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Unreliable Tutees

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by theluckycat, Apr 18, 2018.

  1. theluckycat

    theluckycat Occasional commenter

    I have been tutoring/working in schools for about 5 years, with the last 18 months as a full tutor. There are things that I like about the job- the respect and general appreciation from parents, the 1-1 high quality focus on the children, and the ability to manage yourself. There are also a few things that I dislike- heading out to work in the evening and missing family time, and when tutees bail out of lessons at short notice. I have steered away from charging for cancellations, but then I don't think cancelling the day before because they've been 'invited for a sleep-over,' and then an hour before the next time because of illness after school is ok either. Do other tutors say something to their tutees, or just quietly drop them? Said tutee has contacted me for her next lesson, and I am mulling over whether I want to squeeze her in somewhere, or to give her one last strike and out.
  2. Ian1983

    Ian1983 Occasional commenter

    That's the problem right there! Have a written cancellation policy that's given to students and parents on the first lesson. Mine are stuck in their books so it doesn't get lost and is also on my website
  3. armandine2

    armandine2 Established commenter

  4. NoSuchThingAsNormal

    NoSuchThingAsNormal New commenter

    Ideally, each student should have a specific regular slot every week. That slot costs £25/£30/£40 per week whether the student attends or not.

    I manage this with a little flexibility for illness or swapping days.

    Seems to work.

    Do not get yourself in the position of having the student arrange when, or if, they want tuition from week to week.
  5. langteacher

    langteacher Occasional commenter

    you need to put your foot down on this, having them decide when they have lessons does not pay your bills. I am not majorly strict on cancellation fees, I tell them I charge for short notice cancellations and it rarely happens, on the odd occasion I have thought that they were taking the mick, i have charged and it has not happened again. I have one long standing student who i am quite flexible with, simply because I have been with them for years, I OK the dates at the start of each month because I can fill their space with adults who work shifts, other than that if they cancel on the day, I charge. You do get a feel for people and if I think it is genuine, I don't charge, if I think they will do it again, I do....I usually get it right!!

    I always check if they want lessons in the holidays well in advance
  6. doctoryes

    doctoryes Occasional commenter

    I wouldn't accept a last minute cancellation for a sleep-over. If they are serious about private tuition would expect them to give the lessons a higher priority than their social lives. For sleep-overs would expect either a swap to a different session/day or them to pay a cancellation fee.
    I do allow last minute cancellation for illness. However if it's too frequent then I do begin to suspect they are "trying it on" unless I know there is a valid medical reason for frequent illness.
  7. NoSuchThingAsNormal

    NoSuchThingAsNormal New commenter

    I had a student who was frequently unable to come due to illness. I spoke to the parent and she agreed to pay me every week even if he child was unable to come. The parent understood that I couldn't just keep a slot open for her child and only get paid when she was well.
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  8. Jolly_Roger12

    Jolly_Roger12 Occasional commenter

    I find that students, or their parents, who often cancel lessons, or keep trying to swaps the days, for frivolous reasons, soon fall by the wayside. One tactic I use is to say, "I do not have my diary on me, so I cannot give you an alternative time now. Perhaps you could send me a text to remind me, and I will respond with a time." If I do not hear from them again, they are not serious.
  9. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    After two short notice cancellations, I asked for payment in advance for the next lesson. That way you see whether they're serious or not. If you don't feel comfortable charging full whack up front, youcould ask for a 50% deposit.
  10. theluckycat

    theluckycat Occasional commenter

    Thanks all, I tend to let people fall by the wayside if they have had their ‘3 strikes and then out.’ I am a bit too busy, so to be honest it suits me if any want to be flaky and then end up with nothing booked in, which I can then fill with reliable customers.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2018
    Mrsmumbles likes this.

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