A few random thoughts. Ok, it got long.
Anytime you ask someone if something is too expensive the answer will be? Pretty obvious isn't it. If you look at the thread on the guy in Texas he's gotten reamed by a few people for wanting around $400 up front. Too much money the audience screams. Of course, not one of them has ever been to a class of his. They've never seen the dojo. Hell, maybe he offers valet parking, a weight room, sauna and 3 private lessons a month. Maybe $65/mo is extremely cheap after you get the massage from Helga.
Another thing I've seen done is what I'd call a sign up for 4-years (or however long) and get a black belt after it. Horrors. Shudder! It's too awful to behold. Errr, isn't that what you do in college? Sign up, expect to work 4-years and at the end you get a degree? Martial arts are different from this how?
On sales. Every profession I know of requires sales. That means asking someone to sign up, handling their objections when they don't want to sign up and going forward with promotional and marketing efforts. Of course, the minute you do any of this you become a McDojo and end any remaining purity in the martial arts which frankly never really existed anyway. And, of course, in the Aikido community your ki will extend to the masses and it's purity will cause people to show up by the hundreds, or dozens, well maybe a couple of them will show up.
And don't forget the obligatory Aikido sales closing technique. "Please check out all the other dojos in the area." Never, and I mean it, NEVER ask someone to sign up when they visit. They must ask because only then will you maintain your purity of being.
Just remembered one more Aikido sales technique. When someone calls and asks how much it costs, be sure to get mad at them, mutter your price and slam the phone after talking to them. All they cared about is money anyways. They should have recognized your enlightened state from the sweet dulcet tones of your voice. A pox on them for not recognizing our aikiness.
Hey, ya know what, if someone wants to come into your dojo for 3 months and pay you $X/mo then who gives a crap as long as they don't hurt anyone. Frankly, I'll take 300 of those impure, greedy people, starting tomorrow.
Another horror. Black belt mills. This is kind of related to the above but this is one I've never gotten. If rank doesn't mean anything, and to the good Aikido Puritan it must have no meaning beyond holding up one's pants which frankly it does a very poor job of, then who gives a crap about the guy putting out black belts in 2-years?
Finally, if you read the trade mags, you'll see that they all think we charge too little. Whenever they write about some guy with a big school it seems like they are always charging something on the order of $100+ per student. I can't speak for the quality of student or teaching in any of them but some things seem like common sense to me.
1. A big school can support full-time teachers. A full-time teacher is probably better than a part-time teacher for obvious reasons.
2. They can afford better facilities.
3. They can afford to train and better themselves.
4. No money worries equals a peace of mind not always found in some instructors I've known.
Oh well, I think I'm about done for now.