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Billing Parents via email - do you have a system for this? (Read 2015 times)

Offline green

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Billing Parents via email - do you have a system for this?
« on: September 08, 2013, 07:32:24 PM »
I was just considering billing parents via email. Does anyone do this? I wondered if there was some 'professional' format or program for doing this up properly and keeping track of all bills and payments. It's becoming annoying being payed late, then the wrong amount, confusion from parents even after having explained it to them when we first met, and all the info is also on my web site. A few new students at the moment which explains it, but it would probably even look good if this is done the right way, to have a bill sent to everyone's email a few days before the end of the month (for the following month), which also (re)-states the policy or something like that, some neat and tidy consistent system, how does everyone manage this?

Offline Bob

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Re: Billing Parents via email - do you have a system for this?
«Reply #1 on: September 08, 2013, 08:53:32 PM »
Would something like PayPal work?
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline green

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Re: Billing Parents via email - do you have a system for this?
«Reply #2 on: September 09, 2013, 06:31:17 AM »
I dont know about paypal, I should have mentioned that most of my students pay by internet banking directly to my account. I give them two options, cash - due on the last lesson of the month, for the next month - or online banking/ATM transfer - which is due by the last day of the month. They mostly have chosen online transfer as they then have a receipt, and its just easier to do and I prefer it.

All of my students are expats (here in SE asia), but I have one new student who is local, the only local I now have, they saw my web site, I discussed how I accept payment at the first lesson, they chose online banking, I sent the parent my details via sms, then the 3rd of this month rolled around and I had not received anything, so I sent her an email saying I must have forgotten to give my details, gave them again, and confirmed the number of days for lessons in the month and times, got an email back re affirming the times, 4 days later at the next lesson still had not received anything but she calls me when I arrived at their home (she was out somewhere) to tell me she had lost the details and could I send them again, when I get home I sent the details again via email, AND, I had received an envelope with cash for the lesson that day from her husband, when I checked the money, it was 30 minutes short! I had taught an additional 30 minutes for her son that day which had been agreed upon the previous week and then again in the previous email. So I noted that in the email I resent with the new bank details, and asked to confirm that that was correct. That was 2 days ago. So!! You see the sort of nonsense I get here, if I don't hear from her before the next lesson then that will be it. Maybe they are worried I might run off with their money, but, in any case, if they are going to completely dishonor our agreement, not make any previous arrangement with me, and keep saying they are going to pay me but don't, then what on earth am I supposed to assume or do about it! 

 

Offline Bob

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Re: Billing Parents via email - do you have a system for this?
«Reply #3 on: September 10, 2013, 12:12:45 AM »
I like the idea of higher rates if they pay later.  If they pay in the time you want, it's "reduce" (or the amount you actually want.  If they pay later... If they *choose* to pay later, then they miss out on that discount (not really) and pay more (pay the penalty actually).  The extra amount being what you're willing to put up with for that extra amount of money. 

Something like... Pay the month up front before the first of the month and it's $20/hour.  Pay at each lesson and it's $30/hour.

And something about missed payments.  Maybe they lose their timeslot after two missed payment (two total in one year, something like that).  So if they don't pay on time, they don't get the best time spots. 

A couple notifications is more than enough.  A website where they could log in and check their time might be good if you have that option.  Then they can just go to the website. 

It does sound like they'll keep yanking you around.  I wouldn't completely cut them off though -- It's income.  I'd do something like not doing the next lesson until they pay the full amount for the others.  And then have them pay in advance for the next lesson -- No payment, no lesson scheduled.  And by then, they've already lost their time slot.  Normal/"preferred" treatment for those that follow the rules.  The others have to pay upfront, etc. have to pay more because you have to mess around with extra thinking with them.

Let them get burned.  They'll learn and do what you want, they won't learn but you'll (eventually) get paid more, or they'll leave and you won't have to deal with that anymore, although you'll be out that income too.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline green

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Re: Billing Parents via email - do you have a system for this?
«Reply #4 on: September 11, 2013, 04:35:41 PM »
I find payment to be the one issue that causes the most stress. And I agree that holding onto that stress because it is income is a huge problem. I can't afford to drop students like that, which I guess is like saying I can afford to keep stress like that. So thats what I'm looking for, ways to eliminate the stress but not the students!

BTW I did get paid by that parent, after I posted that response, and all of my machinations and anger more or less vanished. I suspect with a professional email system worked out to bill parents and send reminders, that that would help without getting personal about things.

Post dated checks for the year might work, but student schedules change so much month to month, I suppose the point is that you have booked my time, and then the months with 5 weeks are a free lesson, or makeup lesson, unfortunately here my expat families dont usually have checking accounts...and I happen to look forward to those months with 5 weeks :)

Offline Bob

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Re: Billing Parents via email - do you have a system for this?
«Reply #5 on: September 12, 2013, 12:34:05 AM »
I'd do the extra charge penalty thing.  That's the price of the stress.  (Or what is the price of that stress worth to you?)  Something like that might nudge them enough to start paying on time.  And if it's presented as a discount for paying early or on time, you avoid the "I am giving you a penalty!" awkwardness.  Now it would a "Oo, man... You just missed the time period to get a discount, yeah... You have to pay the regular price now."


Otherwise (this is a joke) I was going to ask if you had heard of the piano mafia.  "Won't pay for the lesson, eh?"  Perhaps they could do you a favor and collect the payment for you.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline Bob

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Re: Billing Parents via email - do you have a system for this?
«Reply #6 on: September 12, 2013, 12:41:55 AM »
Interesting.  I thought post-dated checks were illegal.  It still doesn't sound like a great idea though for either side.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."