There is no current trend in commercial martial arts more lucrative than contracts. Contracts are the ultimate cash cow for martial arts schools. This brilliant marketing scheme was borrowed from the health and fitness gym business. Gyms will routinely sell excessive amounts of memberships on the firm and unshakable knowledge that most people won’t use their facilities for more than 30 to 60 days. The person may show up religiously for a month, maybe two, before other issues interfere and attendance dwindles, like a change of job, divorce, etc. So even though he or she is no longer attending that person is still paying for a six month, twelve month or three year contract.
For the record there is a high turnover rate of students in martial arts. The highest attrition rate is with people who sign up, take a few classes and then decide that it is not for them! With a contract, the student is locked into paying! And, with the “deals” that schools offer on long-term vs. short-term contracts, the rate you are usually paying is the highest available. Because it made sense — not knowing if you’d like it — to take the shortest contract time available, you’re paying the highest per unit cost. That means the school, knowing that you will probably drop out, is making the most money off you that it possibly can in the shortest period.
The simple fact is that in these economic hard times many martial arts schools will be going out of business. For years these McDojos provided poor quality martial arts training at outrageous prices for a guarantee black belt in one year. They managed to survive on “karate moms” bringing in their children to these programs–often for what basically amounts to as a form of unlicensed child care.
With a high enough student base these schools are often willing to let parents buy their way of their contracts at usually at a 20% discount off the full contract rate. In the current economic crunch, these schools are not going to be so generous since their enrollments are dwindling and their overhead continues to escalate.
Remember these are legally binding contracts and very few people bother to read them carefully before signing on the bottom line. Since many of these schools will be fighting for their continued survival, not only are they going to be less willing to let you buy your way out of your contract, they may sell your contract to a collection agency for collection and the fun begins. There are many month-to-month programs available through rec centers, cultural centers, churches, gyms, YMCA/YWCAs and non-commercial schools. You just have to look for them, instead of looking no farther than the school closest to the supermarket. We recommend this strategy if your work requires extensive travel and overtime or your family life commonly makes demands that would result in you missing classes. The nice thing about month-to-month programs is that if you can’t make it for a month, then you don’t have to pay for classes you will miss.
At Dominion Martial Arts we believe in training the old fashioned way without contracts. Once you see our training we know you will come back and want to learn. No high pressured sales. No gimmicks. Just Martial Arts training.