TIP #1: In my humble 20 years experience, the deposit fee is the single best thing that has happened in my studio. A Non-Refundable Deposit equals retention and immediately weeds out students who will have problems paying. Unless you are teaching piano lessons as a hobby, most of us NEED to be paid on time in order to provide for ourselves, our families, and we need to pay our bills and meet our commitments on time!
I charge $30/year for the first year’s non refundable deposit per student and $10 per year per student after that. You may charge more, depending on what you provide your students and the area you live in.
My Deposit money goes into supplies I buy the student…namely
~Printing Recital Programs
~Recital Hall Rental (I don’t have to pay at the places we perform at so I give that savings to the parents.)
~3 Ring Binder used to store theory worksheets or Music I print from a studio license.
The Deposit fee has a psychological effect as well. No one wants to jump ship once they’ve paid the fee. Timmy is GOING to take piano lessons for a year!
Tip #2: Charge a Late Fee. Pick a universal fee that is unpleasantly high and charge it to EVERYONE EVERY SINGLE TIME with no exceptions.
Tip #3: Have Students and Parents sign a yearly contract. I ask my students in the fall to sign up for a year’s worth of lessons and to honor that commitment. You all know how much fun I am, but I also expect my students to practice, show up for lessons (or facetime them in) and pay on time each month. Will I ever sue a parent over this contract? NO, but again, there is a psychological effect to signing a contract for anything that binds you to it. Here is a link to the fantastic Piano Teacher Packet I purchased from the Plucky Pianista Melody Payne’s Teachers Pay Teachers Store that includes an editable contract. https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/2016-2017-Piano-Teacher-Survival-Kit-135-Pages-of-Templates-Forms-1346734
Tip #4: Buy materials to sell to your students. I don’t do this personally, but I know a lot of very successful teachers who want every possible instrument, book and accessory to come from them. My version of this is that I do list all my books and materials I want students to purchase on my website. We have a very nice local music store that has over the past 2 decades managed to sell my violin students A TUNE A DAY ORCHESTRA BOOK instead of A TUNE A DAY SCALE BOOK (and they have a very short window to return items) so I don’t feel guilty about it at all and I really encourage my students to purchase from the direct links on my site so they obtain the correct book. I even have keyboards and ipads listed on my website and yes, students have purchased those items from my website before. All the little things really add up and it is a huge time commitment to set up a website but not very expensive and you can re-coop your investment through referral programs like Amazon. This is the piano books section of my website: https://violinjudy.com/current-students/books-piano/
Tip #5: RENT OUT INSTRUMENTS. If you have been teaching long enough, you may already have quite a collection of violins and or pianos living under couches, hanging out in spare bedrooms, ect. and why NOT put them to good use? If you don’t there is NOTHING wrong with heading to yard sales to find some amazing deals on keyboards.
Those are my top 5 tips! I hope they give you something new to consider