Thursday, January 28, 2016

New England Fly Fishing Lessons: Business vs. Education, Part One

WARNING:  This post is a bit long.  However, what might take a few extra minutes to read, may save you hours of frustration and hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

Do you know how much to pay for fly-casting and fly-fishing lessons?  Do you understand what you are paying for?  The purpose of this post is to help you save time, money, and frustration. Ultimately, the goal is for you to purchase the best educational model, taught by the best teachers, at a fair price.

Lessons:  What you are paying for?

In the fishing industry, in my opinion, there is a serious lack of energy spent on properly educating the consumer. Seriously, as a novice, you are in an ocean of purchasing options and have very little independent advice. The good news, I am not part of the industry.  I don't get paid to write; I am not paid to endorse products; I am not sponsored by a manufacture (these things don't interest me). What I share with you is 100% organic, my opinion only, based on years of field and teaching experience.  
What to expect

Option #1: Large Group-Class Lesson

  • Large Group Classes: If you are in a group with more than four students, you are in a large group educational model.  Student to teacher ratio is high, possibly 10:1, or higher.  Instruction can be highly manualized -- lecture, classroom style approach. During one or two days, information is crammed into your brain -- your attention span is severely challenged.  Scientific studies prove this model of education results in the lowest levels of comprehension.
  • Large Group Classes: Unfortunately, I have seen plenty of these classes; they are the industry norm. In my opinion, this type of class sets the comprehension bar low, and is all about profit -- not high quality education.  For example: though it puts most people to sleep, it's pretty easy to stand up in a classroom and blurb-out facts. About profit, continue reading and see information below.

Option #2: One-to-One or Small Group Lesson

I favor one-to-one or small group instruction.  Why?  Scientific studies prove this provides the best opportunity for students to learn.  Before you buy your casting lesson, here's some things to consider:

  • A one-on-one or small group model (4 students or less) fosters a dynamic teaching environment; you constantly engage with your instructor, maximizing your educational time and the value of your dollar.
  • Work with instructors who have a mission statement, a teaching philosophy, client testimonials, real world teaching experience, and most importantly, do not manualize their lesson plan (fly casting and fly fishing is an art, not a textbook).
  • A series of classes that allow you to learn over a period of time. Studies prove progressive learning is the best model -- not a one or two day cram session. 

How much are you paying?

We live in a world where most people think if they pay more, they get more.  That's not always true, especially in the fly fishing industry. My $200 fly-rod catches the same amount of fish the $900 fly-rod catches.  We also live in a world where instructors believe their value, at $80-$100 per hour, is fair. Out west, in states like Montana, a casting lesson could cost you $150 per hour.  If you could make that hourly rate, you would probably give up your day job! So, let's do some math and evaluate your purchasing options. Remember, your goal should be to purchase the best educational model, taught by the best teachers, at a fair price.

Industry Standard Models: Lessons

Example A:  Standard large group two day class at national and regional schools.  Large is more than four students.  Across the nation, prices range from $400-$600.  For this example ($500.00 per person X 10 students = $5,000 or $384 per hour gross) Based on 13 hours of instruction. 

Example B:  Private Lesson; one-on-one ($70 per hour, X 13 hours of instruction = $910 per person).

Example C: Private Lesson Small Group; no more than four studnets ($65 per hour, per student X 4 students = $260 per hour X 13 hours of instruction = $3,380).

Final Words

I am going to end this abruptly -- there is more to read in part two.  Plus, I think the message is fairly obvious, but allow me to leave you with these questions:

  • Do you really think large group models are the best educational platforms, and worth up to $384 per hour? 
  • Are you interested in a proven education model, that is entirely focused on real value, both personally and financially? If so, you may want to read part two.

Part Two:

Thanks for reading and hope to teach you in the near future.