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    • #4129
      Laura Berlage
      Laura teaching
      Photo by Bryan French

      While I wish there was a unified way that getting paid for my educational services, but I’ve found that each host organization has their own twist.  Here is an outline of how that tends to break down, as well as fee considerations when hosting your own classes individually.

      • Payment is based on an hourly rate for your “live” teaching time only (no setup/teardown or prep considerations).
      • Payment is based on an hourly rate, including live teaching time plus so much for prep each session and so much for prep to make materials, as set by the organization.
      • Payment is based on an hourly rate for “live” teaching time, plus an extra bonus per students registered above a certain number of participants (often when the class reaches 7 or more).
      • Payment is based on a flat fee per session, such as a 3-hour session is worth x and a 2-hour session is worth y.  There is no additional coverage of prep, setup, or teardown.
      • Payment is based on a percentage split (say 70/30 or 50/50 or 60/40).  You get your full materials fee, and the tuition fee is then split at the host’s percentage rate based on the number of students attending.

      If you are horsting with organizations, KEEP METICULOUS RECORDS of when you get paid and how much, as well as how their pay structure works.  Some will pay for materials at one time and labor at another, while others will put those payments together.  We are all human, and I’ve had payments missed, so keeping a spreadsheet has helped me catch times where something didn’t get compensated.  These records (spreadsheeds) can also help me track which organizations are consistantly running classes, which tend to cancel, and enrollment levels.

      Note:  because it is uncommon for host organizations to pay for kit prep time, this should be covered by the cost of the materials kit.  If you get a little more for that time now and then, kudos to you, but don’t expect it.  Mock prepare a few to see how involved the process is, so you can charge accordingly.

      When you host your own classes, honor the fact that you will also be taking on the administration time of handling registrations and cancellations, setting up the Zoom meetings, fielding student questions before class, assembling the roster, processing and distributing the recordings, etc. in addition to your usual materials and teaching prep.  It is appropirate, if students are receiving equal service to an experience with a host organization, that the fees are similar.  Avoid steeply undercutting the class cost at your expense (the host organizations will also view this unfavorably when considering hiring your again).  You are not free labor!  This means that hosting your own classes allows you keep more of the proceeds, balanced with doing more of the work.

      Of course, hosting your own classes works well once you have a loyal following who will eagerly sign up for them.  Working with host organizations helps you build that following.  I like a model that includes both classes hosted by others and those I host myself.  Keep adding to your pool of new students while also continuing to serve your returning students.

      When considering hosting your own classes, here are some helpful tips:

      • The general going rate for hands-on arts programming via Zoom is $20 per hour fee to the student.  A few organizations charge more (these ones have a very loyal following), and a few charge a little less (smaller, younger organizations), but this is the current standard.
      • The materials cost should be the same as what you charge to host organizations.  Some institutions will pad this number to include shipping or to cover the credit card handling fee, but not all of them.  If you have an additional shipping cost, help break this all down for students so they know what they are getting.  If they need to add shipping in an online checkout process, help them know how that will work in your class description as well.
      • Let students know if the class is being recorded (they legally need to know before they pay), and if so how long they will have access to the recording(s).  This is part of the service they receive.

      If you self-host classes, KEEP METICULOUS RECORDS!  I create a new file for each class and add students and their info to that file, so I don’t lose or miss someone.  I also keep Excel spreadsheets of who’s taken what, so I can track student progress across organizations.

      What payment questions for your online teaching are on your mind?  How do you know if you are receiving adequate compensation for your efforts?  What pay structures have you encountered in your teaching practice?  Let’s share thoughts here.

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