Make A Makerspace Notes

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Artisan's Asylum organized a conference on how to make a makerspace and released the following materials:

Paul's Notes

    • "we’ve found that spaces need to be at least 8,000 square feet (in an area with low rental rates) or larger to support continuously paid, full-time staff"
    • "i3Detroit is 8,000 sqft, supports 1 paid accountant"
    • "Artisan’s Asylum ran as an all-volunteer organization for a year at a size of 9,000 square feet. At the end of the year, all of our volunteers were dead tired, and our programs were starting to fall apart. Classes weren’t being advertised or developed on-time, memberships weren’t being collected as effectively as they needed to be, and nobody could work on their personal projects. We decided, in the end, that we needed to be of a size and of a business model that allowed us to operate sustainably with multiple staff people whose entire job was to keep the space running smoothly, keep classes organized, and keep the tools repaired and up to speed on a regular basis. This decision was directly related to our expenses, however; we had to pay more than 8X as much in rent as i3Detroit, which after 4 years still runs as an 8,000 square foot volunteer-run organization with membership dues that equal expenses, that occasionally runs classes for fun (and not because they’re absolutely necessary to the business plan)."
    • "Artisan’s Asylum employs 40-50 part-time instructors a month for our classes."
    • "We’ve paid our instructors 50% of class proceeds since we started as a space. This has proven to be an effective method of getting a lot of interest in teaching at the Asylum, and getting our instructors to market their own classes. Other spaces and related businesses in our area pay their instructors fixed rates that vary between $25 and $75 an hour depending on the class."
    • "Classes provided more than 60-75% of the income for Artisan’s Asylum in its early stages, and are a fundamental part of almost all makerspaces I’ve seen."
    • "We charge $10 to $30/student-hour for our classes, and they have an extremely high fill rate at that price."
    • "Classes are generally 2-3 hours per session, and most of our classes are 4 sessions long (though some engineering, design, and project-based classes are now 6-8 sessions long)."
    • "we tend to keep classes between 4 and 8 students per instructor"