Charging for group class

Mengwei said: Jan 20, 2013
Mengwei Shen
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Cello
Jersey City, NJ
120 posts

I finally have almost enough students for a group class and think I will actually be able to start in April! I already charge a flat rate per month for the individual lessons (not by hour or lesson attended) and have a policy that (in general) skipped lessons are forfeit. Because I do have to rent the group class space and because I don’t want group to be treated as an optional “add-on”, I would definitely rather raise my rate than risk having to rent the space and then having no one show up :(

For new students, I can say up front that group class is included in the program and like individual lessons, they can choose to attend or not…but can anyone suggest how to handle it with established students?

I was thinking of mentioning it in the lessons and then handing everyone an official paper. Most of them know that group is in the works, they know I’ve had personal setbacks, but they may or may not be aware that group is not going to be “free”. I suppose I’m afraid of the one parent who can’t be convinced that group is important or who says they have other activities scheduled at the same time and can they not pay for it—which is a slippery slope to paying for only what you attend, which is exactly what I want to avoid.

Paula Bird said: Jan 21, 2013
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Viola
Wimberley, TX
386 posts

I did the same thing when I started. I just included it in the total tuition package. Since you already have a monthly fee, I would just change your rates. Perhaps you can find a free space with a church? When I put it in with the tuition package, the issues you mentioned were moot. Kids miss group all the time and I don’t sweat it. In fact, some of them do not even realize that the group class is part of their tuition. I just assumed the cost into my tuition rate years ago.

Paula E. Bird
TX State University
Wildflower Suzuki Studio
http://teachsuzuki.blogspot.com (blog)
http://teachsuzuki.com (podcast)

Rachel said: Jan 22, 2013
Rachel Huch
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Orange Village, OH
2 posts

I do the same thing, just charging a flat rate that includes the lesson and group class. Best of luck!!

Lindsay said: Jan 22, 2013
Lindsay LogsdonViolin
55 posts

Yes, I also charge a flat rate when I offer group lessons (I’m not currently doing group)—BUT I make sure parents are aware of the portion of their fee that goes toward group, so they make a greater effort to attend.

My daughter’s teacher charges a group lesson fee upfront at the beginning of the year, separate from private lesson fees, which covers the entire school year. There are no refunds and the group classes are always full!

Lindsay—Violin teacher, homeschooling mama of four, small-time publisher
http://www.essextalentacademy.com
http://www.talentpress.net

Amy said: Apr 8, 2013
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
50 posts

My official studio policy says that in order for students to have the privilege of having private lessons with me, they must also be registered for the group classes. (I’m willing to make exceptions for this occasionally.) The students pay a flat fee for the group class at the beginning of the semester, but then pay for private lessons on a monthly basis. If a new student starts mid-semester, I pro-rate the group class fee according to when they start, but they still participate in the group class from whenever they start.

Best of luck figuring out how to make this really work for you in your situation. Starting a group class is both exciting and nerve-wracking!

Mengwei said: Apr 13, 2013
Mengwei Shen
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Cello
Jersey City, NJ
120 posts

I had the first group class today! I definitely could have been a bit more organized but must say it went pretty well for a first attempt. Since it’s going to work out that group will be once a month until at least September, I’ve decided to keep current students on the current rate for now. I get a few more chances to work out my group style and will announce a change to take effect when group moves to twice a month.

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