Now and again,in spite of making my tuition terms and conditions very clear, the subject of ‘cancelling lessons’ crops up.
When I first started my tuition business, I was very new to running my own business and this was a very steep learning curve. People would frequently cancel lessons with little or no notice and little regard for me, thus leaving me very much out of pocket. Many months of angst and grief followed as I tried to come to terms with how to tackle this ongoing problem. This was, after all, my livelihood.
I have spent a long time addressing this issue and I now have very firm and, hopefully, easy to understand terms and conditions on my website.I direct new customers to this page as soon as they ring me so that there can be no misunderstanding!!
I charge my customers for all cancelled lessons, whatever the reason,including family holidays. As I have already mentioned, my business is my livelihood and my places are limited and always very sought after. And of course, I work incredibly hard, planning my lessons each day.
As far as cancellations are concerned, I think that the best way to explain it is that I now run my business as a private school would. Customers are given a ‘place’ or ‘slot’ which is their slot until they leave me (this requires one month’s notice). If a child attends a private school and they are absent, the school does not refund the fee and thus I work along similar lines.
If a customer asks to rearrange a lesson, there is little room for manoeuvre simply because I am always full. I cannot conjure places out of thin air, should a customer wish to take their child to a party or a football or a cricket match instead of bringing him or her to their lesson; that is their choice and I do make it quite clear in my terms and conditions that they must pay for the lesson. They have, after all, booked that slot and my time.
I also make it clear that I will not carry over cancelled lessons to the holiday or into my own spare time; customers should be very aware of this. I cannot alter lessons and teach them in my own spare time because it is my own holiday time.
I have always striven to give my customers my best, both in terms of quality of tuition and value for money. When customers occasionally cancel a lesson I always feel a little disappointed as I have missed an opportunity to teach and I know that there is little room for me to manoeuvre in order to offer a replacement slot.
Having reviewed my business of many years standing, I note that on average I rarely have more than two cancellations per month. So,I therefore ask my customers to consider what the chances would be (out of the four days in my working week) should they need to cancel their original slot, that the day I offer to them would be: a) convenient and, (even more importantly), b) whether the hour would be too!