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Scheduling new programs strategically

Updated: Aug 30

Class schedule is one of the most important things to consider when running an academy.

Based on our previous data, in Los Angeles it’s ideal to start classes at 8:00pm on weeknights (Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays). 8:00pm is after work and after the heaviest traffic since some students travel from more than an hour away to come MaS programs.

Sundays 4:00pm-9:00pm can also be great for some students who can’t do weeknights. Weekends, however, lead to more absences due to traveling, especially during the summer, so we typically prefer weeknights.

With this in mind, we adhere to below principles that ensure the academy is thriving.

1. Make sure that each program is profitable

Aside from the number of students who are enrolled in a program, we also have to consider:

  • the hourly studio fee (x2)

  • the hourly instructor fee (x2)

  • our profit, or how much is left after deducting the above expenses

  • if these students are paid in full or on a payment plan

To ensure that we're gaining sufficient profit, we have the following target enrollment numbers:

  • Goal per program is 30-40 students

  • For 101, minimum should be 20 students enrolled

  • For 102 and 103, minimum should be 16 students

It is significantly more profitable to have one program of 30 students than two programs of 15 students, so whenever we can merge two 101 programs into a single 102 programs, that’s often ideal.

In some cases, we cancel a program due to insufficient students loss. We offer refunds to those who already paid.

2. Always have an upcoming 101 schedule on the website

The 101s are the most profitable program we have because of high enrollment volume. When there is no upcoming 101 program in the website, students will go to another academy that offers beginner classes.

To avoid losing a bunch of people, we should always have another 101 program every 5 weeks after the existing ones have started. This way, when we open 102, we may be able to merge the graduates from both 101’s to have plenty of students.

3. Higher level programs for graduating students should ideally be on the same timeslot

When a 101 program is about to finish, we should have a 102 program ready for them by week 6 in the same day/time slot. This is a direct progression of their current program. Same concept applies to 102 graduates moving up to 103.

Example, "Salsa 101 Tuesdays at 8pm" is on their Week 6 class. By this time, the instructor has started priming for the next program. So website should be ready to accept registrations for "Salsa 102 Tuesdays at 8pm".

4. Funnel the 101 graduates to a single 102 schedule to get enough enrollment volume

Many 101 graduates don't continue to 102 for some reason. We'll funnel two 101 programs into a single 102 program. Example. Let's say we have a salsa 101 starting February 1st, say that's a Tuesday night. And also 101 starting March 7th. That's Thursday night so the February 1st group will graduate early after they finish. We'd want to wait about three weeks before having salsa. 102. The 102 will be on a Tuesday night.

Extra 3 weeks for them to wait is not too long. So there's still a good chance that they'll continue before they get distracted with other things as long. And if it's at the same time slot, they're most likely to join. We already know they're able to do that time slot, so it's easier for them. This will also leave about two weeks of overlap with these also one group Thursday to start later on March 7th. So when they're around week nine, this is 12 weeks starting. This means they're far enough along and one program is eligible to join the 102 program that they're still eligible to join the 102 program.

It's not on the same time slot. We can't control everything, but theoretically this would be the ideal scenario. This way, we can still have a big full class and as little waiting time as possible for people.

Choosing a schedule is a very fluid process and it totally depends on circumstances. We do our best to create something that makes sense. Typically we send out polls to ask the students which schedule works best for them:

5. Choosing the instructor

Considerations include:

  • Instructor’s availability

  • Instructor’s capabilities (are they qualified to teach both salsa and bachata or just one? 102+ or just 101?)

  • Instructor’s desires (just teach a little bit, or run many MaS programs?)

6. Choosing the studio

Considerations include:

  • Price

  • Experience (clean or dirty?)

  • Floor

  • Parking

  • Strictness (is management flexible if class goes too long, or super strict to the minute?)


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