July 2

Why Does a Kebab Cost More Than a Martial Arts Lesson?



I wrote an article a few months ago about why martial artists should charge £90 per month for training. If you missed it you can read it here. However one of the things people talked about most was a reference that I put in around the average martial arts class costing less than the price of a kebab.

Now I love kebabs! I love steak, chicken, donner meat and they are a staple part of the end of any night out, however, does a kebab really offer the same value as a martial arts class?

Now the martial artists reading this will automatically shout a big NO! So it begs the question as to why martial arts instructors still charge £5 per class? I hope to answer this question.

The End of Good Night Out

We have all been there. It’s 3 am and after a fantastic night out where we danced as if we were Patrick Swayze (or at least that’s what we think we look like), but all of a sudden the night is over and we crave that food of the Gods. A food I am sure Odin himself eats each night, yes I am talking about the lure of the Kebab.

So off we trot, the world is slightly wobbly and the girls have their shoes off and their make up is running. It doesn’t matter, we all stand waiting for that little package of heaven and we hand over our £5 notes and for that split second things don’t get any better!

Now after our moment of paid for glory we get the wrapper and push it into the nearest bin before getting in the nearest highly overpriced taxi.

If you want chips with your kebab and a coke you are likely to push past the £5 barrier and you £10 note will see only a few golden pound coins returned.

People pay this money because they really want that kebab. It wouldn’t matter if it cost twice as much as they have budgeted for it and its part of their night out so why is it then that martial artists still only charge £5 per class and often feel embarrassed to take the money?

Monthly Pay Is the Only Way to Go

I speak to a lot of people and get asked a lot of advice. Sometimes I know the answer from my own knowledge or I use the information I have gained from others to help. The big question I get these days is all about price and what to charge.

I have one realistic answer. That is they can charge whatever they want but do it monthly via direct debit.

The reason I say this is because the club gets paid if the student is ill, they get paid if the student cant finish work on time and they get paid when it rains, is cold or if the student just plain doesn’t feel like it.

Now I was being tongue in cheek slightly when I said charge people £90 per month for training, I still think this is a reasonable amount but I understand why people feel its too much. However, I certainly think that £40 is fine.

For those nervous about direct debits and monthly fees you can start off at the lowest possible amount:

£40 per month or £10 per class.

It’s £40 per month for one session per week.

It’s really that simple. Martial arts is a commitment and the student commits to you, now as well as showing up to class that person shows their commitment by paying monthly. It’s not a hard thing to ask for and as the instructor, you can gain financial stability.

Of course, each gym has shift workers who can’t make a class, we all have issues that mean that training is sometimes only possible once a month and that is why you charge £10 per class for those that won’t go on direct debits. It’s their choice.

And the best part is that the student will pay this amount! Why? because they want your training just as much as we all want that kebab at the end of a night out.

Add Value To Justify The Price

Now there will still be some really nervous coaches reading this who feel that people either won’t commit or just won’t pay that extra amount and will quit training. I understand this but being super cheap just won’t work in today’s market. Inflation is the real problem you have because all economies grow and as such the cost of things go up. Fuel, gas, food, house prices to name but a few all rise and rarely fall. As a result, you need to be aware of this and charge a fee that works for your business and not the students.

You can’t beat gyms and I really mean this. You can’t compete with them on prices because you won’t win. They can charge £10 per month these days as they have a far larger customer base, not everyone will want to train in martial arts but a lot of people will go to a  gym.

You have martial arts on your side and you offer a service like no other where people will grow both in a physical sense and also a mental sense. They will feel more confident and it will show and others will notice this change.

If you still feel like you are stealing money if you charge £40 per month don’t. Instead, offer things that really close the deal.

For example, create an online membership programme that is free for all students and upload videos and nutrition and training guides that only members can access.

Have a private Facebook page where you can offer those same free videos and share articles online that are useful.

Give a free T-shirt, uniform or gi ( you can get them really cheap).

It’s totally up to you but you commit to your students each and every week, give them advice and hear their moans. You help them through gradings and are there no matter how bad a day at work they have had.

Or you could totally ignore what I say and just keep charging the same or even less than the price of a kebab.

I just think it’s time that martial arts instructors should no longer need to struggle. Remember that people really do throw half-eaten kebabs on the floor when they have had enough.

The future is yours, but wouldn’t it be nice to see martial arts instruction as a legitimate career!

Keep safe and as always please share this article


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