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Teaching ASL (110)

Subject:  Setting Your Fee:  How much to charge for a class

A teacher asks: 

"I know you do not teach babies sign language, but what would be the recommended price for that age range and specific audience that includes family members?"


When you are first starting out you tend to charge a lot less than after you are established.
One way to set your prices is to charge about what it costs someone to go to the movies in your area.
Meaning, if it costs $8.00 in your area to go see a 90-minute movie then you ought to charge about that much for your class per 90-minute session.
So...if you are teaching a four session class that meets an hour-and-a-half each time, you should charge $32.00 for the course.
But there is much to be considered. Do you provide handouts? Do you provide a booklet? How about a CD or DVD? Do you provide advanced classes? Do you let your students email you for more information? Are you certified? Who is your audience? (I know of a woman who earns hundreds of thousands a year teaching private swimming lessons to children of "movie stars.")
What it all comes down to is this: Market Demand.
What are people willing to pay for your services? The only sure way to know that is to start offering your services and then increase your fee each time you offer a new course until you don't get any registrations. Generally what instructors do is offer a course at a "reasonable" price, $20 to $60 for a 4 to 8 week course, advertise it, and see how many show up.
However, don't put artificial barriers on your income level. You might very well succeed at charging $140 or $160 for a 10-week course. I noticed that when I bundled my products into a "course pack" my sales skyrocketed. I charge companies here in California $3,000 to $6,000 for an ASL course. But then again, I've got the advanced degree, the college connections, the curriculum, and 20 years of experience. Two decades ago I was thrilled to pull in a tenth of that amount. I recall at one time I used to teach 13 different courses a week for various companies, colleges, and programs. Your eventual goal will be to teach less and charge more. You may even want to hire others to teach for you. I did that for a while, but realized my goal wasn't to become an "administrator" but rather to enjoy teaching ASL and/or getting paid for my ASL knowledge. So now I sometimes partner with other instructors and simply split the profit down the middle or in whatever proportion is fair. That motivates them to help advertise the program and recruit more students.

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