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How do students pay for lessons? (All Teachers)

9 replies, 7 voices Last updated by Phil Schneider 1 year, 5 months ago
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  • #3148
    Laura Ratcliffe

    So I’m watching a documentary that is saying cash will be obsolete by 2025 and it got me thinking.. how do students pay for lessons? I have a mixture, some pay by cash for a one off initial session, then in blocks of 4. For a block booking, they pay either by cash, paypal or bank transfer. I wondered what other tutors do? If there is a good online booking system you’d recommend or does any-one use those portable card machines you can get?

Viewing 9 replies - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
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  • #3149

    Matthew Rusk

    Great question – my students all paid via cash for single lessons, then bank transfers for block bookings / voucher payments. I would get the odd cheque now and again – but mostly it was those two formats.

    I know that Matt Jamison in Belfast has been looking into a portable card machine, I will ask him about it 🙂 I also think Dave Rutherford in Middlesborough might know a little more about this type of thing.

    As for cash being obsolete by 2025, personally I don’t think it will happen. The government’s main motivation for this is to ensure that all transactions are taxed properly (i.e. ending the cash in hand work culture that goes undocumented) – however, instead of ending this they risk people moving to a new form of currency (might be online) or an alternative for “cash” in real life, that would mean that it doesn’t achieve the aim that they intended. It is a huge political risk to implement such a change, that might backfire and actually decrease tax income. Personally I don’t think any future government will have the political drive to push this through – especially with the fallout of Brexit over the next 10 years being the main focus.

    I might be totally wrong, but I believe cash will be hear to stay for the foreseeable future 😉


    Josh Burke
    Points: 90

    So I say to all my students that I can take cash at the end of the lesson, pay by card via my card reader (more on that later) or by BACS, but only as a last resort for the latter. And I’ll be honest, I don’t really know how to write a check… never had to (I know, I’m young millennial type, whatever! 😀 ).

    The card reader and service I use is called iZettle, which I’ve so far found to be incredibly useful. Last month I took in £615 in card payments, which came out with a fee of £16.95. Some may think this is £15 that they could have in their pocket instead, but for the simplicity it offers, and the fact that I don’t have to chase people for money as often, I find it’s really worth it.

    My business head also tells me that making the payment process quick and simple (especially with contactless) will lessen the likelihood of students questioning if their lessons are worth handing over however much cash a week.

    I also run all my cash payments through the app that the card reader uses, which will then add it all up and can be viewed either in the app, online, or exported to excel, which is mighty handy.

    Anyway, long story short, anyone thinking about going down the card reader route, I highly recommend it!


    Laura Ratcliffe
    Points: 34

    That’s really useful – thank you guys!! xx


    Matthew Rusk

    Glad we could help! I know that over the last few weeks this particular subject has come up so many times for me in talks with other educational facilities, it is a really hot topic at the moment – I think we will see some of the major players within music tuition bring out products that enable teachers to take payments by card on devices at the end of the lessons. I will keep you updated of products that I hear about that are in development at the moment in regard to taking contactless payments etc…it is such a developing market!


    Leigh Fuge
    Points: 40

    I used to take cash, but recently I’ve moved to online.

    I invoice students for lessons and take payment ahead of the lessons. I use Paypal (It does charge a fee but it’s really not much – works out about 80p off £20). Having students pay ahead of the lessons means students commit to the timeslot. For me, it’s been amazing. Last minute cancellations are a thing of the past. It’s easier to enforce a cancellation policy (You can have T&Cs attached to the invoice – Mine say that any cancellations within 24 hours of the start time are payable in full). Once people pay to secure the slot, they are much less likely to decide “Oh, it’s sunny. I won’t bother today”.

    I’ve actually had most of my students tell me it’s made things easier for them too. A lot were telling me they only withdrew cash to pay me.


    Eliza Jane Fyfe
    Points: 122

    Completely the same and in agreement with Leigh!


    Eimear Collins
    Points: 27

    Hi Guys…I’m really late to the party. I use cash, card machine (I use sumup and its totally worth the commission) and online transfers. In January I am going to adopt the ‘after the first lesson you buy four week blocks’ as reading commnets on here and talking to others seems to be the most seamless. However I need advice on how to chase money owing. I have emailed every week but no reponse or I get a messsage saying it will be done and nothing happens. Basically I need some advice…what does everyone else do?


    Matthew Rusk

    Hi Eimear,

    Great post and questions 🙂 Personally I would recommend doing a pay one in advance model, so in Lesson 1 a student pays for Lessons 1. In Lesson 2 student pays for Lesson 2 & Lessons 3. In Lesson 3 student pays for Lesson 4 etc. so that they are always paying one lesson in advance. I have found this works better than getting students to buy 4 lessons in a block booking as these block booking points are often when students review whether they want to pay x4 the lesson price in on go & you see increased student drop off due to students having to pay larger single payments rather than smaller more regular payments – it is all psychological!

    In the method above you get the security of knowing that a student has paid one lesson in advance & the money is in the bank for you, so gives you a similar security to what the block bookings do but with more flexibility to the student.

    In regard to commission – commission is only generated when you take payment for lessons so please don’t worry about making payment for lessons that students haven’t paid you for yet. You can add the date of the lesson, Student Name, then select “Other” and add in 60 mins and £0.00, then in notes – “waiting for Alan to make payment”. Then when payment is made you can create another entry as date of the payment, Student Name, then select “Other” and add in “N/A” for mins and the commission amount due, then in notes “Alan made payment for his lesson today”. This means you never have to pay commission on lessons that you have not been paid for.

    However, this should not be occurring often else something is wrong – you should be paid for all the lessons you teach! You should include in emails about first lesson, if you don’t already, that students must bring cash or a card to their lessons – then move them to the pay one in advance model thereafter.

    If you are still having problems about students not paying you make them pre-pay for their second lesson before it is booked, then ask them to bring cash along to the lesson to pay for the third lesson etc.

    As for the current students that owe you money, the truth is it is not going to be easy to gain payment from them. You should email them & I would be happy to create an “official invoice” for you as this sometimes gets students paying.

    I think the most important thing is that your payment model is updated moving forward so you always get paid for your lessons – even if that means students have to pre-pay after the first lesson to book in with you. If you need a refund on any of the commission totals you have sent through just let me know – you shouldn’t have to pay for lessons that a student hasn’t paid you for. Hope the advice helps 🙂 would be interesting to know what other teachers suggest too 🙂

    Can I help you to create some official invoices, like the ones I send teachers, so you can send these to the students to try and gain payment from them? Perhaps an invoice with payment terms will help bring them to payment – let me know 🙂


    Phil Schneider
    Points: 149

    They want to make cash obsolete to take a % of all transactions the cashless soceity will cost more. Other reasons are to make you leave an audtiable trail remember hmrc can check and freeze your accounts and seize your money if you havent paid tax oh and you can go to jail for not declaring taxable income

    I use izettle but avoid it. What happens when it goes wrong and the client says youve taken the wrong amount or been a victim of fraud are izettle liable or your self. Izettle and paypal are not banks very very important legal point. If they go down so does your money. by the way paypal have got a reputation for freezing accounts google it

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