Setting Your Rates
Denise P. Ohio
I am a new Simply Music teacher. I am in the process of writing up my studio policy and setting fees. I am curious….do you have a different fee for private lessons versus shared lessons? I am starting out private at this point, until my studio grows. However, I would certainly like to encourage shared lessons in my efforts.
For those of you who have a different fee structure for private and shared lessons respectively, how did you determine what that would be? For example, if you charge $20 for a private lesson, do you charge $15 for a shared lesson?
I know there is a ton of information in all of the Teacher Training Materials (TTM) regarding this topic, but I would love to hear experiences and advice from any of you who would like to share.
Mark M. New York
I used to charge $25/private lesson with a traditional method. When I switched recently to Simply Music, I decided that I should earn more per hour than that because of the value of Simply Music, but I felt it important to charge less for shared lessons, since even two people together could easily turn into more earnings per unit of time for me compared to private.
I wanted to be able to easily apply credits for lessons I might cancel, and I realized that basing a monthly rate on a per lesson fee that was a multiple of $3 would yield a monthly rate that was also an even $ amount, making it easily to accommodate credits.
I ended up selecting $33/private lesson and $21/student in a shared lesson. This gave me more value for SM private lessons compared to my traditional lesson fee. It allowed me to market that you could save money compared to my old traditional lesson fee if you went shared, even as a shared lesson with just two students would provide me with $42, so more than the private SM fee for just a few minutes extra lesson time.
And in both cases, these translated to nice simply monthly amounts by x 52 / 12 to yield $143/mo for private and $91/mo for shared. So then it’s easy to apply a credit of $33 or $21 to each of these numbers as needed for when I feel it’s appropriate. If I ever raise my fees, I’m likely to do so in increments of $3 to keep this simply monthly/weekly math.
I understand that some SM teachers charge as much or more for shared lessons than I do for private. It really comes down to your market and your comfort level. Either way, the multiple of $3 thing is a useful guide if you plan to generalize a per-lesson fee to a per-month tuition check and want to make it easy to give credits when you need.
Amy G. Virginia
I charge $11.25 per lesson for a flat fee of $45 for 4 weeks for Levels 1-3. At Level 4 the fee is raised to $15 per lesson/$60 per four weeks.
I am WAY lower than everyone here in Northern Virginia. I don’t advertise private lessons only shared. Once in a while I have a private student for one reason or another but it is a temporary situation and I move the student into a shared lesson as soon as possible. It isn’t worth my time to spend 30 minutes with one student when I could be with four or five for 45 minutes and make more money. If I’m taking time away from my kids I should be making more $$ while I’m doing it.
I struggled long and hard with whether to charge more or less and decided that the “music for everyone” should be reflected in the price as well. The result…I am currently at 18 students and I have only been teaching since May. The bulk of my students came in September. I am doing a marketing push right now for the holidays and the price is very attractive to parents who are struggling in this economy but still want to give their kids a music education. EVERTHING costs way more than $53 per month AND their kids are doing “unbelievably” well! They love the value AND the program. They can’t believe how much they get for so little AND how fast their kids are progressing! It makes them happy AND I feel REALLY good doing it!
Denise P. Ohio
Thanks so much to those of you who shared ideas! It sounds like many of you do charge more for private lessons. However, if you charge more for private lessons, do you create a perception that private lessons are more valuable? How do you explain to parents or adult students your rationale for charging different rates?
Does anyone out there charge one flat rate….. for example: $20 for a 25 min. lesson (one student)….. same price for shared lessons, but they are longer, by 5, 10, 15 min. (depending upon how many students). I say this because, we as Simply Music teachers place a high value on shared learning, so if we reduce the price, are we de-valuing it?? Not sure if that makes sense. I would appreciate any thoughts.
Anyone out there teaching shared lessons only. How do you do this if you are just starting out?
Mark M. New York
I think that’s a perception you have to manage. It’s not hard to make people realize that even two students in a shared lesson can earn you noticeably more than a single private student, that the increase is price is you demonstrating that your time is valuable and you require extra compensation to give up the opportunity to earn even more in a shared lesson. And as soon as people see how much more you can earn in a shared lesson and you make the case for how much better shared lessons really are for the learning experience, it’s not hard to have the whole picture come together, for them to see that shared really is more valuable, and that it just so happens that they get to pay less to get more precisely because the sharing provides that opportunity for them.
Bernie A. California
When I started my studio, I was told many a good advice that I followed. I am glad that I did since I didn’t have to go back and explain to parents about changes that may affect them.
Here’s my two cents after having taught seven years now.
1. Don’t be shy about what you would like to charge. The fact of the matter is people will pay you what you are asking because SM is so different and worth it. At first, I was shy about asking for more tuition but over the years I increased my fees to a satisfactory level. I raised my private lesson rates an additional $85 per month and my group rates only a $5 increase starting Jan. 1. I have not lost any students. Obviously, I would only like to teach groups.
2. Don’t be shy about taking vacation as paid. I take eight weeks of vacation a year. My families pay me the same rate each month. I work my vacations around federal holidays. They need the break and so do you.
3. Write down everything in your studio policy that you would like to have in your studio. That way everything is clear. For example, you might want a written 30 day notice before a student can quit (this will give you ample time to gain another student if needed). Make sure they sign and agree to your studios policies so you can pull it out and show parents if they have a questions about something. Every year, I require my parents to read and sign a new studio policy as a refresher.
Like students, we have our ups/downs. When I take the time to evaluate what I could be doing other than SM, there is no comparison. The expectations that I have asked for in my studio policies, keeps me satisfied as a teacher and helps me to stay motivated during the valleys and plateaus. Hope this helps someone.