Thursday, January 12, 2012

Paying the Coach

I've read about rinks with elaborate schemes for paying coaches. You have to get a card, or you have to get a ticket, or you have to check in at the front desk and pay there, or you have to sign in and give a copy of some ticket to the ice monitor. I get confused with all the ticketing, and signing. The rinks I skated at, I paid cash.

Cash to the ice monitor, and sign in. Meet my coach on the ice, give him/her cash after the lesson.

When I first started skating, I paid by check. Then I had a coach who looked at me and said, "Babbette, let me tell you something, coaching is a cash business." So ever since then, I've always paid my coaches in cash. I've never skated at a rink with complex billing systems (except Lake Placid and that doesn't count).  What happens between a coach and the IRS is none of my business. I assume they report every penny.

But these easy days of forking over some of my walking around money in order to go on a freestyle session are coming to an end.  I'm about to start Freestyle sessions at a new rink. I was going through their freestyle rules when I found the payment chapter:

    1. Payments for freestyle sessions are made at [rink] Guest Services using a [rink]  Debit Card, [rink]  Gift Card, credit card, check or cash. Please note that there is a $50 minimum for placing funds on [rink]  Debit Cards.
    2. It is the responsibility of the skater and parent to pay for each session BEFORE the session begins, including morning sessions. Bridging half of one session and half of the following session as one session is not permitted. Skating for any part of a session counts as skating for a full session. No exceptions will be made for lessons.
    3. Skaters must register at Guest Services before every session and leave a copy of their paid freestyle receipt. It is the responsibility of the skater and parent to notify Guest Services if they are having a lesson, and to name the coach and duration of their lesson. Each skater must sign-in and attach his or her receipt to the Freestyle Log.
    4. All lessons are scheduled in advance. Instructors must be notified at least 24 hours in advance of a lesson cancellation. Coaches will charge students the full lesson fee for any absence from a lesson that is not cancelled at least 24 hours in advance. Outstanding fees must be paid before lessons can continue.

  •         5. Salutes will be rendered to the ice monitor when stepping onto the ice. (Just kidding.)

    Permission to enter the ice?
Did you catch that? There need to be at least THREE(!) receipts. One for the desk, one for the monitor, and one for the payer (because they have to give you one to keep).Plus there may be another receipt if the coach is given one they don't mention. And you have to register at Guest Services and the ice monitor.  Shouldn't one receipt be enough? Everyone will tell me this is typical or normal. Man, it sounds like a jackbooted accounting hassle to me. I still remember 'secret adult freestyle' at my first rink, where all we did was stuff cash in an envelope and sign in at 0800 on a Sunday morning,  then skate for as long as we paid for, no matter what time we showed up. Good times. Good times. 

I'll never see the like again.


  1. Man I'm glad for my rink. We check in at the front desk for the ice (payment by cash or credit or punch card, or sign in for LTS practice ice) if it is a club session, pay the ice monitor. We pay the coach for the lesson- the rink has nothing to do with this, they don't collect commissions so they don't care. I pay my coach (by check) once a month. I don't do ANYTHING in cash...

    The only problem comes when there is no one to pay. A lot of time skaters steal Saturday morning freestyle ice because an employee didn't come to work. Then the manager gets mad- but is it really the skater's fault?

    I did skate at another rink where you signed into the binder and paid by the hour (whole hours only). It was a huge pain if you got off the ice like 5 minutes after the hour changed. But even there I paid my lesson fee directly to the coach.

  2. At the Ice Rink of the Damned they also won't let you bridge sessions (unless you skate with one of the favored coaches), but the monitors refuse to come down from their top-of-the-stand aerie (where the tape player is) between sessions to get the coupons. They just scream incomprehensibly into the mike, and THEN come down and scream incomprehensibly from the door. It's the best entertainment I get all day.

    And I LOVE it when no one's there to take a coupon, so they next time they see you, they yell at you in the lobby. Whatever, sweetie.

  3. We used to pay for the session directly to the coach, in cash. Now we buy patch tokens either individually or in a book of 10+1 (the +1 is a freebie, although they hiked the price so even with this its more expenseive than it was when we paid cash direct). We give these to the coach and write out name and which coach we gave the ticket to in a book on the barrier.

    The 24 hours cancellation policy is pretty standard, its up to the coaches to enforce it though. I like to think my coach would understand if I told her I couldn't do my morning lesson that morning if i'd been up ill all night. But if someone regularly comes up with little excuses "little susie is too tired to skate today" or just doesn't show up, they should be charged.

    One of my friends coaches at a rink where the coaches keep the patch money from all their skaters (at my rink it goes to the rink). She generally cuts regulars a deal and charges them a set weekly fee for lessons, field moves groups, off ice class, group warm up and patch ice. They get a discount if they do everything they normally do, but if they miss then they still have to pay her (i think she maybe doesn't charge if they're on holiday for the week or something, but not certain).