I have recently started my own business - Private Music Classes and was wondering if someone could recommend me an efficient appointment booking system that would help me organize my students' visits more effectively. Thank you for your help!!!
- Colin Nicholson
- Executive Poster
- Posts: 1836
- Joined: 04 Jul 2010, 19:15
- Location: Morpeth, Northumberland
I offer drinks to the parents & pupil/ coffee/ tea to make them feel relaxed. At the end of the session, I then hand them my Piano Time leaflet, an application form, and finally a "payment overview form" - this outlines the 2 tariffs I teach, choosing either weekly or monthly (monthly lessons being slightly cheaper).
For the first 4 weeks, the parents pay weekly (£10 per week intro fee) - this is to see if the pupil settles down & enjoys the lessons (I sometimes tell parents this is a trial period) ...... then after 4 weeks, the parent then chooses weekly or monthly payments. Most beginners start with a 30 minute lesson each week for about 1 year, then increase to 45 mins.
If the parents want to start the lessons properly (after the meet & greet), I then offer them various slots.... but I think it is important to stick to the same day and time each week. With exceptions to a parent working shifts, so I have a pupil who changes the day each week.... but they are always regular. Unless you have an adult learner who only wants the occasional lesson.... best to charge them weekly tariff.
For children aged 7 upwards, it is important that they have a weekly lesson, 30 minute session.
The weekly tariff (after week 4) starts at £12.50 for 30 minutes/ pay as you go/ cancel giving 48 hours notice. The monthly tariff is £40/ month (these tariffs vary depending if the pupil is a beginner or not). The monthly tariff is treated as a package deal - so I tell parents not to think of "£10 per week" .... but "£40 per month" .... similar to the attitude of paying for monthly car insurance or rent. If they choose monthly, then once the four advanced lessons are booked - consecutively on a weekly basis, if they cancel "mid term" - they still pay for the lesson; but they can reschedule any lesson to a different day if they want.... but they don't get their money back (or push the lesson to a following week) if they pay monthly. This is a good system I have, and weeds out time wasters/ poor payers. Parents also can at any time switch to the weekly tariff. Rule is.... be "firm but nice" about it.... don't let parents rule your business.... afterall you have a business to run.
If parents tell me in advance they can't attend a week just as they pay monthly tariff (say week 3).... then that's fine, I don't charge for it, but once they agree to a month, hand over the £40 money.... it's deemed as "booked".
From the very start, before their first proper "paid lesson" - parents are told this, and given information.
If by any chance a parent/ student starts cancelling regularly, and there becomes a pattern.... (and they pay monthly) .... have a word with them and say they may lose the monthly status, and you may switch them to weekly. Parents know that they will save quite a bit paying monthly.... it's regular money, and I don't get messed about.
For holiday periods, I just ask them to give me about 2 weeks notice (if paying monthly). Try and make parents aware that you may still teach during some holidays, and that you are not under the same "umbrella" when it comes to school holidays (many parents think you are). Parents should still tell you in advance verbally (or by email) when their holidays are approaching, giving dates when away & a return date..... because various schools have their holidays in different weeks. For example, a local primary school started on 5th January, however a girls' grammar school starts on Thursday 8th January.... so always be clear that when children are on their school holidays, the parents just automatically stop the piano lessons and don't turn up! (been there, got the T shirt).
It is sometimes an incentive to offer cheaper lessons during summer holidays or a free lesson occasionally.
Yes, a simple diary is all I use, and say the pupil is called John, I mark each week J1 J2 J3 J4 then J owe.... simple and effective. Parents always get an E-receipt aswell (just for monthly tariff).
Hope that helps.