Monday Mailbag – Determining Monthly Tuition

After the past few months of lost income due to students canceling lessons for injuries, soccer games, vacations, etc., I am realizing how wise you and other teachers are for charging monthly tuition rather than per-lesson fees! Switching to such a policy for this fall is top on my priority list, but I am curious about one thing: how do you handle monthly tuition when students have different lesson lengths? Do you charge one tuition for everyone, or is it dependent on length of lessons?

Glad you are finally seeing the light! Unfortunately, most of us have to learn the hard way. Having a parent call a few minutes after their lesson is supposed to start to say they can’t make it because they are at the mall shopping and lost track of time makes you start re-evaluating your business practices real quick! [True story, by the way…]

The only lesson times I offer are 45-minute and 1-hour. I charge a different flat monthly rate for each of those and the families pay accordingly. I’ve been offering 45-minute lessons as the minimum now in my studio for many years and I can’t imagine teaching 30-minute lessons. You can read a post I wrote several years ago about How to Transition to Longer Lessons.

Some teachers pro-rate longer lessons, but it makes more sense to me to charge the same base rate and just bill the family based on whether they opt for the 45-minute lessons or something longer. Some teachers actually prefer to charge by the semester, which I think is a great option as well. For now, the monthly seems to work best for my studio. As you’re switching over to this new tuition model, you might want to check out another post I wrote on Three Simple Questions to Help You Figure Out What to Charge for Lessons.

I would love to have input from other teachers on this important subject as well, especially those who have made the transition from per lesson fees to monthly or semester tuition!

Remember, if you have a question you’d like to contribute to next week’s Monday Mailbag, leave it in the comments below or send me an e-mail sometime this week with Monday Mailbag in the subject line!

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