For many years I taught at a large music education center. There were lesson coordinators (Darling Angels - oh how I miss you) who took messages, handled concerns, sometimes complaints, booked my schedule and best of all - handled the monthly monetary transactions.
Occasionally, when families did not pay their lesson fees at the beginning of the month, teachers were asked to follow up with parents to ensure payment was made. I HATED those awkward conversations. Seeing names on the “payment owing list” absolutely ruined my day.
The business side of your teaching business
Now that I run my teaching studio independently, It’s me answering the phone, returning calls, collecting payment and chasing down the forgetful families that are in need of a pleasant reminder. What a drag! I just want to teach!
Discussions about money can be awkward
It doesn’t matter what business you are in; you will have to:
- Explain your fees; my lesson fees are $xx an hour
- defend your prices, “you charge HOW MUCH for lessons!?!?"
- remind people of your payment policies "There is no refund for missed lessons..."
- chase after payment. 'We need to settle up our lessons fees.'
- stand your ground
Most families are not trying to stiff you. (Notice the word most) Parents are busy! They honestly do forget. We also live in a world of debit, credit cards and automatic payments so many families are accustom to having payment for their children’s activities automatically withdrawn from their accounts. Many private teachers aren’t set up to automatically take credit card or debit payments at least not in an automated way. Banking fees for such services can add up. How can you make it easy for your families to pay you on time?
All professional business transactions require invoices and receipts. Are you a professional? Of course, you are. Invoicing acts like a polite reminder so families can pay on time. To some of you, this may feel a bit aggressive – it’s not. Anyone who respects your time and services will appreciate the professional courtesy. Does this give you an uncomfortable feeling? Just let families know when they sign up for lessons with you that they get “invoiced” for lessons.
My son’s piano teacher invoices me the night before the first lesson of the month. I often need this reminder and appreciate it. I would be horribly embarrassed if I forgot to pay a colleague!
Invoicing is Easy
If you are using MyMusicStaff or any money management system (Quickbooks, Quicken, Mint), Invoicing is easy and can be set up quickly. Invoicing can be automated or at least a reminder to invoice can be configured in your program of choice. You can also send the invoice in the body of an email. Make sure it looks professional. Be sure to include your business and contact information in the invoice and save all email correspondences about payments in a separate folder.
>>>TIP: Search “Professional Invoice Template” or check out the free invoice templates from google docs
Receipts are necessary.
Once payment is collected, be sure to issue a receipt and a thank you. This action will maintain your books and keeping on top of your business will mean less headaches (and missed payments) down the road.
Conducting yourself professionally in regards to monetary transactions is crucial for a successful teaching studio.