There are many questions that we hear as business owners and martial arts instructors. How many days are you open? What are you hours? How much does it cost? Those questions and others are very common. Each is important to the person calling, as they should be.
Many of us live paycheck to paycheck. Those of us with some discretionary income must still budge to make sure that we are able to afford the extra things that we want in life.
Some of the questions stated above are really easy to answer. Others, well not so easy. Here in our city of Colorado Springs there are many different Karate schools and kids activities for our children to participate in. When calling around you may receive different pricing quotes that range vastly. Why are they so different? Most of the time they are so different because of the different "pricing games" that are being played on the phone. Sure, there are some of us that stay above board and relay to you truly need to come in and experience a class then sit down with us and hear about the different pricing options available to you. But some prospective students will push further and again say "What is the cost?". The problem with this approach is that cost is a relative word.
Let me try to explain.
A person is driving all over Colorado Springs looking for a new used car. New to them, but used by someone else. They don't really care about the make, model, or year of the car. All that concerns them is the cost. They finally find the vehicle at the cost point they want. "Wow! What a great deal.", they say to themselves. Being the suave people that they are, they go online and then call a dealership. "Hello Mr. Dealer. We are looking for a 2012 Jeep Cherokee with X amount of miles on it." The dealer replies to you that they happen to have that model of the vehicle at their car dealership. You ask about the pricing and you jump for joy because the vehicle that you found is a full $2000 less! Knowing that, you buy the vehicle that you found with the great deal.
Within a short amount of time things begin to fall apart on the new used vehicle that you found. You are putting a little bit of money here and a little bit of money there, soon it becomes a lot of money here and there. Then one day while driving on Academy Blvd., in Colorado Springs, you push the break but your car just keeps rolling forward until the inevitable happens...CRASH!!
The COST of the vehicle you purchased was not found in what you paid for it. The true cost was what you had to put into it after your purchase and the result of you buying strictly on price instead of value.
Martial Arts Schools/Karate Schools in Colorado are no different. Don't be mislead from someone on the phone telling you how low their prices are. There is a reason for it. Do they have a place that they are teaching out of? Do they have insurance? What about expenses such as lighting, equipment, instructors? How is the quality of their school in regards to the mats? What is the experience of the instructors? If all of these things are up to pair, then why are they, or should we say HOW are they quoting your pricing so low?
When you are researching classes for you and your children one thing that you should never do is enroll based solely on receiving pricing on the phone. What you may find out later is that the COST is far greater than the price mentioned. You see, that vehicle you bought for cheap, that you told everyone about the great deal you received, was truly no deal at all. Why? Because it cost you an accident. Your insurance now increases and you now have to not only payoff your current wrecked vehicle, but you need to now find another new used vehicle...Now how much will that COST?
Here are some tips so that you receive the VALUE that you deserve without later finding that the COST is just too great.
1. Know what you are looking for. I am not talking about a style or a system. I am talking about what it is that you would like your child to learn. Don'g be fooled. Every karate/martial arts school talks about instilling discipline, confidence, focus, and respect. The real question is HOW do they instill those things and is that something that your child needs? If your child already has those attributes and that is all that particular dojo, dojang, martial arts facility speaks about, then it may not be the right place for you.
2. Looooooonnnnnngggggg introductory offers. Why is this business giving me weeks and weeks or a month or more of free classes. When I bought my house they didn't give me all that time. When I bought my car, I didn't get all that time. I didn't wait all that time to ask my spouse to marry me. Wait, oops, sorry, yes I did lol. But seriously, often times we are pulled in by some long introductory offer thinking that we are getting something for nothing. We all know that simply is not true. No business can remain open if they do not remain profitable. "But what about charities?" Did you know that the former CEO of the Boy Scouts of America Wayne Brock make 1.3 million dollars! The President CEO of United Way Worldwide Brian Gallagher made 1.1 million doallars! The President/CEO of St. Judes Research Hospital, James R. Downing made 1 million dollars! (information provided by http://templestream.blogspot.com/2016/12/list-of-17-ceo-salaries-of-charities.html). I am not saying to not give to these charities. I am simply saying that by being a charity does not mean someone somewhere is not being paid. So martial arts schools simply cannot give away their classes, or you will find they will not be open for very long. If you are like the vast majority, you know if you like a place or if you are the right fit the first time you are there. If not the first time, definitely by the 2nd or 3rd allows for you to know for sure if the facility you are in is the right one for you.
3. What are you goals for you and your child(ren). This kind of couples with item #1. If you goal for your child is to learn self defense for real world situations, but the class seems to be more about performing kata/poomse/forms, then it may not be the right fit for you. No school can be all things for all people, so find out what they DO NOT DO as well as what they do. Beware of he who says he does it all. Even doctors specialize. I am not sure that I would choose a brain surgeon who is also a family practitioner, podiatrist, and Ophthalmologists. He will most likely been ok in them all but great in none, or be great in one and just getting by in the others.
4. Know your budget but acknowledge the value. Do not call around and base your decision upon a price told to you on the phone. Participate in a class. See how they teach and how they teach. See the opportunity available for you and your child. Is there a program that allows for your child to learn to lead or will he or she always just be told to be. It was said to me many years ago that the difference between the American society and that of Japan is that in American we teach our children how to be good employees. In Japan, they teach their children how to be the business owner. Make sure that the school you select supplies a leadership program. There is no failure in leading, that is called learning. But if the instructor never teaches your child to be a leader and never supplies the opportunity to lead, how then will your child ever develop into a leader? That important attribute as well as much more will help you to determine the value of the class. When dealing with the safety of your children, spouse, or yourself, it does not matter if the price is just $1 a month if the content of the curriculum does not meet what you are looking for or the goals that you have set.
Through following the above tips you will find that the school that you select will be worth the price and you will not experience the negative cost by selecting an activity based upon what may appear to be a low deal price, that in the midterm and long term may cost you dearly.