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