Pole doesn’t grow on trees – the value of good pole dance classes

Pole doesn’t grow on trees – the value of good pole dance classes

Pole doesn’t grow on trees – the value of good pole dance classes

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There’s no getting around it: Pole dance lessons are more expensive than most other fitness classes.

Among the Holy Trinity of first questions asked by those interested in starting pole dance classes (“When and where are your classes? What do I wear? How much is it?), the How Much? question is usually the point at which interest fades.

You charge how much for an hour??? 

When I first started pole classes nearly 5 years ago, the lessons were £10 – a very reasonable rate for pole locally, but still twice the price of your average zumba or aerobics class, and this still stands today – wherever you are in the world, and whatever factors affect your local prices, I’m still willing to bet that most pole lessons are considerably higher than your average fitness class.

But pole is not your average fitness class. Here’s what you may think you are paying for:
An hour long fitness class, along the same lines as a zumba class, legs bums & tums or a powerhoop class. There will be a warm up, some bits that make you sweat and ache a bit, then a cool down. You’re charging a lot of money for that!

I see what you’re saying. But in fact, here’s just some of what I’m charging you for:

Firstly, hardware: Studios cost money. Sometimes they are rented spaces, which doesn’t come cheap, especially if the class is small, or there are no-shows. This is why your pole school will thank you for it if you let them know you won’t be making it to class. Sometimes the pole school owns the space, but much like owning your own home, that will still involve a mortgage payment, which will not be small. Even for those lucky few who outright own a space, there will still be business rates, bills, public liability insurance, music licensing and many other costs. So far, no different to other fitness classes, but let’s add on to that the cost of equipment. Crash mats, stretch mats, yoga blocks, stretch bands and mirrors are just the start of it. Your main equipment cost as a school owner will be your poles. Safe, recognised poles are not cheap, and nor should they be. And neither do they last forever – regular maintenance and upkeep will keep your poles safe, but eventually they will need to be replaced. This is one area you do not want your school to scrimp on, and is one of the reasons your classes may cost more than other fitness classes.

On top of that, you are not just paying for one hour’s tuition; in this day and age when time is precious, your lesson will reflect the amount of time your instructor has put into your class – hours of research (OK, watching pole dancing videos on YouTube isn’t exactly a chore, but still…), administrative work that can go on for days, putting together carefully tailored lesson plans that ensure each student’s particular strengths are played to and challenged, plus time spent possibly putting up and taking down poles, all of which eats into your instructor’s working day. We haven’t even touched on marketing, branding, promoting, advertising, website development or hosting events.

But it’s more than just the hardware and time you are paying for in your class cover price. For starters, your instructor should have invested heavily in their own training. This may (or may not) include extensive qualifications and training courses (both in pole and possibly in business skills), but even if it doesn’t, it will hopefully include the not insubstantial costs of their own pole journey – their own lessons, masterclasses, workshops, and primarily their experience – their time honing their craft, sometimes for many years, and their own personal development to keep your classes current and up to date.

Add on to this personal insurance, registration with various recognised bodies and a million other small costs, and suddenly the cost of your lesson becomes hopefully more understandable.

Teaching pole is not a license to print money. Time and again I see people who think this is an easy way to make a living, that you can charge twice the price of any other dance class and rake it in. Wrong, wrong, wrong. As a school it is important not to fall back on the “that’s the going rate” excuse. We need to make sure we are providing value for money.

Many things come into play when setting your prices to your students. I will keep my prices as reasonable as I can. Of course some schools can keep their rates low due to overheads and a thousand other variables. Some costs are fixed, and vary from studio to studio based on circumstances. A larger, better equipped and beautiful studio may charge more than a smaller one. A school whose instructors have an excellent reputation may charge more than another – and bear in mind that that reputation will have been earned with hard work, experience, and many of the factors discussed above. Local economics of course comes into play – prices vary widely throughout the country, in the way that house prices do. But bear in mind that, as with all things, you get what you pay for.

To be an effective teacher, you should never stop being a student. A good pole dance instructor invests time, effort and, yes, money to improving and being the best they can be. It’s what justifies the money we charge to students. Pole does not come for free. Investing in your future is wise.

Yes, pole is more expensive than most fitness classes but when you take these costs into consideration, it begins to represent excellent value for money.




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