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#1277180 - 09/29/09 09:42 AM Re: Charging per lesson vs. per month [Re: Morodiene]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7348
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
KS, part may be due to perceptions. People perceive that professions behave one way, non-professionals another. That doesn't make it so, but it's the way a lot of people operate.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1277186 - 09/29/09 09:58 AM Re: Charging per lesson vs. per month [Re: keystring]
Lollipop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 820
Loc: Georgia
I've tried everything. At first, I charged by the week. Some parents preferred to pay for the whole month, which was fine. The problem I had was being paid for missed lessons. Students/parents were much more casual about not coming to a lesson if something came up, and then balked at paying for it. It was something I battled almost weekly with one student or another.

Then I switched to a monthly fee, and ran into the parents who wanted discounts for short months, etc.

I just switched this year to a semester fee, payable in 4 equal payments at the beginning of each month. A fourth of my students chose to pay for the whole semester, the others pay monthly.

I am prepared for a few problems, because this is new. So far, though, everyone seems to be on board. In an effort to ward off problems, I spelled it out in detail in my letter/policy.

The semester fee covers 15 lessons, and comes out to a certain amount / week, assuming the student comes to every lesson. (I do allow some make-ups.) It it NOT equal to the number of weeks in any given month. This has been a stumbling block for some.

For those who have given me an email address (which, in my studio is all except one) I send out a monthly newsletter. I send it out at the end of each month, and the opening statement is a reminder that payment is due the following week for those who are paying monthly. (About a quarter of my students paid for the whole semester at once.) For the one student who does not have email, I write in her assignment book when tuition is due. Her mother's English is not good, and it is easier to do this than try to get her to understand that she owes me more when it is late.
_________________________
piano teacher

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#1277196 - 09/29/09 10:14 AM Re: Charging per lesson vs. per month [Re: John v.d.Brook]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11657
Loc: Canada
John, I'm not sure that I understand what you are saying. Are you saying that you write invoices in the belief that people will perceive you as a professional because they are getting an invoice - psychology? That is a new thought to me. I thought you might say that your accountant or the tax folk prefer it for transparency, or something of that nature. Or that it helps a client remember. But the psychology factor makes some sense. For example, people associate the trappings of businesses with being 'real'. Thus someone will go to an agency which has an office and secretary to get a translation because if there is an office and secretary, they must be real. The agency contacts me, I do the translation, and they hand it over to the client who has to pay a lot more. If they went to me directly they'd save a bundle and get exactly the same service but without the office ... same deal as your invoices. The psychology of appearances.

For me as a student, a professional teacher is one who understands what he is teaching and how to teach it, and can demonstrate it. Being punctual, prepared, and organized would go into it. Invoices wouldn't. But I suppose for some people these trappings make a difference - an interesting thought.

It just seems an awful lot of work if it's not necessary.

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#1277201 - 09/29/09 10:21 AM Re: Charging per lesson vs. per month [Re: keystring]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: keystring

It just seems an awful lot of work if it's not necessary.


If you're using software to do your book-keeping it's probably not much extra work. Some people need official invoices for tax purposes; some people just like them for their own records. But I suspect that, as you say, for most people it's just a perception thing. Your accountant invoices you, but your babysitter doesn't.

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#1277215 - 09/29/09 10:50 AM Re: Charging per lesson vs. per month [Re: keystring]
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1264
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: keystring
I have been wondering about this one part for a year - Why do some of you create invoices? Your students are regular and know the amount, and are capable of paying you without receiving a bill - so what is the reason for this extra work?



I've wondered this myself. I know there was a brief discussion about his on another thread a while back. I could see if students were paying based on how many lessons they received that month, and the figure would change from month to month. But when the fee is exactly the same each month I don't see the need to send out an invoice.

Now, for NEW students who may not be used to the regularity of writing out a monthly check, I will send out an email at the end of the month that states: "Just a reminder that tuition for October is due next week. Please refer to your Studio Policy for more detailed information".


Regarding students paying for the year's tuition up front:

I usually have anywhere from 10-20% of my students pay for the entire year's tuition in advance. They do receive a small discount for doing so, but most parents pay this way because of convenience of not having to worry about writing that monthly check. Also, these are typically students who I've had for a long time; they know me well and trust that I'm not going to go out of business and leave them hanging in the middle of the year.
_________________________
Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild

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#1277221 - 09/29/09 10:57 AM Re: Charging per lesson vs. per month [Re: kevinb]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11657
Loc: Canada
Quote:
Your accountant invoices you, but your babysitter doesn't.

Actually, my accountant doesn't. wink And I often don't. Businesses need invoices from me, but private clients usually don't. What prompted the question in the first place is that I've been reading how time consuming the monthly payment process is, which is why some teachers give a discount for seasonal payments. Given that private teachers have the same students paying the same amount each month, I wondered why that would be. Invoicing involves printing out the invoice, mailing it out to 150 people (John's number), possibly marking the invoice as paid. That would have to take at least an hour a month - if it's not necessary, why do it? That is, if it's only for appearances and impressions. Has anyone ever checked whether this impression of professionalism via invoices is true? I've also been learning from this thread, which is why from time to time a question will pop up.

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#1277241 - 09/29/09 11:40 AM Re: Charging per lesson vs. per month [Re: keystring]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7348
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
KS, I am merely pointing out that many people have perceptions. A lot of parents know nothing about lessons, preparations, what teachers do behind the scenes, public or private (even some public school teachers think piano teachers do nothing behind the scenes). Invoicing is one of those signals of being professional.

However, you should know that there are many split families, where child support calls for one parent to pay for lessons, even though the child is in custody of the other parent. Invoices are called for by the courts to solve payment disputes. Had one of these last fall, BTW.

Also, if you are keeping computerized books for tax purposes, preparing invoices is very little extra effort. And it allows you to keep track of other incidentals, like fees for Guild auditions, new music books, recital entrance fees, etc.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1277245 - 09/29/09 11:47 AM Re: Charging per lesson vs. per month [Re: John v.d.Brook]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11657
Loc: Canada
Thank you, John. That makes sense.

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#1277251 - 09/29/09 11:58 AM Re: Charging per lesson vs. per month [Re: Morodiene]
Mrs.A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 155
I charge a monthly TUITION and I call it that (I think a semester or quarterly fee is also a good idea) Gymnastics, Dance and Martial Arts charge similar monthly fees in this area.

The additional advantages to monthly tuition fees over weekly fees:

1.If a student misses they have ALREADY paid for the lesson. If they pay weekly and miss a lesson, asking them to pay for that lesson could be awkward.

2. I believe paying ahead also cuts down on cancellations. When I used to allows reschedules I found that not only did I have an open spot (and paying a babysitter) but I spent 15 minutes on the phone rescheduling and then used up another lesson spot. One cancellation costs a lot in time. If lessons are 30 minutes, you now are eating up an hour and 15 minutes to accommodate that student. Even if you fill the students cancelled spot you spend another 15 minutes with the next rescheduled student…..Missed lessons, in my studio, are for the most part forfeited

3. Writing payments and check numbers in my record books every week is time that should be spent on teaching. I find it much more efficient to take payments the first week of the month.

4. I include all the books and music in the tuition payment. My families appreciate that fixed expense every month. They prefer once a month rather then having the cash or writing a check every week.

5. Like Ebony said, fewer trips to the bank. I probable collect 25 checks a month. Collecting that many payments weekly is a lot of work.

My monthly fee remains the same regardless of four or five weeks in a month. I also take off 4 holidays during the year and do not prorate those months. Those holidays are compensated when I teach a five week month.

I also add extra lessons for students who are preparing for auditions or recitals. I don’t charge for those. I may tell a student to practice the triplet and come back on Sunday afternoon. I am very busy before big events but I do not charge for the extra lessons.

I rarely have complaints about how I handle my tuition charge. Parents appreciate the simplicity and it makes my job easier. I can concentrate on teaching.

Even if it is typical of the teachers to charge weekly in your area, why not do it different? It will help you stand out. Good luck.
_________________________
Piano Teacher.
Church Music Director.
Kindermusik Instructor.
Mom to four boys.


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#1277252 - 09/29/09 12:01 PM Re: Charging per lesson vs. per month [Re: keystring]
Hop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 654
Loc: Hudson, FL
The fellow who is my new teacher charges by the month. It is the same amount every month, due on the last week of every month for the following month. No makeups.

He also states that he will take two non-consecutive weeks vacation every year.

At first, I found this a little off-putting. But upon reflection, I figured that in the final analysis, I'd pay about the same anyway. At least this is simple for everybody, and allows him a steady income (which is a benefit to me because he is likely to be happier and stay in business longer).

Hop
_________________________
HG178, Roland FP-5, Casio PX 130

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#1277271 - 09/29/09 12:28 PM Re: Charging per lesson vs. per month [Re: Mrs.A]
Mrs.A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 155
Keystring,

I keep my tuition statements easy. My tuition is the same every month. I do not charge extra for books. The books and materials are included in the tuition.

My statements are set up in my computer. The only thing I do is change the date on the template. I mail merge addresses and press print. Walla

I mail them in a windowed envelope (Addresses are printed on the statement)

It is very easy and not time consuming. It allows me to also send a newsletter reminding parents of upcoming events. I have 20 or so newsletters I have been recycling for years. Also very easy.

I agree. Some parents need reminding that I am a business. When a statement is sent in the mail, I find tuition payment is written with the rest of the bills. Since sending tuition statement, I have less problem with people remembering to pay. It works for me.


I also have every intention of putting taxes etc on one computer program. Every year my accountant suggest it. I just havn't done it yet.
_________________________
Piano Teacher.
Church Music Director.
Kindermusik Instructor.
Mom to four boys.


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#1277274 - 09/29/09 12:30 PM Re: Charging per lesson vs. per month [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Mrs.A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 155
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook




Also, if you are keeping computerized books for tax purposes, preparing invoices is very little extra effort. And it allows you to keep track of other incidentals, like fees for Guild auditions, new music books, recital entrance fees, etc.


John, What computer/tax program do you use?
_________________________
Piano Teacher.
Church Music Director.
Kindermusik Instructor.
Mom to four boys.


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#1277313 - 09/29/09 01:15 PM Re: Charging per lesson vs. per month [Re: Mrs.A]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
I don't use this service for my students but I have long admired the "Music Teacher's Helper" site.

1) Your students can make their payments there,
2) You can have your own website there.
3) There is just a lot of good things going on at MTH.

Please take a look and see the possibilities for yourself.

My tuition fees and studio policies have been subject to my postings many time in PWF - perhaps some "search" would take you to things I have contributed. I think I have my "act" down to a "science" in the policy and tuition fees and operating my music education business. That is not to brag, but to state that life got a lot easier when I got organized about how I wanted to operate and communicate that to the clients.

I wish everyone good luck in getting their recordkeeping and their trips to the bank to a minimum. It used to be very time consuming for me not to mention erroneous at times. You want to be ahead of the game, not trying to catch up from behind.

Establish some pertinent rules that you need to have. I think over all piano teachers can be timid in asking for what they need. You need a good and consistent income distributed over 12 months of the year.

If you don't have the money income totally meeting your needs you will be pleading with your clients to make their payments from now until the end of your piano teaching life.

The utility companies and the mortgage companies don't take your problems with receiving your incomes from your clients under consideration. Best to have money in the bank beforehand not after. Get the money thing under control by taking a stand on your policy and tuition fees even write a contract if you need to. With this out of the way you can now concentrate on your giving good service and maximizing your teaching abilities.

A piano teacher having financial problems is not compatabile with spending your time where it is needed most, in guidance of your students musical progress. Can't be in two places at once!

Time is of the essence!

Betty

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#1277321 - 09/29/09 01:23 PM Re: Charging per lesson vs. per month [Re: keystring]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: keystring
Has anyone ever checked whether this impression of professionalism via invoices is true?


To be honest, I'm not sure how one would test such a thing. Neither my kids' teachers nor mine issue invoices, but I'm a musician (of sorts :)) myself so I don't need this reassurance to know they're doing a decent job. Perhaps people who aren't particularly musical need it more? Dunno, really.

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#1277340 - 09/29/09 01:47 PM Re: Charging per lesson vs. per month [Re: kevinb]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7348
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Another aspect to think about - some, perhaps many, families are pushing the envelop when it comes to their finances. Bills are prioritized. Professional looking statements get paid sooner than those which are not. If you use a billing service, which incorporates a late payment fee, your pay will be steady and on time. Your mortgage/rent, utilities, food, etc., must be paid whether Johnnie comes to a lesson or not. If you're product is set up like a school, college, class, etc., you're going to be paid. If you collect lesson fees when Suzie shows up at the door, you're income is going to take a severe hit.

Long time teachers have been down this well-worn path; there is no need for anyone to reinvent the wheel. Your predecessors have learned the hard way. You can believe us or not. You can pick up any of the many college texts on pedagogy, and read the same thing. This is a free country and the choice is yours.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1277375 - 09/29/09 02:36 PM Re: Charging per lesson vs. per month [Re: kevinb]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Kevin B said in the posting above John's:

"Perhaps people who aren't particularly musical need it more?"

Whoa, Kevin. My brain immediately said to me:

"Perhaps people who aren't particularly musical should not be teaching at all!"

"Caveat emptor" - Buyer Beware!

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#1277398 - 09/29/09 03:11 PM Re: Charging per lesson vs. per month [Re: Betty Patnude]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
Kevin B said in the posting above John's:

"Perhaps people who aren't particularly musical need it more?"

Whoa, Kevin. My brain immediately said to me:

"Perhaps people who aren't particularly musical should not be teaching at all!"


Um... I was referring to a lack of musicality in the recipients of the invoices, e.g., the parents of your students.

Although I've suggested some mad things in the past, a career in music teaching for a person with no musical talent would be a crazy notion, even for me smirk

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#1277421 - 09/29/09 03:55 PM Re: Charging per lesson vs. per month [Re: Betty Patnude]
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17773
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude

My tuition fees and studio policies have been subject to my postings many time in PWF - perhaps some "search" would take you to things I have contributed. I think I have my "act" down to a "science" in the policy and tuition fees and operating my music education business. That is not to brag, but to state that life got a lot easier when I got organized about how I wanted to operate and communicate that to the clients.


I always thought this thread was a classic:

"Can of Worms" thread

What did you ever end up deciding to do, Betty? Did you ever institute that "commit to a year's lessons in advance" policy? Did it work for you?

It's actually an enlightening thread as it highlights the tension that exists between what teachers want and need vs. what parents/students want and need, and how it's important to take both sides into account.

As a parent, I'm happier if I can pay monthly than having to write a check for each lesson. (I'd even welcome a semester system just so that I don't have to keep writing multiple checks.) I do appreciate being able to send my checks in with my daughter on the first lesson of the month, rather than having to mail it by the 1st. But I should stress that my daughter's teacher is the one who proposed that system, and I would have gone along with anything she suggested--short of paying a year in advance. wink
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#1277422 - 09/29/09 03:56 PM Re: Charging per lesson vs. per month [Re: kevinb]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Kevin B,

I guess I responded to how I understood it. Sorry about that.

Kevin B said: "Um... I was referring to a lack of musicality in the recipients of the invoices, e.g., the parents of your students.

Although I've suggested some mad things in the past, a career in music teaching for a person with no musical talent would be a crazy notion, even for me"


Exactly what I was trying to say! But, I think we both suspect it's being done.

Betty

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#1277465 - 09/29/09 05:03 PM Re: Charging per lesson vs. per month [Re: Monica K.]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Originally Posted By: Monica K.
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude

My tuition fees and studio policies have been subject to my postings many time in PWF - perhaps some "search" would take you to things I have contributed. I think I have my "act" down to a "science" in the policy and tuition fees and operating my music education business. That is not to brag, but to state that life got a lot easier when I got organized about how I wanted to operate and communicate that to the clients.


I always thought this thread was a classic:

"Can of Worms" thread

What did you ever end up deciding to do, Betty? Did you ever institute that "commit to a year's lessons in advance" policy? Did it work for you?

It's actually an enlightening thread as it highlights the tension that exists between what teachers want and need vs. what parents/students want and need, and how it's important to take both sides into account.

As a parent, I'm happier if I can pay monthly than having to write a check for each lesson. (I'd even welcome a semester system just so that I don't have to keep writing multiple checks.) I do appreciate being able to send my checks in with my daughter on the first lesson of the month, rather than having to mail it by the 1st. But I should stress that my daughter's teacher is the one who proposed that system, and I would have gone along with anything she suggested--short of paying a year in advance. wink


The year $ in advance was never my intention, Monica. It was the commitment to enter and stay in piano study for one year. I have long had people pay me by the year, semester or monthly for 10 consecutive payments.

I wrote that topic at a time when with September lessons just having started, about 10 people left my studio with no notice although they signed that they would give me "30 day notice to terminate".

In review of that time, the majority of people were being impacted by job changes, homes being repossessed, and by the high cost of gasoline. Many of my students were coming from a distance making their travel time about 45 minutes each way. So, these were necessary adjustments on their parts, possibly really big reactions too, toward their new budgets that were being redone because of the announced turn in the economy.

I happen to think it was a health topic and forum for things that we have to consider every day in our studios.

It continues on to be a "can of worms" as we can see by those posting today with similar questions about what will the public tolerate.

I think it's almost hilarious that you bring this specific topic back up for review - I got through reading 2 pages of it - and my take on it is it's real, authentic in my life, and a subject for piano teachers every where.

I stand "proud" on this topic.

Chris was talking about my "young" age 65 at the time. Well, I'm 66 years old now, Monica, and the "problems" of piano teachers in business are still the problems that I faced when I was a starting piano teacher at the age of 27. The problems remain the same. I'm an ambitious teacher, but NEVER have I earned money ambitiously in piano teaching.

Now that I'm experiencing senior citizenship and prescription expenses at their highest, I wish I had gone for the money. Lord knows I have worked hard for it! It is not about income for me, it is about giving successful results in music educations.

Everyone, please read "Can of Worms" again - it's a novel in the making! And it will make you ROFL according to Monica.

By the way, Monica, did you find any typo's or misspellings. I want to be the first one to know.

Betty


Edited by Betty Patnude (09/29/09 05:10 PM)

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#1277471 - 09/29/09 05:11 PM Re: Charging per lesson vs. per month [Re: Betty Patnude]
bitWrangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 1789
Loc: Central TX
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
I wrote that topic at a time when with September lessons just having started, about 10 people left my studio with no notice although they signed that they would give me "30 day notice to terminate".


Can't remember if this has been mentioned before in this thread but Betty's situation is the poster child for why it's a good idea to have folks always pay for their "last month" in advance (i.e. when they start at the studio the "first" payment is a combination of the first months payment plus the "last" months payment). In this way, even if they don't give 30days notice, the teacher is not out the money.

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#1277576 - 09/29/09 08:44 PM Re: Charging per lesson vs. per month [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
Dorrie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/09/05
Posts: 438
As a parent and student I dislike having to pay by the lesson - on top of everything else I have to remember to send the child into the lessons with a check each week

I like the same payment each month, especially if there is no reminder invoice.

I like the option to pay by the semester - a small discount - even a percent or two is welcome, but I often opt for this even without a discount to avoid having to remember each month.

I appreciate a periodic account statement. One of our teachers has performance committments that require rescheduling lessons at least once a month. Her statements indicate whether the lesson was given, whether the student cancelled (no make up), whether it was rescheduled, or whether the teacher cancelled. These "owed" lessons are listed on the account statement. Putting it in writing quickly clears up any misunderstandings.

My preference is for emailed statements the week before payment is expected.

Most parents and students want to comply with the financial requirements of the teaching relationship. It's great that you are putting the effort out to make it easy for us to remember to do so!

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#1277584 - 09/29/09 09:02 PM Re: Charging per lesson vs. per month [Re: Dorrie]
PianoKitty Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 133
Loc: US
I want to clarify that I send out invoices once a month, for the total number of lessons in the upcoming month. I would go crazy getting checks every week LOL! I like having the students pay up front for the next month, so I'm not having to haggle over missed lessons. I also include any book fees or recital fees in the invoices.

However, I get so bogged down at invoice time (this week!) that I am leaning more and more toward calculating all of the Monday (T,W,Th,F) lessons in a year, minus vacations/holidays, and separating it into 4 installments for the year. It would be sooo much easier. Although I would still have to deal with getting books paid for as well. And recital payments.

On the issue of invoices and professionalism, I have actually had several parents comment on how professional my business is, and many of them have mentioned receiving the itemized invoices as part of that professional perception.
_________________________
Private Piano Instructor
Member, Music Teachers National Association (MTNA)

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#1277608 - 09/29/09 09:51 PM Re: Charging per lesson vs. per month [Re: Monica K.]
Mrs.A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 155
Originally Posted By: Monica K.
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude

My tuition fees and studio policies have been subject to my postings many time in PWF - perhaps some "search" would take you to things I have contributed. I think I have my "act" down to a "science" in the policy and tuition fees and operating my music education business. That is not to brag, but to state that life got a lot easier when I got organized about how I wanted to operate and communicate that to the clients.


I always thought this thread was a classic:

"Can of Worms" thread

What did you ever end up deciding to do, Betty? Did you ever institute that "commit to a year's lessons in advance" policy? Did it work for you?

It's actually an enlightening thread as it highlights the tension that exists between what teachers want and need vs. what parents/students want and need, and how it's important to take both sides into account.

As a parent, I'm happier if I can pay monthly than having to write a check for each lesson. (I'd even welcome a semester system just so that I don't have to keep writing multiple checks.) I do appreciate being able to send my checks in with my daughter on the first lesson of the month, rather than having to mail it by the 1st. But I should stress that my daughter's teacher is the one who proposed that system, and I would have gone along with anything she suggested--short of paying a year in advance. wink
_________________________
Piano Teacher.
Church Music Director.
Kindermusik Instructor.
Mom to four boys.


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#1277609 - 09/29/09 09:52 PM Re: Charging per lesson vs. per month [Re: Mrs.A]
Mrs.A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 155
Originally Posted By: Mrs.A
Originally Posted By: Monica K.
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude

My tuition fees and studio policies have been subject to my postings many time in PWF - perhaps some "search" would take you to things I have contributed. I think I have my "act" down to a "science" in the policy and tuition fees and operating my music education business. That is not to brag, but to state that life got a lot easier when I got organized about how I wanted to operate and communicate that to the clients.


I always thought this thread was a classic:

"Can of Worms" thread

What did you ever end up deciding to do, Betty? Did you ever institute that "commit to a year's lessons in advance" policy? Did it work for you?

It's actually an enlightening thread as it highlights the tension that exists between what teachers want and need vs. what parents/students want and need, and how it's important to take both sides into account.

As a parent, I'm happier if I can pay monthly than having to write a check for each lesson. (I'd even welcome a semester system just so that I don't have to keep writing multiple checks.) I do appreciate being able to send my checks in with my daughter on the first lesson of the month, rather than having to mail it by the 1st. But I should stress that my daughter's teacher is the one who proposed that system, and I would have gone along with anything she suggested--short of paying a year in advance. wink




I don’t know what this response is about. It seems to happen often from this poster.

Betty, I find your knowledge, instincts and experience you share on this forum to be very insightful. You are obviously very good at what you do. Please continue. I have learned much from your posts and always look forward to reading them.
_________________________
Piano Teacher.
Church Music Director.
Kindermusik Instructor.
Mom to four boys.


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#1277651 - 09/29/09 11:23 PM Re: Charging per lesson vs. per month [Re: Mrs.A]
trillingadventurer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/28/08
Posts: 304
Loc: San Diego
I just experienced my first "bounced" check from a client. It was a nightmare of fees and embarrassment (Both sides as it caused some mishaps on my end as well. Boo!) I am starting to see the wisdom of semester or quarterly billing. It reduces the chances of such terrible occurrences!..I am nervous of "switching" everybody, however...maybe after summer break?
_________________________
M. Katchur

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#1277652 - 09/29/09 11:24 PM Re: Charging per lesson vs. per month [Re: Mrs.A]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Thank you, Mrs. A for your vote of confidence.

It means a lot to me that piano teachers can translate my postings into something helpful to them. That's one of the reasons I'm here - to gain more information and to share - the give and take of creating topics that we can learn from each other!

Betty

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#1277654 - 09/29/09 11:24 PM Re: Charging per lesson vs. per month [Re: trillingadventurer]
trillingadventurer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/28/08
Posts: 304
Loc: San Diego
Second the opinion of Betty. She has it down!
_________________________
M. Katchur

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#1277831 - 09/30/09 09:51 AM Re: Charging per lesson vs. per month [Re: PianoKitty]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11764
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: PianoKitty
I want to clarify that I send out invoices once a month, for the total number of lessons in the upcoming month. I would go crazy getting checks every week LOL! I like having the students pay up front for the next month, so I'm not having to haggle over missed lessons. I also include any book fees or recital fees in the invoices.

However, I get so bogged down at invoice time (this week!) that I am leaning more and more toward calculating all of the Monday (T,W,Th,F) lessons in a year, minus vacations/holidays, and separating it into 4 installments for the year. It would be sooo much easier. Although I would still have to deal with getting books paid for as well. And recital payments.

On the issue of invoices and professionalism, I have actually had several parents comment on how professional my business is, and many of them have mentioned receiving the itemized invoices as part of that professional perception.


How do you do invoices? By hand, or do you use Quickbooks or a similar business accounting program?
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1277865 - 09/30/09 11:04 AM Re: Charging per lesson vs. per month [Re: Morodiene]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7348
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Morodiene, someone asked a bit back, and I never got around to answering, but I use a spreadsheet program which I've customized. I've used the same program for 15 years now, although Microsoft is making it harder to do so. I started fooling around with computers back in the late 80's, and found that it really helped with record keeping and streamlining documents.

Many of you are not old enough to remember WordPerfect, but it was designed for office workers by office workers, not by computer geeks in Redmond, so it was very friendly to us. MSWord "adopted" a lot of their features, but not all. IMHO, WP is still far easier to use.

Be that as it may, when checks come in, I record them on a page of the spreed sheet, and it automatically updates the amount due on each student's invoice page.

Many of the accounting programs are very good, but are not designed for very small businesses like ours. There is a software program out there just for us, but it's pricey and regretfully, I cannot tell you it's name. Just cannot remember. It does manage all your studio business, however, and if I were starting out fresh, it would be my program of choice.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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