Double Diamond Member
Registered: 1184694329 Posts: 13,392
Reply with quote #26
We were lucky with both studios we attended. The SO and all comp teachers attended every local comp every day from the time the doors opened until they closed. The kids were always so excited to have them there. For away comps the SO and the comp director as well as one other DT did the same from beginning to end. They put in way longer hours at these comps then I did so I have no problem paying a mark up so they can be paid for their time there or have their expenses covered for out of town comps. I didn't travel for my job unless they are covering my expenses so I don't expect it of them. If I have off site meetings for days on end my company pays for my meals and in a round about way to recoup those costs from our customers through the fees they charge.
High Bronze Member
Registered: 1462020243 Posts: 48
Reply with quote #27
My daughters previous studio would receive their early bird registration discounts in the form of rebate checks, and then used the rebate check as payment for the time it took staff to coordinate and register. I thought it was fair. As president of their boosters, I once did their tights order and jewelry order and it was the most mentally straining tasks to coordinate with every team, choreographer, teacher, the S/O, find out what money was missing (even with everything perfectly tracked).. We are talking like 100 dancers with multiple dances and therefore multiple needs.. I understood then and there that coordinating for an entire studio is time consuming, and they shouldn't be doing it free.
High Silver Member
Registered: 1451919797 Posts: 148
Reply with quote #28
I do believe that the SO or whoever is handling the competition details should be compensated. It is a lot of work behind the scenes dealing with all that's involved. However, I think that adding extra money to the "competition fee" is misleading. If you're given a fee and told that it's the cost of the competition to enter your routines then that is not entirely honest. I have no problem paying extra money to compensate the staff involved, but I believe they should be upfront about it. At DD's current studio, they are asked to pay a one time fee at the beginning of the year that goes towards all said expenses. Then when it comes time for the competitions they pay only the actual competition fees.
Registered: 1507730998 Posts: 13
Reply with quote #29
Our studio also upcharges everything we participate in. Any convention we attend, even if it’s early reg, we are uncharged $10. We’ve brought up doing early bird reg at the beginning of the Dance year and she got a little brash about not doing it for reasons like others can’t commit that early and she didn’t want to register twice. Pretty much she didn’t want to lose money and do extra work online to register others later on at a different price. Not sure what we are upcharged for competitions because the SO now participates in comps that do not share theirs fees online without a studio membership. Actually I think most venues do this now anyway. I’ve seen many venues state on their website that studios can add whatever charges into the fees. My invoice for our fiat comp this year is $633 and that is for 12 dances. Is that crazy or similar to what others pay?? Our SO is a DMA member and she also charges us the non member fee which is $10 more. Costumes charges are increased anywhere from $10 to $30 or more for us. I understand it’s a business and the business has to make money but the SO doesn’t even pay for a pizza holiday party for these dancers. I refuse to even buy tights through our studio now because I know she gets points and credits for free tights and costumes. I think I know too much about how she profits so it bothers me a lot sometimes when I know a costume costs $60 and we’re charged $90. When her tights are free and she charges us $20+ and I can buy them cheaper online myself. If our SO treated her “dance family” as such I would not mind paying extra but it’s frustrating.
Registered: 1458253708 Posts: 97
Reply with quote #30
It is interesting to see what different studios do and I do agree that "it depends". We switched studios a few years back. The old studio had huge mark ups on everything, higher tuition, etc. yet the SO NEVER brought any staff to comps and often would leave and go to lunch etc. leaving girls and parents to fend for themselves. Eveyone was just kind of used to it.
Once my daughters and I got the the new studio we realized how high the markup on costumes and comp fees was at the old place. Current So marks up costumes etc. but more reasonably so. She does not add any fees to comps and we fundraise to defer costs.(old studio did not) Our So does attend comps but not usually the entire time. Other teachers come when they are able for their dances. THere is an amazing assistant at our studio who is there when the doors open until the weekend is done. She is absolutely amazing and I hope to Heaven she is being compensated because without her we would be a mess. Again,interesting to see and hear different scenarios. Small business owners need to meet their costs but there are those who get greedy with the markups etc and are all about the $$$.
Registered: 1375924477 Posts: 383
Reply with quote #31
I really do not see an issue with a slight markup of what the costs are during the normal registration deadline. If they get an early bird discount or another one for being a repeat customer or success in the prior year, then good for them. That is business. I don't want to be charged a late fee (AND NEVER HAVE BEEN) if they don't pay on time because that is poor business practice reflected on them. I did my part with payment, they do their part.
We pay the average amount for everything for each competition. Sometimes the fees are higher, and sometimes they are lower. She figures out the average before the season starts and that is what we commit to, and I am ok with that. We pay an admin fee per competition too that helps cover expenses for SO, etc. I am sure some would have an issue with that, although no one in our school has ever made a comment to my knowledge.
Registered: 1490821753 Posts: 3
Reply with quote #32
Our studio just started this for the current season. We have a contract that explicitly states all costs, including comp fees. So we know what we are paying, but they didn't indicate specifically that it was marked up.
I'm not loving $12 extra per routine per competition, but there are always the main 3 teachers/SO at every comp, and they are there to work. They help with hair and makeup and costumes, help with warm-up and quick run-throughs. They stay backstage with every single performer. They cheer at awards and take silly pictures. They keep a box full of extra accessories/makeup for any dancer who can't find something they should have. I'm paying for their time, food, lodging, travel, etc. I wish they had been up front with it, but I'm not saying anything and don't know that I'd recommend it for one last year.
Registered: 1507730998 Posts: 13
Reply with quote #33
Our SO doesn’t help with makeup, hair or costumes. She might do a quick run through of groups or solos. She doesn’t even do a pep talk with them before going on stage. One year she completely blew off my DD after she said she would be right out to run her after watching another student perform. My DD waited 30 minutes and was being called backstage by the runners. It was terrible. I went back I to the auditorium to tell the SO she was backstage so she’s gone - I’m sure she could tell by my tone how unhappy I was with her. But she didn’t even look at me or react. Class act.
High Gold Member
Registered: 1278104264 Posts: 916
Reply with quote #34
Originally Posted by
heidi459 What if, for example, your insurance man tacked on a separate line item for travel, parking fees, lunch, etc. every time he came to your office for an appointment? He deserves to be reimbursed too, doesn’t he? My guess is that most would say absolutely not... that’s just part of his job. And when you renew your insurance 10 years in a row, your agent is still making his commission on every renewal. According to your logic, we should expect a refund when we don't contact him (or her)
High Gold Member
Registered: 1278104264 Posts: 916
Reply with quote #35
Originally Posted by
heidi459 How would they pay for their food, lodging, etc? With all the other outrageous tuition and fees so many of them impose. If your studio doesn’t charge an arm and a leg for your kid to do comp.... that’s great. Just how many dance studios are you, have you been affikiated wiht? Are you a bookkeeppeerr for these studios? Do yoyu file their tax returns? I've only been with 2, and while they are not the mpost efficiently run business, bo one is getting rich off of the fees they charge.
Registered: 1472697858 Posts: 91
Reply with quote #36
I'm not sure what we get charged in comp fee markups (I'm sure there is something) but at this point I don't really care that much. After paying for classes, shoes, costumes, etc. 5-10$ Per routine per comp is really just a drop in the bucket. Our SO/DTs are awesome and are there all day for the comps and very, very involved, so they deserve to be compensated accordingly. (Our SO is the main DT for DDs team and is great to work with, very involved, gets to know each kid). I never thought about comp fee markups until this board, but a reasonable fee doesn't bother me.
Registered: 1329494474 Posts: 6,121
Reply with quote #37
Originally Posted by
gandalf And when you renew your insurance 10 years in a row, your agent is still making his commission on every renewal. According to your logic, we should expect a refund when we don't contact him (or her) Nonsense. You're (deliberately?) missing my point. I was simply using the independent insurance broker as an example of a business "owner". Like the studio "owner". To point out how, no, it's not unusual nor unreasonable for a business owner to do what needs to be done w/o expecting to be reimbursed for every dime/minute they spend getting it done. The insurance man who decides to go on the road to sell insurance? That requires appts... which can mean parking fees, meal(s), gas & possibly even an overnight stay. And while I understand that some will disagree... me? I really don't see that as any different from the SO who decides to have a comp team & chooses comps that involve travel. Want to be a successful business owner? Great. But doing so means doing what you need to do. It means not having the mindset of an employee. It means understanding that you'll need to invest some of your own money & time. Can't make a commission on an insurance sale w/o going to the trouble to actually meet the client. And likewise, can't profit from a comp team (via the increased tuition, choreo/reh fees, etc) w/o actually taking dancers to comps. In short, it's not some sort of favor an SO is doing their dancers, it's exactly what they signed up for when they chose to have a comp team that competed at comps requiring travel. Comes w/the territory. Simply part of running their business the way they have chosen to run it.
All that said, whenever this topic comes up I always make it clear that if a studio isn't charging an arm & a leg... for tuition, choreo fees, excessive rehearsals, outrageous costumes, expensive team attire/makeup etc. (all w/mark ups of their own)... such upcharges could be seen as reasonable. And this thread is no exception. Tbh, I'm not sure why there are always some who get so upset at the mere suggestion that some SOs take advantage of their customers. Dance studios are no different than any other business. Let's not be so naive.
Registered: 1328708180 Posts: 97
Reply with quote #38
Our studio has a required booster fee that each competition dancer has to pay per season. That fee covers props, lodging for teachers, and rehearsal room rental at the venue, travel for the teachers, etc. They are up front about that when we sign up. I don't think they've ever added in extra fees to our competition entries for those things. Costumes are all paid separately as well.
Registered: 1488858662 Posts: 20
Reply with quote #39
This is one of several reasons we are choosing not to compete after this year. At every turn we are being charged for something not included in our outrageous tuition and outrageous monthly comp fee. We are not given a breakdown, but pay a monthly fee that covers team dances, costumes, and props (which we have none this year). When I added up the costs and my estimates of what each expense should be, there is still over $700 unaccounted for. I know they are upcharging for comps, which is fine, but knowing how much per dance should be transparent. Like any business, there are expenses associated with that business. Knowing which comps, travel, etc ahead of time the SOs should account for those expenses into their yearly budget and charge accordingly. But like a previous poster noted, as an SO it is part of the deal. For us, the lack of transparency and overall expense is why we will no longer participate in comp teams and change our focus to performing and technique training. Competing doesn’t offer enough of a reward for us to justify the expense of it, and with comps becoming more “trick” and acro friendly, less about technique and artistry, my DD doesn’t get anything out of it. A few seconds of recognition at awards, usually mediocre and inconsistent judge feedback, and possibly a few dollars in gift certificates to return to the comp just doesn’t compare to the opportunities of performing in a major production. Because there is not enough time for both, we are opting for performance based. SOs need to be transparent about costs.