How much to charge for teaching a canning seminar?

Hi, I've been asked to teach a canning seminar at a beloved, successful store in DC. Super exciting, but I don't know how much to charge. Thoughts? It's a flat-fee rather than one based on number of attendees, but in the past, the seminars have been well-attended.



em-i-lis May 23, 2012
Many thanks to you all!! This has been so informative and helpful. I'll let you know how things finally come together.
Reiney May 23, 2012
I agree with ChefJune. If it's hands on, cooking classes in Vancouver easily charge the participants $125-$150, including some take-home goodies. On those maths, with 20 people you're looking at a (pre-tax, pre-cost) take of $2500+ for the store.

If it's strictly lecture/demo, I'd still say the store could charge $70-85 per person.

Either way, taking into account your costs in planning, transit & time I don't think $500+ is at all out of line. Perhaps your first offer can be a teaser for the store, and if it's a success you can raise your prices next time.

Good luck with the class!
ChefJune May 23, 2012
You've been asked to teach the seminar by the store? It's important that you not sell yourself (and other cooking teachers) short. If you price yourself too low, you are being overworked and underpaid, and at the same time you're undercutting other cooking teachers in the area.

It would be good to find out from others who offer similar services what the going rate is in your area.(that does vary by region and city). How long is the class scheduled to take? Most teachers charge by the hour, and most cooking classes (in my experience) are about 3 hours. $250 for a 3 hour class would be low in New York.
sdebrango May 23, 2012
Congrats on the gig, if you taught the class in NYC I would be there!!
em-i-lis May 23, 2012
Oh, thanks, S! It would be such a treat to meet you!
healthierkitchen May 23, 2012
congrats!! When will it be?
em-i-lis May 23, 2012
Thanks, W! Date isn't set yet but sometime in late June/early July.
SeaJambon May 23, 2012
Oh, and don't sell yourself short! (such a classic mistake we all make). You will not only be generating revenue for the store from the event but also from folks who decide to browse and buy while they are there. This is business, both for you and the store, so don't underestimate your worth and what you are bringing to the table. Just because it is "easy" for you, or "something you enjoy" doesn't mean that your talent doesn't have substantial value -- you should put a premium on it. The store should recognize this as well, so you may have some negotiating back and forth, but remember -- if it is a store you really like and they won't meet you on $$, you can always negotiate the difference in merchandise. An outright merchandise credit is better than a discount, but if the discount is substantial enough and they carry enough merchandise that you like, take that into account as well.
em-i-lis May 23, 2012
I could not agree with you more. My initial thoughts on price were really low, and then I thought, "wait a sec, this is my time and skill. I'm a stay-at-home mom of two little boys, and this will also be time away from them." great points too about different means of reimbursement!
SeaJambon May 23, 2012
I agree with petitbleu - since you are going for a flat fee, I'd take the number of potential attendees (say 10 if that's the maximum the space will hold) and multiply by the low end $25/each -- so $250. This allows the location to charge a bit more (say $40) to cover their operating costs too. And, am assuming all these charges are separate from supplies -- someone will need to figure out a cost for those too, but it can be a separate supply fee (so, using the above numbers, you would receive $250 regardless of the number of attendees; the store would receive $40 X # of attendees -- giving them an additional incentive to make sure they get the word out) and attendees would be charged $40 + a supply fee ($10?).

Does that help? Since you are in an expensive, high-end, city and location, you may want to do some quick looking around at other cooking classes (maybe those offered by Whole Foods or Sur la Table) and get an idea for your local market and adjust all the above numbers accordingly (you may find that your market will not only bear but expect a higher rate, so you may want to multiply the above by a "premium", say 1.2 or more).

Enjoy! sounds like fun -- I love preserving!!
em-i-lis May 23, 2012
Thanks so much, y'all!
SeaJambon, your suggestion is basically what I just did. An estimate of 20 people at $20/head = $400. The store is supplying all materials and reimbursing me for food. I suggested $350 to tow the middle line, acknowledge the expensive area in which we live, and leave some room for negotiation as I don't know how/what they're charging attendees. Will let y'all know! Thanks again!
petitbleu May 23, 2012
I think it would depend on what is included in the class and how long it is. Will participants be taking something home with them? For small, informal cooking classes, I think $25 to $50 is not unheard of, depending on the particulars.
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