May 13

Making Money in Martial Arts- How to make more!


This article is the first of a series that addresses the money aspect of martial arts, it is intended to provide you with strategies and techniques that WILL add money to your club income and as such allow you live a better standard of life, by the end of the article you will be able to charge more money, earn more money and keep all your students happy. Sounds too good to be true, but I assure you it can be done!

I will look at 3 aspects in the series:

1. Class Prices


3. Instructor Courses

I have researched these 3 aspects in great depth and believe what I say will help you to put cash in your pocket. It is as plain a message as that. I’m not selling anything, I have no programmes, this is just pure advice. I learned a lot of lessons the hard way, from running a club that didn’t work and when I finally got things to work I had to stop teaching simply due to compete ting  demands in my life. However once I closed the doors on my own club I studied the art of making money from the martial arts, free publicity and running a successful club so that when the time was right I could run a business that paid from day one. I hope to give you some free snippets of advice that we add value to your bank balance.

The first aspect of running a class is to make more this month than you did last. This is a simple strategy and behind that one strategy is a complex web of possibilities that I haven’t got time to go into here but the first and most obvious is class cost.

How Much to Charge?

This is an interesting aspect, just what is your time worth, what value do you offer? Now I have paid 50 pence to £10 for a class depending on art and location. Sometimes I have trained with world champions and paid less than it costs to get a kebab!

The message I have to say here is simple. We are charging to little, yes too little. At this time we need to charge more and not less for our skills. To many of you this may sound like a difficult concept but hold on for a minute. What type of club are you? Are you a community club or are you a business?

This to me doesn’t matter too much but the main difference is that running a community shouldn’t effect your personal bank balance. Running a business will!

If you aren’t sure what the difference between the two is, it is that a community club will not make a profit for any individual, all funds go bank into the clubs pot and it will have a secretary and a chairman etc. A business is set up to make profits for an individual or a group of individuals. This is again a massive subject for now lets concentrate on class costs because at the end of the day that is what brings the money in. However if you are a community club you will usually charge less than what I suggest here, maybe even half. So please look out for a future post designed totally for community clubs. However if your income depends on running your club read on.

Monthly V Weekly

Do you collect your fees on a monthly basis a weekly basis or after each class? In this day and age you need to have one plan and one plan alone to survive. That is monthly payments! These are your bread and butter, your reliable students, your real source of secured income. Now Ideally set up a standing order with your bank and student via a simple form however you could consider using a billing company that collects the money for you. To find one one of these simply google it or look in any martial arts magazine.

Pricing Structure

If I was setting up a club I have 3 payment options

1. Monthly

2. Class by class

3. Shift worker Monthly

Now for junior students I recommend that you offer just one monthly fee and it is done by direct debit/ standing order. This is for several reasons I will address in another post. This post is designed for the adult market.

This is fairly basic stuff but one thing you may never have done is the shift worker part. I like to offer a shift worker option because this allows people to work a shift pattern knowing that they cant attend each class yet still they want to pay you by the month. It is a great arrangement that is beneficially for you both, they get a reduced price taking into consideration they cant make each class even if they wanted to, and you get a fixed monthly fee.

What should the student be paying?

This is the real meat of this post, what should you charge and what should your student be paying. Now before I talk about prices, lets talk about your customer. They come to you for a variety of reasons. You should of course be asking them what they want to gain from your class but some of the common answers are as follows:

  • More Confidence
  • Ability to protect themselves and their loved ones
  • Weight Loss
  • Improved Fitness
  • Social (make new friends)
  • Learn a new skill
Now if you were to break down each one of these things it is easy to see that the martial arts professional is a weight loss coach, self defence instructor, confidence coach,social club event organiser, relationship coach, fitness instructor and teacher.
So lets break this down even further, currently these proefssionals charge a lot but lets quickly take a look
Weight Loss Clubs-
Can cost about £19.99 per month to see check here or here. The 2 links here will show you that for just a weight loss club alone you are looking at £20 per month.
Confidence Coaching-
Well you don’t often even get to know their costs because most will force a call to find out but lets look at plain old Hypnotherapy costs about £65 per hour according to this website I’ve linked. Now yes, this would be a one to one session, so call a group session another £20 per month a bit of guess work there but I think that’s fair
So thats £40 before we even add on our specialism that is teaching people to look after themselves.
Now to go out an enjoy a social evening with friends will cost you anywhere in the region of £20 to £100. That would of course give you a great night out but how much did you spend for your last meal out? Your last drink in a bar? I am guessing at least £20 for a meal or drinks but more likely towards the £45 mark. A trip to the cinema maybe £20. You get the point.
What to Charge and Why
So I think I’ve made my reasoning clear. You are probably charging for your hard earned skills less than it costs to get a kebab, less than a night at the pub and less than a trip to the cinema. Why?
A lot of this has to do with the lack of business sense of martial artists. We are mare arts experts first and business people last or not at all, however you have a great product and a great message. You will enhance the lives of those who come into your clubs and as such you need to be charging a price that reflects this quality.
Now before you jump in, and are sitting there thinking that no one will pay my new costs remember this. You are not a life essential skill, you are not a life requirement. Your customers chose to come to you first!
By this I mean that if a student never had martial arts training then they would still live a normal life. If they didn’t have food they would die, heat they would freeze, no fuel for their car it would not run. Some things are essential, some like martial arts are a choice. By coming to you they made that choice in advance.Your student came to you wanting to learn martial arts, they wanted to get the skills you already have, they want to learn. The question here is not that they want to learn, it is what can they afford?
Can They Afford More?
I once had a student moan at me about the price of training and how they were struggling so I asked them how many pints of beer they drank on Saturday? The answer was 8. Now at £3.50 a pint we are looking at a bill of £28. I told him to have 4 less pints a week, lose more weight and still enjoy martial arts. He still kept coming.
Everyone has a choice and if you have a student come through your doors they have a choice as well. They have made the decision already that they want to learn. You need to have a price to reflect your skills and teaching, the quality of your product and what it will do for their life.
So here comes the big question, what should we be charging senior students?
Per Month
If you are charging by the month for a student the minimum in today’s economy you should be charging is £47 per month by direct debit or £50 cash. However I suggest to you that depending on what you offer, number of arts and times they can train etc you can use the following system. (its worked out as an average of 4 weeks per month)
If you still want to charge by the class then its a straight £10 minimum. Your skills are worth at least that much! But I would still charge more than it would work out on a monthly basis so depending on your monthly fee I would charge between £12 and £15 per class.
For shift workers offer sensible discount.
So if you charge £47 per month and have just 10 students you are looking at £470 per month. However you will still have juniors and the few that pay by the class.
Do you have 10 adults in each of your classes? Maybe and maybe not. In my experience its harder to get this number than people think. Yet don’t let this put you off because I’m sure that across your clubs and across your gym you have 10 people that train with you, maybe 4 on a Monday and maybe 4 on a Saturday and 2 on a Sunday. Whatever the spread you still have 10 people. The fact they can’t come to the other session is not your issue, you offer it to them. The choice is theirs.
Now if you have read this long post and been thinking to your self “you know what, I’m worth more but they wont pay it” Then I suggest you try it out. Your loyal students will appreciate that you have to earn your living and that you have costs such as rent, marketing and insurance. There will always be students that want something for nothing so create offers for those students such as:
  • Join Now and get 25% off for the first 6 months
  • First 30 days free
  • Free Suit
  • bring a friend and if they join you train for half price
  • family reduced memberships
You have so many options that it really makes no sense in not trying another solution.
The bottom line is that we need to be professional. You have costs, you are not free. You are a business. Remember when you got your black belt?, got in the ring for the first time? Or became a coach. Now that is the feeling of satisfaction you are selling. You are not selling just something to do for one or two hours a week. You are selling a skill! A life changing skill!
To finish I have this statement, Plumbers, Electricians, Mechanics, lawyers, Doctors, Chefs and any other profession that required years of study and have to pay association costs, training fees and more all charge a higher price for a specialist skill. You will teach a skill that allows a student to have a better quality of life. The key aspect here is to add value. You add value to the life of a person. So charge what you think you are worth!!
Now if you think this means I support charging a fortune for Instructor courses think again. The next post will go into details of this controversial subject.
Take Care




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