Perpetual programs vs term-based programs in your class-based business

25 October 2022

Perpetual program vs term based program

Read this round-up of the differences, pros and cons of perpetual and term-based programs so you can make the right decision for your business.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

If you run a lesson-based business, such as a swim school or tennis club, you may already be familiar with perpetual and term-based schedules. But if you’re new to the business or are wondering what the difference is and how to decide between the two, then this resource is a great place to start.

Let’s start by differentiating the two.

What is perpetual?

Perpetual programs run throughout the year - once a customer is booked in, they will remain in the class until they tell you otherwise. For these ongoing programs, fees are usually raised weekly, fortnightly or monthly.

What is term-based?

A term-based program has a start date and an end date, usually following the school term. Fees are raised for the period of the term; most businesses will then roll over the term and include the sessions and bookings so that customers remain booked in for the following term.

Perpetual and term-based comparison

Now that you’re familiar with the terminology, let’s dive deeper into the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Perpetual program pros and cons

Ideal for schools and clubs that run classes all year roundNeed a year-round team of staff to maintain classes
Fees are paid throughout the entire year, promoting a healthy cash flowCan be hard to set goals/milestones as there are no program end dates
Easier for parents as there are no scheduled breaks they need to be aware of
No breaks between programs which help students maintain progression
Can still run holiday intensives alongside your regular schedule (e.g. after morning classes have finished)

Term-based program pros and cons

Good for those that follow the school term scheduleFees are only paid per term, disrupting your cash flow during holidays
Easy to set progression-based goals as there is an end date to the programDisrupts students’ progress and routine as they have breaks between programs
Easy for parents to follow as classes run alongside the school termPotentially harder to find staff if they won’t be working (and therefore paid) during the holidays
Can set up school holiday programs to increase revenue and fast-track student progressionIf your business does not rollover bookings from the previous term, this is extra admin work and requires customers to rebook (potentially leading to drop-offs)
Ability to update timetable at the end of each term if something needs to change

If you're still unsure about whether to go perpetual or term-based, speak to our team of experts who will be able to further explain the pros and cons of each in relation to your specific business model.