General Dance Discussion > Working in Exchange for Lessons

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by waltzgirl, Jan 2, 2008.

  1. waltzgirl

    waltzgirl Active Member

    I have the possibility of doing some work for my studio in exchange for lessons. I was wondering what kind of deal other people who have done this have worked out. What the studio proposed is that they “pay” me $X per hour and I “buy” lessons with that credit at the regular lesson rate.

    If you’ve worked for lessons, or know someone who has, how did it work?
     
  2. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    I have had persons do this at our studio. Of course, the studio is never going to be able to "pay" you enough to take the types of lessons which are always desired. You already have done the right thing by not being obligated to a certain type of lesson, but having your earnings on an account which can be used for lessons as you desire.Of course, the only remaining thing is that you are receiving a wage comparable to what would be given to a nonstudent. Purchase groups, or save for privates as you desire. It really should make no difference to the studio.
     
  3. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    I think they should do better. If they pay you in x value for lessons then they are still making a profit on your work (the cost of the lesson - teacher fee, studio etc - plus the profit they make on the lesson) - while they may not give you the lessons at cost (that is the market price minus cost ) they should give you them at a reduced rate - say 20% off.
     
  4. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    I have traded lessons for " work " in several of my schools-- notably a receptionist , who prefered that arrangement .
     
  5. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    She will already be getting a discount of approximately one-third. If she gets "paid" $9/hr, she gets $9 in lesson value. If was actually paid nine bucks she'd have to pay taxes on that, and she would end up with six bucks actual cash value.
     
  6. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    Good point - which is a nice gift from the taxman - but the studio still makes a profit on her lesson which I don't think it should.
     
  7. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    The only profit they make is in not having to pay employment taxes on her salary.
     
  8. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Technically, she benefits in this as well, I believe. (Too lazy to go look things up, but I'm pretty sure.)
     
  9. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    maybe you miss the point? if a lesson is normally $100 at a studio say 50 goes to the instructor, 10 to studio maintenance and 40 to the owner. My point is that the owner should forgo that 40 in such an arrangement.
     
  10. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Why? He has as much right to make a profit from his business as the instructor has a right to his salary. Besides, if she doesn't like the arrangement, it's her right to refuse it.
     
  11. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    Absolutely - you can make that argument on all counts (although I did not suggest the treacher should forgo anything). Its just that I personally would not make a profiit from my own employees - just like if you work in a store or a travel agency you generally get a discount on the goods of that store. Its good emplyee relations and does not cost the employer. Thats all.
     
  12. lcdancesport

    lcdancesport Active Member

    My situation is a little bit different. Right now we have a few newer teachers, including myself, and the owner. The studio itself is still relatively new, well under new ownership, but is doing very well. Anyways, on top of our training classes on the weekends with the owner, we can also do extra stuff around the studio to get private lessons.

    One girl will clean the studio on the weekends and/or set things up for parties, and in return will get an hour a week for a private lesson.

    I've been maintaining the studio's website, and also help out around the studio when needed, in return, I can get a private lesson here and there if I choose to have one.

    We're not as picky with "hourly costs" and who is benefiting from what, but in this situation, the owner gets to work with us newer teachers privately, and in return, our dancing experience only grows, which is a win win deal.
     
  13. LucyDiamond

    LucyDiamond Active Member

    I maintain websites for a couple of studios in exchange for lessons. I charge a pre-established rate and issue the studios invoices for my work, as I would any other paying client. The invoiced amount goes towards lessons at the rate the studio charges any other student. So, I'm getting the fair market value for my web services and the studios are getting the fair market value for my lessons. It's also much easier then having the studios give me a check so, I can turn around and give them a check in return. Win-win for both parties.
     
  14. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    That is fair and equitable because you charge your normal rate (including your 'profit') and they give you fair market value at their normal rate (including profit) so that the profit cancels out both ways.
     
  15. LucyDiamond

    LucyDiamond Active Member

    That makes sense. As far as the op, if the studio pays the same as they would an outside person, then the profits cancel each other out. If paid less, then, yes the op should get a discount for the lessons.
     
  16. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    LD's and ED's points are valid. Trade should be made at equal market valus, of course. Otherwise, the studio is actually getting over, so to speak; they are receiving work plus making a profit off of their own payments.
     
  17. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    I still fail to see how the studio makes a profit on her lesson.
     
  18. waltzgirl

    waltzgirl Active Member

    Let's say I work for $10 an hour "credit" and a lesson costs $100 (#s just for convenience). So I have to work 10 hours for a lesson. But the studio's costs per lesson are, say, $60. So, for that lesson, they are getting 4 hours of free labor (i.e., they don't have to pay someone to do the work and they also don't expend the $40 in any other way). Strictly speaking, that may not be "profit" but it's a financial benefit for them.
     
  19. Indiana_Jay

    Indiana_Jay Active Member

    I would not expect a discount rate from the studio as I would not discount the rate I charge for my work. In a sense, we'd both be making "profit" on the deal, its just that no cash would change hands. By the way, it would be worth investigating whether such "in-kind" payments for your work are, in fact, considered taxable income. If so, you'd have to consider yourself a self-employed contractor to the studio and report the income as self-employment income.
     
  20. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    You need to know two main things: as you say, whether theposter is being paid the equivalent rate as for a regular employee and whether they have the choice to take that pay in cash. You would also need to know if employees who are paid in cash can purchase lessons at a cut rate - which is often very likely. If so the virtual dollars should also have this deduction.
     

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