Though I don’t like hanging on to the per lesson price part of my plan, I don’t see a way around it to be fair to the parents if I have to miss a lesson. Do you ever have to miss a lesson, Natalie, anyone? What do you do?
Last week’s Monday Mailbag post on Determining Monthly Tuition got a lot of great feedback, including the above question. I purposely titled the post “Do Independent Music Teachers Get Sick Days?” because this is how we really need to think about the question. We have to keep in mind that we are business owners employing ourselves, so it’s imperative to consider what benefits we should include in our policies. If we were working for another school or organization, we would probably expect to get a certain amount of time for vacation and sick days. Since we are our own employers, we should figure out a way to incorporate those into our payment plan. This has been a really helpful perspective to keep in mind over the years as I’ve established my studio and set policies in place.
My approach is pretty simple. I just state in my policies that I reserve the right to cancel one additional non-scheduled week off each semester. This is to be done at my discretion, however, I’ve only used it a couple of times – once when I traveled out of the country, and once when I was sick. If I don’t take that time off, the student benefits from an extra lesson that semester, which is usually what happens. Also, because most of the teachers in my area still offer makeup lessons of some sort, I keep my rates a little lower to compensate for the fact that I don’t offer makeups for missed lessons.
Are there any other thoughts or perspectives on building room for vacation, personal, and sick days into your schedule? What has worked well in your studio?
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!