Teaching music lessons in your own private studio gives you a great deal of freedom compared to teaching under the auspices of a community music school. One of the basic administrative things you have to decide if you teach private lessons independently is whether you want to charge students by the week or by the month. There are three setups you can choose from:
1.) Students pay weekly.
Pros: Easy to keep track of whether a lesson has been paid for or if a student still owes; no need to deal with refunding for lessons.
Con: Harder to get a student to pay for a lesson that gets cancelled with less than 24 hours notice.
2.) Students pay a lump sum for all lessons scheduled in a given month (payment usually happens at the first lesson of the month).
Pros: Fewer payments to keep track of; discourages last-minute cancellations.
Cons: Creates more work when students require a refund for a cancelled lesson; assumes that students have a fairly regular lesson schedule.
3.) Students pay a flat monthly tuition, regardless of the number of lessons scheduled for that month.
Pro: No need to calculate lesson tuition for each month because it's the same; ensures a more steady income for the teacher.
Con: Students might feel that a month when they don't have a lesson every week but still have to pay the same flat rate is unfair.
I used to charge my students weekly, but when I switched to the second method above, I found that my students cancelled less and gave me more notice when they did need to miss a lesson. It also meant fewer checks to deposit, which made trips to the bank easier. Some teachers prefer to do things differently, but the monthly invoices have worked well for me.
How do you bill your students? How does your music teacher charge you? Share in the comments!