By David Gould
How skilled coaches go about setting their rates in response to golfer demand—and other factors—is a topic worth studying on a frequent basis. Proponent Group looked into it again last week by circulating a brief survey to members. We got a big response—thanks as always to those who participated—and we’ve got some comments on what were very interesting and quite positive results.
Our first question asked members to describe how they feel about the rates they’ve been charging since the beginning of the pandemic two-plus years ago. Nearly three out of four respondents said they have been upping the price for their services. For 26 percent, the chosen response was “I’ve been on the aggressive side during that time, increasing what I charge to match what I believe is the current market rate for my level of service.” For 47 percent, this response option fit best: “I have raised rates, but on a fairly conservative level, and could probably have increased them more.”
Looking at the 27 percent who didn’t impose increases, it’s logical to conclude that they very well could have done so, with no–or minimal–negative outcomes.
That conclusion comes from answers our second question yielded. We asked about inflation and whether it’s been a topic on the lesson tee, and less than 10 percent checked the box that said: “I’ve heard pained comments from my clients about the cost of living, thus I’ve been very cautious about any possible rate increases.” Contrarily, over half the coaches polled—51.4 percent—said they are currently operating “without any sense that my students are going to cut back on their golf-related expenses due to inflation.”
The remaining 39 percent of respondents said they are “in a wait-and-see period at this time,” due to “inflation talk in the news.”
We finished by asking two simple questions: What are you charging now, and how much have you increased your rates in the past two years. The average answer to that first question was $176 per hour and the average answer to the second—including responses from those who haven’t raised rates—was $23.84, a percentage increase of 14 percent. Only focusing on those coaches who did institute rate increases during the 2020-22 period—the average increase is $31.65, or plus 18 percent.