I believe very strongly that deep discounts lead to deep disregard.   I understand that many businesses believe these deals get people in the door, but it’s been my experience that they don’t keep people there.    I believe people will value what others value, and often the appropriate price tag is a huge influence.  

I’ve noticed that there is a general cultural trend towards NOT committing to things.

As a freelance artist, I can’t run dance classes with anything but commitment.  I commit to studio bookings, often 4-6 months in advance, and usually with a legally binding contract.  My costs to run classes and stay up-to-date as a teacher and performer increase from year to year.  I have to pay for insurance, a website and its maintenance, professional memberships, music, dvd’s, courses, private lessons, rent, storage materials/space, costumes and their maintenance, props, paper, toner, discs, usb sticks, photocopying, software, accounting services, and advertising, among other things.   Most dance teachers run their professional practice at little to no profit.

Studios where I rent or am contracted to teach have to pay all their expenses as well, so they need to know there is a committed renter and/or committed registrants to cover those costs.

The other problem I’ve seen at one local studio with “deals” is that too many people show up to take the class.   The teacher has no warning and no recourse to teach the class in a way that will keep everyone happy.   (Or, even fit everyone in the room.)  This creates real friction and frustration.   The Daily Dealers want to know why they can’t get the deal they paid for.  The instructor is swamped and can’t magically expand the space.   The regulars respond with “Where’s my discount?” (and rightly so).  The owner has to deal with everyone involved and try to smooth feathers.

I sympathise with those on a low income–I am, too.  I also started dancing when I was a university grad student and living off a student loan.   I found time and money to go to class at $8-10 per class, 8-10 classes in a session–way back in 1997.   It wasn’t long before I found money to do that twice a week. I wanted to.  I  made sacrifices and choices to do what was important to me.  I took extra work and made it happen.

I choose to offer discounts and deals to my regular students who are loyal and dedicated.  I reward focus and commitment.  Returning students get a discounts in class fees and/or with access to at-cost supplies.  People taking more than one class get a discount.   Students who refer a friend to registration get a gift certificate.  I also sell supplies to my students at-cost and often bring items in as “free to good home”.    Sometimes I give out music or other treats.   These are my “deals”.