Group Rate to Private Rate
I currently have a group class with two adults and am facing the possibility that one of the adults will be quitting imminently. If you have a two-person class and one person quits, how do you charge the remaining student? I don’t feel comfortable charging her the private rate when this situation occurred through no fault of her own. However, I also don’t feel comfortable charging her the group rate for a private lesson when others are paying the private rate. Moving her into a different class or merging classes is not an option at this point.
Kylie S. AU
I also face the same problem as I have a small studio and there are not always a lot of options.
For the moment, my policy is that they pay the private rate only when they have made a decision to choose private lessons – if it is their preference. If there is a time when someone needs private because someone else has dropped out, but would prefer to be in a group, I continue the group rate and my job is to get them into a group as quick as possible.
I felt also that it was not fair charging them a private rate when it was of no fault of their own.
Sue C. AU
If the teacher explains to the enrolling students that the shared lesson price would be changed to private lesson price should for any reason one person not continue in the lesson, then I think it would be fair to increase the charge should this occur.
Have them agree at enrolment that they would be willing to pay the private lesson fee if necessary. (Having them agree out loud may help them to remember if it takes place).
If you have not done this, then it may seem unfair to increase the fee later due to someone else pulling out.
Marg G. AU
This has happened to me a few times and I’ve been happy with how I handled it. This is what I did.
I reduced the class time for the remaining student to 20 minutes and explained that the group rate is the same as my 20 minute rate however If they would prefer a half hour lesson then the rate is $xx. In each case the student has elected to pay the private rate. Initially one of them started with 20 minutes for a couple of weeks and found it was just not long enough so requested the 30 minutes at the higher price.
Patti P. Hawaii
I have been in this situation, and I explain to the remaining student that class will be shorter since there is only one student, and that we will work toward forming another group as soon as possible.
Mark M. New York
In other situations where there is some tradeoff to be made between the financial bottom lines for the teacher and the customer (e.g., family discounts, makeups, weather closings), I’ve generally seemed more inclined than many other teachers to adopt policies that tip a bit away from myself, as an investment in solidifying long-term working relationships and doing things that I believe that I would feel fair if I were in the customer’s shoes.
In this situation, neither the student nor the teacher is at fault for the final other student leaving the group. I believe it tips too far toward the student’s benefit to allow a student to go on indefinitely in a private lesson at the group rate, but I believe it’s appropriate and fair to try to do something to accommodate the remaining student, striking some meaningful balance between my interests and those of the customer.
I let them know that we can strive to get them into a different group, and I let them know the current situation in terms of groups that I may have that might be a good fit for them with however little or much transition work. With many potential combinations of ability and progress for both the remaining student and other groups, sometimes there are great opportunities for a fast and easy transition to a group that’s a good fit, sometimes there are not.
I also let them know whether I’m willing to have them remain in a private situation in the current day/time slot if they should wish to, and I always note why a group situation is preferable to this.
Whatever choices they might make regarding what I’ve just mentioned, if they will be staying in a private situation for however long, with or without an intention to transition to another group, I tell them that as a courtesy I will let them have the group rate for an additional month on their own past the point that their previous classmate had paid through, and that after that they would have to pay the private rate to remain in a private lesson. A while back I’d read on the forum how some other teachers did something like this, and it felt like a good balance of interests between teacher and student.
Marsha S. Washington
I normally allow 45 minutes for two-three students and one hour for classes of four or more. If I have a student who ends up without a partner (not their fault, and they are not requesting a private spot) I just shorten their time to 30 minutes until their partner(s) return or until we find a group for them again. I don’t change the rate.
Cinnamon L. California
At enrollment I explain that there is no guarantee and if their shared lesson partner discontinues, they must pay the private lesson rate immediately. I also have a small studio and although I do my best to place students in another group, oftentimes, it is not possible. But, I have never had a problem since I explain this clearly and have students agree before lessons begin.
In special situations, I have allowed students to continue to pay the group rate, but I either have them come every other week or adjust their lesson length in some way. But, I only do this occasionally and if it works for my schedule. Since my students are expecting to pay the private lesson rate, they are pleasantly surprised and grateful when I am able to accommodate.