If you’re actively checking out martial arts schools, you may have noticed that they can differ in price by a little or a lot. How do you know which is the better deal?
Well, your first instinct might be to save some money and go with the cheapest school that you felt fairly comfortable in. Be warned, most studios charge what they feel they’re worth and what people are willing to pay. Cheaper schools are, for the most part, cheaper for a reason. That old saying, ‘you get what you pay for’, can even apply to martial arts instruction.
If you looked around and checked prices as you went, you probably found that the more expensive schools have more students. These schools feel they’re charging what they’re worth, and many of their students agree. Of course, you shouldn’t immediately rule out a cheaper school. Hey, everyone needs to cut costs where they can. Don’t be afraid to ask an instructor why they are charging less, or more, than their competitor down the street. I’m sure the good schools will be more then happy to give you an answer that you will find plausible.
Another thing to watch out for is the ‘you have to pay far in advance’ rule. Most studios will offer discounted rates if you pay in advance, but some may demand you pay for six-months or one-year up front. Be careful here. If this school has a high turnover rate, they may just want to get as much money from you as they can because they know you’re probably going to quit soon. If you do pay in advance, make sure you get a written agreement signed by the instructor detailing what has been paid for--exactly--and what would be cause for a refund. (Would you get your money back if you were suddenly paralyzed?)
In the end, you have to do what’s right for you and your budget. Just make sure you ask a lot of questions and don’t be afraid to get things in writing.