As a piano teacher do you have worries and concerns about maintaining a steady income?
I certainly did for many years. When I started to teach I was very ad-hoc about how I actually ran the business side of things. I never created a business plan for my teaching in my early days. Why should I? After all I didn’t view what I did as being a business. I just taught the piano and got paid for it. I had no terms and conditions and no contracts for some time; in retrospect I can see that this led to many problems with parents and pupils.
In particular last minute lesson cancellations (CLICK HERE for more on this) and late or even non-payment of lesson fees were quite common. This led to a fluctuating income stream and I was constantly anxious about how I was going to to pay the mortgage and bills month-after-month.
The change came for me when I sat down one summer holiday and took a few days to think about how I wanted the business end to run. I spent time researching and talking to other piano teachers and business owners about how they organised the business side of their piano studios.
By looking at the situation from the perspective of how to earn a steady income throughout the year my thinking about how to organise matters changed significantly.
Today all my piano students are on yearly contracts. That means that either parents or adult students have signed up for piano lessons for the year.
Here’s the 5 key benefits I have found from establishing a yearly contract with my piano parents and students.
#1 INCREASED COMMITMENT AND VALUE
With a yearly contract everyone knows and understands that learning the piano is for the long-term. Committing to lessons for the whole year sends out a clear message to all concerned that learning to play the piano is not a quick-fix activity. It takes time and some dedication to achieve and its perceived value increases.
#2 STEADY INCOME STREAM
Lessons are paid for by monthly standing orders that run for 10 months from October – July. This means that my income stream is guaranteed for those months and I can budget for the summer months accordingly. By the way, parents really like this upfront clarity about their financial commitments as well.
#3 REDUCTION OF PAPERWORK
Everything gets set up at the start of the new academic year. This does take some time so is best prepared for during the summer break. Contracts are signed before the start of the new year and monthly direct debits are set up. The rest of the year is paperwork free!
#4 ELIMINATION OF CANCELLATIONS/MAKE UP LESSONS HASSLE
As a teacher who has a fixed number of teaching weeks on offer (CLICK HERE to read this blog) last minute lesson cancellations are no longer a hassle. All parents have signed a detailed contract stating the options. If, halfway through the year, they forget what these are (which they do) a gentle reminder of the T&Cs always jogs their memory.
#5 GROWTH IN SENSE OF PROFESSIONALISM AS A TEACHER
Being organised and business-like with contracts and T&Cs sends out a clear message to clients and potential clients regarding how I view myself as a piano teacher. The more professional I feel and act the more respect I get.
Moving onto a yearly contract is a big step and one that needs considerable planning. It certainly can’t be put into place in a hurry! So taking your time to plan ahead is essential.
If you’d like to find out how to guarantee your income for the year head join us for our FREE WEBINAR. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
Sharon and I will be taking you step-by-step through piano teaching business essentials that will give you the freedom to focus on your teaching during term time.
If you’ve got a piano business related problem or question and would like more clarity and some answers on how to tackle it sign up today.
The replay will be available to anyone who registers even if you can’t make it live.
This blog post was written by Dr Sally Cathcart, co-founder and Director of The Curious Piano Teachers.