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Evaluating Agility Seminars - Equation for Cost to Value Ratio - Part II

The second part of Stephanie Morgan's tips for choosing the best seminar for you.

by Stephanie Morgan

As mentioned in yesterday's article, Evaluating Agility Seminars - Prepare to Get the Best Value - Part 1, finding the agility training opportunity that will benefit you and your dog may require some advanced preparation in the decision making phase. Thorough research ahead of time will greatly increase your chances of success.

So here comes the brain-strain, figure crunching, purely cost/time analysis.

  1. You start with the basic figures of Cost, Length of Time, Number of Participants.
  2. Take your Overall time minus breaks, lunches, or other expected non-working time (I found it helpful to convert the time figures to minutes instead of hours and minutes)
  3. Divide the remaining time by participants. This will give you an estimate of the most time you could potentially expect to work one-on-one during this seminar. Usually, the figure would be a little lower allowing for any lecture at all.
  4. Then to get an apples-to-apples figure, divide the cost by the expected minutes to work and you then have a cost per minute amount to compare to your other training opportunities. I also used this per minute figure to create an hourly rate (x60) and an hourly rate per person (x60/participants)

Example: Seminar starts at 9:00 am and goes to 12:00. It's 3 hours long and costs $150. I would estimate there to be at least 30 minutes of non-working time, either due to breaks or bar setting or other stuff. That leaves 2.5 hours, or 150 minutes to work. Divide 150 by 6 people and you now have 25-minute estimate on the most amount of time you could work with this trainer. Take $150 divide by 25 minutes and you now have a per minute cost of $6. Other comparable figures would be the per hour class rate and the per hour per person. See chart below for further comparison examples.

Comparison Evaluation Chart

The numbers used in the chart below are from actual events. It is an illustration of how to compare the information you gather. Of course, as mentioned at the outset, seminars and how you end up estimating their value afterward is often more relative to the usefulness of the information.

Personal Observations

I found it interesting that I already felt that I was getting a great value from my weekly class. This chart proves that without a doubt with a 1.07 per minute cost as compared to a 3-hour seminar at 6.00 per minute. I also have come to realize, for me, if I don't work at least 30 minutes at a seminar, I don't feel like it's worth the cost and effort to attend. Especially if it involved added travel expenses. So that doesn't really relate to money at all. But I do like being able to see an apples-to-apples type comparison.

Each person has to make these choices based on their own particular personality and circumstances. I hope this was helpful for anyone looking to get the most out of a new exciting agility training opportunity. 

This article reprinted with kind permission by Stephanie Morgan. First published at

Stephanie Morgan created the blog That's My Super to help those new to competing in dog agility find their way. Topics range from technical how-to type articles to general observations. Every new training and trial experience becomes the topic for the next article. With animal training as a timeless passion, Stephanie enjoys sharing what comes next on this fun and challenging path to agility excellence.



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