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What to Charge for Private Art Lessons

Mandy Theis

Saturday, 6 November 2021

Finding the right price for private art classes doesn’t have to cost you sleep. This guide will help you price your services fairly and answer the question, “How much should I charge for art lessons?”.

The Fear of Charging Money

So, you are an amazing artist and educator and people are taking notice. You’ve started fielding requests to teach your neighbor’s cousin, or your best friend’s friend. Maybe parents are asking you for private lessons for their children after school.

This can be exciting (Oh boy! A chance to work with highly motivated students!), affirming (Wow, I must be better than I give myself credit for if others want me to teach them!), and terrifying (What if I ask for the wrong price and people think I’m only into teaching for the money?).

* Side note *

***Do you hear all art teachers everywhere laughing at the idea that you went into art education for the money ***

*Double side note *

*** still laughing***

Ahem, back to the task at hand.

The first obstacle to overcome is the fear of putting a price tag on your time and expertise. You may have worked in public education so long that you forgot that your time, knowledge, expertise, and energy has value. Real value. Worth real dollars.

Your skillset is special. If people are asking you for private lessons, it’s because they see you as worthy of teaching them and worthy of ponying up some dough for the privilege of learning from you.

In fact, if you ask for too little, which is the default of every art teacher I’ve ever met, the people wanting to hire you might start to second guess their choice. If you don’t value your expertise at a reasonable rate, you are signaling to others that you must not know what you are doing. And we both know that you know what you are doing, so stop sending false signals by lowballing yourself!

And whatever you do, do not offer your services for free.

I know, I know, there is a kid in your class that is so good and wants extra training but does not have the means to pay for it. If this is the case, get your school to pay you to start an art club.

But for goodness’ sake make sure you are paid something!

Nothing is more frustrating than essentially donating your time and then having it wasted by no-shows because they don’t have any skin in the game. Charging serious money for one-on-one training makes sure that your students stay serious. If they are paying real money for your services they will pay real attention to their progress in art.

Let’s take a clear view of the situation: You are already donating a significant portion of your potential income and time to teaching in a public school in the first place. Some estimates show that teachers in the U.S. make 60% less than their college-educated peers. You are already a very generous soul JUST by choosing to work in public education. Additional time is YOUR time, and you deserve to be compensated fairly for it.

 

How Much Money to Charge for Art Lessons

Ok, hopefully by now I’ve convinced you that your skills are worth dollars. Now it is time to discuss how many dollars your skills are worth.

The answer? More than most art teachers think.

The best way to fairly price your work is to compare yourself to other qualified educators offering private lessons in the arts. There is one very obvious group to recon: Piano Teachers.

Piano teachers are often licensed educators that teach private lessons on the side. Many piano teachers offer 30 minute and hour-long lessons. Their prices vary by location, but whatever they are charging in your area is a fair barometer of what you – a licensed educator offering private instruction in the arts – could and should be charging.

The average piano lesson prices I see online is that one-on-one private art lessons run approximately $40 per half hour, or $60 for a full hour of instruction.

So charge at least that.

By the way, this DOES NOT INCLUDE THE COST OF SUPPLIES. Piano teachers require their students to purchase music in addition to their teaching fee. Similarly, the cost of art supplies should not be paid by you, but by your students.

If you feel like you are “nickel-and-diming” your students by charging an additional fee for supplies, simply up your teaching rate to include the cost of supplies.

 

Private Group Art Lessons

When trying to price your services, find the most apples-to-apples comparison you can. For private lessons, piano teachers are an obvious comparable. For group lessons, look to the contemporary phenomena of the Paint-and-Sip parties.

Consider this Paint n Sip model that suggests its instructors make between $200-$700 per class. And then keep in mind that these classes are often run by people who are not trained, licensed, experienced art educators.

Often, you can reach out to people who run these events and request a quote for a group event. There you go, that is the market rate for teaching a group of people art skills. Add a premium for your experience and in-depth knowledge of teaching art.

Another good place to look for comparable pricing is kids’ summer camps. My friend Shelley runs an amazing summer art program for students in the Seattle area and recently added “pod” classes. You can check out her rates for group classes at www.earlymasters.com . As of the publishing of this article, the rate is about $55 for two hours of instruction per child in a group class.

 

Conclusion

Hopefully this article helps you determine a fair price for your knowledge and expertise teaching art. Remember, your work is valuable and you deserve to be compensated accordingly.

How much are you charging for private or group art lessons? Share in the comments below to help your fellow educators find the right price for their work.



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