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Twin Cities Carry Forum Archive • View topic - Inexpensive, minimalist class?
 
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 Inexpensive, minimalist class? 
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 Post subject: Inexpensive, minimalist class?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 2:48 pm 
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[This thread was split from here: Washington 250,000 / Mn. 60,000 =4x # of permits Why ??? - AR, forum admin]


I personally know people who do not have permits, but would otherwise have them if it didn't cost close to $200. That's not to say they would carry, but they would at least get a permit to enjoy having the option to, if they ever felt felt so inclined.

$20 is a lot more reasonable than $200. Sometimes just the course is darn near $200! :shock:
After the sheriff gets done with you, that's $300 out of your discretionary income! I don't care who you are, rich or poor: $300 can go a long way in providing entertainment value, groceries, heck, even an entire month's rent for some people. (Ironically, probably the rent due of those individuals who most need a permit.)

I would be curious to know of those who instruct: how did you come to establish your course fee? What made it the price that you charge? The median price I'm familiar with is around $100-$150. Why not $30? $20? Is it simply your time? Other investments? .gov's cut into your profits? I would think for many (if not most) instructors, teaching PtoC classes would be mostly a labor of love. What sets your costs, and why are they all in the mid hundred range?

I would be really, very much interested to know the story behind the $100 maximum written into law for sheriffs fees. It had to be known beforehand that they would charge the maximum amount, legal or not, until it got hashed out by numerous "actual cost" complaints from many people. It had to be known when the law was written that it would not cost more than $10-$20 for a sheriff to process their end of the deal. Who put the $100 ceiling in? Our side or the antis?

Who can shed some light on that for me?
My vote for the main reason behind MN's lower quantity of permits?: Chuh-CHING! :cry:

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 4:46 pm 
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Carbide Insert wrote:
I would be curious to know of those who instruct: how did you come to establish your course fee? What made it the price that you charge? The median price I'm familiar with is around $100-$150. Why not $30? $20? Is it simply your time? Other investments? .gov's cut into your profits? I would think for many (if not most) instructors, teaching PtoC classes would be mostly a labor of love. What sets your costs, and why are they all in the mid hundred range?


It's called market economics. The price is what I am willing to accept and students are willing to pay.

I do enjoy teaching, but I also enjoy seeing my family; I can't do both on the same Saturday.

Here's my typical carry class schedule:

* Weeks before: Take phone calls, answer emails and IMs about class.
* Day before: assemble and print student packets with personalized info (1.5 hrs)
* Pack gear from house 8:00
* Leave house 8:15
* Arrive classroom 8:30
* Set up gear, greet students until 9
* Teach class until about 3
* Pack up gear from classroom
* Drive to range by about 3:45
* Conduct one-on-one quals with coaching as needed, until 5 or 6
* Drive home by 6:30
* Unpack and put away gear by 6:30
* Clean demo guns



So that's at a minimum 12 to 13 hours per class. This doesn't include the cost of my computer, projector, demo guns, classroom rent, handout printing cost, the time to pick them up from the printers, my time and expenses in advertising and marketing, and curriculum/materials development. It doesn't include the time and expense I've put into my instructor certification. It doesn't include the after-class support I give my students. It especially doesn't include the countless hours I've spent studying the law and other issues around carrying, honing my presentation of those issues.

I may have a class of 12, or it may be 3. I don't cancel small classes like some instructors like to.

Do you really think I ought to take 12+ hours away from my family for $60 or $90? That's $5-$7.50 an hour; I'd do much better stocking shelves at Cub.

It is a labor of love, but why should I -- why would I -- spend my precious time on students not willing to commit $20 or $30 a year for their permit training?

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 6:46 pm 
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Carbide Insert wrote:
I would be curious to know of those who instruct: how did you come to establish your course fee? What made it the price that you charge? The median price I'm familiar with is around $100-$150. Why not $30? $20? Is it simply your time? Other investments? .gov's cut into your profits? I would think for many (if not most) instructors, teaching PtoC classes would be mostly a labor of love. What sets your costs, and why are they all in the mid hundred range?


I have tried this same argument at Rainbow and Cub's as I stood in their canned goods aisle. Aside from the strange looks, I never have received a response of any kind. Nor should I. They provide the goods for sale, they set the price, and I am the one to decide if I purchase or not. It is a very simple arrangement if viewed in it's purest form.

On the other hand, as an educator with clients all across the globe, I am occasionally asked to justify my fees, especially when clients in Ghana, Nigeria, China, and India see that the materials are provided in CD format, and they realize that mass-produced CD's are rather inexpensive. At first I attempted to demonstrate to them the years of higher education I paid for, the amount of time spent researching the subjects, and the amount of time spent in writing the materials on those CD's. I gave up that effort years ago. The reason I gave it up is that it is none of their business. I have set the price and they can make their decisions based on that price.

I am also just a bit dismayed at those instructors/educators that would entertain such questions regarding their fee structure. Outside of the one setting the cost, it is no one's business. If the cost is too high, pass it by. If cost is your main criteria in seeking instruction or education then might I suggest taking your business to the instructor with the lowest fees charged. I suspect that the "Pirate of Penzance" or whatever his last name is would be that entity. Just be fully aware that he charges extra for drilling your bowling ball.

:roll:


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 10:44 pm 
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The range requirement, in particular, adds considerably to the cost, time required, and practical difficulties in obtaining a permit in Minnesota. To obtain a permit requires over half a day of classroom and range time, a visit to the Sheriff's office typically lasting at least half an hour, and over $300, for instruction fees, range fees, ammunition, and the permit fee itself. That is burdensome for anyone who isn't serious about carry.

Also, low cost instruction providers have not emerged, probably because there simply aren't enough people taking the courses to make it worthwhile. It is possible to provide inexpensive instruction without moving towards the caricatures Joel has been bandying about.

One alternative is to utilize the community education framework already in place in many areas. These organizations teach SCUBA courses and First Responder classes, which are very similar insofar as they meet a specific certification requirement and involve a practical component. Costs drop because there is an administrative framework for publicizing classes and handling enrollment and fee collection already in place, and because classes are usually held in zero-cost space, schools, community centers, and the like.

Another alternative is to put together modular courses that involve a combination of classroom time, independent study, range time, and videos or internet-served content. Done well these classes can achieve instructional objectives at drastically lower costs. The range test requirement could be met without an instructor present by having a range officer or other witness sign off -- after all, some courses today involve a range component conducted by an assistant.

There are tradeoffs for the carry community. There has been a focus on high-quality training that exceeds the statutory requirements. While laudable in many ways, this does have the effect of reducing the number of permits issued, which has political repercussions, and leads to comparisons like the one in the OP.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 12:02 am 
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I don't think cutting costs on the instructor end of things is the way to go. I'd much rather angle towards Sheriff's volunteering to lowwer their fees to state min. or at least that dirrection. 624.714 Subd. 3 (f)
Quote:
The sheriff may charge a new application processing fee in an amount not to exceed the actual and reasonable direct cost of processing the application or $100, whichever is less. Of this amount, $10 must be submitted to the commissioner and deposited into the general fund.
$10 for the general fund and. . .. assuming non-sworn office staff make $20 and hour and it shouldn't take more than a 1/2 hour to make the NICS check and call DHS . . . $10 is reasonable actual, honest direct cost of processing. Call it $25 to cover the laminated card and postage.

How many of us are active in the election of Sheriffs? Maybe a commitment to serving the whole population with equal access to second amendment rights should be something someone could get elected on. . . or perhaps a commitment to protecting the upper classes' monopoly on 2A rights would be something that could get a Sheriff "un-elected".

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 8:39 am 
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Thanks for your replies. I sense a little bit of tension (perhaps defensiveness?) in some posts subsequent to mine, so I should be a little clearer with my request for information:

It should be said that I am in favor of instructors charging whatever they see fit for their services. I certainly believe that anyone is entitled to charge whatever they wish, and whatever the market will bear, and that that same market, over time, will develop a standard price range as to what it should generally cost for excellent, good, fair, poor (and everything else in between), instructional services. My intention was not to create a heated debate about why instructors should lower their course fees; it was only to pose the question out of genuine curiosity as to why most instructors charge in the range of what they do, and why that standard seems to have fallen in the mid 100's range. Andrew's post was particularly enlightening.

Of course, I'm of the opinion that everyone ought to, of their own accord, seek out good training, but that there ought to be no mandatory course inserted into law. However, that's an entirely different issue from what we are discussing here. We're talking about quantity of permits, their relatively low numbers, and (in my posts at least), the specifics regarding the cost factor of that issue.

What I do think ought to be lowered, considerably, is the sheriff's fees. The ceiling ought to be no more than $20. A pro-2A lawman could run his department or campaign on $10 if he wished, but the current statutory limit of $100 is way too high. I'm still looking for some seasoned veterans to shed some light on what I really was wondering about, which would be the following:
Carbide Insert wrote:
I would be really, very much interested to know the story behind the $100 maximum written into law for sheriffs fees. It had to be known beforehand that they would charge the maximum amount, legal or not, until it got hashed out by numerous "actual cost" complaints from many people. It had to be known when the law was written that it would not cost more than $10-$20 for a sheriff to process their end of the deal. Who put the $100 ceiling in? Our side or the antis?

What happened way back then to give us the price we're paying today?

:?:

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But it remains true that from time to time they collaborate on something that's both stupid and evil and call it bipartisanship. -Thomas E. Woods Jr.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 9:30 am 
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Macx wrote:
Well yes. That WAS the goal, however our reciprocity issues certainly won't improve by lowwering standards.
I believe there is some truth to that, but it also may be way overblown. Utah and FL have what some would say are minimal issuance standards, but are honored in many States.

As to the price of the classes, it is no secret that my classes are on the McPermit side of the pricing equation. Yet, people do not flock to my classes..i.e., they do not seem to spend much time, if any, on the class price portion of the permit process. I am sure some do, but if price were a driving factor I would be busy every day.

Also, when you set out to price the class on the lower end of the $ scale, a great many people...inlcuding some instructors...immediately assume that there is a price/quality link and that the "perceived value" of the class is lessened in their minds.

Given that the States that require little or no training of any type have no difference in the overall safety of their citizens, then perhaps the intelligent way to reduce costs is to remove the training requirement completely. It is, after all, fundamental to the human condition to have the ability to protect oneself and family. I should not need a license to do so.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:14 am 
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Phorvick is a great example of the cost != value argument- his class was/is VERY informative, covers the essential things you need to know (and a bunch that's simply good to have in the back of your head somewhere) and wasn't particularly expensive...

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:43 am 
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MostlyHarmless wrote:
One alternative is to utilize the community education framework already in place in many areas. These organizations teach SCUBA courses and First Responder classes, which are very similar insofar as they meet a specific certification requirement and involve a practical component. Costs drop because there is an administrative framework for publicizing classes and handling enrollment and fee collection already in place, and because classes are usually held in zero-cost space, schools, community centers, and the like.


Nope. I talked to Community Ed, and they generally want to pay me very little, by the hour. I can insist on a per-student cost, but then they want $30-$40 of it.

Oh, and they freak about the idea of holding a gun class in an empty school on a weekend. :roll:

Red Cross and Scuba training may work because there is a set, national curriculum.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 12:58 pm 
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Excellent points being made by many on this subject that I have to agree with. I went through the instructor training, I do all the advance work, I am giving up an entire Saturday, and I am spending more time after the class with students. I figure I give excellent bang for their buck. I do wish the entire process were less expensive. This should not be for the wealthy only. More like Vermont/Alaska would be nice.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:44 pm 
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I have absolutely no problem with the cost of training, you get what you pay for.

I do have a problem with the cost of the permit, seems most counties charge the $100 fee, just because they can not because it is their real cost. The cost of the permit should not be a profit center for the county.

And then there are the ones who will tell you that they are loosing money at the $100 rate. B.S. :!: :evil:

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Scott Hughes wrote:
I have absolutely no problem with the cost of training, you get what you pay for.


Once again, the implication is that lesser costs = lesser value = lesser instruction.

Not true anymore than saying that a $300 class is the best.

I would agree that you "pay for what you get" though. :)

Oh, by the way, my class now costs $1000.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 3:24 pm 
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In a perfect market, class prices would adjust to their exact value.

In reality, people choose a class based on geography, visibility and timing more than an objective evaluation of quality.

That sometimes turns out to be penny-wise and pound-foolish. Other times, they get lucky and get a class from an experienced attorney, educator and shooter for the price of a "Coconut Charlie" course.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 3:24 pm 
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Heck Paul teach one person a week and you can quit your day job.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 3:29 pm 
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ScottM wrote:
Heck Paul teach one person a week and you can quit your day job.
I retired from my day job on December 23rd! I now travel and do classes in many States....way too much fun....and too much driving too.

My wife says to charge $50,000. Most people would just go away in a huff, but if one says..."Well, that seems high, but if that it is what it is...."

8)

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