View Full Version : what do you do if...

22-10-2009, 23:01
1. Students cancel their private lessons an hour (or less) before the lesson? Charge them for it next time? Charge them 50%? And how to do so in a persuasive manner? (Or is it just necessary to make pre-pay, and how to make people do it - especially if they have a habit of not pre-paying?)

2. You go to someone's place (travel an hour+) for the lesson. Ring the doorbell. No one answers. You wait 30 minutes. No one answers. You travel the hour+ back home again. You charge them for that missed lesson next time, don't you?

Today I had 7 lessons scheduled. 5 were cancelled at the last minute (and 1 of them was the above scenario - went to the place, no one was there, they were apparently "running late" and didn't manage to call me because they "lost my number")...So I am wondering what to do to feel like less of a peon. Any tips would be welcome ;)

22-10-2009, 23:57
That's the typical life a private teacher faces.I first of all have learnt to take only those local to my neighbourhood. And I'm sorry you do have to be business like as well as behong. First of all you seek the students needs on first visit. You for example inform that the course will for example take 80-120 hours. You charge for first month in advance. If a customer appears not to be in routine with your lessons, i'ts a good idea to constantly phone them to confirm a lesson.

If they keep cancelling due to Blah Blah then you in some cases try to switch lessons for them. But always remind them that you can be very busy, expecially winter months and it may not be possible. So they lose out on fees, not you. If they are completely unreliable quite them.Hopefully you will continue advertising, as you are never too busy.

If you are heavily booked, don't refuse them and just raise your fees and quite the cheapies and unreliable. Easier said than done as you really do get involved as a human teacher. But try to be a business man as much as you can.

23-10-2009, 00:34
I totally agree with Bels.

May be I will give my comments:

Your students are clients for you first of all, but....

They should respect your efforts and time on one hand, but on another hand you depends upon them because they pay.

I faced some problems with my clients with the same issued in the business process and what I decided to do is to call the client to confrim our meeting 2hours before the negotiation. And It helps both: me to save time; clients, to be prepare for the discussion, to be on time, to plan properly.

In case the student was late though had confirmed the time, I would illiminate duration of the lesson.

In case the client breaks the rules several times, I will get rid out of him, due it is harmful for "prestige" of the business to continue working with him + we should respect ourselves even it will lead to losses of money.

23-10-2009, 01:17
..umm.. for the habitual ones who cancel ... then do you want them for students, anyway?

Perhaps you can go on a "retainer basis" ? Get the lesson fees for, say, a month in advance and tell the students ?50%? of lesson fee will be deducted for late :nono: cancellation/no show.

Granted, I don't know what the supply & demand is for generic English in Moscow.

23-10-2009, 11:06
Well, I also think if you call to "confirm" they will think that it gives them an option to bail out. It seems like a big problem just now, because everyone is "getting sick," or so it seems. It has happened that the lesson is scheduled, then maybe I send an sms saying, "I just want to confirm that we are meeting today," and they say, "oh, actually, I am sorry but I don't feel well, let's cancel."

The demand for "generic English lessons" (<--as opposed to what, I am not sure - personally I don't give "generic" English lessons. I teach legal English, real estate English, business English in general, TOEFL prep...all lessons are tailored to the students, so...) Anyway, the demand is high and the supply is not big enough (I do have a waiting list of people who want lessons, and I just don't have time for them). And I think that if I decide to be more strict, people will deal with it and won't just disappear. But probably I am looking for some reassurance to help me put my foot down and really tell people that if they cancel the lesson at the last minute they have to pay for it, if they come late then they have lost part of their lesson (<--that really depends on the person...if it's a rare situation, and if I don't have something urgent to do after, and if I generally enjoy meeting with them, I let it slide...but for others, I don't, and when I decide to end the class on time they seem so confused). Of course if a new student cancels 2 times in a row I don't schedule any more lessons with them.

Actually, I am really confused by people who think they can come late and then they are entitled to the full 90 minutes or whatever. I would never expect that.

23-10-2009, 12:26
You have a lot of good ideas, you just need to choose one and make it your policy.
For the students who don't pay that much and/or are not great clients for whatever reason, I say bill them for it and hope that they don't pay, then you can drop them and replace them with a good client.
Basically it's human nature not to want to pay for what you don't recieve, regardless of the reason that you didn't recieve it. A good way around this it to sell a block of lessons, such as all of the Wednesdays in November,(preferably paid in advance), then when they miss a lesson it's easier for them to understand that they have to pay for it. If they don't immediately understand they will after you say that you can't sell that Wednesday they missed to someone else now.

23-10-2009, 14:12
For starters-

1) Charge for blocks of time - one month or hours, etc

2.) Have them sign a sheet (after every lesson) that clearly shows how many days they have paid for, and how many are left.

3.) Clearly explain that lessons that are not cancelled at least 3 hours before hand count as a full lesson, and will be marked as such.


30-10-2009, 11:34
update: Regarding the people whose place I went to and they weren't there, etc. I charged them for the missed lesson, they agreed to pay, and there wasn't any issue about it. Though they did seem pretty embarrassed when I went to their house, like they were nervous that I hate them now or something.
Another guy who always cancels lessons - I increased his fee and he agreed to it. So apparently being a little strict with people isn't as hard as it seems :P Especially if they really do want to have lessons and realize that if you dump them they will spend months trying to find another teacher.