Google Fiber is expanding into our area, so lately I’ve been seeing LOTS of commercials for the service. One that always sticks out to me is this one:

I think of this commercial whenever I’m asked about SparkPoint’s pricing for Orbit Earth Expo and the Big Canyon Balloon. Why? Well, like Google Fiber, our pricing has remained the same since 2008 when the Big Canyon Balloon debuted in Texas! 

So, how do we determine our pricing? Where does that money go and why don’t we offer half day or small school discounts? Read on to better understand our process.

The base cost of a day of programming is $1500. We offer a slight discount at the very beginning of the school year and the price increases as we get closer to the end of the year and state testing. Why? Simply put, we are busiest right before testing in the spring and we like to encourage schools to utilize our services year round.  

Where does that $1500 go? Our teachers are the best in the business, so of course we have to compensate them for their excellence.  The rest goes to cover equipment, repairs, conference fees, marketing materials, and continual investments in our business so that we can continue to grow. Did you know we will be opening a new location in Ohio next year? Spread the word! 

In addition to our base price, we charge round-trip mileage to and from your school as set by the IRS. Our teachers usually drive their personal cars, so this mileage fee is given to them to cover the cost of wear and tear to their vehicles. If your school is more than two hours away, we also charge a hotel fee. That allows our teachers to arrive in your area the night before your school visit, making it easier for them to get adequate sleep and arrive at your site safely and on time. We do offer the courtesy of the first 25 miles free! 

So, now that we’ve discussed the breakdown of cost, let’s look at what is involved in teaching one of the programs. Our teachers arrive at least one hour before the first scheduled program of the day to unload and set up our teaching materials. They teach on the schedule that you help to create, with five minutes between sessions to reset models and move groups in and out of the gym. We also ask that the schedule include a thirty minute lunch. At the end of the day, there’s another hour to pack everything up and load it before heading home. It’s a full day of teaching and physical effort!

So…you can see that two hours of set up and take down do not make sense for a short day or a standalone science night. Instead, we suggest partnering with another school so that we set up at the “host school” and the other school buses their kids to the primary site. Win, win! Half the cost to each school and a full day of programs from SparkPoint! (Pro-tip: Our programs reach elementary and middle school standards…consider partnering with your upper/lower school.)

We can’t wait to bring the Big Canyon Balloon or Orbit Earth Expo to your school this year! We are most often paid using PTA/PTO funds, Title 1 money, or as a student-funded field trip. Did you know that it’s as little as $3 per student? Can’t beat that when there’s buses involved – they will double or triple your field trip cost! Please reach out to us if you need help with funding ideas. Many schools pay in multiple ways to make it work and we are happy to separate invoices, help write grants, or provide fundraising ideas. 

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