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  • Students Owing Some Money (All Teachers)

    Posted by Beckie Tunnicliffe on November 9, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    Just a bit of advice really needed on my next step!

    Got a student who is currently owing money from missed lessons, they are currently on my ‘pay as you go’ scheme rather than pay monthly.

    Invoice was served in February and the date due passed at the beginning of this month, and so late payment charges are being applied for each late day.

    Payment still hasn’t come through even though I am emailing and texting daily, so I have said that if it is not received by midnight tonight then all future lessons will be suspended until payment is made.

    SO what I’m looking for is what is my next step should the payment still not be made even if I suspend lessons? I don’t think the amount owed is substantial enough for small claims court unfortunately.

    EDIT: Will also note that this is a long standing student who has been with me for a few years, payments used to be absolutely fine with them up until the end of last year!

    Phil Schneider replied 5 years, 3 months ago 5 Members · 12 Replies
  • 12 Replies
  • Guest Teacher

    Member
    November 9, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    I usual only give students two weeks if no payment received I suspend lessons X

  • Leigh Fuge

    Member
    November 9, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    Beckie Oldham I’ve had to deal with something similar a few times in the past.

    I had someone who was ignoring the fact they didn’t show for some lessons, for me the threat of suspending lessons for them did the trick (It was 2 weeks worth of lessons they were a no-show for) – you’re right in what you’re doing. If the threat of suspension doesn’t shake them up then unfortunately I think it might be a lost cause. Is it a few lessons worth? It’s always hard to write off earnings. As you said, its not an SCC issue because its a low amount. You’d also have to consider if your time is valuable enough to chase it, or if you can just take it on the chin and move on.

    In the past I’ve also had someone attend a lesson saying he didn’t have any cash on him and that he’d pop to the cash point at the end of my road and drop it back in. This wasn’t an issue as I tend to trust students and in the past people have done this and honoured in. This particular guy didn’t return. I found it odd because it was perhaps his 7/8th lesson but I dismissed it as he’d just forgot because we discussed it at the start of the lesson. So I texted him, he asked if he could bank transfer me the funds so I agreed and he said he would bank transfer me that lesson and the following lessons worth. Week after rolls around and I’ve got him booked in and he doesn’t show…. I then ended up 2 lessons out of pocket. He never returned any texts or calls.

    Since that, I’ve learnt my lesson. All lessons are payable upfront via Paypal invoices now. You have to pay Paypal a small commission (3p per £1 I believe), but for me the piece of mind that its paid is so much better than having to chase cash transactions. Also my admin is reduced because the money goes straight to my bank!

  • Leigh Fuge

    Member
    November 9, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    But… you could always call their bluff and tell them you’ll be speaking to the Small Claims Court… perhaps that’ll light a fire under them🙂

  • Beckie Tunnicliffe

    Member
    November 9, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    The invoice that is late is for 4 lessons missed over the course of a month (I teach 2 children out of the family), but there is another invoice for one more missed lesson in February, but that isn’t due until the beginning of next month.

    The parent has text me back saying that payment will be made tomorrow, but now having the cheek of trying to reschedule tonights lesson to monday – I’ve told them there will be no reschedule until the payment is made. So just got to see what happens tomorrow!

    They used to be really good in terms of paying – they would pay in cash at the start of the lesson, then this all changed as of December, they’ve become very sporadic and I am barely seeing the students (they keep cancelling an hour before the lesson so I am still charging for lesson) I’m considering making them move to the ‘pay monthly’ scheme so that there is less chance of this happening again, and I get payments for the full month in advance. I have spoken to the parent about the regularity of the lessons and they’ve said they want to carry on with them.

    I’ve had to write off earnings before, with both students and other teachers I have worked with in the past (but thats a whole other story lol)

    Just glad to know that what I’m doing is right!

  • Leigh Fuge

    Member
    November 9, 2018 at 12:46 pm

    Glad you got it sorted (provisionally!)

    I’ve had that issue in the past too. I find the issue is, for the children that are learning, music is a hobby. It’s something they do in their spare time. It’s seen as ok to miss a night of a hobby. They don’t see the implication on it being someones job/income.

    It’s not seen as a big issue to cancel something that’s a hobby. I find most people are totally understanding of this being our jobs and our livelihood depending on them showing up as scheduled. But you do occasionally get someone that comes along to throw a challenge in the mix.

    It almost goes back to the age old idea that what we do isn’t actually a job! haha.

    “But it’s not really working is it, you’re just making music”

    😃

  • Monika Welch

    Member
    November 9, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    I have had a student in the past who transferred money in advance for her lesson but then failed to attend and kept cancelling 3 weeks in a row giving me literally one day’s notice. She then requested for the payment to be transferred back to her due to her not being able to attend any more lessons, which I stupidly did. I also have another student (a young girl) whose mum drops her off and then goes shopping and gets back late which means her daughter stays well over her scheduled time. Once she was late 15 mins and my next student had to wait in the car as it would have been utterly irresponsible of me to let a young girl wait outside for her mum. Last week, the mum was late 25 mins! My lessons are half hour so her daughter practically got another lesson for free because again I didnt have the heart to let her out and make her wait for her mum in the cold. Her mum did apologise but the thought of perhaps paying me for another lesson never crossed her mind. It’s experiences like that which make me feel utterly disheartened about this profession. Rant over! :))))

  • Guest Teacher

    Member
    November 9, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    Are you with ISM or someone similar? They can help deal with these situations. I would call them and ask for their advice. They may be able to take action on your behalf x

  • Beckie Tunnicliffe

    Member
    November 9, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    Yes I’m with ISM, I’ve just checked my bank account and they’ve paid up so I will definitely be in touch with them should this happen again 🙂

  • Beckie Tunnicliffe

    Member
    November 9, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    Just an update: they’ve paid! …until one months time when no doubt the next invoice will be late! 😬

  • Guest Teacher

    Member
    November 9, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    Listen. Simple as it is. Just get paid up front. There you are😎👍

  • Phil Schneider

    Member
    November 9, 2018 at 12:56 pm

    You can write non payments as a bad debt in your tax return accounts. Most business have them

  • Phil Schneider

    Member
    November 9, 2018 at 12:56 pm

    just had a non payer
    This is my email

    “It looks like you have been unable to attend the lesson you have booked for today. I havent received payment for the last lesson and now additionally this lesson. Please pay in the next 7 days. If you are unable to pay please contact me and I can look at writing of the debt. If I dont hear from you I will assume you are taking the service(guitar lesson) and not paying for it. I will then need to look at escalating the case.”

    after this ILL write it off anyway.All business has bad debts.
    the worst bit is being ignored and people thinking that is problem solved

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