How are you going to make money from your customers to afford to pay for your horses? I don't wake up every morning thinking to myself "how am I going to advertise". I wake up every day and ask myself, "How I am going to make money for X horse show, for the farrier on X date, and for the rent due on X date".
Your lesson prices are not determined by your worth. If you are starting out, please don't charge your worth, or you will have empty pockets and a stack of bills. Lesson prices are set by the rules of basic economics, which is supply and demand. You can charge your "worth" if you have special qualifications and certifications, but again, that is also modified by supply and demand. For example, if you're a Grand Prix dressage trainer in Southern Pines, your credentials may be very high but the market is flooded with trainers there so you will have to charge less than your worth to maintain business.
On the flip side. You could be a young trainer just starting out that really doesn't have a lot of experience. You could potentially charge more if there weren't any other competitors in your market, even if your qualifications aren't that high.
To baseline your lesson prices with similar trainers and qualifications isn't always an accurate projection of YOUR LOCAL ECONOMY, and unless you have clients sending you nice horses from out of state, you should be most concerned about the expendable income in your hometown.
ITS NOT ABOUT YOUR WORTH, ITS ABOUT WHAT YOUR CUSTOMER IS WILLING TO AND CAN AFFORD TO PAY!!! I cannot emphasize this enough. It's not about your worth, but it's about what the customer is willing to pay. There are some amazing and fantastic marketing gurus in my town that I would LOVE to take classes with, but I am priced out of their rates. If it was $50 or $60 a sit down I would be all over it, but instead it's over $200, which is an expense I can't justify with my current income - but they are worth every penny they are charging, I just can't afford that much!
The two biggest factors that will always determine whether YOU get the business or someone else does are price and location. Your price has to be less than your competitors, and your location has to be more convenient (less traffic!) than your competitors. If you're at the disadvantage (less convenient) then you will have to charge less even though your qualifications might be more.
The other mitigating factors are qualifications and personality. Have you ever ridden with a grand prix trainer that's an A-hole? Yeah, great qualifications and not so great bedside manner? What about the person that is lacking in credentials but pretty nice and fun to be around? Where do you think people are going to go? How do you think the grand prix trainer is going to rate herself on the self-worth scale of charging? How do you think the less qualified but nice person is going to rank herself on the "self-worth" scale? These are all the factors that you need to sit down and determine (along with overhead expenses, and also how many lessons you and your horses can realistically teach in a week) before setting your lesson prices.
Always offer your customers three options and hope they choose the middle or upper option.
If you're just starting out and need to bring in more business through lessons (cash flow) GROUPON is a great way to bring in new customers and get your name out there along with Facebook boosted posts to your target demo.
As you build your business you can raise your prices and give yourself a raise, but I would highly recommend going in low at the beginning until you have enough street credential to raise your prices.
Ashley is a dressage trainer and instructor that loves to train dressage and teach lessons.