There have been a number of questions about the new fees structure we have adopted this year. Our aim is to make payment of fees as simple and affordable as possible for everyone. This post is to clarify the situation with the new fee payment structure.
Background of Restructure
For many years Long White Cloud Kung Fu has actually run at a substantial loss, the simple fact is that it costs a lot more to provide a service than many people imagine. Running at a loss was of course never going to be sustainable for the long term, so late last year we were faced with a major decision about the future direction of Long White Cloud Kung Fu. We could either greatly increase our fees to bring them to a commercially viable level (there are many martial arts schools that charge $100/month for a junior student to attend classes, compared to our current fee level of $10/week or $40/month) or undergo a significant restructure of our classes so that we could continue to offer them at affordable rates.
Personally I want kung fu classes to be affordable for everyone who wants to attend them, so we have taken the latter option which has resulted in our current class timetable and locations. This has allowed us to greatly reduce our overheads by no longer needing to cover the rent on our previous full time studio in Takapuna. This has also meant that I am no longer able to dedicate my fulltime attention to teaching and running the kung fu school, but this has created space for the teaching to now be spread across more instructors, all of whom are volunteers, teaching as their way of giving back and contributing to our Long White Cloud Kung Fu community. Our new class timetable also encourages greater family engagement with parents able to train alongside their kids in several of our new classes.
Change can be difficult, but overall the new classes are going very well. There is a real buzz in many of the classes and students are progressing well in their learning. Kung Fu is a labour of love for us, but labour of love or not, the bills still have to be paid in order for us to continue to do what we love to do. Which brings us to the topic of fees, and the new fee structure we are working with this year.
Alongside the restructure of classes and locations we have also taken the opportunity to simplify our fee structure making it easier for students to visit between different locations as needed or attend more than one class a week if they wish without having to worry about making additional payments, and for most students actually making training substantially cheaper.
Lets have a look at how the cost of these fees works out compared to our old fee structure.
This analysis does not cover every possible situation or combination of fees options – such an analysis would take up a very large amount of space to cover the many possible different iterations, but it gives the general idea of the overall shift in class costs under the new fee structure.
You can see that in almost all cases the per class cost has reduced substantially. There are some exceptions. For junior students the per class cost now comes to $10/week if they are attending once a week, which is a small 50c increase on the old cost of $9.50/week under the old fees, but still a very fair price. For Little Dragons coming once a week the difference is a bit bigger at $10/class instead of $8/class, but when you consider that the classes are now 45 minutes instead of 30 minutes, the cost per class time is actually $2 less per class under the new fees schedule.
You will also notice that the cost per class gets very cheap very quickly for people attending classes more than once per week and particularly for families. We want to allow people to train as much as they would like to, and particularly to encourage family members to train together. Kung Fu is one of the few physical/sporting activities that the whole family can participate in together at the same time, and we think thats great. Family members training together also creates positive reinforcement at home and can help with the training environment in classes as well.
People attending more than one class per week are also more likely to give back during part of that time by assisting with instructing and in other ways. This volunteer effort is really important to our community. Long White Cloud Kung Fu has punched above its weight for a long time, running our own competitions and other special events such as demonstrations, movie making workshops, travel opportunities and so on, while endeavoring to keep costs affordable. The volunteer efforts of our members, families and friends has been and continues to be a valuable part of what allows us to do this. We welcome and appreciate the contributions of all those who help out in different ways with the running of Long White Cloud Kung Fu.
Fee Payment Options
With our instructors teaching as volunteers, it is really important to us that we have a method of fee payment that leaves them free to focus on teaching rather than having to check on and chase up fee payments. We also need a simple payment system to facilitate students being able to train at different locations if they wish to.
Weekly direct debit is our preferred payment option, as it greatly reduces our administrative load, once the fees are set up they come out automatically and we do not need to check up on them. There is no set term on the direct debit, so you can set one of these up without worrying about being locked into payments, as you can stop them at any time if you wish. These payments are also stopped by us during the class shutdown over the summer break, but continue during the inter-term holidays as we now offer classes right through these holidays as well.
Some people may still prefer not to use direct debits. We certainly do not want choice of payment method to stand in the way of you enjoying kung fu training, so we are now making available additional payment methods via automatic payment or as a per term payment for junior students who do not wish to attend classes during the inter-term holidays. These types of payments require quite a bit more administrative work from us to monitor and follow up, so there will be a $1/week surcharge attached to these types of payments to help us to cover the additional administration required.
So a $10 weekly direct debit payment would become a $11 weekly payment as an automatic payment. A $20 weekly direct debit payment becomes a $21 weekly automatic payment and so on. The cost for per term payments for junior students not wishing to attend classes during the inter-term holidays becomes $110 per student per term.
To help us with the ongoing administration required in following up these payments and over time with other aspects of administration Long White Cloud Kung Fu will now have the assistance of a part time administrator. Annette has agreed to help us out in this role and will be using the new email address firstname.lastname@example.org, so you may get some friendly reminders from her about fee payments and other administrative issues from time to time.
Every member, student and instructor is important to the future of Long White Cloud Kung Fu. We thank you for your support and look forward to continuing to learn and grow together both as individuals and as an organization. We will continue to do our best to keep our training costs affordable and to give the best opportunities to our students to learn, achieve, compete and experience everything that kung fu has to offer. We are pleased to have you with us on this journey .
Founder, Long White Cloud Kung Fu