Let's talk turkey: £££ & cancellation policies.

I'd be interested to hear about how different teachers ask for and accept payment.

I'm a knitting teacher and I started off about 5 years ago not asking for any money in advance, just cash on the day. It took about 6 months of endless no-shows before I started asking for a 50% deposit. Then on the advice of students, I made this 100% deposit with a cancellation policy (see below).

But there are still times that people book and need endless chasing for payment (these are the one's that want to pay last minute and they often cancel last minute).

I've worked at shops that do classes, and I find that students pay easier and quicker at 'institutions' and worry that they try and take advantage of me because I'm one teacher alone.

I'm just really interested to hear other teachers stories, experiences and advice on this.

Thanks,

Aneeta
www.KnittingSOS.co.uk

Knitting SOS Cancellation Policy

Due to a high number of last minute cancellations and no-shows, I now have a payment and cancellation policy for my group and one-on-one classes.

Apologies to those of you who pay and turn up as booked.

Full payment is required as a deposit upon booking of each class. Payable by bank transfer or paypal. Details of payment will be emailed to you upon booking.

If you need to cancel, please let me know at least 7 days in advance for a 50% refund. You will receive a full refund only if I can fill your place. Deposit will be lost if you cancel with less than 7 days notice.

Regarding cancellation policy for location classes (ie, shops, events, cafes, etc): Full payment is required as a deposit upon booking of each class. Payable by bank transfer or paypal. Details of payment will be emailed to you upon booking. A two week notice is required for you to get a full refund of this. Within the two week notice period, no refund will be possible.

More details upon booking.

Thank you.

Hi Aneeta,
I have just started up my own workshops and teaching classes and now finding out that students are very slow in coming forward to pay.
I have asked for a 50% deposit up front as I think this shows they are committed to coming to the course and do not usually cancel as they would loose half of the deposit.
It has been helpful to me to see how you are handling the situation and will use the information as a guide line.

I would also be interested in how you built up your business for the last five years. I am at present teaching at my local College in the evenings as well as trying to build up my private teaching. I advertise locally, people seem very interested in learning but not wanting to pay for it.

Hello Aneeta
I've just begun teaching privately and am still in the payment-on-the-day mode, so can't offer you much in the way of thoughts based on experience. I can imagine I will need to firm up on policy eventually though. Payment by bank transfer or paypal makes sense, especially as it confirms the agreement, and the clause about cancellation is important. I've learnt something here, thanks for writing this up, all the best. Tony
http://www.anotherphotograph.com/

Hi there,

I'm not sure how I built up my business. I found myself in a 'gap' and people found me. It was all a bit of an fortunate accident.

Having a written payment policy and asking for payment up front will make people take you, your teaching and your business more seriously in my experience. It seemed really hard-nosed to me in the beginning, but my students said themselves that they expect to pay up front - after all that's what they'd have to do in a college or shop. And if they cancel, most of them don't make a fuss about losing the payment (there's always the odd one who'll try to wheedle the money back). I'm firm, but human...I won't give payment back if it's a brand new student or if it's happened more than once, but for a long time student I will. Actually I don't return payment, I offer re-booking options.

Look at others who teach (what you teach) and take ideas from their cancellation and bookings policies. But it is best to have one and be firm(-ish) on it's use. If what you teach has value, then people have to respect it and (not to be too harsh), put their money where their mouth is.

I hope this helps a bit.

Aneeta
www.KnittingSOS.co.uk

Hi Aneeta

whether a class or a quilt commission I ask for deposits to ensure I'm never out of pocket.

eg if a class costs say £200 and includes cost of a kit of £120 I make sure the deposit is at least 50% -60% of the overall costs.

This means the hall hire and fabric costs are met as they order there fabrics on booking. When they drop off/send deposit, a shade card is sent with the booking form so there fabric is waiting for them, On the start date. once paid they are bound to come or loose there deposit as I order fabrics as soon as I get the orders in to save problems later. I also buy from other quilt shops with in Aberdeenshire to support there trade as the current climate warrants we all help each other. So often for quilts I make for samples, I will use quilt shops as opposed to wholesale suppliers, for small quantities.

this works the same with commissioned quilts i get them to pay for the fabric and batting costs up front. I order and pay for them straight away, and as such the cost they have paid is non returnable once the fabric order has been placed, or if from stock fabric which I have available, deposit non returnable as soon as cutting has commenced.
balance payable on delivery (delivery in person/ before dispatch if posted.

In this way it protects client and me so they need to be sure to part with cash for deposit before i make it and it means that I'm not out of pocket. this eliminates time wasters very quickely

hope this helps

Sapphire

Hi Aneeta

whether a class or a quilt commission I ask for deposits to ensure I'm never out of pocket.

eg if a class costs say £200 and includes cost of a kit of £120 I make sure the deposit is at least 50% -60% of the overall costs.

This means the hall hire and fabric costs are met as they order there fabrics on booking. When they drop off/send deposit, a shade card is sent with the booking form so there fabric is waiting for them, On the start date. once paid they are bound to come or loose there deposit as I order fabrics as soon as I get the orders in to save problems later. I also buy from other quilt shops with in Aberdeenshire to support there trade as the current climate warrants we all help each other. So often for quilts I make for samples, I will use quilt shops as opposed to wholesale suppliers, for small quantities.

this works the same with commissioned quilts i get them to pay for the fabric and batting costs up front. I order and pay for them straight away, and as such the cost they have paid is non returnable once the fabric order has been placed, or if from stock fabric which I have available, deposit non returnable as soon as cutting has commenced.
balance payable on delivery (delivery in person/ before dispatch if posted.

In this way it protects client and me so they need to be sure to part with cash for deposit before i make it and it means that I'm not out of pocket. this eliminates time wasters very quickly

hope this helps

Sapphire

Hi Aneeta,

By now you must have received all the necessary pieces of advice you wanted... I have been in the Private Tutoring sector for 20 years in London and .... have not yet found a satisfactory solution to cancellations. Having the Tuition fees (whether per class or block of classes) paid in advance is a must: it puts some pressure on the customer. But a Cancellation policy is as good as your determination to enforce it, however clever it is. In the end, it is like anything in life: it's a power struggle. My experience is that the "professionals" (that is professional cancellers) will almost always succeed in their endeavour. They are driven by greed and lack of consideration towards others. The question is therefore: how much do you need these students to survive in your business. The answer for me has been for a while to give a fairly precise idea of what I expect from the customer and deal with breaches on a case by case. Whenever I spot a professional I find a way to say good bye.
Tell me if you have found your solution.

Philippe

I think you are right - be clear, then work on a case by case basis. I'm not great at spotting 'professionals' as you call them, but I'm trying to learn as I go. And I have to constantly make decisions on how much I need a student who's going to mess me around. The answer is usually, not that much...I'm well enough established now to have the confidence to hold my ground when a canceller tries to bully me. Most of the time anyway!

Thanks,

Aneeta


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