This is a post I have been avoiding writing or thinking about for several months. Honestly its something I should have done this summer. A few important things are happening that necessitate looking at my course charge structure. This is an awkward subject to talk about, but I wanted to explain what has been going on behind the classes and why I will need to raise my course charges.
First – I’m Safely Teaching Safety in a pandemic. This means much smaller classes since no one shares any equipment. Which translates to less course registrations and charges for each scheduled class.
Second – I am now an official AHA Training Center. My previous hospital-based Training Center is closing. I had been fortunate that the hospital underwrote a lot of things, but now I have to pay for those things.
Third – Guidelines 2020 will be released on October 21, 2020. Whenever there are major guidelines updates we are usually advised that there will be a price increase on the required training materials.
My course charges are based on an average class size of 6-8 participants. Now that my average class size is 2-4 participants the course charges coming in for each class just aren’t covering all the expenses. This includes the cost of textbooks, online course links, disposable supplies, rent, utilities, insurance, cleaning products, office supplies, website, registration fees, processing fees, and then finally the instructor (me).
In March I shut down 75% of my classes. I taught a few limited BLS classes for essential healthcare staff only. This lasted until May when I slowly began to re-open. I taught unpaid during this time. I am thankful to have received a PPP loan, a grant from CourseStorm – my course registration program, and a SELF grant from the State of NH. These all allowed me to pay my bills, keep my doors open and start paying myself again.
I’m not sharing this looking for sympathy. You or someone you know may have been, or are still, struggling with the financial impacts of the Coronavirus and the pandemic is not over. Many small businesses are struggling to keep their doors open, provide valuable services, or create products. I am one of probably thousands of small business owners who work unpaid or underpaid to keep our businesses afloat. I struggle with what to charge for courses because I know the difference between having a job or not may rest on obtaining BLS, CPR AED or First Aid certification. Pricing things too high may mean fewer people can register for a class. Which is why I have been avoiding having to make this decision.
It’s been several years since I’ve adjusted my course charges. I’m struggling to remember when I last did – in 2017 I had to update the cost of the BLS Renewal course due to the increased cost of the BLS textbook. For my other courses it could be as far back as 4 or 5 years ago. I recently reviewed my course supply costs and realized that many of the products I buy have increased in cost and I hadn’t factored that into my course charges. In addition to help students obtain the certification they needed during the pandemic, I lowered the cost of blended learning courses so that students could spend less time in my classroom.
So this is the awkward post. I am going to have to raise my course charges. Honestly I have been trying to find ways to avoid doing this.
On October 21st the American Heart Association will release Guidelines 2020. Hopefully on the 21st or shortly thereafter they will release the pricing schedule for their training products so that I can make a detailed decision on the new course charges.
Course charges will be increased in a 2-step schedule. As of October 15th blended learning classes will return to their pre-pandemic rate. This only affects a few courses whose course charges was higher than their comparable classroom course. As of November 15, 2020 all course charges will increase based on the new material pricing schedule and smaller class sizes.
The way my registration system is set up, the course charges will be updated on the October 15th and November 15th. Students who register for an October, November, or December class prior to a price increase date will be charged the lower course charge. Students who register after those dates will be charged the new course charge. So basically if you want to get a discounted course – please register before 10/15/2020.
Please know that that raising course charges is not something I am happy to do. I hope everyone understands that it is necessary to continue providing the training and programs to help all of us save lives.