Studio Private Lesson Rates Not Upfront?

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

  1. dbk

    dbk Well-Known Member

    Yeah, see, the kind of student I'm talking about is.... well, I've seen a woman tear her instructor a new one because he said she wasn't holding up her own weight... like ranting and yelling in the middle of the studio, in the middle of the day... that's the kind of student who deserves to pay "extra compensation".

    Asking questions - as long as they're appropriate, polite, and show you haven't been ignoring the instructor - are a sign of a good student.
  2. Wannabee

    Wannabee Well-Known Member

    By "on and off the dance floor" I simply meant on the dance floor as in corrections of my actual dancing "why did that not work", "what am I doing wrong", "will you demonstrate again", etc. Off the dance floor I mean things like "what are we doing in the next showcase", "which of your students are going to what events (for cost-sharing and travel arrangements", "can I have some new music to practice to", things that don't involve being on the actual dance floor.

    My concern was that I don't know if any of his other students have so many questions for him, both during the actual dancing and about dancing/the studio dynamics. So perhaps all the questions are a pain for him to deal with and might explain the rate increase. His other students do all seem to be a bit more of the "he'll tell us when he tells us" mentality. Me, not so much.
  3. nikkitta

    nikkitta Well-Known Member

    If my instructor didn't answer my questions, I'd be suspicious as to whether he didn't WANT to, or COULDN'T. Either way, given the high price of private lessons, I'd be PO'd. I don't want to spend that much money on someone who will not or cannot teach me. And if for whatever twisted reason paying him more makes him more willing to deal with your questions, that's still messed up. To me, it doesn't sound like you are being a PITA; certainly not to the level that he would be at all justified in charging you extra for *gasp* making him THINK and TEACH o_O
  4. Wannabee

    Wannabee Well-Known Member

    Yes I agree nikkitta. And I don't believe that ANY of my questions, etc. has been responsible for the rate increase. I tend to feel as though it's more that he needs more money, he knows my pockets are dedicated, he knows my options for good instruction are limited, and he figures I will pay it. And he's probably right. I don't begrudge him needing to increase his rates, it's the fact that he hasn't done this equally across the board. So that got me wondering why he hasn't. I don't believe it has anything to do with anything except that he figures I'm willing to pay it.

    And I guess I am. But it still makes me feel a bit taken advantage of, like I'm being punished for my dedication to dance. And though I know the old saying "life isn't fair", I certainly feel this isn't. But what to do...
  5. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

  6. Wannabee

    Wannabee Well-Known Member

    I plan to. I just don't have much confidence that the answer to my inquiry will satisfy my "life isn't fair" feeling about the whole thing. So I was just asking the DF folks their thoughts on what they are willing to live with, etc. If my suspicions are correct, I will be paying more than others in a way that is unfair in my opinion. The question now is am I ok with that? Jury is still out...

    In the meantime, I have a comp coming up next month and I don't really want to rock the boat until after that. I have enough to deal with while preparing for the comp and competing there. So I have lots of time to reflect on what exactly I am wanting from him when I do approach him.
  7. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    As long as your payment is 'worth it' to you, then what others pay for their coaching is irrelevant.
    Mr 4 styles likes this.
  8. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    I don't think it will be as dramatic as you assume.

    I had a student ask me about a competition bill one time. He came all in a huff ready for a fight, accusing me of all sorts of bad pricing and overcharging. I was caught WAY OFF GAURD. However we sat down and went over every item, one by one. Yes it was an expensive comp. Yes he was the only student. Yes he danced on a Tuesday and a Saturday and had to pay for my hotel room the entire week, plus my dance fees, plus my travel. Yes the bill is big!

    However in the end... I had made a simple $20 dollar error (in his favor, which I did NOT ask him to reimburse me for, and I hope he was sufficiently humbled over!). My end answer was "Ya know, I may be a bad mathematician, but I am not an a$$hole or a crook! Calm down."

    Assuming the worst before you get there only serves to put everyone on edge and tends to make for a bad outcome. Just go in and without making a big deal ask if the rate increase is for everyone and if not why are you being singled out? If there is not a satisfactory answer (which in my mind would be "it is across the board and you are not singled out") then very calmly state that you will be reducing the number of lessons each week/month you are going to be taking.

    Do NOT state that you will "unable to afford" the same amount of lesson. Do NOT turn this into what you can and cannot afford to do. It has nothing to do what with you can afford to do. If that were the truth every student across the entire US should get a $50 rate increase, because they can afford it by giving up starbucks, coke, professional pet grooming, $140 dye jobs for their hair... etc. He has every right to increase his rate. And he certainly has a right to apply it to which ever students he chooses. But it doesn't mean you have to pay it. In any case, what you can "afford" to do is no ones business but your own. Do NOT even say the word "afford".

    In the end, just talk it out calmly, cause usually there is just some miscommunication somewhere. And the truth is usually far smaller than the story we invent in our head and tell everyone.
    flightco, twnkltoz and SDsalsaguy like this.
  9. Wannabee

    Wannabee Well-Known Member

    Thanks for this reply. I appreciate it very much. I will do my best to go in without any preconceived notions or expectations when we discuss this. I am truly hoping we will be able to get this all cleared up in a way where both parties feel good about progressing forward in the student/teacher relationship. I'm pretty level-headed and I am doing my best to do my homework before I even bring up the issue. The LAST thing in the world I want is an intense and angry confrontation about it. But I feel I should present my point of view to him.

    I will be hoping for the very best.
  10. dbk

    dbk Well-Known Member

    Err.. completely off topic, I know, I'm sorry, but.... NO. :/
  11. Wannabee

    Wannabee Well-Known Member

    This is a great point. And one I may need to become infinitely more familiar with. But it also doesn't mean that I have to neccesarily like paying more than other students "just because", or that I should not be able to bring the matter to the attention of my instructor, calmly and rationally. Feeling like one is treated fairly by their instructor adds infinite value to the services they offer IMO. So when that no longer appears to be the case, I think it does become relevant in a matter of speaking, even if the exact $$ amount isn't the precise issue.
    danceronice likes this.
  12. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    it may not be worth it to her...and I can't fault her for ruminating over the discrepancy...it is rough if he is already pricey and her options are scarce...and would seem very unkind if she has been singled ...that being said, it seems like she will compete and then find out if the disparity is for a reason that she can stomach
  13. sbrnsmith

    sbrnsmith Active Member

    I would do exactly the same- get the comp over with, then bring it up to him. Good luck!
  14. nikkitta

    nikkitta Well-Known Member

    Hmmm, if the instructor is having trouble making ends meet and wants to increase his fee, maybe he should look at *his* unnecessary expenses... :p

    Point taken, though. Bugs the heck out of me when people whine about not being able to "afford" something, and fail to acknowledge the expensive drinks, cigarettes, entertainment, clothing, beauty treatments etc. they freely toss their money at.
  15. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    and some of us have made all of the cuts that we think are appropriate and don't wish to make more...many of us...which isn't the same as be-grudging a pro a a raise...and this is where if I were to support any inequity, I would be more for a new student getting billed more than a long standing actively competing student...because it really isn't a matter of; "this is what you did last year, surely you can do a little more"...it is much more like: "I can't do a little more precisely because I did all of that in the past and that absence of funds is cumulative, not self-renewing yearly"
    debmc and Wannabee like this.
  16. Wannabee

    Wannabee Well-Known Member

    Exactly fasc.
  17. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    I promise you, any teacher that is worth their salt as a salesman (and we ALL are salesman as most have been through sales training at our first studios) will chew right through a sales objection that is about ability to find money. When I worked in a clothing store in college, when I worked at MCI during college... ALL sales jobs are trained on how to handle money objections. And all of them work on the premise that the objection is false. Don't use that objection.

    No salesman can overcome the simple statement "I have no desire to do/buy xyz." It is simple, it is clean. But people are afraid to say what they really want in life, so they think it is safer to say what can/cannot afford, displacing responsibility of the decision to something/someone outside of themselves.

    Because money can always be found borrowed or stolen for something you really want.

    "Where there is a will there is a way. Where there is no will, there is no sale."
  18. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

    This may be the exception rather than the rule, but I think that it can be a bit more nuanced than that. Sometimes, there are conflicting desires, and one has to prioritize. I grew up in a household that was crippled with debt. It would be difficult to overstate the extent to which I do not wish to repeat the mistakes that my parents made and endure the things that we, as a family, had to endure as a byproduct of them. As such, I will never, ever, ever dance on credit unless the money is already there and I simply forgot my method of payment. (As in, "oh bother, I forgot my checkbook, can I pay you tomorrow teach? You know where I live.")

    It's not that I wouldn't love to dance more, it's simply that I value my financial security to an even greater extent. For example, there was a chance that the sequestration furloughs were going to result in my taking a 20% paycut for their duration. I warned my pro that had that happened, I would have had to have taken a hiatus from my lessons with her. I can absolutely promise you that I would have stuck to that had things come to that.
    FancyFeet likes this.
  19. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    Before people get all in a huff, and Jude certainly no insult directed towards you, just realize what I am saying. It is not an insult to have personal boundaries. What is sad is that people don't stand up for them.

    Jude, your objection was not about money. It was about lifestyle choices. You don't want it reallocate your money to take more lessons, that is cool. And people think that me saying that is an insult. "How dare you say I am not committed, how dare you say I don't want it!" And people don't want to be insulted. They don't want the blame to be about "them", so they shift the blame to their bank account, an inanimate object. "You know I really DOOOO want it... but sorry I cannot afford it. Sorry!"

    I know a student that was a lowly kindergarten teacher who took an extra job in a pizza shop and paid for her lessons out of her tip jar. Another worked solely at Dunkin Donuts and still found the money. They wanted to buy more lessons/competitions so they rearranged their priorities.

    People think that saying "I cannot afford it" is an absolute. And it clearly is not. The absolute is your DESIRE to not put it on credit, borrow it from friends/family, get another job, give up your other hobbies/luxuries. And that is fine!! In fact admirable. I just wish people wouldn't take the long way around a sales objection, and fool themselves in the process. Be honest. "I don't want to pay more than X" is a perfectly acceptable and truthful answer.
  20. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    I can't afford it is right up there with 'its too far away', 'the hours don't work for me' and ' I don't have time to practice' as the worst reasons to explain away your lack of dance in your life...

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