Studio Private Lesson Rates Not Upfront?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by freeageless, Mar 28, 2011.

  1. freeageless

    freeageless Active Member

    The studio I go to and most studios it appears do not tell you the private lesson rates upfront. They almost always offer you a free private lesson, and state that they cannot tell you what the private rates are until after the private lesson is over, because it depends on how many lessons you sign up for. That appears to me to be an attempt to emotionally and psychologically get the students to sign for private lessons. I do not live in New York City. However, I did notice doing a Google search that there is a studio there that does list the cost of private lessons on their website. It is called the Manhattan Ballroom Dance Club. It states under rates on that website $95 for one lesson, 5 lessons $93 per lesson, 10 lessons $89, 20 lessons $85, 30 lessons $83, and 40 lessons $75. I wonder what other posters think about the ethics of the many studios who do not list or tell their students the prices of the lessons upfront? Of course, I recognize that you can get a general idea of the private lesson classes by simply asking the students.
  2. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    You can only get a general idea from students. IME, in many cases, they are paying different rates. That's why the rates aren't posted, I assume. *shrug*
  3. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Oops. I guess I should have answered your actual question.

    It's a free market system. Studios get to set, advertise, discount, inflate, or otherwise change their prices as they wish. Students get to decide whether that works and, if not vote with their feet.

    Eh. I'm not sure it's an ethical dilemma. *shrug*
  4. DerekWeb

    DerekWeb Active Member

    same is true of many businesses. Try to find out the price of dry cleaning a shirt!

    Just NEVER sign up for a package deal if you are a rookie. Wait until you learn more about the service you are buying. If they will not sell you lesson by lesson, run away quickly.
    jerseydancer and dlliba10 like this.
  5. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    haha
  6. jofjonesboro

    jofjonesboro New Member

    I strongly second that recommendation.

    The OP is actually taking the right track by speaking with other students as long as it is understood that such students can provide accurate information only about the instructors with whom they've worked.

    Part of the problem in discovering lesson rates - especially for a newcomer - lies in the different statuses of various instructors. Those who work for a studio will often demand one rate while independent pros renting "time and space" at an open studio will have their own rates.

    Whether buying dance lessons or hiring a plumber, it's generally advisable to avoid providers who are reluctant to discuss their fees. You won't be able to enjoy dancing - or taking a hot shower - if you're constantly fretting about the costs.

    jj
  7. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    their rationale is alot of bull pucky...if they give a better rate for a larger package they should know what that is...I wouldn't dance with anyone who wasn't willing to do pay as you go...if I was inclined to pay in advance it would never be more than 10
  8. 3wishes

    3wishes Well-Known Member

    Well, freeageless, I pay as I go and always have. When I started - I took the "special" of two lessons and one group - for a fabulously cheap, unbelievable price. Agreed, it is a free market and in the business world - "teasers" "headlines" anything that draws a customer in. Now, that said, I prefer and always know up front - what costs are. Most of the studios I frequent post their prices on the web and in their marketing avenues.
  9. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member



    And it seriously pays to shop around for one that is up front about their rates, IMO, or one that advertises "no contracts."

    Studios can price however they want, and students can choose accordingly. :cool:
  10. nottomention

    nottomention New Member

    The better teachers don't normally push packages or give any major discount for multiple-lesson purchases for coaching purposes, though if you are going to do a pro/am competition with them they might reasonably want to negotiate the efforts leading up to a competition as a comprehensive project.

    On the original topic, while it's easy to see how lack of price information is frustrating to beginners, that's not really the problem. What is the problem is that the value of a lesson can range from more than twice what you pay, down into the negative realm of causing harm that will cost several times what you paid to later undo. Unless the posted price also captures a realistic sense of the value of the teacher, it's not really meaningful for anyone planning to continue in dancing.

    The best approach is usually to research specific teachers and then simply inquire as to their rates. Walking in a studio door and asking for private lessons at the desk is taking way, way too many chances on ending up with whoever has free time rather than someone who can really help.

    When unsure, stick to the group classes and use that entry into the studio to see if there are any teachers who appear interesting, either working with the group or teaching a private lesson.
  11. freeageless

    freeageless Active Member

    Nottomention , thanks that is exactly what I am doing. I am taking a group classes, and (of course they don't know it) trying to determine if they are knowledgeable and would be a good fit for me. For example some of the group classes teachers, I have already eliminated from my list of choices. Some of the reasons are, they seem impatient, disinterested, not that knowledgeable etc.
  12. nottomention

    nottomention New Member

    Good. If you can, look also at the people who are not teaching group classes but any private lessons that might be going on at the same time. And try to talk to those of the private lesson students who seem to display more of a genuine capability.

    In an ideal world, the best teachers would conduct some of the group classes even at an entry level, at least in a track for the more determined students. In the real world, it's unusual for this to happen.
  13. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    Most studios I've encountered will do pay as you go, but generally it costs more per lesson. Having been the one tracking people down for money, I don't blame them. It's a bigger accounting hassle when you're dealing with large amounts of people to have to hunt them down every single time and make sure they pay before they go out the door, because if they don't, they're behind, and then you aren't sure they're coming back and if/when they do you have to hit them up double, for that lesson and hte one they missed. Does not make you a popular person when you're having to bug them for money every single time.

    I also have no problem with the 'first one's free' concept. IME, the people who have an issue with this are the ones who have trouble walking away from the pitch afterwards (I will say--please don't buy and then try to get a refund because you didn't want to say no to someone's face. That's a big PITA for the people managing the money, too. Just say 'no thanks.') Usually the reason there's a 'package' is that's what works best for the majority of first-time customers (usually 3-5 lessons, that I've seen.) I've also never run into a studio/teacher who had a problem tweaking it for the individual--obviously it was a little different as I was coming in familiar with the general idea, but when I started with New Pro it was a given I didn't need the step-by-step trial package and this was more a 'do we get along' test than a 'will I like dance lessons' things, and there was no problem with them just giving me his price list and my saying okay, I'll buy ten now. Not the norm for a new student, but not a problem. And at both studios I've danced at, I have never had an issue with saying "Can I get X number of lessons?" even if X was not a value for a specific normal package.
  14. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    There is usually a discount rate for private lesson packages, with the packages not exceeding 10 lessons (at least at the indy studios where I go). The larger the package, the less the cost on a per lesson basis. For example: single lesson is $60, pack of three is $165 ($55 each), etc.

    Some studios here publish rates on line or have a printed rate sheet available at the studio, but some do not. I think that has more to do with the competition gaining marketing info, but I do not know that for a fact.

    In some cases, indy owners can (and have the right to) give more substantial discounts to somebody who wants a package outside the norm, say three or more lessons per week, every week. I did the same thing when I tutored high school students.

    All of the indies here offer pay-as-you-go for privates and group classes.
  15. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    sure ...but they ought to be able to privately articulate that to someone who is asking them... ie "depends upon how many lessons you take a week, how many you want to buy at a time?..do you have a number in mind?....when you do, we can let you know...or, if you are curious now, it is currently like this: buy 10 for x ...buy 25 for an eensy bit less, buy 50 for somewhat less, buy a jillion for a good amount less"...:)....again, I am personally very grateful to have always been on the pay as you go plan...and if an instructor has trouble keeping track of that...well...then I have larger concerns
  16. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    Yes.
  17. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    One instructor taking personal payments from a few students, fine and dandy, but if it's a studio and the money is made out to the studio, they track it, and it's not a one on one payment? When you're dealing with dozens of students, it's not the single teacher who has to keep up with it, it's the manager/receptionist/accountant--someone in a manager/clerical position. If you're in a situation where it's not a simple matter of 100% of the lesson fee going to the person teaching it, you can't always have a completely casual "however you want to pay" system.
  18. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    Right, for me taking payment from a student...
    If you buy 20 at a time... you have to sign out in my lesson log and you can leave.
    If you buy one at a time... you have to sign out in my lesson log and pay me and you can leave. It takes almost no extra time.

    For a studio of 8 teachers taking payment from eight students...
    If you buy 20 at time... you have to sign out in the teachers lesson log book and you can leave.
    If you buy one at a time... you have to sign out in the teachers lesson log book and EIGHT students descend on the receptionist at the same time wanting to pay creating a log jam at the desk and makes the receptionist want to tear her hair out with everyone jockying for her ear and attention, while the phone is ringign too and she is trying to schedule students for their next lesson at the same time.

    It can take up to a half hour of time to greet each student individually, find their charts, run credit card payments for one lesson or find change for cash, take signatures and schedule people. And then the receptionist has about 15 minutes to do regular duties before it starts all over again.
  19. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    It is never, even for an independent, a situation of 100% going to the teacher.... but an independant does have power over thier business enough to be casual enough to say "however you want to pay".
  20. ash_sk8s

    ash_sk8s Member

    Where I dance (The Ballroom Dance Company in Tigard, OR) the prices are all on the website and the only discounts given are for students under a certain age. But it's all upfront and I have never been pushed into taking private lessons at all. It's nice.

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