3 Reasons Introducing Student Memberships Can Boost Your Martial Arts’ Clubs Profits
Student Memberships form a crucial part of a club’s income. It’s a regular (usually annual) boost of cash that is above and beyond usual training fees, so it’s an excellent way to help your club buy new equipment, keep up to date with safeguarding qualifications, invest in community programmes or generally stay financially healthy.
Introduction student membership fees if you haven’t already done so can be a bit of a daunting process. The concern of frustrated parents withdrawing students, or adult participants challenging the additional costs can be enough to put you off trying altogether however with the correct approach, there are a few easy ways to introduce student membership effectively within your club.
FOR NEW CLUBS
If you’re still just starting out the good news is the introduction of student membership fees is incredibly simple. You just need to put yourself into the headset that a membership fee exists from the get-go. Build it into your website, literature and documentation. Make it absolutely clear that it’s there and there can be no misunderstandings for students as they come to your club for the first time.
One of the best ways to ensure you have student membership fees well established is to build it into any introductory offers. For example, you may wish to offer 2 lessons free to help students give it a try. To make student memberships an inevitable part of this you simply market that after the two taster sessions, should they wish to continue, an annual student membership fee is payable. Simple.
FOR EXISTING CLUBS
If you run an established club and you haven’t been charging student membership fees before it’s important to approach the subject delicately. If you get it wrong, it could appear that you are trying to impose a punitive fee on students or parents for your own financial gain.
The key is communication. You need to also approach this as a marketing exercise. The best way to do this is to list all of the benefits and reasons why student memberships are being brought in. These could include (and bear in mind this is only specific to the BMABA, so check with any other providers);
- Student Public Liability Insurance
- Student Membership Documentation
- Student Grading Books
- Grade Ratification From A Governing Body
- Help & Support From The NGB For Students and Parents
- At club level, any extras such as merchandise, clothing or accessories
- and so on…
By being honest about why you are choosing to introduce student memberships and making it an attractive offer which gives the student some sort of tangible benefit you’re much less likely to find confrontation or frustration from the bill payer.
SO, WHY INTRODUCE STUDENT MEMBERSHIPS AT ALL?
Let’s assume you’ve read our article on what student membership is, and why you need it which addresses the technical reasons behind the insurance and membership. On a business level, you need to protect your club’s cashflow. This is done usually with student fees for training but it can make it hard to put cash aside for large lump costs. This could be new equipment, association insurance renewals, travel for competitions, improvements to your dojo and so on. It might just be for a rainy day fund to ensure your club has some cash put to one side. Regardless, there is nothing wrong with marking up your membership fees to include a healthy profit.
The line is always ethical and proportionate. If you access student membership from an NGB like us for £5.00 per student, per year, it’s reasonable to charge the national average club membership fee. This sits somewhere between £20 and £35 depending on where you are in the UK. In our eyes, it’s excessive to make it £50 or £60 unless you build lots of custom extras in – such as clothing, gloves, equipment and so on.
Generally speaking, if you are honest about why these lump sums are useful to the club and provided your students do actually see new equipment from time to time, and improvements in your website etc, there’s almost no reason for any major objections.
A final thought for local clubs that work in the community might be to provide your existing students with a discounted year 1 registration fee. If you plan to charge new starters £30 per year to join the club but don’t want to ask current members to find this when previously there no fee, you are absolutely free to offer existing member discounts of any amount you wish on the basis they pay the full cost next year. This can really help students feel valued and it proves comprehensively you’re not entirely focused on the money!