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#2098066 - 06/07/13 07:10 PM Re: The Art of Raising Fees [Re: Stanny]
Jonathan Baker Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/09/09
Posts: 258
Loc: New York City!
Stanny,

Thanks for the feedback - I love living in NYC, and given the competition I am amazed how well I have done, but sometimes a university town like yours can be the best - you have the vitality of a young population going to colleges, but you still have the nice familiarity of a small town atmosphere at the same time.
_________________________
Jonathan Baker
http://www.BakerPianoLessons.com/index.htm

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#2098097 - 06/07/13 07:42 PM Re: The Art of Raising Fees [Re: Piano*Dad]
Gary D. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4649
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad

The problem in our society, and now I risk politicizing the issue, is that the distribution of income today isn't the same as it was in 1975. We are not the same middle class society. People in the bottom quarter of the income distribution have experienced no increase in real income over the past forty years. For them, services whose prices are rising more rapidly than inflation are indeed becoming less affordable. And the absolute number of people who are losers in the current economy is rising as the middle hollows out. On the other hand the top 1% has experienced astonishing gains in real income over the past quarter century. For them, the services of piano teachers are a drop in the bucket of their rising real income.

I don't mean to cherry-pick one point after you gave us such a thorough presentation - which by the way I want to thank you for.

For me, as a person who probably knows less about economy than almost anyone in the universe, what is happening to people closer to the bottom is of most concern to me. And this is because my wife and I are now apart of that.

My wife's hourly wage has been frozen for years now, going back to times before 2009. It started in the Bush years, and I am just stating a fact, not politicizing anything.

I have raised my prices, but only enough to keep pace with inflation, cost of living. So as a couple we are seeing our income go down every year, and most of the people we know are experience much the same thing.

I am holding the line with prices, but I work like a demon to provide people with things they just do not have money for or can not get from other teachers in my area, and that is probably the only thing that has allowed me to continue with a full schedule.

Since late in the spring there has been a downturn in my area that I do not fully understand. My schedule is far leaner this summer than in the past two, and I am not quite sure what to attribute this to.

It may indeed reflect more and more teachers in the area charging low rates and pulling in students who have no idea that these lower rates are going towards instruction that is anything but excellent - or even good.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#2098100 - 06/07/13 07:45 PM Re: The Art of Raising Fees [Re: Jonathan Baker]
Gary D. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4649
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Jonathan Baker
And thank you for the splendid chart! - it is very interesting to me.

Jonathan, you may live in a zoo - or teach in one.

But you are in the Big Apple, and you are making it.

I truly envy you. If I could live anywhere in the world, you are where I would like to be. smile
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#2098266 - 06/07/13 10:20 PM Re: The Art of Raising Fees [Re: Gary D.]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7200
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
There are two economic indicators your local news media doesn't report, probably because it's too complex for most folks. Per capita income and the national employment rate.

Per capita income peaked in 2008 at $42,791 has fallen and has not matched that level since.

Employment rate, the number of folks employed full-time as a percentage of the nation's population: 63.3% This is not the same as the unemployment rate, which is a measure of those seeking work who cannot find it. Employment peaked in 2009 at 66.6%. In plain English, this means our true unemployment rate is really much higher than being reported.

These numbers paint a far different picture than the Rosie Scenario we usually hear on the news.

What it translates for us piano teachers is that there are fewer potential clients out there, and the rates they can afford are declining, not rising.

I preface my comments with this info because, like AZNpiano, I've been giving this some serious thought the past three months.

In fact, what I've been considering is the idea that our teacher's business model must change, and we must now, as piano teachers, offer entry level pricing for new/beginning students and offer a graded or scale of increasing rates as students progress.

There is more than one way to do this, of course. First, you could offer lessons for 1st year students at $50/mo, 2nd year students at $65/mo, 3rd year students at $80 per month, and increment the fees up as students progress. This model is not particularly new. Universities, just as an example, often offer lower pricing for 1st and 2nd year level courses than for 3rd and 4th year level courses, and even higher for grad level courses.

The obvious implication of this model is that you'd either take an income hit, or end up working for a lower average income. In this economy, that may be what it takes.

A second possibility, which many of you younger teachers might really want to consider, is to engage your upper intermediate level students as teachers for beginners, where you would charge a much lower rate, they would receive a starting level payment, and you'd supervise lessons. For example, you might have 3 really strong upper intermediate, lower advanced students, who'd like to earn money working Saturday mornings. They could each be assigned 4 - 6 beginners with 30 min lessons. You'd attend one lesson a month. The tuition might be $60/mo and the student would receive $30/mo, and you'd receive the other $30.

At the end of year one, these 18 - 24 for students would be evaluated for continuing studies. Drop outs might constitute 6 - 8 students; of the remaining 12 - 16, 2/3rd or 3/4ths would continue on in the methods, and you might cull out the remainder with special invitations to move up to your main studio. With 3 or 4 students moving into your main studio every year, you'd be in a very strong income earning situation in just a few years.

The past two years, I've frozen my rates. The competition is such that raising rates will only isolate me from potential students. We, like many other communities, have too many "high end" teachers for the available student pool.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#2098335 - 06/07/13 10:56 PM Re: The Art of Raising Fees [Re: AZNpiano]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1242
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
John, great post. But please explain your rationale for charging less money to teach a beginner, then charging a little more per year of a student's advancement. Is it just meant as a come-on, starter offer, to invite people to try piano at a time when fewer do than in the past?

I'm so old-fashioned I'm afraid I can't grasp what you are suggesting.
One could say you are penalizing a student for progressing, but maybe that's a perverted way of viewing it.

Seems to me you could just as readily do the opposite: *lower* a student's rate year by year, with the beginner paying the most.

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#2098371 - 06/07/13 11:33 PM Re: The Art of Raising Fees [Re: Peter K. Mose]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7200
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Peter, I can only speak for our local situation, but I've raised my prices to match inflation, and a whisker more for additional training and teaching competency, and have found myself at the high end of the scale with fewer and fewer potential students available.

So what I'm suggesting is entry level pricing. As AZNpiano and others have pointed out, people don't know what their missing until they try it. It's getting them to try it which is difficult. To answer your question:

Originally Posted By: Peter
Is it just meant as a come-on, starter offer, to invite people to try piano at a time when fewer do than in the past?

YES!
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#2098390 - 06/07/13 11:59 PM Re: The Art of Raising Fees [Re: AZNpiano]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11181
Loc: Canada
The only part that bothers me in the suggestions is that of having students teach beginner students. The absolutely most important things that are learned happen in the very beginning when the student is set up and gets the foundations for everything that follows. That would have to be some very good supervision and guidance by the master teacher.

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#2098401 - 06/08/13 12:12 AM Re: The Art of Raising Fees [Re: Peter K. Mose]
Jonathan Baker Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/09/09
Posts: 258
Loc: New York City!
Hello Peter,

Be patient with me - I am not sure I understand your question...

If you are referring to the fact that I charge a 45 minute lesson at slightly different per-minute rate than a 60 minute lesson, that is true, but that has nothing to do with whether one is a beginner or not (by the way, I no longer give 30-minute lessons so I need to strike that from my website, it is only 60 or 45 minute lessons now).

The reason for the disparity: I prefer to give one-hour lessons and I do not want to open my door for less time or money. The 45-minute lesson is my way of evading the requests for a cut in my usual fee: if they cannot afford a 60 minute lesson, I have in place a 45 minute lesson at the rate of my choosing. I currently have 5 students who have chosen that option.

Otherwise, my students come from the upper class (by geographic circumstance) and could afford to pay several times what I charge without it making the slightest dent in their lifestyle, but I still must account for the competitive 'going rate' of the profession in my area. I have found that because people make million$ per year does not mean they necessarily want to pay more for anything.

I have made occasional exceptions on fees: I charge less than 50% of my usual rate to my most talented student who comes from an immigrant family who are barely getting by (the 12-year old boy came to me playing the Beethoven Sonata Opus 27 #2, with the third movement at a spectacular clip never dropping a note - without ever having seen the music. Naturally I took him up on the spot, and I pay for his music myself and give him extra lessons 'off the books', etc.)

So if someone is truly gifted and truly poor, I easily make an exception, but frankly, most people who try bargain me down for discounts are invariably trying to cut a clever deal at my expense and I figure out their game within seconds on the telephone and do not take them - I do not appreciate being manipulated that way before I have even given an interview.

I hope I have answered your question with clarity. If not, I will try again.

Regards,

JB

_________________________
Jonathan Baker
http://www.BakerPianoLessons.com/index.htm

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#2098411 - 06/08/13 12:32 AM Re: The Art of Raising Fees [Re: Gary D.]
Jonathan Baker Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/09/09
Posts: 258
Loc: New York City!
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Originally Posted By: Jonathan Baker
And thank you for the splendid chart! - it is very interesting to me.

Jonathan, you may live in a zoo - or teach in one.But you are in the Big Apple, and you are making it.I truly envy you. If I could live anywhere in the world, you are where I would like to be. smile


Thanks for the kind words, Gary. I could not make my way into NYC now the way I did many years ago when I stepped off the bus an impoverished teenager, just another hopeful from no place special - the city has become astronomically expensive, largely due to the outlandish, if not utterly obscene, prosperity of the 'financial services' industry.

Poor artists used to live across the street from me, but now the CEO of Morgan Stanley bought up the entire building and turned it into a private home, complete with a swimming pool in the basement and an elevator to a newly constructed penthouse on top. Seven other moguls have done the same thing on my block alone. Its all banking industry money. Truly mind bending. I could tell you stories about the wealth, and the stark disparity of wealth, in this city, but I suppose that will have to wait for another time since I don't want to throw this thread off its path. But I would find it interesting to share that with you in the proper venue, because it weighs on my mind. I am grateful that I manage to pay my bills in this surreal environment.
_________________________
Jonathan Baker
http://www.BakerPianoLessons.com/index.htm

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#2098428 - 06/08/13 01:04 AM Re: The Art of Raising Fees [Re: AZNpiano]
Polyphonist Online   content
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 6392
Loc: New York City
Maybe we should start an NYC thread so we can rant about living here. ha
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2098511 - 06/08/13 08:57 AM Re: The Art of Raising Fees [Re: keystring]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7200
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: keystring
The only part that bothers me in the suggestions is that of having students teach beginner students. The absolutely most important things that are learned happen in the very beginning when the student is set up and gets the foundations for everything that follows. That would have to be some very good supervision and guidance by the master teacher.

Absolutely! I'd suggest that the primary teacher give the introductory lesson, but with the younger teacher present, and then either sit in on, or give the young student one lesson per month, so you can correct minor errors before they become major problems. Also, I think you would probably want to go through the method books with the young teachers, making sure they can play each piece to a very high level and musically, of course.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#2098517 - 06/08/13 09:08 AM Re: The Art of Raising Fees [Re: AZNpiano]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1242
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Jonathan, thanks for the additional thoughts. My studio pricing philosophy squares with yours. (It was John v.d. Brook who had confused me by his graduated pricing ideas.)

Nice to hear from a neighborhood NYC piano teacher on this board!

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#2098524 - 06/08/13 09:29 AM Re: The Art of Raising Fees [Re: John v.d.Brook]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11181
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook

Absolutely! I'd suggest that the primary teacher give the introductory lesson, but with the younger teacher present, and then either sit in on, or give the young student one lesson per month, so you can correct minor errors before they become major problems. Also, I think you would probably want to go through the method books with the young teachers, making sure they can play each piece to a very high level and musically, of course.


I have always thought that it would be a good idea for teachers to have a kind of mentorship or apprenticeship, where they are taught teaching - not just abstractly in a classroom pedagogy course - but working with a teacher. Would you envision preceding this with the intermediate student observing his teacher teach, with discussion and explanation or question-answer afterward? In fact, that in itself might be a kind of (paid?) lesson.

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#2098533 - 06/08/13 09:52 AM Re: The Art of Raising Fees [Re: keystring]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7200
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Keystring, I suspect that this idea is fraught with potential problems, if the supervising teacher isn't really committed to excellence. Perhaps a productive approach would be for the teacher to gather the apprentices together during the summer months and do teaching classes, where they literally go through the primer and lower grade material together, with the students being Guinea pigs for each other.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#2098534 - 06/08/13 10:02 AM Re: The Art of Raising Fees [Re: John v.d.Brook]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11181
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Keystring, I suspect that this idea is fraught with potential problems, if the supervising teacher isn't really committed to excellence. Perhaps a productive approach would be for the teacher to gather the apprentices together during the summer months and do teaching classes, where they literally go through the primer and lower grade material together, with the students being Guinea pigs for each other.

I suspect that my idea was received backwards. I was thinking of the advanced student observing the teacher teach a number of students over a period of time, asking questions afterward and the teacher point out things - not of the student teaching and the teacher observing. I was seeing this as preliminary to your idea of this student starting to teach beginner students, which would be without this step. I have always believed that beginners should be taught by experienced teachers if at all possible.

I like your idea of group classes and these students being guinea pigs for each other. smile I'm wondering, though. These students have already been trained, so they would come to the piano bench, sit at the right height and distance, use their hands and bodies as they have been taught to do, and understand what is expected. It doesn't duplicate a true beginner and what to watch for. (?) Anyway, I suspect that we've slipped into a new topic.

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#2098613 - 06/08/13 01:17 PM Re: The Art of Raising Fees [Re: Peter K. Mose]
Jonathan Baker Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/09/09
Posts: 258
Loc: New York City!
Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
(It was John v.d. Brook who had confused me by his graduated pricing ideas.)


My friends usually call me John, so like an over-eager dog I respond automatically to that whistle. LOL.
_________________________
Jonathan Baker
http://www.BakerPianoLessons.com/index.htm

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#2098619 - 06/08/13 01:33 PM Re: The Art of Raising Fees [Re: AZNpiano]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
Graduated pricing? I don't think so.

1. Teaching beginners is harder than teaching other levels.

2. You penalize people for sticking with it!

Having more advanced students teach the beginners?

1. Not without tons of supervision, which would take tons of time and effort.

2. Not without systematic training, also taking tons of time and effort.

Abstract pedagogy courses: They don't have to be. The pedagogy courses I took and the pedagogy courses I teach include lecture, observation and actual supervised teaching.
_________________________
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

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#2098657 - 06/08/13 03:42 PM Re: The Art of Raising Fees [Re: AZNpiano]
ezpiano.org Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 958
Loc: Irvine, CA
I tried once in my life, letting one of my high school student teach beginner (theory only) and I swear I will not do that anymore in the future because it takes me three times effort to get things done.

If I teach it myself, I just need 15 minutes.

If I let my high school student teach it, I will need 45 minutes in total because that include training, supervising, and followup.

Only if I do not care the outcome, then I can skip training and supervising, but I am not that kind of teacher.
_________________________
http://ezpiano.org
Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
@ http://bit.ly/Ready123

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#2098664 - 06/08/13 04:10 PM Re: The Art of Raising Fees [Re: Minniemay]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7200
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Like AZNpiano, we have several fine teachers who are not realistic with their pricing, probably charging one-half to two-thirds what they should. As a parent, why would I go to a good teacher who charges $160/mo when I can send my student to a good teacher charging $80/mo? This is even more of a problem for teachers located in smaller communities.

What is your solution?
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#2098668 - 06/08/13 04:25 PM Re: The Art of Raising Fees [Re: AZNpiano]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10297
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
The teacher who undercharges has only so many spots. Once full, the best one can do is to get on his/her waiting list. If your market is large enough, having a few teachers who do this doesn't create much of a problem. They fill, and life goes on. In fact, once they see that you too can have a decently full studio charging a higher price (and by all means tell them about it) they may get the message that they are undervaluing their time.

In a very small market, it's a real pain, I know. But if there is someone of your ability who willingly accepts half of what you would otherwise change, then that person will affect the pool of families that seek your services. That's life. Other than talking to the person, there is little you can do.
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

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#2098684 - 06/08/13 05:03 PM Re: The Art of Raising Fees [Re: Piano*Dad]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7200
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
But if there is someone of your ability who willingly accepts half of what you would otherwise change, then that person will affect the pool of families that seek your services. That's life. Other than talking to the person, there is little you can do.

Of course, the problem is parents with decreasing or stagnant incomes and decreasing interest in music lessons, or just plain ignorance. There are days which I think I'll offer a "fire sale" at half what these teachers charge. It may be life, but at least here we can bitch and moan about it.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#2098789 - 06/08/13 08:12 PM Re: The Art of Raising Fees [Re: AZNpiano]
Candywoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 824
AZN: you might try reducing the number of minutes but keeping the same price.

One reality we need to face is "we" who value music and an authentically artistic culture need to have more children. The higher priced teacher can thrive in such a situation because the most talented/wealthiest students are selected from a larger pool.

In general, more children would help the economy. As stated earlier, going back to a more manufacturing-based economy would help.


Edited by Candywoman (06/08/13 08:13 PM)

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#2098814 - 06/08/13 08:47 PM Re: The Art of Raising Fees [Re: AZNpiano]
R_B Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/03/09
Posts: 418
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
What are some of the ways (or reasons?) you raise fees, other than doing so on a regular annual/bi-annual basis?

I had a conversation with my student's parent today, and I am about to get a referral because one of my colleagues has just raised her fees. To me, it feels like this family is just out shopping for a cheaper teacher. But the reality is that if we continually raise our fees, sooner or later it will reach a breaking point, and students will leave to find someone cheaper.


I want to reply to this initial post BEFORE reading other replies.
I am NOT a music teacher, or employed in the "music industry" in any way.

With that out of the way, it IS necessary to raise fees & prices from time to time in ANY business.
a) To keep up with increasing costs, including your own cost of living, i.e. inflation.
b) Because you are WORTH it.

No kidding, have something that sets you ABOVE other teachers.
Do NOT join the "race to the bottom", doing so just increases the pace of that race.
Walmart make very little on anything, as the saying goes they make it on volume.

You cannot double your volume, you may want to NOT be seen as a "Walmart quality" teacher (-:

I have a small business, I have ways to AVOID price shoppers.
When I sense that price is a significant factor for them I make sure that my quote is HIGH and/or I am "booked".
If a cold call starts out with "How much..." instead of "When could you..." or "Could you at this time on this day..." it is a price shopper for sure.

They want cheap, they can find it, just not HERE.
Anyone who is GOOD at what they do doesn't need to be in the market at the "going rate".
Premium product or premium service command premium prices, no need to ever apologize for your prices/fees - IMO etc.

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#2099073 - 06/09/13 12:40 AM Re: The Art of Raising Fees [Re: R_B]
Jonathan Baker Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/09/09
Posts: 258
Loc: New York City!
Hello RB,

Every time I raised my rates I never lost business. There is no question about that. But I cannot make a formula from that for anyone else, or even myself. However, if I lowered my rates by 50% my business would drop off by probably the same ratio. Many people associate price with quality, and sometimes I do as well.

If I had to choose between a dentist charging a flat fee of $17 per hour and one who charges $170 per hour, and all I knew about them was their pricing, there is no way I would go to the $17 dentist because I would presume, sight unseen, that he is running a seedy place and on the verge of losing his license. I might be wrong, of course, but that is the presumption I would jump to. Admittedly, piano lessons are not as scary as dental procedures gone awry! And by the time my dentist is done with me it always ends up costing a lot more than $170 per hour.

I should mention that whenever the first words from a caller are, "Is this piano lessons? How much do ya charge?" - that person never, never works out as a student. That is an absolute 100% truth, no exceptions. Their first priority is a cheap deal, not a good piano lesson. They will never get through the first difficulty in music with that cut-a-deal mentality.


If my pricing of piano lessons is within reasonable reach of the population I am serving and not wildly beyond the competition, my focus forwards to questioning whether I am presenting myself to the community intelligently. Am I being clear, relevant to their needs, easily comprehended without dumbing down? I never question the market place - that is like the starry universe - it is out of my control. But I continually question how I am interacting with it because that is the only thing where I have some leverage.
_________________________
Jonathan Baker
http://www.BakerPianoLessons.com/index.htm

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#2099333 - 06/09/13 02:19 PM Re: The Art of Raising Fees [Re: AZNpiano]
Barb860 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 1644
Loc: northern California
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
What are some of the ways (or reasons?) you raise fees, other than doing so on a regular annual/bi-annual basis?

I had a conversation with my student's parent today, and I am about to get a referral because one of my colleagues has just raised her fees. To me, it feels like this family is just out shopping for a cheaper teacher. But the reality is that if we continually raise our fees, sooner or later it will reach a breaking point, and students will leave to find someone cheaper.


To me, it's all about value. What exactly are you providing for your price?
I don't charge as much as other teachers in my area because I don't offer programs such as festivals, certificate of merit, Guild, etc. In addition to weekly private lessons, my students have 2 recitals per year and optional group lessons 4 times per year and that's it. It's my job as a teacher to make sure that students who want or need more should move on to someone who provides those services.
When you say that the family may be shopping for a "cheaper teacher", would that student's opportunities to participate in programs be limited?
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#2099336 - 06/09/13 02:21 PM Re: The Art of Raising Fees [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Barb860 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 1644
Loc: northern California
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Like AZNpiano, we have several fine teachers who are not realistic with their pricing, probably charging one-half to two-thirds what they should. As a parent, why would I go to a good teacher who charges $160/mo when I can send my student to a good teacher charging $80/mo? This is even more of a problem for teachers located in smaller communities.

What is your solution?


Are these teachers offering the same programs and curriculum that you are?
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#2099394 - 06/09/13 04:11 PM Re: The Art of Raising Fees [Re: AZNpiano]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2643
Loc: Kentucky
Well, I'll chime in.

I have not raised my rates for a couple of years, but this year I added 2 more weeks off per year to the 12 month schedule (which breaks down to a few cents more per lesson if you look at it that way). The monthly fee has stayed the same. Now I'm taking a total of 6 weeks off (that includes holidays).

This year I decided to do myself a favor and felt that taking just 4 weeks total was not enough. Up to this year I taught the week of Thanksgiving and even had a parent say to me "You didn't cancel lessons for Thanksgiving?!" I found that parents do want the time off, but feel obligated to attend all scheduled lessons to get their money's worth. Anyway, I changed the schedule in January and so far no one has complained or asked any questions about it.

Perhaps they have not ready my updated policy. I did not point out the change. I just let them know a couple of weeks in advance of the upcoming break.

In other words, I have no set schedule for raises. When I feel like it's time, I make a change.


Edited by Ann in Kentucky (06/09/13 04:14 PM)
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#2100003 - 06/09/13 11:53 PM Re: The Art of Raising Fees [Re: Barb860]
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5278
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Barb860
When you say that the family may be shopping for a "cheaper teacher", would that student's opportunities to participate in programs be limited?

If anything, the student's opportunity to participate in musical events would be doubled, if not tripled. Not that it is of any value to the parents in this case. In fact, most folks here will be glad if their kid can plod along to Mary Had a Little Lamb.
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#2100083 - 06/10/13 03:33 AM Re: The Art of Raising Fees [Re: Minniemay]
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5278
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Minniemay
Graduated pricing? I don't think so.

1. Teaching beginners is harder than teaching other levels.

2. You penalize people for sticking with it!

Actually, quite a few parents I've worked for expected to pay higher fees once their kid get past a certain level. I remember my own (really good) piano teacher having that exact discussion with my parents once I got to the sonatinas. My lessons went to an hour, and the fee was raised slightly more than double of the 30-minute fee.

Another reason I may be in favor of the graduated price structure is that I might attract some talented students while they are still young, whose parents may or may not realize there's talent there at that stage.

It is so much easier to work with kids from the beginning. For many years I took transfer students left and right, and most of them were so horribly taught, I truly thought about never accepting transfers ever again.
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#2100145 - 06/10/13 08:05 AM Re: The Art of Raising Fees [Re: AZNpiano]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10297
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Quote:
In fact, most folks here will be glad if their kid can plod along to Mary Had a Little Lamb.


Yes, but those families are simply getting fleeced …

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