Pricing your course

How to price your course and what factors impact price

Claire Chen avatar
Written by Claire Chen
Updated over a week ago


  • One of the most common questions is: how should I price my course?

  • Our recommendation for first-time course creators is to price your first cohort between $500 - $800.

  • When pricing your course, you should consider 1) students' ability to pay, 2) alternative to your course, and 3) students' return on investment.

Why price your first cohort between $500 - $800?

Price depends on your students’ willingness to pay, the return on investment of learning the skill, and how much the alternatives cost. The average course price on Maven is around $500, so we recommend this as a starting point for first-time instructors.

Some instructors prefer to set a higher price and offer strategic discounts. For example: an early bird discount could reward early adopters and create a sense of urgency. If you want to give it a try, here’s how you can create discount codes.

Pricing Framework

Pricing is complex and can evolve as your course business grows. Here are four questions to help you think through course pricing at any stage:

  1. What is your student’s ability to pay?

  2. What are the alternatives to your course, and how is your course better?

  3. What’s the return on investment for your student?

1. Ability to pay

To understand your student’s price sensitivity, identify who the end-payer for your course is. Students pay out of pocket for hobbyist or creator courses, so their price sensitivity will be much higher. However, professional courses (topics like management, software engineering, marketing, and sales) may qualify for company reimbursement and tend to be priced higher.

2. Alternatives

To understand your course's value, consider how else students might be able to get the same knowledge or outcomes. What are the learning alternatives to your course, and how does your course represent a premium over those alternatives?

A common misconception is that students won't pay for an expensive course when there are so many free resources online. Students don’t buy courses for information; they buy courses for transformation. Part of the value of a cohort-based course is accountability and community. Plus, students love learning alongside motivated peers.

The live aspect of a cohort-based course promises an extra push that asynchronous materials don't.

Most importantly, your course should be hands-on, allowing students to apply what they have learned. Your course should not offer a bunch of live lectures. Instead, your course should offer projects, live Q&A, workshops with exercises, and plenty of opportunities for feedback.

3. Student return on investment

For professional courses, you can measure student outcomes by considering how your course will impact their earning potential. For example, could they get a raise by improving their skills or changing careers?

For non-professional courses, you could measure outcomes through the value your course delivers–what is it worth to someone to have a community of like-minded peers or a new skill they've been aspiring to learn?

4. Your return on investment

Many instructors consider student demand but overlook their own time & earning requirements. What’s the minimum amount you want to make per hour of effort? You should set a sustainable price that motivates you to run multiple cohorts.

Remember that your first cohort will require the most up-front work. But over time, you'll invest fewer hours in operations & content development, so your hourly earnings will improve.

Dive into this pricing framework with Mickey Slevin, Head of Instructor Partnerships:

✍️ Action: Pricing Framework

Complete this pricing framework to identify a price range for your course. When you're ready, jump into your settings to connect Stripe and set your price.

1. What is your student’s ability to pay?

2. What are the alternatives to your course, and how are you better/different?

3. What is your student’s return on investment?

4. What’s the minimum you want to make per hour of effort?

5. Write a price range for your course.

Additional Resources

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