2017 was our 20th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments.
Over 100,000 members from around the world.
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad) Piano Sight Reading
train piano sight reading with your iPhone or iPad
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Pianoteq
Steinway Spiro Layering
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
Who's Online Now
44 members (ebonyk, Carey, BlakeOR, DigitalMusicProduc, dhull100, Dfrankjazz, 36251, Del Vento, Hakki, ambrozy, 7 invisible), 548 guests, and 437 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Joined: Feb 2021
Posts: 9
P
Junior Member
OP Offline
Junior Member
P
Joined: Feb 2021
Posts: 9
Hey everyone, I'm posting here because I need to vent about a recent disagreement I've been having with the parent of two of my students. I have been quite disorganised with payments until recently, as I only had a handful of students and got most of my income from another job. However private teaching has recently become my main source of income and I've been able to quit the other job. I was quite nervous about messaging all of my students/parents to tell them that instead of paying by the lesson, they had to pay one month in advance, however I've had absolutely no issues with 19 out of 20 parents/students.
The one parent I'm having an issue with is actually the parent of two new students, and unlike most of my other students, I sent her all of the information about the payment BEFORE starting lessons. I was not expecting any issues like I'd been dreading with my other students, as I'd finally (or so I thought) gotten myself organised enough to be clear about payments before lessons had even begun.
So far I have done one lesson with the children, and the parent has paid me for a small number of lessons. However, she has now decided that she'll pay me at the end of the month after the lessons are already done, rather than the start. She emailed this big speech about how paying in advance hasn't worked for them in the past and how we'd agreed upon this method already. I'm so outraged by her trying to twist my words and make me feel guilty about something that she had already agreed to before we started lessons. I think it's possible that she planned to only bring this up after I'd already started lessons so that she'd be more likely to get her way. These students are on quite high grades, and I've already taken the time to buy copies of the exam books so that I can start planning lessons. I have basically told the parent that she can pay in advance and I'm not making any exception, it's been a day and I've yet to hear back. I am so annoyed that I really hope they just go and find another teacher, as I don't want to deal with people like this.

An observation I've made in my several years of teaching so far is that the people most likely to mess you around are either those who are disorganised and do it unintentionally, and those who are extremely organised, and mess you around in a very calculated way.
Anyway, I really needed to vent about this, and maybe start a conversation about problems others have come across in regards to payments. Also, if anyone has any advice on dealing with people like this that would be great confused

(ad)
Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 2,340
P
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
P
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 2,340
This is a question about power dynamics, and about what you can tolerate in your studio. If you have 19 other families for whom your new billing system seems to be working fine, I'd say you are doing well. Especially so when you admit you were amateurish about billing in the past. Especially during a major worldwide major virus. To me you should consider yourself wildly successful in your new professionalism.

If you really dislike this mother, it is bound to infect your teaching of her children, so maybe you should set them free now before those kids bond with you. Alternatively, you could just let mom pay you in a different way than your other families. It doesn't really matter, since you will still get paid. Some people dislike the concept of prepaying to an individual service provider, though if you were an actually school, she would likely view it differently.

You could also start outright billing her in advance. Quarterly. Or twice a year. She'll probably quit on you, but it sounds as if this is your hope anyway.

Last edited by Peter K. Mose; 02/22/21 10:21 PM.
Joined: Feb 2018
Posts: 176
M
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
M
Joined: Feb 2018
Posts: 176
I was expecting to read that the problem parent is one who had transitioned but I see it's someone who was started on the new system!

Originally Posted by PianoPlayer1685
about how paying in advance hasn't worked for them in the past and how we'd agreed upon this method already

The initial agreement was not for her method, right? So she's either misunderstanding (charitable interpretation) or straight up lying. Do NOT feel guilty; you are running a business model of pre-payment, like a concert or movie or theme park admission, not post-payment, like a restaurant or utility bill. You have the right to set the terms for your business, and if she doesn't want to buy what you're selling, she's free to go to another business.

Originally Posted by PianoPlayer1685
told the parent that she can pay in advance and I'm not making any exception

GOOD and if you wanted to be scathing, which I wouldn't advise, you would make a big speech about how "invoicing for tuition after the fact has not worked for you in the past". However, I would suggest (for future reference) to start off in affirmative terms such as "you need to have the same process for everyone" instead of "not making an exception" which reads more negatively. Save the stronger language for another round if it comes to that...

It sounds like you are standing your ground, so just keep doing that professionally and calmly, and especially have everything in writing to remind yourself that you did indeed say it. Think very carefully about giving them an inch because they are already showing that they will swiftly expect a mile. I'm envisioning a possible situation in which they show up at a lesson without having paid, and you either have to wait around for a payment (cash in hand if meeting in person, otherwise electronic payment) to come through OR for the sake of the children who are not responsible for adult logistics, go ahead and have the lesson and risk the family disappearing on you.

I used to have the following difficulty when collecting tuition by month: families waiting until the last lesson to tell me they were not continuing, or worse, the next month has started, their time has been (continued to be) reserved, other students and things scheduled around it, and then they tell me. Or worst: complete no-show and I could either drop them immediately and reconfigure my schedule or give benefit of the doubt and try to find out if some crisis had happened. I planned ensemble classes, performance events, materials, etc. by semester, allotted "bonus" lessons (an alternative to "making up" lessons) as a benefit for continuous enrollment, and it was of course annoying when families would skip out mid-term.

Joined: Nov 2018
Posts: 457
P
Full Member
Online Content
Full Member
P
Joined: Nov 2018
Posts: 457
Stepping outside of the piano teaching universe I would advise that having multiple payment methods / programs would be problematic anyways. Unless there is a compelling reason to have special terms life will be much easier for you to have everyone on the same program. Once you start having carve outs for one client then inevitably you will have carve outs for others. That becomes a management hassle that you should try to avoid. Consistency will allow you to focus more on delivering the services and less on the operational details. Keep it simple if you can.

BTW as an aside if you were to go with the payment in arrears approach you will most likely get burned at some point when a student leaves.


Yamaha NU1X, Sennheiser HD 599 headphones, dabling with PianoTeq
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 370
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 370
Not much advice, except, keep a receipt book up to date, with copies- one for you, and a physical receipt for the parent.
I do this for book purchases also, and supplies, for tax purposes.

I got my receipt book at the office section in the grocery store. High tech me!

My students pay in advance by the semester (with a slight discount) or by the month, same fee each month.

You do note need to be chasing parents and paper each payment time. Be factual, non-emotional.
Fact- tuition is X amount, due X date. You are X days late. I will not be able to teach X children until payment is made. Your payment guarantees their time slot that I prepare specifically for their lesson. Thank you.

And, do not miss lessons yourself, as a teacher. When we did not have power last week, I contacted my families and we are working on make-up times now. Responses have been quite good.

So, show that your product and time are valuable.

And, if this mom refuses to pay, find something/someone else, to fill the spots. Call her bluff. Think of the savings (if she quits) in headache medicines!


Learning as I teach.
Joined: Jan 2019
Posts: 95
P
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
P
Joined: Jan 2019
Posts: 95
So if you agree to this mother's plan, and let her pay at the end of the month, I wonder if she'll deduct a week's payment if the kid no-shows?

My gut feeling: Yes!!

Joined: Feb 2021
Posts: 9
P
Junior Member
OP Offline
Junior Member
P
Joined: Feb 2021
Posts: 9
Hey everyone, thanks so much for your replies! It's so nice to read all your posts and feel like I'm doing the right thing in going about it this way.

UPDATE:We have exchanged some more messages, and the parent has done a complete U-turn. I think as soon as she realised I would not teach her children unless we did the payment my way, she became very apologetic and agreed my way was completely fine. In reply to mostlystrings, no I had never agreed to her method in the first place- in fact she had agreed to my method. I'm so glad I stood my ground, as I think sometimes people think we're desperate for their business, when we're usually not! I'm really hoping things go smoothly from here, as both children were lovely when I met them and are very focused on piano. I'll let you all know if there's any more updates on situation, but hopefully all goes well with payments from here on out. One good thing that has come from this is that I'm really on my guard for any similar situations that come up in future!

Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,322
C
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
C
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,322
And hopefully you have enjoyed the lesson you learned that you can change how people treat you. You have more power than you think.

But if this happens again, you can ask the student to take a month off so they will have money to always pay you in the beginning of the month. Sometimes, people ask to pay late because they don't have the money.

Another option is to say you can do that system if they give you a one month's deposit which you will save until their last month of lessons is due.

Finally, parents like to do things like everybody else does it. For many things, I say, "All the parents do this...".

Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,294
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,294
At least the mom didn't pull the trendy "teach my kid for free for the EXPERIENCE" that I see a lot of musicians getting treated lately. (Or maybe I just see that when I hang out on guitar forums and keep an eye on my kids' TikTok accounts.)


I do music stuffs
Yep, I have a YouTube channel!

Current:
1998 PETROF Model IV Chippendale
LEGO Grand Piano (IDEAS 031|21323)
YAMAHA PSR-520

Past:
2017 Charles Walter 1500 in semi-polish ebony
1991 Kawai 602-M Console in Oak

Moderated by  Ken Knapp 

Link Copied to Clipboard
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
(ad)
Couch to Concert Hall
Couch to Concert Hall
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Editing Solo Piano ???
by DigitalMusicProduc - 04/18/21 07:42 PM
Borgato speaks about piano craft
by VladK - 04/18/21 07:14 PM
Modernised classics.
by treefrog - 04/18/21 06:39 PM
Brahms Hungarian Dance #5
by Works1 - 04/18/21 05:57 PM
Recommendations on interesting YouTube lectures?
by ZigZagStory - 04/18/21 05:08 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
Forum Statistics
Forums42
Topics206,382
Posts3,083,924
Members101,234
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers

Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |


© copyright 1997 - 2021 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5