Classes can be cancelled for any number of reasons – bad weather, double booking, shop emergency, instructor illness…but the main reason classes wind up being cancelled is because they don’t make – or meet the minimum enrollment.
Many quilt shops view classes as a marketing tool – not as a money making tool. It is designed to get customers in the door so they will buy something. Class fees charged can vary widely. Independent instructors, like me, are paid based on class enrollment. The more students who take the class, the more money I make. The local market has a lot to do with class fees charged.
For me, a minimum enrollment of 3 paid students is required to hold a class. I have been burned more than once when we had a class meet the required minimum, but a sibling pair didn’t show up (nor had they paid). The one kid who showed up basically got a 2-1/2 hour private sewing lesson for $15.00 (which I would ordinarily charge about $55.00). Of course, I am not going to disappoint the kid who made it there on time and is eager to learn how to sew! I merely chalked it up to a learning experience and the shop now requires prepayment to reserve spots in the the class. If you miss, you forfeit the fee.
My sweet spot is 5-6 students who have some experience or bring grandma with them. As much as I love to teach, it takes about 1 hour of prep time for a 2 hour kid’s class with a project I’ve taught previously. Double that for a new project. I want to at least make back my gas and expense money when I teach a class. It’s not possible with a single student unless they are willing to pay private lesson rates.
My goal is to get to the equivalent of ASP special program rates per hour at the quilt shop. Rates in my area currently range from $8-$13/hour (plus supply fees). I am able to do this teaching out of my home studio and parents pay the rate without any qualms. We renegotiated the rates for Kid’s Club at the quilt shop, so rates will be at the lower end of the ASP rates, but it’s still significantly higher for me.
There are some shops that can charge $250 to $350 for a series of sewing classes. Not in my area. $25 per class, including supplies for kids, is about the max the local shoppers will pay. Adult classes frequently charge higher rates and are actually easier to teach!