Author Topic: How do you collect dues??  (Read 4100 times)

Offline Brandi Ross

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How do you collect dues??
« on: August 22, 2003, 04:53:38 AM »
Aloha all,

    As I go around looking at other dojo, I cannot help but wonder how each school collects dues.  I see some places put up a sign that says "(month) dues are due" or something to that effect.  Some places go on the honor system.  How do they stay open?  My big question is what do you do?  HOw do you handle those who are late?  ARe there penalties?  Are they not allowed to train?  What do you do?  What can one do to stay open without chasing others away?  I'm looking toward my future for if and when I can start a school, but would love to start getting ideas now so I don't run into these problems or can more quickly correct them.

I would love to stay under the wings of Sigung, but I know that is not possible.  He looks to me to open a dojo in the future.  I see no hiding from it.  I enojy researching everything and planning the best that I can.  Anyone's input would be greatly appreciated.

Mahalo and aloha
Brandi  
Brandi Ross
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GM Rick Kingi
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Offline Gints Klimanis

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Re:How do you collect dues??
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2003, 04:30:28 PM »
Hello Brandi,

My Kenpo school (Master Rich Lewis) is not a commercial operation, but it collects monthly dues, probably enough to cover the rent and Rich's gas.   Instructors are not paid. If you're looking for a positive example, read no more.

Rich has asked for the same amount of monthly dues for the last 30 years or so.  Most of the instructors pay dues.  Rich uses the "honor system" you mention, which means he collects much less than he should.  Some students/instructors "feel" no need to pay.  Others actually have no means to pay (kids, etc.), yet their parents think it's fine to bring them by for some refresher lessons every year or so. Sometimes families train (father + daughter/son) and don't pay for each member. Over the years, I've seen all forms of dues abuse.  The worst is one fellow (a young corporate VP)
that managed to train over a period of two years and avoid paying *any* dues.  He just missed the first days of the month and then used the old "I forgot my checkbook"  excuse.  He was probably the wealthiest student to ever attend the class.  Other guys pay dues religiously, whether they're in the hospital or at class.  Rich has never turned anyone away from training for not paying dues. Overall, the dues revenue is significantly less than # students x monthly dues.

The deal with the "honor system" is that this is probably the most pleasant type of operation because monetary transfer is voluntary.  It sours quickly if your expectations are that you will actually collect the ideal amount or if you truly dislike covering expenses from your own pocket.  I would recommend that you accept both cash and check in person so you can avoid the check excuses.  Announce dues on the first day due and reannounce at the beginning of the next week.  People usually have more money in their wallets at the beginning of the week.  If you don't collect in that period, kiss off the collection.

I run another type of club held in my home with one session/week.  I passed on due collection because I didn't want to do bill collection.  However, my equipment expenses, largely video equipment, were quite hefty.  
Some people contributed training equipment, but largely, they were quite content with my paying all of the bills.   The lesson to learn here is that you need to
set your expectations up front.   Once someone receives a service for a particular amount, especially free, you will have a tough time convincing them that
they will need to pay for it in the future.

I've participated in other specialty clubs in parallel to
my primary Kenpo club.  One place required a six month contract.  Collections were managed by an external company.  Many students dropped out after the six month period.  While the six month period guarantees
revenue over that time, it also defines the time commitment.

I'd love to hear from others, especially regarding sharing facilities with other martial arts groups.




"We do not condone the use of a toilet seat as a deadly weapon"
Go Shin Jutsu Kenpo, 3rd Degree Black Belt Prof. Richard Lewis
Bono JKD/Kajukenbo, Prof. John Bono, San Jose, CA
Baltic Dog, Dog Brothers Martial Arts

Offline Brandi Ross

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Re:How do you collect dues??
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2003, 05:59:20 PM »
Gints,
   I like what I read.  It sounds so true.  We use honor system and some slide right on through as you mentioned.  It's okay because the other dues cover the overhead costs.  I like the idea of announcing as you suggested.  What about a posted sign during that same time frame?  I don't expect to get rich doing this.  That's not what I am looking to do.  I want to cover expenses and be able to supply training to as many possible.  I still have lots to learn and more student training to do, but as times change the more info I can get the better prepared I will be.  I would like to stay away from contracts, but do they put a time limit on it and it's not as personable.  Thanks.

Brandi
Brandi Ross
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Kingi's Kajukenbo
GM Rick Kingi
formerly under Sigung Alex Cadang

Jon Pack

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Re:How do you collect dues??
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2003, 09:10:03 PM »
Our school offers two programs.
First is monthly, the second is six months.
The six month program is the same amount as five month to month payments. Basically all students choose this option except one or two.
As my instructor used to always say k.i.s.s., keep it super simple.
This way it is one or the other, not to many options.
We handle private lessons the same way, one month (4) lessons and six months (26) lessons at a similarly discounted rate.
We do not pursue delinquent accounts but do keep on top of programs as they come due. We like to give two weeks advanced notice as 6 month programs come due.
We are a commercial school and charge for intro programs (includes uniform), belt tests, seminars, and also we charge an up front lifetime membership fee of $40 per and $80 max per family. We explain that this is to cover insurance fees and helps to keep the monthly fees more reasonable. I have never had anyone balk at this...they seem to understand.
Hope this is helpful, I enjoy seeing the posts of all especially the senior instructors.
Jon

Offline Mell

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Re:How do you collect dues??
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2003, 09:35:02 PM »
Just an opinion here, but training is an honor.   Anything worthwhile (Kajukenbo) is worth paying for.  

Keep a note book on who has paid for the month.  No paying, no training.  You need to keep room on the floor for those who value their training enough to pay.

Anyone here use a billing service?  Has it helped?

« Last Edit: August 22, 2003, 09:40:07 PM by Mell »
Sibak Mellody Porter
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Offline Bautista's

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Re:How do you collect dues??
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2003, 11:38:40 PM »
     First let me start by saying we own the building we train in so if we have one student or ten, it's not such a big deal to us. As long as we can cover the utilities, garbage, etc. we're cool.  Over the 35 years we've been in business, we've had to put money from our pockets to cover things, sure, but those were pretty few and far between.
 
     We like to have students pay around the same time every month {usually when they started}.  This way we have money coming in all month long, not just the first of the month. You have bills coming in all month long, why not be sure you'll have cash coming in all month long too?

     Over the years, we've had a few students who managed to wiggle out of paying much {or anything at all} but we can honestly say there haven't been that many.  It is a slap in the face when students cannot be bothered to pay you for teaching them {or pay on time} and should be considered as such.  If you're not worth their efforts to pay you, your teaching must be worthless too.  This is a good practice to use on those folks who manage to be late all the time {or not pay at all}.  Look them in the eye and ask them if they think what you've been teaching for 35 years is worthless? When thay answer you; "no", you can say; "well that's how we feel when you are constantly late, or don't pay at all." This usually works real well.  I save it for the real bad ones.
 
     Our school is like a family to us, and if they are having financial problems {or any other problems} we'd just rather they come down and train, never mind about the money. If we had to worry over the money, we'd have closed down a long, long time ago.  So if someone doesn't pay, well, it's not the end of the world {be sure you do get the money for uniforms, sparring gear, t-shirts, etc. this is money you had to put out and it has to come back or you will go broke, fast!}  But as long as the lights are on and the water is running, we're happy too.

     This may not help much, but at least we all know we're kindered spirits.
Emil Bautista
Kajukenbo black belt (1966)

TODD

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Re:How do you collect dues??
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2003, 12:39:29 PM »
We always required payment at the first of the month.  Whether one or more were late an
announcement was made to pay dues before and after class.  On the rare occasion of not
paying we would talk to them one on one at the end of class to find out why.  Uniforms
and any gear ordered had to be paid up front before ordering.  The money recieved went to
utilities and especially propane during the winter.  We usually broke even, maybe a little
extra but never really counted.  The studio was in the back of a pole barn so never considered
teaching a business.  Teaching has always been that way from the pole barn, backyard, to
comm center.  No contracts or payments up front.  We wanted students to feel welcome to
drop out at any time for Kajukenbo is not for everyone and we never relaxed or modified the
training.  If you want your school to be a business then these tactics would never work.

Offline Brandi Ross

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Re:How do you collect dues??
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2003, 04:39:56 PM »
Wow!!  I really like the input.  I see several different ideas which seem to work for those individuals.  I like Prof. Scott's by-laws which state everything.  I like the announcements that others do.  I agree with Mell, training is a Honor.  Notebook idea would be great.  Something I will consider greatly.  Now, I know it's a long way before this happens, but the input helps me put ideas together.  As I write down my training notes for future reference, I also am adding this to those notes.  The more the info the better.

Mahalo and Aloha,
Brandi
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GM Rick Kingi
formerly under Sigung Alex Cadang

Offline Pacificshore

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Re:How do you collect dues??
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2003, 05:41:23 PM »
Hello:

In my case, since I teach privately, I do what amounts to a coupon type booklet(minus the actualy coupons ;D).

I set training lessons at 3,5,and 7.  My minimum hourly is $20.00.  This allows my students to pay upfront for a set number of lessons.  Once they use up there lessons, they gotta pay for more or no training.  I also instituted a 24hr. cancellation notice for training on their part.  If they cancel out the day of their lesson, then they are charged a lesson.  If I have to cancel, I give them 24hrs. notice, and they keep their lesson.

Hope this adds to your research :)
Gene R.
Kara-Ho Kempo

Offline ANEMAUL

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Re:How do you collect dues??
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2003, 09:45:56 PM »
Greetings all,
this may be getting away from the base subject matter but in truth i've always felt that the true spirit and love of my art went beyond financial compensation.
(But i will teach for food)
the kajukenbo bruises aquired in my youth and the intellectual discoveries of cause and affect are not exactly of mainstream acceptance,(expesially with mcdojo half a mile away in any direction).
The students I did instuct recieved promotion on an annual basis or longer and no exchange of fees was ever questioned.
The parents and the students of  my students have always treated myself and my family as royalty and have made sure I was never stranded or wanting,they fix my vehicles ,they give me vehicles ,they would pay for my seminar traveling expenses,and even collect enough honorarium for me to entertain and bring gifts back to them.
In short I would starve if I charged,but since I don't charge I am actually somewhat "healthy"(if you know me you know what I mean).
Kajukenbo is more to me than a mealticket,it is the only tatoo on my body,and it and its family have walked with me since I first tied my belt in 1967.
I wear Kajukenbo proudly and I expect all those that I have donated time towards to be just as fanatical and inquisitive as am I.
That my friends is the payment that I have enacted.
ALOHA and good journey to all...
ANEMAUL
« Last Edit: August 25, 2003, 09:49:39 PM by ANEMAUL »
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Offline John Bishop

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Re:How do you collect dues??
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2003, 10:06:57 PM »
Very well said Professor Joe.   :D  
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