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How to deal with non-payment

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by MarianH, Feb 26, 2017.

  1. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter

    Just report back on my 'tactics' with my habitual late-payer...they have paid on time today :)

    I simply included a stern but fair message in my email to the effect of:

    "Dear Parents,
    Thank you for your continued custom and support. Please be aware that late payment impacts my ability to prepare, purchase resources and to provide the best tutoring possible to all students. All payments must be received prior to the first tutoring session of every month, unless previously agreed."

    Seems to have worked.
    notable and Piranha like this.
  2. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    I am glad that the parents coughed up, Eva. I always insist on cash at the time of the lesson. I have had two clients who wanted to pay by bank transfer, both being paid by ex-husbands paying for their children's tuition. Neither of them 'quite got around' to putting any money in my account, so it is cash or no lesson now.
    notable and mathsmutt like this.
  3. Ravena

    Ravena New commenter

    I've started suggesting to my students' parents that they could pay in advane until half term/end of term to save them the hassle of transferring money online each week. Lots of them now do this, making my life much easier!
    notable likes this.
  4. notable

    notable New commenter

    Hi, I got so fed up with late/non-payers I recently put this out there.
    I also have a clearly written studio policy which I revise each year, adding in or adapting paragraphs as problems arise. I give these out to each new client and have them sign to say they have received it. I also operate on cash or PayPal only, payment in advance . I don't like to give my bank details to clients. I email an invoice every month. . If payment doesn't come on the due date I issue one reminder. If it's still not forthcoming I politely cease lessons. When you keep on making room and making effort for those who mess you about you're just blocking up a spot for someone worthy of your time and expertise.
  5. lbteacher12

    lbteacher12 New commenter

    I have had a similar experience very recently, ending this week in me cancelling my tuition altogether.
    I agreed to start tutoring a 9 year old girl back in May this year. Her mum asked for my bank details after the first lesson, and I was promptly paid that evening. Every week after that without fail, I was paid up to 5/6 days late. I assumed this may have just been an oversight, so did politely remind her via email. Her excuses became too regular for my liking; she had ‘forgotten’, she would ‘sort it out later’ and so on. Ultimately, I got so fed up after being owed several weeks worth of fees, lied to and told the money had been paid.... then not, then waiting a further 2 days, I again (politely) emailed the Mum and explained that owing to the multiple missed and late payments, I felt I could no longer offer my tuition services. This did not go down well at all, with a very negative response from her.
    At the end of the day, we have to protect ourselves as tutors/ teachers - some may think I was too hasty in the cancellation, however I am very relieved I no longer have to deal with it all!
    Piranha likes this.
  6. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    Lbteacher, this is why I insist on cash payment. I won't even accept cheques.
  7. langteacher

    langteacher Occasional commenter

    I've just refused to continue with one. An oh so busy I forgot. My time is so much more important than yours type of attitude. Constant reminders to pay The response to one was can you remind me this evening because I'm busy !
    Parent was shocked when I said I'd had enough and threatened to leave be a bad review. I'm still waiting for that. But if it ever appears it will stick out like a sore thumb and I'll be ready with my screen shots of can you pay please!!
    The kids were quite nice but I'd had enough
  8. peapicker

    peapicker Star commenter

    As a last resort, don't be afraid to use the small claims track of the County Court to recover your money. You should not lose income because clients do not pay.

    Cheap and easy to do. Can be done online. Full guidance, with template warning letters, on Citizens Advice website.

    digoryvenn and Piranha like this.
  9. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    Langteacher, what really amazes me is that these people feel no shame, and have no sense of honour.
    I can remember, as a 18 year old, a teacher noticing me preparing to go home. "David, don't you usually go sailing today?". Me: "Yes sir, but I forgot my fare". The teacher then lent me the money. As soon as I got into school the following morning I went straight to the staff room to pay him back.

    I would be so embarrassed and ashamed if I forgot to pay someone, and have the utmost contempt for people like the parent you describe.
  10. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    Many people these days do not see things that way, @David Getling. They think it is clever to try and get away without paying people.
  11. langteacher

    langteacher Occasional commenter

    I teach a fair few adults
    I have a friendly relationship with them and generally at the end we often have a chat
    Sometimes people genuinely forget to pay and I've had people offer to drive all the way back to pay. They've been mortified
    I have another lady who sometimes says can I pay tommorow when I get paid. The difference is I know she will so I don't mind
  12. Kateray1

    Kateray1 Occasional commenter

    I’m not allowed to take cash or give out my bank details. I go through a student platform website and all payments are made through them, I get paid even if there are problems with payments and I don’t attend a lesson if it has not been confirmed on the website by the parent and the website.

    I used to accept cash but found it too hard for me to ask for late payments.
  13. louiseredhead

    louiseredhead New commenter

    Quite new to tutoring and made massive misjudgement with new family. It quite a mess and I am cross with myself. She contacted me via Tutor Hunt.

    First session, family wasn't in. Eventually had message that her husband had to go to hospital. Awful, okay reschedule.

    First lesson free (gives me chance to back out. Or is this daft?). All good. Next week...first paid session. Promise of bank transfer. Didn't happen. Repeated reminders. Not set up, she says can't check email at work, will give cash at next lesson.

    Next lesson even odder, despite confirming they seemed surprised I turned up. Mother didn't come down until end. Said been too busy to do transfer. I asked for cash, no cash on her.

    We both have week off for a holiday. No replies to my repeated emails/ calls/ texts. Until day before. I go again as am after payment. Same excuses. Leave bank details. Nothing happpens. No communication. Day before lesson she tells me bank card has been 'eaten' and account frozen and had lost phone but will sort it tomorrow when I come over.

    I get there having prepped but, nobody in, no texts, answerphone on. I was worried as I am daft and care. I left several messages, emailed and a fee texts.

    The next day I see the penniless and phoneless lady shopping and on a mobile, so I know she got my concerned messages

    Iwas advised to text and email saying as I can't get in touch I will pop around for the cash. I get a response but, yep no cash despite promises and a request for me to come back to teach.. Tonight I have sent her a message to tell I can no longer teach her child. Have had a desperate reply offering cash (she has my bank details)and that she will set up a standing order.

    I am posting an invoice addressed to her and her husband as I hope he has no idea and will settle up.
  14. NoSuchThingAsNormal

    NoSuchThingAsNormal New commenter

    Well, that is deliberately ****** behaviour from the mother.

    She owes you for the lesson you were unable to give too, does that make it four outstanding?

    I would tell her that you cannot consider further tuition until all the money owed has been transferred to your account. When paid, I would tell her that you are unable to offer further tuition.
  15. adamcreen

    adamcreen Occasional commenter

    Drop them.
    Drop them!
    They get to lesson number 4??!
  16. louiseredhead

    louiseredhead New commenter

    Yeah. Daft of me. Very hard as zero communication.

    However, today I sent a message saying as she clearly had too much going on that I wasn't coming back. Actually got a polite reply.

    Writing it down last night showed me how daft I'd been. Will walk away in future.
  17. louiseredhead

    louiseredhead New commenter

    That has been my approach. Not going to getany payment. Have sent her a firm reply and actually she replied accepting I won't tutor.

    Will be a lot more careful next time. Such a lack of respect for my time. She wouldn't do this with a bank...i assume.
  18. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    Two very bad mistakes.

    Never offer free lessons! It's a sure way to attract the very worst of clients, who are constantly on the look out for handouts.

    Don't do bank transfers, or even cheques. Always insist on cash it's much more straight forward. You don't have to check that payments have been made, and you don't get cheques that haven't been filled in properly or bounce.
  19. langteacher

    langteacher Occasional commenter

    So she's not offered to pay anything?
  20. SayItLikeItIs

    SayItLikeItIs Occasional commenter

    Over the years I have become a little bit careless about checking cash/cheque payments and have been paid with ‘old’ fivers and tenners and once one of the cheques wasn’t signed. I don’t think any of it was deliberate. The bank was happy to take the notes when I banked my takings and the parent offered to drop another cheque in to me. But I ought to have been more careful about checking in order to avoid potential misunderstandings later!

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