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Terms and Conditions

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by humbug, Apr 27, 2018.

  1. humbug

    humbug New commenter

    Just wondering how and when some of you do this, as with me it has been a bit haphazard.

    Generally, once students have bought my details or "loosely" arranged tuition, they come to my house for their first lesson. At the end of the lesson I ask for payment and give them a leaflet that says they need to give 24 hours cancellation etc. Quite often I ask for a lesson up front, but I'm sometimes a bit afraid to do this.

    I'm wondering about asking for half a term in advance, as from next academic year. I have taught a lot of students this year, and have had a few time wasters. I find that in my area a number of parents just don't have the money for tuition, so they are happy to cancel a few sessions each term and save the money. Not sure many will want to fork out for half a term, but we'll see.

    So, those of you who ask for upfront money and lay down the law -at which point do you do this? I'm on two of the most mentioned on here tutoring sites, and while I find a mutual time for lessons, check who is travelling, and specify what I am to teach, before they pay for my details, I'm a bit reticent to say about money up front, when they may like to give it a few lessons before they commit. On the other hand, they may be annoyed they have to pay in advance if it hasn't been mentioned before. Any thoughts?

    Also, if they give you 24 hours notice, do you then refund at the end if they miss a lesson? I always feel the 24 hour clause is a bit of an invitation to miss one if they want to!

    Thanks for any help on this. I'm trying to get it all clear so that things run a bit more smoothly next academic year.
  2. tsarina

    tsarina Occasional commenter

    i shall be interested also to see the answers to this as I would quite like to switch to taking up front payments.

    I do a tai chi class that has recently switched to asking for money from people two weeks in advance. This has definitely reduced the amount of last minute cancellations. I am wondering if the same would work for tutoring.

    I've done 2 years of being very flexible about rearranging lessons, and whilst i get a lot of good will from it, I do sometimes worry about money. My clients pay me by bank transfer and they are not always on time so I have to check and chase. Maybe for my new students I shall say the first 4 lessons are pay as you go, but after that I get paid a fixed monthly fee in advance by bank transfer. Then i could get all the payments in on the same day and be able to check more easily. If it was a fixed monthly fee I wouldn't have to worry about whether it was 4 lessons or 5 in the month or if they cancelled.
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  3. langteacher

    langteacher Occasional commenter

    I do a bit of both.
    I have a corporate client who pays in a block but that is not actually in advance but it is a huge company so I know it will come.
    Most of my individual clients do pay as you go and for the most part this works. I implement cancellation if I have to, if I feel they are going to mess me about. For first offenders I say normally I charge but on this occasion blah blah. Some pay in a block, one for a block of four, one for a block of ten and I just tick it off as they do it then invoice the next batch.
  4. humbug

    humbug New commenter

    Thank you for these replies.

    Yes, I can see then there probably isn't a one size fits all approach. Knowing the money will come is really what it's about, and thinking about it, for some it works weekly, once I know they are reliable and honest.

    I suppose the key that is often mentioned here, is to route people out early if they show signs of being unreliable or taking advantage. I'm getting a bit better at that. Maybe a few weeks and then upfront payment would work as a general rule for me too.
  5. langteacher

    langteacher Occasional commenter

    I also give them a choice. Some prefer to pay straight into the bank
    humbug likes this.
  6. Jolly_Roger12

    Jolly_Roger12 Occasional commenter

    I find that payment, in cash or cheque, at the end of each session works best for me. I have had a couple who wanted to do bank transfers but both of them used it as a way of running up tabs. I found this awkward, as I had to keep reminding them.
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  7. NoSuchThingAsNormal

    NoSuchThingAsNormal New commenter

    I do not like bank transfer payments. It involves reconciling payments with lessons. Much simpler to be paid with cheque or cash.
  8. langteacher

    langteacher Occasional commenter

    Get them to put the lesson date with their initials or child name as a reference
  9. humbug

    humbug New commenter

    I've found the same problem with bank transfers. Even with a reference name, it's hard to keep checking if it has gone in, and work out which lesson it was meant to be for.

    ..unless they are reliable of course, in which case any method would work. One father who understandably doesn't like to send his son to school with the cash for tutoring later on, has started paying by bank transfer. He always pays at some point during the day of the lesson, and then emails me to say it has gone in, as well as getting his son to show me the copy of the receipt on his phone, when he comes. I can't really ask for better than that.
  10. alarge77

    alarge77 New commenter

    I have 16 clients and about 90% pay by bank transfer. This is so much easier for me as I have to reconcile these payments for accounts purposes quite quickly. I have a weekly tick sheet so I can tell who has paid then chase if I need to. I never let the payment slip too long so I can keep closer tabs on it.
  11. David Getling

    David Getling Senior commenter

    I only accept cash payment. It avoids lots of problems. I don't have to check my bank statement constantly, or accept "I paid it in, so it must be delayed by a glitch in the system", and I don't have the irritation of a student bringing along a cheque that hasn't been properly filled in, or forgetting it. Admittedly, very occasionally a student will forget the cash, but this is much rarer than other problems.
  12. Jolly_Roger12

    Jolly_Roger12 Occasional commenter

    I agree with you here. Perhaps it is just my experience but I have found that the parents who want to pay by cheque, or bank transfer, have been the reluctant payers.
    prinsessthando likes this.
  13. langteacher

    langteacher Occasional commenter

    Cheque? Can't remember the last time I used one of these! I pay in to my bank via the post office but if I was paying a cheque in it needs to go in a bank envelope so I know if I had to go and get some the cheque would be sitting here for weeks!!
  14. Georginalouise

    Georginalouise New commenter

    I take cash on the night or bank transfer monthly. I give an invoice for the month at the start, with 14 days payment terms and say that credit will not be extended beyond 14 days and tuition will cease with immediate effect. It has worked really well, and I am considering putting all new clients on bank transfer only from September. I've never had contracts as such, but this year has been particularly bad for late cancellations, especially the cash payers. I am thinking about contracts from September with refunds only if 48 hours notice has been given. I've had a text message today from my 7pm student this evening "been away this weekend, won't be coming tonight, behind with homework" and it's not the first time. I've been tutoring eleven years and have always felt that a bit of give and take has been the best policy but I think the time has come to get tough.
    tsarina likes this.
  15. sjs_g

    sjs_g New commenter

    I ask for half a term fees up front and so far no one has questioned it. I invoice at the beginning of each half term. I have had two new families recently who haven't turned up or replied to messages, so they obviously aren't as committed! Which reassures me that by getting the money up front ensures a commitment/agreement and an appreciation of the time/ planning/ childcare I have to arrange.

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