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incendiary_dan's avatar

How much would you pay for an introductory course in disaster preparation and emergency survival?

Asked by incendiary_dan (13354points) October 7th, 2011

As some of you know, I teach wilderness living and survival skills professionally. I’m currently working with the director of my school to create a 5 or 6 day course for adults and older teens, covering the topics pertaining to short and long term survival, disaster preparedness, self-reliance, and sustainable living. It’s going to be a crash course, covering just enough of most of the topics to get people started, and a few of them will be more in depth.

So, given that the course is pretty comprehensive (if not entirely in-depth) and is taught by a knowledgeable instructor with first-hand experience, how much would you think is a reasonable cost? I want to keep it as low as possible without making it cost prohibitive on our end, and preferably with a bit of profit so we can keep doing the course in the future.

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22 Answers

Neizvestnaya's avatar

$100. for the low end and if I could afford it, $275. sounds more fair.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Oh yea, forgot to mention that I want to set a cost per-day, and a cost for people who want to take the whole thing. That way people can pick and choose if they’re not as interested in certain topics.

Prosb's avatar

Are the 5 or 6 days spent together in the wild, or do they come back to continue the class? Could it be an option to stay out? Do you give any supplies, or do you have a list of things they should pick up?

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@incendiary_dan: Giving the option to pay per individual class is great! I’d do it in a heartbeat for $25. a class.

What a wonderful idea. If you’re successful locally, you ought to examine the feasibility of making some out of city, out of state stops.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Damn, past the edit period and I forgot the put in the “zombie” topic.

@Neizvestnaya That’s one of my hopes. It would be great if I could do it in several places in my area.

I know people are doing similar things elsewhere (at least I think they are), so I’m calling mine a “Zombie Apocalypse Survival Course” to cash in in the popularity of zombies and the recent CDC blog post. Plus, it’s Halloween season. :)

incendiary_dan's avatar

@Prosb As I’m imagining it now, it’ll be an evening class, so people can attend after work. I’d prefer it be one day a week for a few weeks, but I might do it as a week long evening class sometime, too. Mostly indoors, but that indoors will be at a wilderness school so we’ll occasionally take short trips out in the woods.

CWOTUS's avatar

Is it a “day class”? Is room and board a consideration? Okay, those questions were answered.

If you’re looking for “a price point”, then aim for $99, $199, $299, etc. But that’s not how I’d do it.

Consider what you want to teach and how much it will cost to impart those lessons (and why five days?), and then determine what a fair profit margin is for you – or even an unfair one, if you think you have something so unique that you can offer it for a ‘boutique’ price – and juggle “cost” vs. “price” then to improve margins while preserving quality. Of course, that’s the ‘corporate’ way to do it, so you’ll probably reject that method out of hand.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Sounds awesome, Dan! I’d gladly pay between $25–40 per lesson.

Prosb's avatar

@incendiary_dan Man, that would be awesome! A class where you role-play being trained for an imminent zombie apocalypse!
(Of course, we know that’s how the world is really going to end anyway.)

For a course of 6 evening classes once a week, I’d probably be willing to pay $50 per class, and for the whole package, somewhere around a total of $200 – $240 sounds about right.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@CWOTUS Sadly, I’ll have to be a little bit corporate on this one. Although my school is a land trust and such, it’s currently owned by a larger non-profit that has no problem with pushing for profits (funny how that sort of thing works out).

CWOTUS's avatar

Even non-profits have to operate in the real world and maximize return on investment.

Kayak8's avatar

I would pay $25/day for a class with 25–30 other people in it. I would also pay $40+/day for a smaller class with hands on experiences. I would actually prefer the latter, so I agree with the idea of how many hours per day you are teaching x your time per hour x number of instructors divided by the number of anticipated participants. Once you calculate the cost per student, then figure out the minimum number of students and don’t run the course unless you have the minimum number paid and ready to go.

ucme's avatar

Nowt, not a fucking penny. I reckon i’ll take my chances if & when the need arises & i’m fairly confident in my own abilities.

CWOTUS's avatar

Another consideration is the population pool from which you expect to draw students, and their own logistics. If you consider only people from your more or less “immediate vicinity”, then day classes (or evening) might work for them, considering their day-to-day lives.

However, when Outward Bound (to name a more-or-less similar operation to what you propose) schedules their offerings, they do weekend, week-long or longer offerings “in place”. That way it becomes more of a “destination” event that people schedule without other conflicts. Depending on what you’re offering in the way of food and accommodations, you can also broaden the offering and increase your take at the same time.

I wouldn’t make a hundred-mile round trip over several weeks, but I’d consider (if I were in your target demographic) a one-week course that I would travel to one time. Your market could be larger than you think.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@ucme Well, you’re not exactly my target audience then, eh? :P

I’m starting to feel $30–40 a class is where I’m gonna aim, and an overall cost of $125–150. I might go to the higher end if it turns out there will be more material costs and prep time than I originally thought. I was just talking with my brother about making one of the food lessons include a hands-on canning tutorial. That way, I could get the school to pay for some mason jars. I’m fairly certain I have at least a half dozen people who will take it already, and that’s without any advertising.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Also, I’ll be teaching the course at a school in Western CT. Apparently there are a fair amount of wealthy people in the area. Cost of living is a bit high, so maybe by comparison I can charge just a bit more. :P

SpatzieLover's avatar

@incendiary_dan YES! Location makes a big difference in costs. I’d say you do the individual classes for $40 – $50, since they can pick & choose what to come to and do the program for $150—$175. I like the idea of after work hours indoors or even a Saturday afternoon if it involves the woods.

FYI: My son gets a ½ private dance lesson for $20. Most tutors charge $40–50 per hour here…Most of the rec classes we sign up for start at $30 per class

ucme's avatar

@incendiary_dan I was answering the question on it’s merits alone, no personal equation ever entered my thoughts.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I have to agree with the 30 to 40 dollar per class aim, with a slight discount if you commit to the whole class. Would this cost cover materials, or could students bring their own materials?

Also, I live in southern CT so I’m totally down for this.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@KatawaGrey The cost would cover materials. I might suggest people bring notebooks and writing implements.

And I figured you’d be in, which is why I sent it to you. :)

TexasDude's avatar

Think of it this way, @incendiary_dan: any profits you make can not only be used to cover your overhead, but they can be used to improve your services over time.

With that in mind, you must also consider the max that people will be willing to pay before you start losing potential customers. What I would do if I were you is figure out what kind of expenses you have and then work out a way to make at least 10% back in profits, and then re-invest those profits into getting better equipment, learning new skills, etc.

I tend to think that the consensus on 40ish dollars per lesson seems reasonable, but you could probably get more if you played your cards right.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Thought you’d all be interested to see the course description and such, not to mention the recent CDC blog post.

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