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How do you manage upfront fees?

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by microbiology, Nov 18, 2019.

  1. microbiology

    microbiology New commenter


    I am hoping someone can give me an advice about asking parents to pay 4 weeks upfront fees pls.

    Currently everyone is paying per lesson so when they miss a lesson I lose money. I have recently cancelled on 8 students and I haven't been able to fill these spaces so money is really tight.

    Can anyone help me pls

    1.) How do you let parents know?
    2.) How do you manage monthly payment? Do I give an invoice?
    3.) How do you manage cancellations and refunds? I do mainly groups

  2. alsoamum

    alsoamum Occasional commenter


    I've already sent you a link to my t and C's. They include groups, advance payments etc.

    So I won't repeat it all but wanted to say good luck with getting it all in place .
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2019
  3. microbiology

    microbiology New commenter

    Oh thank you. I didn't check my mail :)
  4. bramblesarah

    bramblesarah Occasional commenter

    I recently told parents they could pay half-termly (or in your case monthly). I haven't insisted with all parents at once as I know some parents would struggle to find the money. 3 out of 14 decided to. I keep a spread sheet with the dates on they have paid for. At the beginning of the half-term I just send them and email with the dates on and the amount due. If any of my parents start paying late or if they started cancelling may insists on paying half-termly.
  5. Abitofeverything

    Abitofeverything Occasional commenter

    I take all payments a half term in advance. If someone has to cancel, I'll do my best to organise a catch up session but it's not always possible. I really believe this way of doing things minimises cancellations, as before I did this, I always had kids cancelling because they had a social event or sports match - this doesn't happen once the parents have paid for all the sessions.
    alsoamum likes this.
  6. alsoamum

    alsoamum Occasional commenter

    Agreed. Until I did advance payments I had a 24 hour cancellation policy. This just meant parents cancelled so much, with just over 24 hours notice. I had no way of filling the spots and the parents expected me to keep the space for them, as and when they fancied coming. It nearly broke me.

    They were getting my full commitment to keeping their childs space purely for them but not having to commit in return. Since I started charging in advance, cancellations have almost disappeared.

    This is even more important when running paired or group sessions where you need minimum numbers to make the sessions viable.
  7. microbiology

    microbiology New commenter

    I have sent the message to all parents. Let see how they react. One already asked if they can pay per lesson and I had to say no
  8. microbiology

    microbiology New commenter


    The contract I have just given to students says that They are allowed 1 authorised absence per term. Can this be 3 weeks?

    Quite a lot of parents are asking to go away this Christmas and i am not sure what to say to them

  9. microbiology

    microbiology New commenter

    I have almost everyone come and see about the upfront fee for group class and one even said since when are they in agreement with me. I said they don’t have to continue and I am happy to let go problematic students
  10. alsoamum

    alsoamum Occasional commenter

    I do one authorised absence per half term (max 4 per year). BUT ... I only have contract for term time tuition. My term dates follow the local authority's. All other tuition is ad hoc and payable on booking.
  11. alsoamum

    alsoamum Occasional commenter

    I think you'd be unreasonable to insist they attend in school holidays but term time is fair enough.
  12. microbiology

    microbiology New commenter

    I have always taught in the school holidays too but never in the 6 weeks holidays. Otherwise, the A level content is so much I don’t think i’d finish before June which doesn’t leave room for revision

    So one per half-term means 1 lesson or it can be as long as they need as long as it’s one?
  13. Joseph.John

    Joseph.John New commenter

    I personally don't enforce upfront fees but I noticed some parents occasionally will pay upfront on their own . I prefer payment in lessons or shortly after through self-billing where they get the bill sent by text. I have a £15 late payment charge in place so that stops any delay in payment. As far as holidays is concerned I allow school breaks but because I mostly take on slow students they don't normally get the breaks because they are behind and need to catch up. I try to keep student numbers high to counter for holidays , drop outs and cancellations throughout the year.
  14. alsoamum

    alsoamum Occasional commenter

    Mine can miss 1 session per half term with out being charged but because I charge in advance they have to let me know before paying. All cancellations after payment is made are non refundable.

    If they want more time off without paying then I put them on an ad hoc contract (where they can book any spare sessions I happen to have) as I can't afford to hold their space open without payment and generally cannot fill odd lessons here or there ... everyone wants a set weekly time saved for them.

    I used to let people have as much time off as they wanted without paying but sadly a few parents really took advantage of this and it became financially unviable to do so. I have a long waiting list and am happy to let students go if they don't like the way I run my business. I work really hard, am really comitted to my students and they get an excellent and very tailored service, so it's completely their choice to go elsewhere if they would prefer to come and go as they please.
  15. bramblesarah

    bramblesarah Occasional commenter

    I think you do have to allow for family holidays and can't really expect them to pay for that. On advise of my mother -in-law (who is an accountant) I am going to start issuing invoices at the beginging of the half-term I hope this will cut down on cancellations. I did have a student who came last night to tuition with a heavy cold and had been off school all day.
  16. alsoamum

    alsoamum Occasional commenter

    I offer an online session for any student who is off school sick but well enough to sit through tuition.

    I think the key to letting them have time off without paying is to set a reasonable limit so that they still have to be committed but can have some flexibility and you don't lose out much money, but that they aren't having a place kept open for them and them only, but only using it as and when it suits - that's not fair on the tutor.

    Mine get approx. 38 sessions in their guaranteed time slot per year in term time, I ask that they pay for and attend at least 32. I don't think I'm being unreasonable as that's only about an 85% attendance rate. Less than that and it doesn't make sense for me to turn other students away.
    bramblesarah likes this.

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