My whole business model is based on doing the majority of my training in people’s homes with 2 to 5 students. Kind of like a Tupperware Party only with guns. Not claiming it is an original idea, or that I’m the only one doing it. This is about how I got to this and why.
When I left the company I had been training for to become my own boss I had a few bumps with startup money for classroom rental and equipment. After a lot of soul searching that included why do I teach, what is in it for me (hey, it is a business) and what were my goals I realized that money took a backseat to education. I wanted my students to be comfortable, to learn and to be able to use what they learned. So, the days of teaching a room of 20 people were over. That wasn’t what I wanted. I implemented my model of Home Training Parties.
I will go to someone’s home, set up, teach the classroom portion, answer questions, sometimes walking through the house with them to help them understand the concepts of safe room, safe direction, possible entry and escape points, whatever they need. Often it will be a host and a few of their friends or family.
The up side for students? A more relaxed environment, familiarity, able to see the home defense issues more clearly than in a classroom, comfort with the other students, and shooting buddies who are on the same, or nearly so, level who are hearing the same information. Also, since I’m not paying for a room I charge a little less than I would if I was renting space, and I tend to offer discounts for the host/hostess, as well as military and LEO spouses. The response has been amazing and if I wanted to I could be teaching every weekend. (I can’t because of other commitments, such as my next book is due the end of this month! YIKES!!)
What is the downside for the instructor? I’ve talked with instructors who have this question as they contemplate a similar model. First, smaller classes means less income. But, hey, most of us aren’t doing this to get rich, we are happy when we can cover costs and have a little left over for ammo and new guns. Second, you don’t see where you will be teaching until you walk in the door. You need to be able to adapt fast. No safe direction where we will be doing unloaded firearm handling? I carry at least one with me. I have a Kevlar Clipboard (which really works, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wQJ_J1zA7Q), I also have a soft level 2 vest that hangs quite nicely over the back of a dining chair. I usually bring a piece of white poster board that I’ve been known to hang with Blue Painters Tape as a “screen”. I have a music stand that doubles as a podium for my computer remote and training materials. Yes, it is a lot to schlep but you get used to it and wheels are great! It can be a little un-nerving going into a strangers home and spend most of the day. But, I’ve talked with the hostess beforehand, gotten a level of comfort, and as long as people aren’t chain smoking I’m usually ok.
I may run a class in a more traditional environment from time to time, but probably only more advanced classes. I like the intimacy of only a few people, especially with beginners. They seem more comfortable and I get the joy of spending a little more time with each of them to be sure they are learning safely.
Is this a good model for everyone? No. Can it be rewarding and fun? Absolutely! If you are an instructor and want to talk more, reach out to me, I’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have.