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Do you charge for lessons repeatedly missed through illness?

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by SayItLikeItIs, Jun 21, 2019.

  1. SayItLikeItIs

    SayItLikeItIs Occasional commenter

    I know that this has been sorted of covered in previous threads, but I wondered how many of you charge for lessons repeatedly missed, where illness is involved? I have a young student whose mother is hinting that she may have to cancel this afternoon's lesson because her daughter seems to be unwell. This would be the fourth lesson she has cancelled this half term, for a variety of seemingly unavoidable reasons - returning from holiday on an INSET day, illness, Dad being away and so no one able to look after the other child, and now - again - illness. I tend not to charge for lessons missed through illness, and my cancellation policy in any event allows one missed lesson per half term, but the knock-on effect for me is the same.

    I realise that charging a half-term's worth of lessons upfront could circumvent this problem to some extent, but I don't do this because of my relatively high hourly rate.

    I would be glad to hear of other tutors' thoughts about whether it would be reasonable to charge for a missed lesson on this occasion, even though the student is ill. She has been coming to me for more than two years now, and up until this year her attendance has been fine.
     
  2. alsoamum

    alsoamum Occasional commenter

    Not all of those reasons sound genuinely unavoidable to be honest. I suspect if you charged for absence she'd have found a way to attend most of those.

    I have a clause which states that more than 4 advance cancellations in an academic year means I reserve the right to withdraw tuition. I do charge in advance though, so this helps keep almost all cancellations down as all tuition is non refundable (including illness) unless I cancel.

    I often try to offer replacements in other cancelled sessions and I do offer online sessions to cover odd occasions where parents say they can't get to me, which seems to be appreciated.

    Is the student continuing in September? It sounds like you need something in place to prevent this amount of loss of earnings.

    One of my families cost me nearly £200 this time last year with constant cancellations. My old policy was no charge if 24 hours notice was given, she made all these cancellations with 25 hours notice! Since I brought in the new policy they've stayed, but stopped cancelling left right and centre as it will now cost them!
     
    SayItLikeItIs likes this.
  3. SayItLikeItIs

    SayItLikeItIs Occasional commenter

    Many thanks for your reply. I do have a cancellation policy, but I can see that I need to toughen it up. I especially like your clause that states that after more than x advance cancellations you reserve the right to withdraw tuition. I have allowed things to slide a bit with this student, particularly because I don't like confronting tricky situations and so I have justified it to myself by saying that there are a couple of students who never cancel and so this balances it out. But four cancellations in one term is just too much!
     
  4. alsoamum

    alsoamum Occasional commenter

    I too hate confrontation and have had to make myself become more assertive since becoming self employed. It is hard!

    The way I look at it is that I have a very limited amount of hours in which I can earn money by tutoring (after school and Saturday morning in my case). Therefore, I have to safeguard my income and minimise losses in those hours to a reasonable limit, while still being seen to be reasonably fair to my customers. I don't keep clients on who are a loss on a regular basis as I can't afford it, most clients understand this. I have found they have been more likely to value my time and services since I became more 'business like' in my approach.

    September is a great time to bring in new terms and conditions. I'd write new terms applicable from September and email them to all clients asking them to confirm by the end of term whether they want to continue next academic year.
     
    SayItLikeItIs likes this.
  5. SayItLikeItIs

    SayItLikeItIs Occasional commenter

    So far I have always sent out my revised T&Cs in September, just as the new term is starting. But again, what a great idea to send them out before the end of the Summer term. That really helps to strengthen the tutor's position, and leaves everybody clear as to where they stand, well before the new term starts.
     
  6. hoalarg

    hoalarg New commenter

    I charge for any missed lessons.
     

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