I teach both piano and harp; harp lesson fees are pretty much set due to what the local market will bear,
After many years of charging per lesson, this year I switched to a “semester” payment plan and I love it. I divide the school year into three semesters (Sept-Dec., Jan-March, and April-June). I send out a schedule of the weeks I will be teaching, times that by my lesson fee, and divide by the number of months in the semester. The student pays the resultant sum at the first lesson of each month. If they miss, it’s up to me whether I will schedule a make up based on their reason for missing. Make ups have to be done within two months. I do not send out any invoices and do everything through email.
Although this sounds incredibly complicated on paper, it works beautfiully and I am fairly compensated for time I have set aside for a student. I have had many fewer cancellations this year, which is obviously good for the student as well.
Summer months I charge per lesson due to vacations and my own out-of-town schedule.
I have used a system based on dance classes in which the student prepays for a certain number of lessons to be used up within a certain amount of time, say 4 lessons within a 5-week period, after which it expires. We each have a card on which I can mark off each lesson as it is given. I find it difficult to get adults to pay for more than that in advance, and many don’t want to even pay one week in advance. It is difficult. If you are in a position to turn them away, you have more leverage. Any dance studio, if not by the semester, will sell a ten-class card with an expiration date. If you look at one, you will see how you might design one of your own and print it on card stock so it is durable. The alternative is to simply write out a receipt when you receive payment, keeping a copy, and noting the number of lessons it covers. It is easy to get confused. Week-by-week students have no incentive to make up missed lessons, unfortunately, and care little for your time having been set aside.
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