How much should I charge for lessons?

AnOasis

Member
I did a search but came up pretty empty. A few people have asked me to give lessons and this is actually something I've always been interested in doing. So, how much should I charge? Right now I would be teaching beginners, if not complete beginners. Thanks!
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
Figure out what other people in your area are charging for lessons. If not drum teachers, people that give lessons for guitar or piano or singing or whatever. It's totally dependent on location and the local economics. I'm assuming that you're not a celebrity and don't have a music degree, of course...

Also, you should consider charging less for your services since you're just starting out. Get a few years of teaching under your belt so that you figure it out before you start charging a comparable rate to the other, more experienced, teachers in your area. You don't want to cause irreparable damage to your teaching reputation by charging as much as the other teachers, but not offering at least the same level of quality of teaching.

For the record, I live in Portland Oregon and charge $40 an hour. I live in suburbia about 20 minutes outside of downtown. If my teaching studio were downtown, I would probably charge $50 an hour. My college professor charged $75 an hour, and some local "drumming celebrities" charge $100+ an hour. That's the economic situation here.

Good luck.
 

jeffwj

Platinum Member
I did a search but came up pretty empty. A few people have asked me to give lessons and this is actually something I've always been interested in doing. So, how much should I charge? Right now I would be teaching beginners, if not complete beginners. Thanks!
How much does your teacher charge? Since you are starting out and don't yet have the experience of your teacher, I would charge a bit less than him/her.

Jeff
 
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k-train78

Member
I only have one student (sort of a test run for me teaching) and I usually give one lesson per week, either one hour lesson, or two half hour lessons per week, and I charge him only $40 per month. Im self taught myself and had no teachers, but I know alot and know how to teach the basics, so I dont charge an arm and a leg, but enough to make it worth my time. Good luck!
 

AnOasis

Member
OK, great thanks guys. Nope, not a celebrity for sure. My teacher in Nashville charges $40/hr. I don't live there; I live in a small KY college town. I'll have to see what others are charging around here. Thanks again,
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
I don't know what's right for your city, but in Portland, as Cad. said, regular professional teachers generally charge somewhere in the range of $35-55/hour. There are some marginal guys who try to come in under that, but I can't imagine that they make any kind of living that way- at best you can maintain that for a couple of years before you decide to just get a job at Car Stereo World or whatever. I charge $45/hour-$30/30 minutes at my studio, or $60/$45 at the student's house. Teachers who work through stores usually get $15-25/hour and the store charges the student at least double that. I would think you'd have to be in a remarkably depressed location to charge anything less than ~$30/hour anywhere in the United States.

Some things to think about while you're determining your pricing:
1) Forget about your qualifications. From a business point of view, what you (or anyone else other than the customer) thinks you "deserve" to get paid is irrelevant. My view is that if you know more than the student and can convince people to call you and stay with you, you should charge a professional rate for your services.

2) Some people lowball, thinking it's going to draw more business. Several bad things happen when you do this:

Say the going rate is $40/hour, and you decide you're going to clean up by charging half that, $20.

$40 x 10 students = $400. To make that same $400 @ $20/per student, you need to get 20 students. You need to get twice as many calls to make the same bread. If you don't net at least twice as many calls, you may as well have just charged the higher rate, worked less, and made more money.

$40 x 10 hours = $400
$20 x 20 hours = $400
If your strategy only gets you 15 students:
$20 x 15 hours = $300
If you decide that $300 is OK with you, well, you could've made that even if only 7-8 people had responded at the normal rate.

So, either the normal rate has to be an extreme flop, or the budget rate has to be an insane success to make that pricing scheme remotely worth it.

Also consider:
- There may not be double the number of people looking for lessons at any given moment. You may be trying to attract people who just aren't there.
- Cost is not a primary concern for all or even most students- you're just giving away half your income to those people. They were going to call you anyway.
- Some non-budget minded students may wonder why you're charging so little, and go with someone they perceive as better, because they're charging a normal rate.
- Many of the people you attract may not even be able to afford your low prices over the long term. You're actually appealing to a pretty narrow market- people who are too poor for regular teachers, but not so poor that they have to drop after two weeks because you're eating into their grocery money.

3) Charge a normal rate and justify it by presenting yourself as a knowledgeable, creative, professional, and fun teacher. Think of other ways to attract people- it's popular to offer a free first lesson, for example. To appeal to lower price points you can offer group classes (I would be careful not to make those an exact replacement for regular lessons, however). My site (badly in need of an update, actually) at pdxdrummer.com has gotten a lot of positive comments from new contacts- maybe it will give you some ideas for ways to go with this.
 
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Toddbishop brings up a lot of great business points. You should definitely factor those in your pricing decision.

If you find a balance between toddbishop's points and finding a reasonable price for your area, you should be able to decide on a fair and profitable price.

Since you mentioned that you will probably be starting beginners, have you thought about where to start with them? Teaching beginners can be more difficult and carry more weight than teaching other skill levels because you are responsible for the foundation of drumming knowledge that they will forever build on as long as they drum.

Not to sound scary, but if you don't teach them well, they could end up with bad techniques for the rest of their drumming careers.

I strongly recommend sitting down and figuring out your teaching philosophy, what knowledge you want them to obtain, how you would like to sequence the material, as well as what goals you want the student to accomplish. By doing this you teach with purpose, a curriculum, and goals in mind. Without premeditating what and how you are going to teach you end up teaching somewhat blindly with no way to assess your productivity. Just some food for thought. Best of luck with your students!
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I don't know what's right for your city, but in Portland, as Cad. said, regular professional teachers generally charge somewhere in the range of $35-55/hour. There are some marginal guys who try to come in under that, but I can't imagine that they make any kind of living that way- at best you can maintain that for a couple of years before you decide to just get a job at Car Stereo World or whatever. I charge $45/hour-$30/30 minutes at my studio, or $60/$45 at the student's house. Teachers who work through stores usually get $15-25/hour and the store charges the student at least double that. I would think you'd have to be in a remarkably depressed location to charge anything less than ~$30/hour anywhere in the United States.

Some things to think about while you're determining your pricing:
1) Forget about your qualifications. From a business point of view, what you (or anyone else other than the customer) thinks you "deserve" to get paid is irrelevant. My view is that if you know more than the student and can convince people to call you and stay with you, you should charge a professional rate for your services.

2) Some people lowball, thinking it's going to draw more business. Several bad things happen when you do this:

Say the going rate is $40/hour, and you decide you're going to clean up by charging half that, $20.

$40 x 10 students = $400. To make that same $400 @ $20/per student, you need to get 20 students. You need to get twice as many calls to make the same bread. If you don't net at least twice as many calls, you may as well have just charged the higher rate, worked less, and made more money.

$40 x 10 hours = $400
$20 x 20 hours = $400
If your strategy only gets you 15 students:
$20 x 15 hours = $300
If you decide that $300 is OK with you, well, you could've made that even if only 7-8 people had responded at the normal rate.

So, either the normal rate has to be an extreme flop, or the budget rate has to be an insane success to make that pricing scheme remotely worth it.

Also consider:
- There may not be double the number of people looking for lessons at any given moment. You may be trying to attract people who just aren't there.
- Cost is not a primary concern for all or even most students- you're just giving away half your income to those people. They were going to call you anyway.
- Some non-budget minded students may wonder why you're charging so little, and go with someone they perceive as better, because they're charging a normal rate.
- Many of the people you attract may not even be able to afford your low prices over the long term. You're actually appealing to a pretty narrow market- people who are too poor for regular teachers, but not so poor that they have to drop after two weeks because you're eating into their grocery money.

3) Charge a normal rate and justify it by presenting yourself as a knowledgeable, creative, professional, and fun teacher. Think of other ways to attract people- it's popular to offer a free first lesson, for example. To appeal to lower price points you can offer group classes (I would be careful not to make those an exact replacement for regular lessons, however). My site (badly in need of an update, actually) at pdxdrummer.com has gotten a lot of positive comments from new contacts- maybe it will give you some ideas for ways to go with this.
This is great advice! Good solid business advice - mostly all other businesses do the same. Photographers, Wedding Coordinators....everything just about. The best part is where Todd tells you you're a business, so be a business. Thanks Todd!
 
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