Why do Private Lessons COST SO Much?!

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by achilles007, Oct 2, 2011.

  1. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    Yes, an "amateur" looking for non-taxed pocket change is very different than a professional trying to earn a nice living.
  2. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    However, their time still has value... And the quality of instruction may be much higher in the amateur... There is no way that that pro's need to earn money means his work will be better than an amateur teacher...
  3. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    Perhaps it is better, perhaps it is not. I wasn't really implying anything about value of the teacher.

    I stand by my assertion that the value of my time, as a professional teacher, is VERY different than the value of YOUR time, as an amateur. My teaching is the only money I earn, and I have to live off of what is left after taxes. When you take cash in hand for your lessons it is chump change for you. You cannot really compare my time to yours.

    The value of time from a full time pro is worth far more than the value of time from a part time amateur teacher.
  4. Camaro

    Camaro New Member

    I remember i used to get 1 hour for 35$, i don't know where you find this so expensive, maybe you need to look elsewhere....
  5. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    I don't know about your experience, or where you live. The going rate in Western Washington is $85/hour, give or take. The least expensive I've seen around here is $50/hour, and I don't think much of that teacher. Commercial rent and the cost of living will be a big driver of rates.
  6. Don Silver

    Don Silver Member

    I've taken tons of private lessons over the years (and taught a few myself.)

    There are lots of bad instructors out there, no matter what they are charging.

    On the flip side, sometimes I can get someone further in 3 months than they have gotten in the last 2 years.

    Some things an instructor can help people have taken years or decades to figure out. Some things are road tested with 500 people before you, and based on that experience can provide great benefits for you.

    While an instructor may give you an hour of their time, some have invested 100 or 1,000 hours working on that aspect of dancing.

    A doctor sees you for 30 minutes, but took 10 years to recognize your symptoms. She is not getting paid for the 30 minutes, but the 10 years of experience to be in a position to know which tests, which areas to check.

    As an instructor, I do much better in group classes. 15 people paying $10 works out better for me than a private.

    I enjoy privates because after a couple, I can provide value way beyond group classes, where I have to find the average in the class, and teach a little above that.

    Privates are where the specialists live in my mind. A great instructor (hard to find) is worth a hundred dollars or more per hour. A students job is to make sure they only pay that for the few who are worth it. That's not always easy.
  7. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    The value of a private lesson is NOT the £/$ cost , but the content of the lesson.

    Both Don and Larinda, make valid points . As Profs, most have spent yrs honing their craft ( sometimes, in several genres ) . So.. how ANYone can equate an Amats. knowledge with mine ( or many other Profs ), is beyond comprehension .
    Oh, and please dont quote" some Amats, may be better teachers , than some Prof. teachers".. Ive yet to find one .

    And, food for thought.. Not ALL teachers are suitable, for ALL dancers, personality plays a large part of the equation .
    Don Silver likes this.
  8. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    My comment was not intended to indicate that I think private lessons are a commodity. Anything but. However, the average person that complains about the cost of private lessons usually doesn't have the knowledge to understand the difference in value provided. They only see "it costs that much, and it doesn't have that value to me".

    If I'm being snarky, the conversation would go like this:
    complainer -- "I want private lessons, but they cost too much"
    me -- "I guess they aren't that valuable to you"
    complainer -- "what do you mean!?!?"
    me -- "well, if you valued them, you wouldn't be complaining about the cost, would you? I don't hear you complaining that that latte in your hand cost $5, so obviously you value that coffee more than 5 bucks"

    I haven't even gotten into basic supply and demand, the cost of doing business, making a reasonable living. Which all comes before we even talk about the relative value of instruction. There is a reason it costs more to go to Harvard than to my local community college. At this point, their sense of personal entitlement and their lack of desire to wrap their minds around basic economics would have them calling me something rude and walking away. :)
  9. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    This passage, addresses the real truth of the discussion.
  10. llamasarefuzzy

    llamasarefuzzy Well-Known Member

    Yup, exactly. The cost of a lesson will be determined by the teacher, who either professional or amateur, has the freedom to set their prices at the minimum what they feel fairly compensates them for their time. How much a teacher requires to compensate their time depends on many factors, including floor fees, training/education (the teacher invests in themselves by perfecting their craft- this extra effort should be taken into account) taxes, etc. Either pro or am could cost more- the important thing is that they set their rate to what they feel is fair.

    In turn, the consumer has the right to ask the question- "is this lesson worth this much money to me?" If the price set by the teacher is lower than the utility they gain (completely dependent on the student) from the lesson, then they will buy the lesson. The utility a student gains from a lesson is influenced by many different factors- how experienced is the teacher, how much do they feel they learn, how convenient is the lesson (do they have to drive 4 hours?) etc.

    If the consumer/student values the lesson greater than or equal to the dollar amount which the teacher feels is greater than or equal to the value of their time, then a transaction occurs. If it doesn't, then no lesson happens.

    The real win/win situation is when the student is getting far more utility from the lesson than they are paying for, and the teacher is getting more money than they require to teach the lesson. In this scenario, each party is getting an excess and all are very happy :)
  11. llamasarefuzzy

    llamasarefuzzy Well-Known Member

    Finally remembered the term... Opportunity cost. The teacher needs to make a certain amount of money to make it worthwhile to teach the lesson. If they don't make that much money, they'll do something else that does make their opportunity cost worthwhile
  12. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    Ah, the economic theory of value, I wish I could make my daughter understand this, when she complains about how much money the professions she likes make.

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