30 Days Notice
Found in: Studio Policies
Shari G., Colorado
I am considering asking for 1st and last months tuition and 30 days notice from families as a general policy when they sign up for my classes. For those of you that already do that, do you find that parents/students struggle with that at times and choose not to study with you? For those of you that ask for 30 days notice without requiring 1st and last months tuition- do people respect your policy?
I am considering changing my policy because when students leave they are not giving me any notice and then I don’t have time to fill their spot. In their defense, currently I do not ask for any notice in my policies, we just have a month to month contract and they can notify me at the end of the month. I’ve decided I would like more notice though so that I can fill their spots if I would like to from my wait list.
Carrie L., Michigan
We ask for 30 days notice and it’s in our handbook.. we ask for it, don’t require it.
I’ve found when people are reminded of this they pay and give the 30 days notice. Some don’t take lessons for that month and other have taken lessons and have actually continued on as a result.
We don’t ask for 1st/last months tuition however. And really only enforce the 30 days notice policy after the 2nd month is completed.
Kathy K., Texas
I do require 30 days notice, but do not have them pay for the last month up front. Most people have respected that policy. When someone does quit, I remind them of the policy and tell them that they are, of course, welcome to continue in lessons for that final month that they are paying for. I have had students stay on for one more month and also students who pay for it but then don’t come to lessons. A couple of people have remembered to tell me 30 days before they intend to quit. I had one parent who flatly refused to honor that policy, rather rudely actually. But other than that it has worked fine.
Tommy T., California
We have a 30 days’ notice policy for terminating lessons. In the 7 years we have been teaching, we have never had a problem with anybody not complying with our policy. When they put in their 30 days’ notice, we let them know that if we can find a student to replace their child’s space before the 30 days is up, then we will refund them for any remaining lessons during that period. Everybody seems to think this is fair and we don’t get any complaints.
Karina S., California
I revamped my studio policies this year and probably like many of us, it’s a living document/work in progress. One thing I have learned is to have several eyeballs look at it before you release it. Also, if you think of something you would like, get it in there! I recently was completely covered because I had intentionally included a clause in my policies.
I do have a 30 notice – in writing – and if for some reason a family/student decides to leave prior to the month’s end, they forfeit their tuition payment for that month. Most businesses adopt this policy so this should be included, in my opinion. Additionally, I now have all of my families/ students enrolled with DWOLLA for payment (currently only available in US but looking to expand) and I am REALLY happy with this method! This also helps to create a longer term loyalty. I have not yet initiated a 1st and last policy though, but if I feel the time is right and if needed, I might do that. Fortunately I have not had to do this. Every area/demographic is different so I also waited for some time to make these changes. I also incorporate wait policies.
I switched to a term base this year to align with the school calendar. I gave the option of payment in advance for the full term with extra studio time as an incentive. It was great to have extra cash flow right at a time when it was needed 🙂
Like any situation, I offered a full refund for a family what simply was not a good fit, just for good customer service. Data suggests that unhappy customers will share their story with 11 others, while happy ones with 2-3 only.
There are SO many variables to running our studios. It really is a dance so to speak with how best to manage so many things. I give plenty of lead time when implementing anything new.
Nicole O., California
I’ve had a 30 day notice in place since the beginning of my SM teaching career. I did not always have a first and last month’s tuition policy in place. During the first couple years of teaching, those students who quit never respected the 30 day notice. Then I put the first and last month tuition policy in place and it’s definitely helped. I’ve had families really dislike this policy and some decided not to enroll. I’m okay with that. I’ve had some agree to it (by signing my policies) and later expect a refund when they decided to suddenly quit. It’s important to state what your refund policy is as well. I do not offer any refunds when a 30 day notice isn’t given. And only a partial refund based on when the 30 day notice is given.
The majority of families that enroll never question this policy and adhere to it when they decide to quit or take a break from lessons.
The more important part of this, for me, was becoming comfortable being a teacher who stands by her own policies. Even when I wasn’t comfortable with it, I put it into place and as I was challenged about them, I became more and more comfortable with how to adjust myself… my tone, my eye contact, my body language to express that this is non-negotiable.
Sheri R., California
A few years ago I started asking for first and last along with the 30-day notice. Before that I had a 30-day notice policy but many people didn’t give it to me and since I don’t use credit cards I couldn’t always collect. Some still don’t give the 30-day notice but because they have paid first and last it’s not as much of an issue to me. I don’t refund the last if they choose to not give me the 30-day notice and come for the last month pre-paid. They end up losing out but it is a buffer for me. (If you’re on a tight budget, you might want to put your “last” month’s fees in a separate account so you don’t spend them prematurely; I don’t, but just a thought in case you have a lot stop at once without notice, you will have the funds for that month until you fill the slots.)
Terah W., Kansas
Early on when I was reviewing samples of other teacher’s Studio Policies (kindly thanked again here!!), I decided to go with the 30-day notice. I labored for several months over what to include and what not to finally deciding that having something in place was way better than none at all.
The 30-day notice was included and I have only had one ‘issue’ which I take the entire blame for when we arbitrarily missed the ‘reviewing the Policy’ portion of the Foundation session. Got that straightened out. Now, while reiterating different points (time off/holidays and the ‘what tuition is really covering besides your 30+min in class’, etc.)–I always elaborate on the 30-day notice as well from the ‘need time to fill your spot’ point of view. I have noticed that the more we confidently adopt a business stance on some of these things–and unapologetically!–the more readily one’s clientele accepts them.
Also, having a Policy and updating now and then is much easier than operating just ‘in the moment’; tweaking is easy and gives an opportunity to review the Policy as a whole now and again. Not to mention that it is kind of a working history of your business in a memoir kind of way.
Shanta H., Minnesota
I started doing the same thing in January. Nobody has had a problem with it, because usually people end up getting that last month at 20% off, which is what I offer for students who enroll at the end of an FIS or a workshop. Honestly, I do the 20% on the second month mostly for bookkeeping ease. ϑ I just say I’m doing the 20% discount on their first and last months if they enroll today. I explain it that they’re actually getting 2 months at this discount, and that I’m actually asking for a 2 month commitment (whether they come for the second month or not). I also explain that if they give 30 days notice, they have no fees their final month. If they don’t give 30 days notice as I ask, they don’t owe me anything and I don’t owe them anything.
This has been totally worth it. I had a hard time collecting that last month of fees too.