Thursday, January 2, 2014

Best Ways to Invoice Tutoring Clients

Why just send an invoice to tutoring clients when you can use the opportunity of reporting your tutoring hours to build a stronger relationship with them instead?
This is how I envision spending non-tutoring hours, but having my own tutoring business means I get to do the admin work, too. Goal: Expedite the boring business processes!
Tutoring is all about building relationships with your students and parents (okay, it's about tutoring, too, but bear with me for a moment).

Changing your mindset regarding payment for lessons can positively affect your relationship with your client, too. 

For payment, many tutors simply invoice parents at the end of week or on a monthly basis.  Though many payment platforms, such as PayPal, QuickBooks, Quicken, and Microsoft Excel can make professional and even elegant-looking invoices, sending just an invoice means that you are missing out on one of the best opportunities for developing a strong tutor-client relationship: Positioning yourself as an invaluable resource to the parent or student. 

Instead of simply reporting tutoring hours to your tutoring client, it is better to think of invoicing as recording lessons. 

Yes, I know that the last thing that you want to do after a busy day of scheduling lessons, planning lessons, driving to students, tutoring, possibly driving to more students, and then driving home (not to mention pesky errands like grocery shopping, cleaning, and the like) is to sit down in front of a computer (again!) to write up a nice little note about how your lesson went.  Writing that nice little note, however, is crucial to developing and maintaining your relationship with your client. 

Think about it:  Would you rather receive a bill from your daughter’s tutor saying that you worked with Susie from 3:00 – 4:30 PM, or a note after each lesson that says what you and Susie covered, how Susie is doing in her studies, what areas Susie is finding challenging, what Susie needs to work on at home, and how you are planning to follow-up with Susie on her work?  The parent hired you as a solution to Susie’s challenges, so show how you are that solution.  Remember, the parent is not (or should not) sitting in on your lessons, so notes from you are the only tangible signs of progress between report cards.

Creating a record of your lesson in the form of a memo to the parent—or student if the student is paying for the lesson—serves the purpose both of redirecting the parent or client from the conception of you, the tutor, as simply another service akin to one’s gardener or cleaning crew.  Instead, your note keeps the client’s attention on your role as an integral part of a student’s development.  Not only does the tutor facilitate the student’s academic development, but also the tutor is an essential part of keeping parents abreast of the student’s progression, too.  Often, by the time a tutor is required, the relationship between parent and student has digressed (assuming there was a strong relationship in the first place), leaving you in the position of the student’s confidante regarding issues at school, problems with classmates or teachers, and impending grade concerns, all of which are items to relate to a parent.
This reporting does not mean that you are a spy for the parents; no one likes a rat.  Leave that kind of work to the government… 

Sitting down to write notes at the end of the day can still seem daunting, though, particularly if you’ve worked with 4 or 5 students. 

In further blogs we’ll look at some simple 5-minute templates for you to follow when recording lessons.  These should help you improve your relationship with your clients, and help your earn their repeat business and, hopefully, referrals!

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