General Dance Discussion > The cost of competitions

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by patois, Jan 22, 2006.

  1. patois

    patois New Member

    I am considering my lst big competition but am overwhelmed by the cost quoted to me by my instructor/partner. Is there some sort of generally -understood standard by which an instructor/partner charges the student to go to these competitions.

    I am being quoted Loss Income for 2 days we will be out of town.
    Hotel/meal/registration costs for both of us
    Both airfares
    (and of course) all my entry fees

    The only decrease in cost will be not paying instructor's airfare if enough other students go as well. He would take care of his own.
    In other words, no matter how many of us go, we all are paying all of the instructor costs each rather than dividing it up among us.

    Perhaps this is normal. I just want to hear from others to find out what your experience has been. Thanks
  2. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Are you with a franchise studio or an independent? Just curious.

    And welcome to the forums, patois. Welcome. :D
  3. Fretful_Porpentine

    Fretful_Porpentine New Member

    I don't have any suggestions, I'm just here to sympathize. My first comp is coming up as well, and I was totally floored by the price. :shock: It's such a rip-off, but I'm doing it anyway.
  4. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    I pay Fedex the same whether they deliver to me only... or to me and 8 of my neighbors.

    The point of running a business is not to simply break even but actually Make Money. This is a reasonable expectation. If, however, you feel uncomfortablw with the end price that is easily your decision to make. But it is unfair to expect professionals, in any field, to work and only break even.

    The more students the teacher takes... the more work they have to do for that weekend, and the more profit they deserve to come home with. So yes it is a normal business model. There are other models that different teachers/studios use. But this one is common and may businesses in lots of different industries use it.
  5. mamboqueen

    mamboqueen Well-Known Member

    My experience has been that the cost of the trip and expenses are divided up amongst the students. My instructor tacks on a per-student fee (incredibly reasonable) to go to the comp. We then pay the entry fees, admission into the ballroom and all our other expenses. I know that other studios will mark up the cost of the entry fees rather than a per-student fee. Six of one....but personally, I don't think an instructor should charge 5 students $300 for airfare if the airfare is only $300. Is that what you're saying?
  6. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I completely agree. The funny thing about the conversations here is that I tend to see two populations, with not many people in the middle. The two populations are one -- the amateur dancer folks who think every pro-ammer is paying too much, and that anything more than a hundred bucks for a comp is ridiculous. And two. The pro-am folks who are willing to hock their houses and jewelery to enter their next comp.

    Isn't there a middle ground somewhere that both respects the pros' right to earn a decent living and the students right to an honest and fair deal? In the past, when I was interested in competition, the teacher I had was fair and honest and reasonably priced, in my view. I'm thinking that there must be more folks like him out there.
  7. patois

    patois New Member

    This is an independent studio.
  8. mamboqueen

    mamboqueen Well-Known Member

    Welcome to dance-forums, by the way :)

    What part of the country are you in, if I may ask?
  9. patois

    patois New Member

    Were you given a breakdown of the costs? And if so, was it similar to what I am being asked to cover?

    It just seemed to me that the costs of the instructor/partner would be split among ALL of us going, rather than each of us paying all the expenses.
  10. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Try googling the name of the competition you're planning to enter. Some comps list their actual charges online. Then you'll have an idea of how much mark-up your studio is charging you.

    Bear in mind that, as Larinda says, your studio has a right to charge a mark-up. (At least in my view.) While they're at the comp with you, they're foregoing their time teaching other students. They're also preparing you for and babysitting you through your comp, if you're anything like me.

    So they have a right to charge you something over and above the comp costs. The question is whether you think their price to you is reasonable.
  11. mamboqueen

    mamboqueen Well-Known Member

    No, I wasn't given a breakdown, but given what my instructor charged me for his expenses last time, it was clear to me that it was divided up. Actually, I wondered if we might not even be covering everything...or he doesn't eat or something! I don't think you should be afraid to ask about the expenses. Heck, if he got a new sound system, I'm sure he'd be asking questions about the costs, too. An informed consumer is a smart consumer.

    I suppose it also depends on where he adds his profit. My teacher charges $X to go to a comp, no matter how many dances I do. Another teacher might charge $60, which is a mark-up of the entry fees of the organizer. Perhaps your guy marks up his expenses ... although that would seem the least likely place, IMO, to tack on the profit.
  12. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    my oinstructor charges a ridiculously cheap amount per heat....then the amt of his expenses which is an amount that he informs me is an estimate based upon who else dances ...then obviously if he is only dancing with me and he is traveleling and therefore missing work i am gonna have to pick up that cost and I appreciate and understand that....I don't see many pros , even top level pros living high on the knows when one has a good pro
  13. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    It is not just time off from teaching and loss of income. But it is time off on a weekend that I could spend hiking, playing with my kids (if I had some!) or my dog (in my case), shopping or spending an afternoon with a friend. It is called going to work. Life and Time is precious, and businesses should be compensated.

    To call something "fair" or "reasonable" is tricky because that is assuming we all agree on what a "reasonable living" is. A Doctor is going to assume different than a waitress. And who is to say where dance professionals are in area in between.
  14. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I agree. Dance professionals give up a whole lot of time that other professionals would call personal time -- time spent at weeknight studio parties, weekend comps or coaching, for example.

    I was just phrasing my post in a way that most folks would understand -- dollars and cents. A dance pro has a right to charge students for the lost opportunity cost of teaching other students, IMO. Very few people would disagree with that. Some might quibble with a dance pro's right to walk his dog or play with his kids, though. (They'd be wrong, IMO, but they'd still quibble. :? )
  15. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    well I can think of many folks who will call me a fool, but my happiness is worth every stinking penny that I drop on my dancing...and it is mine to spend....and I am grateful that I can
  16. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Understood. Been there, done that. It's just money. What does that have to do with happiness? Not much, IMO.
  17. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    only thing money is good for besides charity IMO
  18. standardgirl

    standardgirl New Member

    I have done pro/am with three different teachers, and they all charge things differently. One of them is similar to MQ's teacher, he charges a flat fee of$250 per day regardless of how many students he's taking or how many heats I am dancing (which is usually about 10 to 15 dances), and then I will also have to pay a share of his expenses (travel, meal, packages, etc, it ranges from $100 for a local comp with a lot of students going to $300+ for an out of town comp with 2 students only) divided among all the girls (ie, the more students going, the less each of us will have to pay) and all my entry fees, tickets, etc.

    Another teacher charges almost nothing in addition to the entry fees. I believe it's like about $5 per dance markup or so, plus a share of his expenses divided among all students. But this is the teacher who always want his students to do a TON of entries, so that he can get that big money from top teacher. At the end, you usually end up paying almost the same, except (1) you get to dance more heats, and (2) the organizer is the one actually getting the majority of the money rather than the teacher.

    The third teacher charges a combined fee (usually around $300 to $350 for an out of town competition that requires airfair) no matter how many students he's taking. And then he also charges a $10 per dance fee for single dance events and $25 per multi-dance event.
  19. patois

    patois New Member

    Thanks--it's great to have a place to talk to others about dancing-I began July 2005 and am wild about it. I live in Virginia. I have finally found what I always "wanted to do when I grew up"! (Am still working on the grow-up part.) While starting very late in life (58 - eek!) I have taken various exercise classes, including weights, and have practiced yoga for 9 years. These have prepared me to dance and my instructor is eager for me to compete. Participated in a small local comp here. Didn't fall down once! Scared out of my mind. I don't think that will ever change. I love dancing and will do it as long as one hoof will go in front of the other in a reasonable fashion. I have a class 5 days a week and have the most wonderful instructor. He is supportive and patient. Believes in me more than I believe in myself. That's my story and I'm ... (not going to say the rest of that tired ole line!).
  20. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    You have a point, to a degree. Yes, you could be doing something else with your time. However, if you normally spend your weekends teaching and take days off during the week, you have no opportunity cost by competing with students on the weekend. You would be justified in charging them for the time you spend competing with them, and possibly for the (non-sleep) down time when away from home. However, I don't think you'd be justified in charging them an additional fee on top for "I could be doing something else with my time."

    Also, if the student(s) is paying you for your time, that time belongs to the student(s). If you're billing them for a 12-hour day, you should be spending all 12 hours on the student(s), either competing or dancing or whatever they feel like doing. Otherwise, if you're doing your own thing that's on you and shouldn't come out of their pocketbook.

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