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Don't want this client!

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by numberwhizz, May 4, 2012.

  1. I am a successful tutor with a long waiting list.

    I have had at the top of my waiting list a family with two children, for nearly a year. With the exams approaching I am soon going to have spaces, but I really don't want to proceed with this family.

    They first contacted me because they are friends of an acquaintance of mine. From the initial phone call I got the impression that the Mother was very demanding - the gist of her words were that she wanted to meet me 'to tell me how they wanted things done'!

    I contacted them again a couple of weeks ago to offer a space. I had to chase them again to confirm or refuse the space as they did not respond.

    Then I got quite a curt email from the mother saying they wanted the space but demanding that I make the time a bit earlier in the evening (I had already explained that I only work from 6.30pm due to having children of my own). She also demanded that I give them a discount as she had two children attending (at separate times) insisting that this was standard practice, and a further discount because the younger one is only in Year 7. I politely explained that the times and prices were set, reminding her that I have a waiting list so don't feel the need to offer discounts. It was really the tone of her email rather than the requests that annoyed me.

    I asked her to let me know by Thursday if she wanted the place. I heard nothing for 3 days and very last thing Wednesday evening (11pm) she sent me an email sating they want the place, despite being disappointed with the price etc - why leave it until the last minute?!!!

    I just have a really bad feeling about this family. I think it will be demands all the way and the mother is high maintenance. I am in the fortunate position of having about 20 others on my waiting list and several new enquiries every week. My question is really - HOW DO I GET OUT OF THIS ONE?! I don't want to cause bad feeling or offence if I can help it, but the thought of dealing with these people is very unappealing.

    Any suggestions appreciated, thank you.
     
  2. I am a successful tutor with a long waiting list.

    I have had at the top of my waiting list a family with two children, for nearly a year. With the exams approaching I am soon going to have spaces, but I really don't want to proceed with this family.

    They first contacted me because they are friends of an acquaintance of mine. From the initial phone call I got the impression that the Mother was very demanding - the gist of her words were that she wanted to meet me 'to tell me how they wanted things done'!

    I contacted them again a couple of weeks ago to offer a space. I had to chase them again to confirm or refuse the space as they did not respond.

    Then I got quite a curt email from the mother saying they wanted the space but demanding that I make the time a bit earlier in the evening (I had already explained that I only work from 6.30pm due to having children of my own). She also demanded that I give them a discount as she had two children attending (at separate times) insisting that this was standard practice, and a further discount because the younger one is only in Year 7. I politely explained that the times and prices were set, reminding her that I have a waiting list so don't feel the need to offer discounts. It was really the tone of her email rather than the requests that annoyed me.

    I asked her to let me know by Thursday if she wanted the place. I heard nothing for 3 days and very last thing Wednesday evening (11pm) she sent me an email sating they want the place, despite being disappointed with the price etc - why leave it until the last minute?!!!

    I just have a really bad feeling about this family. I think it will be demands all the way and the mother is high maintenance. I am in the fortunate position of having about 20 others on my waiting list and several new enquiries every week. My question is really - HOW DO I GET OUT OF THIS ONE?! I don't want to cause bad feeling or offence if I can help it, but the thought of dealing with these people is very unappealing.

    Any suggestions appreciated, thank you.
     
  3. Give them a go , but drop them if Lady Muck becomes too demanding, claiming problems with your own child care.
     
  4. phatsals

    phatsals Occasional commenter

    Tell a little white lie that the slot is no longer available as one of your students has decided to stay or you have started another p/t or full time job and can't make any committment at this time. After that don't contact her again.
    You don't owe her anythning and if you've got a bad feeling now it doesn't bode well. You are self employed and one of the beauties of that is picking and choosing who, where and when you work.
    Alternatively you could send an email saying that after some consideration you don't think this professional relationship would work and suggest she looks elsewhere.
    I've done all of the above at one time or another and never regretted it. I have however very much regretted taking and keeping those that give a bad vibe. They never got any better.
     
  5. Georginalouise

    Georginalouise New commenter

    I once used something along the lines of "I really don't think that I am the best tutor for you, I am sure you could find someone else far more suitable to your needs than me". and I closed the front door on them with an audible sigh of relief. I always offer an hour of my time free of charge to new clients as a weeding process, 'so that they can see if they like me' but in all honesty it is to give me a get out clause if I don't think I will get one with them.
     
  6. Thank you so much for all your great advice, much of it echoing my own feelings, which was very reassuring.

    I have now drafted a carefully worded email suggesting that another tutor would possibly meet their needs more appropriately. I did indeed breathe a huge sigh of relief as I pressed 'send'.

    Now just waiting for the response which I am sure will not be a good one................

    Thanks again.
     
  7. As a get out clause, I have said that my own child has commitments
    etc. and her netball practise has changed etc. I know what you mean -
    phew, you don't need it !!!
     
  8. I have been tutoring for over a year now. I find that offering a few trial sessions helps. I make it clear to all potential clients that I give two trial sessions, expecting payment after session two. That way, both client family and tutor can "test the water." If neither wishes to continue, the pupil should still have received two top-quality booster sessions, which will always be useful. I find that this is a tactful way of keeping my options open.
    I agree with what you say. Most of the families and adult learners I deal with are superb, and genuinely appreciate a quality teacher. However, some can be extremely demanding, adopting the mantra that "I'm paying for it so....." There is no problem with, tactfully, saying you do not feel best placed to act as tutor within this situation. Try and keep the emphasis on the fact that you are aiding the client's needs rather than the other way around.
     
  9. Coming late but I have turned down students on that basis - that the parents sound liked a nightmare - just say circumstances have changed and the place is not aviable -
     

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