Improving your net - Best strategies

Talk with other teachers, exchange tips, participate in polls regarding a teaching studio business

Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Tue May 22, 2007 8:27 pm

I was surprised to learn, upon searching, that we have never discussed the question: What strategies work best for improving your net income from piano teaching? We have talked about marketing, studio extras, advertising and many other related topics, but, when all is said and done, what things (advertising, word-of-mouth, cutting costs, interactions with other teachers, recommendations, and many others) have helped your studio income the most? I sense that there are some strategies that work well in most studios in the U.S. and perhaps a few that are more local in nature. For those for whom money might be less important, what things have you done that have most improved your overall satisfaction with teaching piano? :)
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
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Postby Stretto » Wed May 23, 2007 1:57 pm

I hope I'm understanding the question. I would say word of mouth has helped the most to bring in more income with little effort or cost on my part except some business cards sitting out for students/parents to feel free to take and pass out. Another thing I tried last year that is bringing me another student is a "Bring-a-friend" piano party. I'm getting another student as a result of that. No income spent there except a few additional snacks.

I was just talking to someone who owned another type of business recently who told me an interesting idea. They said they have tried the gammet of advertising and networking to bring in customers. What has gotten them the most customers is providing a gift certificate to be given as a door prize at benefit auctions. They said one's name and business appears on a flyer as having donated a gift certificate and while those attending even if they aren't the one's who receive the certificate are sitting and waiting, they read the flyer and remember the name. One's business name also at some auctions runs across a lighted sign and the business name is announced when the certificate is given away. They suggested I try giving a certificate for so many free lessons but just be sure to print on the certificate "no cash value" as they have had people expecting the equivalent of the service in cash. They said half the time, people don't redeem the certificate but they get a lot of calls from those who remember the name. They said other than word of mouth, certificates at auctions are how they got the majority of their business. As far as what works locally, auctions are pretty popular around here. I might check on trying that also at the public school as they often give gift certificates and giveaways at various school functions, for example, technology night, art night, etc.

One other thought, having a no refund, no credit policy saves a lot of lost income. I knew of a teacher who gave lessons full time and totalled their losses from missed lessons over one year and were in shock at the total in lost income. Just giving a credit or refund here and there, they didn't realize how much it had added up to.

A teacher also mentioned to me they get a lot of inquiries about taking lessons when they do volunteer accompanying.




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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Thu May 24, 2007 8:21 am

Stretto wrote:I hope I'm understanding the question. I would say word of mouth has helped the most to bring in more income with little effort or cost on my part except some business cards sitting out for students/parents to feel free to take and pass out.

Yes, you did understand it. However, let me clarify it with a little explanation. When I say "net" income, I mean what you earn after the expenses for doing a particular item are subtracted. Ads might be helpful, but are often expensive, whereas "word-of-mouth" costs nothing, so 100% of any income from it is net. Letting other teachers in your area know if you're looking for students is another way of increasing your studio numbers without cost. I'm hoping teachers can help other teachers by talking about what has been most effective overall for them.
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
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Postby jenscott90 » Thu May 24, 2007 8:47 am

I live in a small town and while ads in the local weekly paper have helped get things started, they are very expensive in relation to how many students I get. I have two other teachers who are friends that are no longer taking students, so they refer potential students to me, as you suggested would be effective.

Letting the teachers at the elementary school know about my studio has currently been the most helpful. Many parents will ask their classroom teacher or the music teacher who they know that gives lessons.

I have not done gift certificates and don't have business cards, but I do maintain a website which I include in my occasional newspaper ads. I will put my next couple of ads out in the August papers, just before school starts, some after Thanksgiving and some in the spring. I try to keep a percentage of my income for advertising (about 10%), so I don't go 'overbudget'.

Thanks for this topic! I'm curious to see other ideas!

Jen
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Postby Beckywy » Thu May 24, 2007 6:42 pm

Having a good reputation with the students, the parents, neighbours, everyone.
"The real purpose of studying music-to unite ourselves with our special gifts in such a way that one would add strength to the other" Seymour Bernstein
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Postby 108-1121887355 » Fri May 25, 2007 12:54 pm

I think that says it all!
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Thu May 31, 2007 10:44 am

jenscott90 wrote:Letting the teachers at the elementary school know about my studio has currently been the most helpful. Many parents will ask their classroom teacher or the music teacher who they know that gives lessons.

I have not done gift certificates and don't have business cards, but I do maintain a website which I include in my occasional newspaper ads.

Jen,

Just a point of information:

Although I don't allow people to put personal web site URL's in posts or signatures, I DO allow them to list them in their Board Profiles, reached by clicking on the Control Panel link just below the Welcome message. If you list the URL for your web site in your profile, people can reach it by clicking the little globe icon that will appear below all your posts, one you put the URL into your profile.
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
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