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#1 Suzy

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Posted 29 June 2019 - 16:45

I am seriously considering transferring all my pupils to standing order payment. I am getting so fed up chasing people for money, sending out copy invoices and not getting paid when I should! I’m really not sure how it would work and was wondering if anyone else uses this format for payment? I was thinking of charging for 38 lessons per year for example and then dividing that into a monthly cost. I don’t credit lessons that are cancelled or missed unless there is ample notice or a very genuine reason. Would that stay the same? Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thank you in advance x
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#2 Norway

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Posted 29 June 2019 - 17:19

I don't use standing orders. I charge for half a term at a time, with payment due by the first lesson. And no refunds, but they may reschedule one lesson per half term regardless of the reason, and after that lessons are forfeited. Be tough. I was far too nice for decades!


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#3 Dorcas

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Posted 29 June 2019 - 17:30

I am not sure all students want twelve month contracts.  It can be off-putting for those who only want to try ten lessons.  Of course, they can stay for a whole year, or longer, but committing to a year can be unattractive.  Even with properly drawn up terms and conditions, contracts, explanations and cooling off periods, you will still have to explain to people why they have to pay the same amount each month, when sometimes they only take two lessons, or none at all over the summer.  I am currently imagining a conversation with the parent of Twinkletoes explaining this scenario.  Somehow, I imagine the standing orders would stop mid July, and resume somewhere at the beginning of October. 

 

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edit: grammar


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#4 jenny

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Posted 29 June 2019 - 19:27

I've never considered using standing orders, but I think I'm fortunate that all of my pupils/parents are very reliable with payments. They all pay for 4 lessons in advance and although most used to pay cash, there are now only a couple who do that, with the rest using online banking payments, which is quick and easy.  


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#5 Misterioso

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Posted 29 June 2019 - 19:38

I am seriously considering transferring all my pupils to standing order payment. I am getting so fed up chasing people for money, sending out copy invoices and not getting paid when I should! I’m really not sure how it would work and was wondering if anyone else uses this format for payment? I was thinking of charging for 38 lessons per year for example and then dividing that into a monthly cost. I don’t credit lessons that are cancelled or missed unless there is ample notice or a very genuine reason. Would that stay the same? Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thank you in advance x

 

Those of my students who pay by standing order pay 12 equal payments per year covering 38 lessons as you outline above. I will credit, or reschedule, two lessons per term for sickness; after that the fee is forfeit. I still have some paying by cash, but the numbers get fewer as time goes on. I also have some who pay weekly by bank transfer, which works almost as well as standing order.

 

I am not sure all students want twelve month contracts.  It can be off-putting for those who only want to try ten lessons.  Of course, they can stay for a whole year, or longer, but committing to a year can be unattractive.  Even with properly drawn up terms and conditions, contracts, explanations and cooling off periods, you will still have to explain to people why they have to pay the same amount each month, when sometimes they only take two lessons, or none at all over the summer.  I am currently imagining a conversation with the parent of Twinkletoes explaining this scenario.  Somehow, I imagine the standing orders would stop mid July, and resume somewhere at the beginning of October. 

 

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edit: grammar

 

So potential students can accept our terms, or go elsewhere. I would be quite happy to offer someone 10 lessons, but would insist on cash payment / bank transfer. It makes sense to pay the same amount each month all year round, otherwise standing orders would have to be stopped every summer and restarted in the autumn, and some of my students simply don't want the faff of having to do that.


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#6 BadStrad

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Posted 29 June 2019 - 22:35

I don't chase. If pupils miss one payment I expect it to turn up at the next lesson. No money no more lessons. I've only ever waited one week, once. Everyone else got the money to me before the next lesson.

If you let it slide longer, people will get more and more lax about paying you. Life is too short to muck about chasing people who don't respect you enough to pay on time.


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#7 Dorcas

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Posted 30 June 2019 - 07:35

I am going to be honest, trying to move students onto fixed monthly payments just would not work for me.  If it works for others, fine.  The sticking point will always be the summer holidays.  Yes people can always go elsewhere, but do you want that to happen?  I live in a reasonable sized town, and the demographic of students is changing.  People read the terms and conditions, and then set about trying to change them to suit their purposes.  It is human nature.  No matter which admin system you use, you have to stay on top of things.  I would love to use an invoice system, but I do not have the nous for using the software or the money for the hardware.  I started a thread a while ago, about the possibility of retiring, which proved to be a pipe dream.  My brother's death has left behind an administrative nightmare.  Personally, I am not that bothered if people respect me, as I have no way of measuring that.

 

I suppose there are people who are happy to sign up for twelve months of lessons.  I only do PAYG for three lessons, and then enter into a monthly arrangement.  I have terms and conditions, but it is a work in progress ensuring they are observed.  Just this week I had an exchange of texts due to a holiday absence and payment issue.  It was resolved with a phone call, reasonably amicably this time.  


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#8 Maizie

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Posted 30 June 2019 - 08:43

The thing about standing orders is they are controlled at the senders end.  So you still have the potential for people who set it up for the wrong amount or frequency, or who somehow manage to 'I didn't change anything, the bank just didn't send the payment this time' and things like that.  Depends on whether those you are implementing it for are forgetful (standing order is helpful) or finagling (standing order may just introduce new level of obfuscation).


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#9 Dorcas

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Posted 30 June 2019 - 09:43

Good point Maizie.. I have a business account, but there is no way I would even consider direct debits.  The extra level of admin required really would send me round the twist.

 

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#10 zwhe

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Posted 30 June 2019 - 12:37

I'm going to offer monthly payments from September, but for 11 months of the year. If people want extra lessons in August (I'm usually off for a couple of weeks anyway), they can pay for them weekly. As an incentive, my monthly payments will be slightly more expensive (a few pence per lesson) than weekly, but will include music. I'm hoping this will solve the problem of parents who never remember/can't be bothered to buy their music, as well as the couple who don't pay until they are reminded.


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#11 Latin pianist

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Posted 30 June 2019 - 13:18

How would that work including music? Unless I'm not understanding you, it could work out expensive for you and maybe a bit unfair if some have more music than others.
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#12 jenny

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Posted 30 June 2019 - 13:20

Good point Maizie.. I have a business account, but there is no way I would even consider direct debits.  The extra level of admin required really would send me round the twist.

 

mornincoffee.gif

 

Don't forget that standing orders and direct debits are not the same.


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#13 Dorcas

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Posted 30 June 2019 - 14:38

 

Good point Maizie.. I have a business account, but there is no way I would even consider direct debits.  The extra level of admin required really would send me round the twist.

 

mornincoffee.gif

 

Don't forget that standing orders and direct debits are not the same.

 

 

I know rofl.gif


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#14 zwhe

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Posted 30 June 2019 - 16:19

How would that work including music? Unless I'm not understanding you, it could work out expensive for you and maybe a bit unfair if some have more music than others.

I already loan loads of music as some pupils are unwilling to pay for it unless they are using the whole book (I'm on the boarder between a very affluent area and a fairly poor area, and get pupils from both), and much of the out-of-copyright music is available online now. I have taken into account the cost with my fees for next year, and wanted to give an incentive to change to monthly payments for existing pupils - new ones won't get the choice. 

There will be a difference in how much music different pupils have, but I also charge the same fee for those who go straight through with no problems and those that require me to spend loads of time working out how to teach them things they can't understand. Some get given worksheets, flashcards etc and others don't. I'm not sure there is really a difference. If they want more music, they can always practise more!


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#15 Dorcas

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Posted 30 June 2019 - 18:52

That should work Zwhe.  As long as you don't have people expecting the fees to include £40 anthologies, that sounds reasonable.  


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