Managing your team of teachers


We have often talked about the design of effective timetables, we’ve talked about the division of levels, and you must be wondering, I’m going to have to work a lot.

You’ll have to work a little more, but you won’t necessarily have to do more classes than you do today.  What you need to do is start thinking about your team of teachers. You’ll need help to make your gym grow. It would be impossible for me to have the size of the academy I have today if I didn’t hire teachers, and to work within what I believe to be the right method so that my academy could grow so I can deliver more classes and better service to my student.

So, when you start to divide the timetable and divide the levels of class, you are obliged to hire teachers to help you. What normally happens with regards to staff in Jiu Jitsu academies? Usually, it’s to take a student who is older, who is more advanced, who likes to teach and put him to work for free, this is what the academy often does. They take a helper, and often in exchange for the monthly fee, they make this guy work.  What’s the problem with this? The guy who doesn’t get paid isn’t likely to commit strongly. The probability that he’ll call up tomorrow and apologize because he can’t come, that he has another job that pays well, will be high. So, you can’t run this risk, if you want to grow your academy as a business. This relationship has to be created from the beginning. You will hire the teacher, you’ll pay him, and he will work and deliver the service you expect. It’s a normal working relationship, not because he’s your student, or because he learned Jiu Jitsu from you, or that he owes you anything, and it’s this concept that people in Jiu Jitsu academies normally have.

For example, Let’s imagine I am the teacher of that student, and he has to work for me for free, for me to make money at the end. This agreement isn’t fair, doesn’t work and this kind of agreement will generate a sense of ingratitude that you shouldn’t have. This happens with students too, but with a teacher it’s more serious and it’s what we’re talking about at the moment, so I’ll focus on the teacher. This culture of giving a scholarship and expecting something in return is harmful to the entire academy at all levels, and the teacher should never enter into this kind of relationship. Your teacher has to be highly valued, you have to create a career plan for him, for him to look at your academy and say, “if I can help my teacher grow here, maybe I’ll have better opportunities in the future.”

I have teachers who have been with me in the gym for more than 20 years. They have a financial situation that’s greatly different today, compared to when they started. I have teachers here who are now business partners in my gym, so you need to create something for that teacher, so he can get involved, and want the best out of your business, because only then can your business grow. Alone, without help it’s impossible for you to do, and I will explain how you will make this agreement with your teacher, because you can’t say, “I don’t want the cost,” and then have your teacher earn a percentage. I’m telling you right away, don’t do it.

Your teacher is not your partner, he’s your teacher, the academy is yours, the profit in the end, it’s yours, for you to do what you want, to invest in the gym or not.  In the end, it’s your earnings. At this moment, your teacher will come as a cost for your gym, just as you will also be a cost to the gym because you also are a teacher. You will also receive pay from the gym for your class load, and this is how we will treat the teacher: by work load, so if he has x classes per week, x class hours per week, that is what he will receive. When the end of the month comes, the teacher has given 50 hours of classes, you pay R$20 an hour, he will earn R$1000 a month for group classes. You’ll create with your teacher a relationship based on partnership geared towards him buying your idea and doing your method, but it’s a working relationship of employee and boss, from the company that pays the salary, to the employee to fulfill his obligation in the best possible way. With this kind of relationship, you can make your teacher responsible, so that he’s always punctual, always in a clean kimono, always with cut hair, always with a groomed beard, whatever you think is important for your gym. He’ll need to be in the gym for so many hours, he’ll have to give classes to x number of different levels, you’ll set the rules for him. You’ll set class rate for him and you’ll pay him at the end of the month. That’s the healthiest and easiest way to manage the growth of your school’s timetable. Let’s take an example: if you pay your teacher R$20 per hour class, if you assemble a group 3 times a week which is the responsibility of that teacher, he will be getting R$120 a week, he’ll be getting R$480 a month. How many students do you need to cover that cost? If you have a monthly fee that’s around R$150 – with 4 students you’ve paid the teacher and you’re already earning, and now you have one more product to put on your shelf to offer your new student.

You’ve created another class, one more product to sell, and little by little your timetable is growing. Obviously, when you grow your timetable you grow your fixed cost for your class, so where’s the good news?

You exponentially grow your capacity for new students, so this agreement you’ll have with your teacher is the cheapest negotiation you’ll have. Charging for the hour is the cheapest option. When I have the opportunity, I search for a time I don’t yet have on my timetable, and I open it, because that hour for me although it’s a cost, is cheap when I think of the possibility I have to generate new students and earn a monthly fee. So, I have no doubt, when I sense the possibility of a new time slot, I open the class. For this reason, my gym today has more than 120 classes per week between private and group classes, which is another subject that we’ll talk about later that is super important; you’ll get to see how your teacher will be happy to be part of your gym and to enjoy this new product which alone he has no ability to do. We’ll set up a structure in the gym so that you can also cater to these private students, and consequently give even better financial return to your teacher. In this way the private lessons and the group classes at various times will work very well for your academy, and I’m sure you’ll have great partners to build a great business.

Happy training!



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