To pay or not to pay? That seems to be the question!
Sadly, getting people to pay for the tutoring they have received can be like getting blood out of a stone.
When I started tutoring I was naive and presumed if I did the work, especially if I put my heart and sole into it, people would pay me what I was owed. (I have said on many occasions I had no business knowledge or experience when I started tutoring).
Now I have contracts in place which are given to new starters. These clearly outline what we charge and when/how we expect to be paid. We also have a clear cancellation policy.
The “Payment Policy” is available for you to use or adapt for yourself in the Starr Tutoring Association Membership Group. They don’t need to be long and formal. Maybe they’re better if they’re not. They just need to clearly get the message across.
You can download the “Cancellation Policy” here:
Is it a sign of disrespect when parents don’t pay?
I think it is. It may not be personal but you wouldn’t expect any other service to be provided for free or to pay for it as and when you feel like it without some sort of consequence being applied.
When I first started tutoring I went to a family who paid cash.
It is quite amazing how many excuses one person can have for not having any cash on them:
I haven’t had chance to go the cash point
I left my purse in my boyfriend’s car
The dog has been poorly so I didn’t go out.
These were 3 of her most common excuses not to pay.
Recently I’ve been in discussion with a family over the payment terms. They started before the policies were created. She felt a month was a satisfactory length of time to pay. The invoices say 5 days.
These days I believe we are better off without families who don’t pay when asked the amount asked.
If you are struggling with people who don’t pay, fire them!
It’s actually quite therapeutic, even if terrifying!
At first the fear of the reduction in your income is difficult to overcome. However, they’re not paying you anyway so you have nothing to lose. It also means you can replace that family with another family who does pay you the amount asked and on time.
It took me along time to gain this attitude, but without it any company will drown.
Many tutors ask for payment up front. They may offer a discount if a group of lessons is paid for in advance. This is a great option as the family feel they are getting a bargain. You are not having to play catch up with payments each time/ week/ month.
Don’t let the question “To pay, or not to pay?” be the option for the families you work with.
Get policies in place from the start. It’s never too late to start if you haven’t. If you don’t families with this sort of mentality will destroy your company and all the hard work you have put into it.
If you want help growing your tutoring company why not join us in our Facebook group “The Tutor’s Group” where you will find myself and other tutors to chat to. You will find motivation and support.