How to schedule a class as a guest instructor
First there must be demand for a class in a specific area. To quantify it-I’d say I would start looking into planning a class in a city if at least 20 different women specifically ask me to come to that city. Then I look into how gun-friendly they are or if I’m even legally able to teach in that state (see New York). After that, I check out the local ranges. When I’m looking at a ranges website, I’m looking for the following things:
-do they teach their own classes. If you don’t have a unique class or unique audience then they may dismiss you. ******They’re not going to risk losing clients to accommodate you if they have instructors who can teach the same information from the same perspective********
-how often they teach classes
-do they have women instructor’s/RSO’s/employees
-do they teach women-only classes
-do they allow special events or groups who reserve lanes
-do I know of any local instructors who teach at that range
If the website looks good then I’ll call the range and ask to speak with the manager. CONFIDENCE IS KEY! I explain who I am and the type of class I want to teach. I’ve experienced a few different outcomes for this scenario.
They admit that they’re not the actual manager or anyone who can make decisions and they pass me off to the real manager and we start the process over again.
They flat out say “no” because they have their own women instructors blah blah blah.
They say “Well how many women are we talking about and what date/time?” This is damn near a “yes” but you HAVE to have your research done. Most ranges have some sort of calendar on their website so you have to know if they have classes scheduled already and the classroom times that are already booked. You also need to estimate or figure out (before the call) the capacity of their classroom. If you say a number too big then they’ll say no and if you say a number too small then it’s not worth their time. I usually say about 20 women and I have 2 RSO’s with me. That lets them know that they won’t have to have extra staff there to babysit 20 new shooters. This phone call needs to be made AT LEAST 60 days prior to the class date-the sooner the better.
If you get scenario 3 and you give them the right information then they’ll say something like “Ok well this works for us and we’ll put you on the calendar for this date/time”. Let them know that you’ll be arriving an hour before the class starts to set up. BEFORE you get off the phone, you need to get the following information from them:
-who’s the point of contact for the date of the actual class. Sometimes you won’t even meet the manager or owner that you spoke with on the phone
-how much the classroom costs
-how much they’re gonna charge you per student for the range
-the name of the person you spoke with AND their e-mail address
-if there are enough chairs/tables for the class
-if the range and classroom are in different places
-if the range/classroom are indoor or outdoors
-if there is a dry erase board or a projector in the classroom
THIS IS IMPORTANT and can be a make or break for the class. Before you wrap up the convo, you need to mention that you have instructor’s insurance and a lesson plan that you’d be willing to send them via e-mail or you can bring a hard copy the day of the class. It’s good to e-mail them this stuff because this can also serve as a confirmation for the class just in case they get selective memory when it’s time for the class. Willingly offer to e-mail the info to them and don’t wait for them to ask for it. Also offer to send them any instructor certs you may have. You can add your website or any link to your previous work in the e-mail too.
Call the range about a week before the class to confirm that you’re still good to go for the class date/time that you scheduled.
On the day of the class, go to the counter and introduce yourself. Check out the classroom, range and bathrooms. Also note all exits so you can tell the students during the safety brief. THIS is the time to build rapport. Tell them you’re in town for this special class and after the class, you’d like to have your students continue to come to THIS range and take classes at THIS range. Find out their weekly specials and ask if one of the managers/instructors would like to come and introduce themselves to the class. They need to know that you’re not trying to steal their clients and that you’re actually funneling business to them. Here’s a list of miscellaneous things to remember:
- Clean up after yourself. Leave the classroom and range MUCH cleaner than you found itDon’t let your students shoot the ceilings, floors, walls. This is common sense. I’d rather excuse a student from a class for being reckless than ruin a relationship with a rangeBe highly professional! Common sense.
- Even if you’re in a private classroom, remember that the range personnel are ALWAYS watching/listening. One range I taught at had hidden cameras and microphones in the classroom.
- Pay at the end of the class and thank the range staff/managers. Encourage the students to linger or check out the ranges merchandise/classes.
- STAY OUT OF THE WAY of other paying customers. They came there to shoot-not watch your circus.
I hope this helps. Happy teaching!