I'm signing my 4 year old son up for martial arts lessons this summer. I'm looking for something fun, where he can hang out in a group and use a lot of energy. He loves our group music classes but I want something physical for him. I also want to work on self-discipline and control and get him used to following instructions outside of our home and studio.
I wanted to give you an idea of what signing up for kid's classes looks like from a parent point of view since we so often get stuck seeing it from our teacher/business point of view.
I reached out to 3 different local martial arts places. I googled and took the top 3 (Lions, Tigers, Bears....fake names) with the most reviews that looked legit. There are apparently more than a dozen nearby.
I sent all 3 of them a Facebook message at around 8pm and all had replied by around 11pm. I asked them for more info about their program, what the monthly cost was, when classes for his age were, and what made them different than other similar offerings. None of them had any of this information on their website or Facebook page.
My main hold up right now is that classes are offered around 4pm-6pm which is also when our studio is in it's busiest mode. I've been really hoping for morning or early afternoon classes but none of them offer that, so we're looking for summer classes when our schedule lightens up.
1. The first one (Lions) got back to me within an hour. They didn't offer any info about the program or what they actually do. The told me the times classes were offered, but not the days. (I had to inquire again and was told that it was only Monday-Thursday.)
I got the monthly charge, but wasn't told what was included. Again, I had to ask and was told that he could pick two classes per week for $75/month.
As for what sets them apart: He listed a few styles of martial arts that I have no idea about and said that they are different because of that.
After a pause in our chat, he decided to offer me a free trial class.
2. The second place (Tigers) got back to me a couple of hours later and answered my questions about days and times.
As for what sets them apart, they "work on our taekwondo curriculum along with skills for balance, speed, and agility."
She suggested that I try their 7 week program for $150 that includes the uniform. It's no obligation and is just to give a feel for the program and see if it's a good fit. We could then continue at $95/month.
3. The third place (Bears) got back to me around 3 hours later. Apparently I had already reached out to them a couple of months ago inquiring about day time lessons and they said they didn't have any but sent me a list of their current times. They, by far, have the most days and times offered. At the end of my initial inquiry they also asked additional questions to try to continue the conversation, but I had already written them off because they didn't offer morning classes and that's what I needed at the time.
They answered the questions the most clearly. $79/month for two lessons a week and we can choose the class days that work for us each week. We start with their $38 intro course which is 3 trial lessons and a uniform.
I haven't made a final decision yet, but I'm leaning strongly towards Bears because they offer the most class times and days and have the best offer. They seemed like the most knowledgeable and professional of the three.
Though Lions is the cheapest, most convenient location, and offered a free trial class, I just didn't get a good vibe from them. I'm still not sure what they do and it doesn't sound as good as the other two. There's a good chance that we still go and do the free trial class though just to check it out and so that I can see what my son feels about it.
Tigers sounded the most like what I'm looking for (With balance/speed/agility skills) but the class times were very limited and the offer was too expensive and too lengthy for a 4 year old. The monthly part was the most expensive of the three. They also offered a free trial class and I'll probably take them up on it.
Bears won me over with their responses and their offer: $38 for 3 weeks and a free uniform is a great deal and will give me just enough time to see if we want to continue. I plan to get started with them later this month and maybe check out the free trials from the other classes over the next few weeks.
1. I'm just looking for something fun and cool for my kid to try. He's 4. We aren't serious about this. He just wants to pretend to be a ninja and I think learning self-control could be beneficial for him.
I think parents looking for music lessons for kids (especially young kids) feel the same way. They are just looking for something fun and interesting for them to try.
2. The Trial Offer was a big factor for me. Lions and Tigers offered a free trial class and I'll take them up on it. Even though I probably won't pick them, I like the idea of being able to see what they offer. They have big classes, so this really doesn't cost them anything. The Lions' $38 offer is a great offer.
We need to have GREAT trial offers for kids when they want to sign up for music lessons. A free lesson did not sway me in the least but a great offer made me want to sign up. The value compared to the price is outstanding and I'm in.
3. I've heard great things about Bears and they even stopped by our studio last year to exchange business cards. They also had the most reviews. I don't know if they are the best place for martial arts, but they run the best business.
Overall, I think we have a lot to learn from studying other businesses and our own shopping habits. What have you learned from local businesses?