Workshoppa academy about how much money to charge for your workshop, deciding the participation fee

Deciding the participation fee – how much should you charge for your workshop?

January 11th, 2018

If I should pinpoint which question I get asked the most it’s this one: „How much do you think I should charge for my workshop? “  And that’s a tough one indeed! You’re not going to get a simple answer in this article but I am going to mention all the factors that I know about that you should consider when deciding how much to charge!

In the previous blog posts we have talked about why you should share your passion and how to decide the topic of your workshop. Today we are going to discuss the pain point of us all running open public workshops – how much to charge.

Veronika Nesverova Workshoppa

Workshoppa Academy Part 3: Deciding the participation fee

In this series of articles I am going to give you all my knowledge about planning and organizing independent workshops. If you have never run a workshop before but you are thinking about it – this is the place to be! I will share my best tips about how to choose the best content, the perfect venue, how to decide on pricing and how to market your workshop. All I hope for is that this guide can help you create and run a successful workshop! Because every skill is worth sharing!

Here are the factors you should consider when deciding how much to charge participants of your public workshop/seminal/lecture:

 

Your costs

Don’t try to decide the price of your workshop until you consider your costs. Please just don’t! Sit down and write a list of all possible costs you might have in regard to your workshop. These could include for example: rent of a room, coffee and refreshments, materials (can be a big cost for practical creative workshops), a budget for advertising if you are planning to do any and so on. If you are planning to use Workshoppa to help you with the planning, marketing, selling and administration don’t forget to count with the 20% commission.

Motivation

Why are you running your workshop anyways? Is it because you think it’s fun to share your skill? Is it because you want to start building your personal brand? Or is it because you want to raise awareness about yourself as an expert, your company, your service, to eventually get more customers? To attract crowds setting a low or even almost symbolic fee can indeed help you market your new business. Just make sure you’re not losing money on the workshop and if you are make sure that it pays off in the long run (for example by participants becoming your customers, buying your products, hiring you…) If teaching your skill is your main service in your business you of course need to charge a proper fee to make a living off it.

 

Workshoppa Networking workshop Lund
Photo: Ana Devdariani

Your experience level

Do you have years of professional experience in the field, are you an expert? Don’t charge too little! You deserve to be well paid for your expertise and charging little just to attract more people will make it hard to get paid properly in the future! Also you’d be setting a poor standard for other professionals. Have you just started? Is what you’re teaching just your hobby? Well that shouldn’t discourage you from teaching it! There are plenty of complete beginners that you can teach. But you need to count that the participation fee will have to be lower to reflect your level.

Length of the session

It is obvious that 1 hour session will be priced differently than a 1 day workshop. When deciding the price of your workshop don’t forget to consider the time you will spend with preparatory work! This about what would be the appropriate hourly wage to get for doing this.

Format

The more actively you will work with the participants during the session the more you should charge. The format of the workshop will also reflect the number of participants and therefore the overall amount of money that you will be able to make. If you hold a lecture for 50 people the price will be hugely different than working in a small group of 5 where everybody gets your individual attention.

The topic

What is the essence of the skill that you are going to teach? Is it something commonly known or is your skill highly desirable, trendy or very specialized? Your price should reflect this.

What are the participants prepared to pay?

It might seem that at the end of the day it all boils down to what your customers are prepared to pay. And yes, this should be considered but you should definitely not start with this as the main criterion. Because as long as your price matches the value you are bringing to people you shouldn’t worry about it too much! (If then no one signs up it’s not the price that’s wrong, it’s that the value isn’t enough.) So think about what value are you bringing to the participants. (I’m side tracking here but it is absolutely critical that you make sure that potential participants can understand the value of your workshop! You will need to communicate this very well in your workshop description.)

Sit down and think about who are the people you are tailoring your workshop to. Are they students? You will probably have to charge less. Are they members of marketing teams of big companies? You can afford to scale the price.

Workshoppa brush lettering workshop Malmö
Photo: Julia Lyko

 

Why should or shouldn’t you run a free workshop?

It can be tempting to decide to do a free session and don’t charge any participation fee. While there are many obvious benefits to that, especially if you are just starting out, there are some down sides to this too. Here I list them all so that you can use it to decide whether teaching for free is a good strategy for you:

Pros

  • It will attract a crowd. If presenting yourself to many people is what you’re after, organizing a free workshop can be a way.
  • Participant’s expectations are lower than if they have paid you. This can be useful when you are just starting to teach and don’t feel very confident yet. You can easily test your teaching because you don’t owe the participants anything.
  • It will be much easier to find a free venue. Many public/city run institutions will give you a free room to use if your workshop is for free. Contact for example your local library.

Cons

  • You don’t get paid. Obviously. But think about your costs connected to the workshop and make sure that losing money this time will pay off in the long run.
  • People don’t show up. This is something that you need to count with. Since your participants haven’t invested anything in their participation they will be much more likely to just skip your workshop if something else comes up. Charging a nominal fee can dramatically improve the composition of your audience, filtering in only the people who are truly interested in what you have to offer.

 

While deciding the participation fee you should at the same time decide the minimum number of participants you’ll need to run your workshop. Just to make sure that you know the number of participants where the money you make is acceptable.

Ableton music production workshop Anya Trybala Workshoppa Malmö 1
Photo provided by Anya Trybala

One final piece of advice

Don’t be afraid to iterate! If too few people sign up, try again with a slightly lower fee (and lower your costs by for example shortening the session.) Try to change your angle of the topic or the workshop description, making it extra clear of why people should learn what you are teaching.

Have it gone great and you sold your workshop out in just a couple of days? Increase the fee! Think of your workshop as a new product you are putting on the market. Pricing is difficult but once you decide on the price don’t be afraid to tune it according to the supply and demand.

 

Here we are! I hope you are at least a little bit closer to deciding how much to charge for your workshop! If you need any help or discuss your pricing further feel free to contact me on veronika@workshoppa.se!

Ready to share your passion? Let me help you plan your workshop, let me market it an sell it for you! I have helped more than 20 experts and enthusiasts to make their workshop plans reality. Collaboration with Workshoppa is currently available for workshops in Skåne, Sweden. Read more about how it works at Workshoppa: Become a Teacher.

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