In every profession, there will be challenges. One particular challenge for piano teachers is being paid on time. And while the lovely bits of teaching piano far outweigh the headaches, this is one particular problem that seems to plague us all.
But, as with any problem, there are solutions. As the owner of a 350 student music school, I’ve had lots of practice in this regard… and after 16 years I’ve learned that the following 5 tips are really helpful when organizing the way you are paid.
Payment Solutions for Piano Teachers
1. Be Professional in your Billing: In order for your clients to take your payment “rules” seriously, you need to provide an invoice in a professional way. This means it must be in writing and it must be both visually attractive and easy to read. Find a template of an invoice you like and use this with all of your students each time you are requesting payment. Include your business name, the date you are providing the invoice, the date you require payment by and if you have them, late fees (and at what date the late fees will apply).
2. Offer More Than One Payment Method: Nowadays there are many ways you can accept payment: cheque, cash, pay-pal, online, by credit card or by debit card (if you have an iPhone and a device like this one). It’s important to offer your clients more than one way to pay. In a best-case scenario offer them a physical method of payment and a digital way of payment. This way, if they’ve forgotten their physical method of payment they can still provide the digital method to you once they arrive at the lesson and you then avoid the “I’ll bring it next week” that comes with the potential to forget again.
3. Provide a Reminder via Text or Email: Sending a reminder is always a good idea. The most effective way to do so is by text or email. Consider using this program to do so. Send your reminder the day or night before your payment is due to avoid being forgotten in the craziness of the week.
4. Keep it Simple: You’ll have greater success if you bill your clients in a predictable way every month rather than having the amount vary or change each month. If they know they owe you $80 every month they’re more likely to remember than if October is $67.50, November is $82.25, and so on. Implement a payment system where you can have an equal monthly payment and keep things simple.
5. Work on Relationship Building: If you regularly maintain relationships with your clients, are “in touch” often about non-payment related topics, and have done these things we suggest here, then you’ll likely end up with fewer payment problems. It’s more difficult to not pay someone whom you really like and feel connected to. Think of how badly you feel when you owe a dear friend money… it weighs on you and you’re likely to pay up right away.
Learn To See The Big Picture
This is a common piano teaching problem… and because it is so common you’re likely to have those who, even after implementing these 5 tips, will continue to be late on payments. However, this is not just a piano teaching problem! A large part of running a business means collecting money. Almost every business has to deal with the same thing.
By dealing with payment collection in a matter of fact, organized and professional manner, and learning to see the big picture in terms of headaches vs. rewards of teaching, you can ease your stress considerably.