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Cancellation policies for tutoring?

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Joined: 21 Oct 2012
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 6:46 am    Post subject: Cancellation policies for tutoring? Reply with quote

Among those of you who work as private tutors, what is your cancellation and payment policy? Or your policy on how you deal with those with frequent last minute cancellations.

When I started out I was too na´ve and lenient. Now that I've been private tutoring for a few years, I'm becoming less tolerant of last minute cancellations and late payment. My first one was a disaster. My good natured disposition took over and I foolishly wrote the clause, "excusable cancellations include last minute family emergencies, illnesses or inclement weather". Surely there are those students who take advantage of that and lie.

I hate to appear ruthless when I've built their trust in me for the past few years, yet at the same time, I don't want to get screwed financially.

I'd like to hear from you.
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Joined: 13 Sep 2015
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2017 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm amazed nobody ever picked up this topic. It's an interesting one in that the dynamics involved in private tuition often mean that you develop a close and friendly relationship with students, which can make it awkward if they don't respect your boundaries.

It's important to let them know from the start if you have a cancellation policy - and in writing, such as an email. I charge 50% of the lesson fee if they cancel fewer than 24 hours in advance (actually, I charged one student the full fee after I'd ridden by motorcycle across the city in the rain only to find him not home and still at work because he'd got the days muddled up).

However, you have to be human and make exceptions for illness, family emergencies and the like, and some people will, of course, take advantage of that, but in my experience you can soon work out if someone is doing so. If that's the case, it's time to suggest they find a different teacher.

Cancellations are inevitable and unfortunately it does seem that when people are under pressure at work or have other pressing things to do, the sacrifice of their English lesson is an easy way to buy some time.
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Joined: 10 Feb 2017
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 2:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used to teach for an English institute that would charge students for a certain number of private classes. If the student cancelled less than 24 hours before the class the student would lose that particular class time. If a student is serious about learning then I feel paying in advance is something that they would not mind doing, even if it is only blocks of three classes. As a TESOL professional you should value the student's time and vice versa. I had a roommate that had private English classes but he would get mad because sometimes students would be behind in paying him. Save yourself from these headaches. If you believe in the service that you are providing I do not think it is unquestionable to ask students to pay for your time and services in advance. If you trust your student then believe them when there is an emergency and could not give you notice 24 hours notice in advance. They should at least have the common decency to cancel class at least an hour or two before class starts. How much English do you think your student will learn anyway if they are disorganized? Find better students who are more responsible and dependable. Don't be afraid to cut ties with English language learners who are frequently flaky.
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Joined: 27 Apr 2018
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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2018 7:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It depends on how good of a client (student) is. If it's a long term student, then I often turn a blind eye even to last minute cancellations.

However, in general, I've always been very, very generous and understanding and find that the vast majority of students really appreciate it if I do NOT charge them for missed lessons. Even if it their fault entirely that they missed a lesson or have to cancel last minute, it always tends to make (most) of them feel bad and as a result they end up taking more lessons.

The one or two times where I actually charged a student for a no-show or late cancellation, I never heard back from them.

If someone should do this late cancellation thing with me frequently, I would simply tell them that I do not wish to work with students who can not honour scheduled lessons. Fortunately that has never happened to me in 15 years of teaching.
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