Training is expensive (Not)!

I’m often contacted by someone who says: We could really use your training (or consulting services). How can I lobby to have your brought in? Do you have any tips?

The best way to explore whether I can help is to chat. Set up a call at on my scheduling page. Make it a conference call with your boss. If the issues you’re addressing require deep change, I have a page describing what it’s like to work with me as a consultant.

Here, let’s talk about training. I provide some of the highest quality training and consulting available, and there are plenty of examples of my work online (search for Allen Holub on YouTube). You could also go to one of the many international conferences that I speak at every year.

Good training is expensive, but it turns out that it costs your company money not to bring me in. Here’s the math:

In the San Francisco Bay Area, programmer salaries run from $150K to $200K (or higher). The “fully loaded” cost (salary plus overhead) is about twice that. At 200 work days per year, that comes out to $1500-$2000/day per programmer. Let’s use the lower number.

The cost of a class varies—I provide considerable discounts for things like class size—but the absolute maximum it will ever be is $750/student/day (+ some miscellany like travel). Actual costs can be 30% less, but to be conservative, I’ll use the highest number.

So, A day of training comes in at a little under half a day’s wages. You wouldn’t object to somebody taking half a day to read something that would make them more effective. That’s what the class costs.

Diving deeper. A four-day workshop costs about the same as six days of work, and I can guarantee that you’ll save way more than six days over the next few months. If you save seven days (and you will), that extra day is effectively profit—money that you would have otherwise spent on development. We actually do real work in my workshops—designing your actual system—so opportunity cost is minimal (and those six days are more like four).

All of my classes save you the time not spent flailing around doing it wrong, and the impact of the class usually extends way beyond the actual number of students, since the new thinking infuses out into the organization as a whole.

So, the real question isn’t “how can I justify the cost of the class?”, it’s “how can I justify not doing the class?”. It costs real money to not provide quality training.

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