In home studio/ sick children - How do you keep from losing money?

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Postby jenscott90 » Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:18 am

In my studio policy, I explicitly give credit for the following month in the case of an emergency, which I describe as illness or other unforeseeable event. Other than that, I ask for 24 hours' notice if a child will not attend their scheduled lesson time.

My problem is about losing that money when others are sick, but also when my own child is sick. Has anyone had this problem?

I give notice to that day's lesson parents if I have my own child ill at home, and usually state that I will have lessons as normal (unless my child is unusually ill). I give them the option to cancel, basically at my expense, crediting the next month's lessons. (I have them pay per month, at the first lesson.)

My one option that I can see is doing makeups. Other than that, what options do you use?

Thanks very much.
Jen
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Wed Oct 29, 2008 7:59 am

This is a continuing problem we have dealt with several times here on the Board and on the main part of PEP. There are a couple threads which are relevant: Scheduling Make-ups and Piano hygiene. There are also a couple longer articles on the same subjects which appear in the Teaching Studio section of PEP. I won't try to rehash these threads and articles here.

I think giving make-ups is, by far, the preferable option when needing to cancel lessons because your own child is sick. Setting the precedent of giving "refunds" or "credits" can quickly lead you into people asking for refunds for all kinds of circumstances. This issue is dealt with in some detail in the Missed Lessons article in the Teaching Studio that I referred to earlier.

This comment is particularly apropos today, as there appeared in today's paper the results of a study on how much germ and virus contamination is transferred through common household items (doorknobs, etc.) when one person in the household is sick. The study shows that, even with reasonably good hygiene practices, germs and viruses appear just about everywhere on surfaces and remain viable for at a least a couple of days. Of course, the piano in a teaching studio is a "treasure trove" of infectious agents, because so many different children touch it so much of the time.

As stated in the articles and threads I've cited, your best defense against cancellations made necessary (and they are necessary) by illness of students or your own children is to encourage people who are sick not to come to lessons. Provide a make-up, not a refund, for lessons missed under such circumstances. Of course, you can make some efforts to prevent students from transferring illnesses to your children, e.g. by use of good hygienic practices with your piano and keeping your kids away from students as much as possible. However, school-age children have lots of chances for exposure to germs and viruses outside the teaching studio, so such efforts may not be 100% effective.

Although this hasn't been discussed much in the threads, another option for you, if the parents agree, is to prepare lesson materials for the ill child to do at home. The parent can pick these up and have the child do them at home (in lieu of the lesson). This only works for the child who isn't terribly ill, so some students and parents won't like this option.




Edited By Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor on 1225289586
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Postby jenscott90 » Sat Nov 01, 2008 8:24 am

Excellent source...sorry I missed it the first time around. Thank you!
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Postby Tranquillo » Fri Nov 07, 2008 5:49 am

Do you have a studio policy Jen?
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