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Run Your Piano Lessons like a Gym: Part One

September 24, 2018

Years ago, as a young 20-something living in Long Beach, California, I was thrilled when a brand new, multi-level Gold's Gym was being built just a few blocks down from the apartment where my husband and I lived.  The gym was beautiful -- brand spankin' new, all glass and metal and other cool stuff (can you tell I'm not an architect?).

 

So, what did I do?  Well, what everyPa other young urbanite did that Fall -- we marched down to that new Gold's Gym and signed up!  Wahoo!  Time to get fit!  Time to be the superstars we always wanted to be!

 

When I went through the sign up process, I was guaranteed a monthly fee that wouldn't be raised for at least a year.  I was told what that monthly fee entitled me to.  I was drawn in by the promise of all that would happen every time I showed up.

 

The problem was, well, just that:  showing up.  You see, I did what every other young urbanite did that Fall as well -- after signing up, I worked out like a crazy woman for about three weeks and then things got, well kind of pathetic after that.

 

Boy, was I regretting that monthly fee.  Every single month, I paid a chunk of money to the company, whether I went or not.  

 

It would have been so much better for my budget if I could have just paid whenever I went.  You know, pay per workout session.

 

So, why didn't Gold's Gym allow that?  Why did they charge me by the month, ahead of time, instead of at the end of the month based on how many times I showed up?

 

Because they would have never made any money.

 

Lo and behold, they were a business.  And they wanted to make money.

 

Now, before you call me Captain Obvious, can I ask you how you charge for your piano lessons?

 

Are you like a vast majority of piano teachers who charge at the end of the month, based on when your student showed up?

 

You see, piano teachers generally fall in one of two camps:

 

1)  Charge at the end of the month for the number of lessons the student showed up for.  If they called and cancelled, I don't charge them.  If they got sick at the last minute, I don't charge them.  If they are out of town, I don't charge them.  Therefore, my income is highly variable.  

 

2.)  Charge at the beginning of the month, a flat rate tuition.  Whether the student comes or not is up to them.  My income is steady, and I know EXACTLY what I will be making each month.  

 

Piano Teacher Friend, you may be giving lessons out of your living room.  You may be giving lessons at your client's home.  You may be giving lessons at the local community college's practice room.  

 

But, you are no less a business than that shiny, beautiful Gold's Gym.  

 

You are trying to get an income of some kind from this business of yours, yet you are hesitant to have a fee structure that guarantees you will be paid regularly, on time, and in full.

 

In the next several posts, we will talk about how to make that transition from an end of the month, pay by the lesson structure, to an up front, monthly tuition structure.

 

Repeat after me:

 

I am running a business.

I am running a business.

I am running a business.

 

Start considering that shift.  You'll be glad you did.  

 

 

 

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