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How Much Should You Charge for Martial Arts Tuition?

by | Offline Marketing & Sales

Setting Expectations for Martial Arts Students Upfront

Authority is highly influenced by emotion.

While your staff and students may intellectually understand that you are the boss and master instructor, they have to feel it, not think it.

It’s the emotional connection that anchors your authority on a deep level.

If there is one powerful moment in your role as a professional martial arts instructor, it’s in the enrollment conference.

While the parents may see you as the master black belt, they usually don’t have an authoritative reverence at this early stage.

The enrollment conference is a seminal moment for you to establish your authority and gain the respect and gratitude of the family you’re dealing with.

Presenting the programs and their cost to parents can be tense at times. Some parents want to negotiate. Others might object to the agreement. Some want a safety net in case their child wants to quit.

While it’s important that you are prepared to overcome any objections, it’s when the bottom line is signed and the initial investment is completed that you have a critical window to demonstrate your authority.

Many owners complete the transaction and gush with statements like, “Awesome. It’s great to have you on board. Johnny, you did an awesome job tonight. High five! Thanks Mrs. Jones it’s great to have Johnny as part of our family. Let me know if I can help with anything.”


Who has the role of authority here? Mrs. Jones and her credit card. That was a missed opportunity.

Let’s try again. You would adjust this script to the age and circumstance, but here is an authority template for the enrollment conference.

Mom has just enrolled Johnny into the program.

You, “Johnny. You want to learn Empower Kickboxing, right?”

“Yes sir.”

“Good. I want you to understand that your mom just enrolled you into a six month program. You are going to learn a lot of great skills and lessons. It’s going to be fun and sometimes it’s going to be hard. That’s the good part because that means you’re learning. So you have to pay attention and practice at home 20-minutes a day when you don’t have class.

Are you going to work hard and practice?”

“Yes sir.”

“I’m glad. Your classes are Monday and Wednesday at 5pm. When are your classes?”

“Monday and Wednesday at 5pm.”

“Good. You’re a smart guy. That means that you have to be ready to come to class by 4:30 on Monday and Wednesdays so that you’re not late. Will you do that?”

“Yes sir.”

“No matter what you are doing, you will be ready by 4:30, right?”

“Yes sir.”

“Good. The first lesson is integrity. Integrity means that you do what you say you are going to do. You keep your promises. You promise to work hard and be ready for class, right?”

“Yes sir.”

“No matter what you’re doing. Right?”

“Yes sir.”

“Great. We’re going to be so proud of you. Your mom just enrolled you, so please turn to her and say, ‘Thank you mom.”

“Thank you mom.”

“Alright. When someone does something good for you, you always say thank you. That’s called gratitude. What’s it called?”


“Correct. So you’ve learned two important lessons today. Integrity and gratitude. What does integrity mean?

“Keeping your promises.”

“Yes. What does gratitude mean?”

“Saying thank you.”

“You got it! You are going to do great, I can tell already.”

“Remember, your class is…”

“Monday and Wednesday at 5pm.”

“When will you be ready to come to class?”


“You have a good head on your shoulders Johnny. You’re going to be good at this.”

“Because you’ve showed your mom gratitude and you’re going to keep your promises, here is a school t-shirt for you to wear. Every time you put it on, I want you to think of integrity and gratitude. Will you do that?”

“Yes sir.”

“I just gave you a shirt. How do you show gratitude?”

“Thank you sir.”

As taught in the MATA Certification program, it’s also a good idea to let mom know that it’s important that she control what Johnny is doing around 4:30 which is the agreed upon to be ready for class.

If Johnny is playing with his friends or deep in a video game, it’s going to be harder to get him to get ready than if he is cleaning his bedroom or something he’d like to leave to go to class.

Keep in mind that mom is watching this happen before her eyes. What have you done to establish your authority?

  1. You’ve provided her with a language pattern that both her and Johnny understand. This is huge.
  2. You’ve given mom the “integrity” framework to deal with any reluctance to go to class.
  3. You’ve provided her with a strategy to engage Johnny in less fun activities so that going to class is an easy decision.
  4. You’ve laid out when Johnny should get ready for class without complaint.
  5. Before her eyes, you taught her son important lessons with real world examples. No doubt, your authority sky-rocketed in her eyes and in her heart.

Look for places where you can make these kinds of strong emotional connections.

Demonstrate true authority and leadership. That will last much longer than a trite, shallow compliments like “Awesome! Good job.”

This will help your students to understand how and why they are training with the best school.

by Joe Galea, Member Solutions, The Official Tuition Billing Company of MATA

It’s generally a good sign that you can increase your membership price if more than 15% of your memberships are paid in full.

Another time to comfortably raise prices with members: when you can justify the increase. Have you purchased new equipment recently? Invested in new instructors and staff? Added new services or Fitness programs? These improvements can be highlighted in the member price increase letter and serve as tangible enhancements that validate a price increase.

How Much Should You Charge?

When you raise your prices, you have to be extremely careful not to raise your prices by too much, otherwise you could lose members and be worse off than you were beforehand.

Here’s an example to illustrate my point:

Let’s say you have 100 members paying $100 per month. That’s $10,000 in monthly dues. You decide to increase your membership fee to $150 per month. If everyone accepts, your gross jumps to $15,000 and you have a positive cash flow gain of $5,000.

But what if half of your members feel that’s too much and drop out? Then you have 50 members paying $150 for a total of $7,500 or a net cash flow loss of $2,500.

Here’s an interesting fact to keep in mind: if you lost 30 members due to the $50 membership price increase, you would be left with 70 members at $150 … in other words, $10,500 in monthly dues. That’s a $500 monthly cash flow gain. You may be thinking … “that’s great!” But wait. Yes, you’ve gained some money but you’ve lost 30 members. That’s 30 fewer members that can refer new business, buy retail, attend events and purchase additional services.

Here are two steps to take to help determine your price increase:

Know what your competitors are charging. Search the web. Most Fitness businesses post their rates and specials on their websites. If they don’t, give them a call or have a friend of yours reach out. You could also send a “silent shopper” to the competitors in your area. Not only will you find out what they charge, you’ll also get a sense for the quality of service they provide.

Know what your members pay currently. It’s easiest to track the current rate your members are paying by using a software product like our member management software or the member reports in theMember Solutions billing portal. If you have a price difference of $10 from your highest to lowest rates, then you have less room to move. If your members are paying somewhere in the middle, you have a lot more room to move your membership rates.

How Do You Let Members Know About the Change?

Give as much notice as possible. I recommend notifying your members at least three months in advance to the increase if you can. This gives time for members to accept the change. Keep in mind that many members will forget about the change when it comes into effect. You should immediately update your marketing materials to reflect the new prices so new members have the new rates.

Write a letter
. You’re in a relationship business and have developed close relationships with your members. That said, you shouldn’t just send an email out. It lacks that personal touch. A personalized letter is a key part of delivering the news. A letter is more professional than an email or poster.

Be sure to explain the increase and address when the rates were last changed. Let your members know that they are important and that they can speak with you if they have any questions or concerns. Doing so opens up the lines of communication where you can address concerns individually and perhaps offer exemptions to those that cannot financially make the change.

Also make sure you justify the change in your letter. If you have invested in new equipment, added new services, or launched new classes, point that out.

If you cannot highlight the pros and differences that your services and facility offers over your competitors, then a rate increase may not be the best thing to do. This leads back to being better than your competitors, knowing their rates and why you’re better.

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