The end of the school year is upon us. If you are like me, you have a few students who don’t pay on time. They always do pay you eventually, but frequently it occurs one or two weeks into the next month, rather than in the month lessons actually occurred. My normal motto for this type of situation is to kill them with kindness, and persistence. Each Friday I send a Bcc email to all my students still owing for the current month, asking kindly if they could please bring a check the following week. Most of the time I am fine with this strategy and my number of outstanding accounts drops each month until everyone is current.
However, at the end of the year if you are not paid by the last day of school, it becomes much harder to track down payments. You are no longer seeing the student each week, school is out of session, and you are unable to roll the money over in to the next month’s bill. In this case I try several strategies until I am able to collect the check.
First, I use a direct email, rather than my Bcc technique above, explaining school is over and everyone needs to get their accounts current. I then ask for a response in the message verifying funds will be brought the coming week. If I do not hear back this way, I try a phone call. This is a bit more direct, but sometimes works better. If no one answers the phone I try a text. If this doesn’t work I speak directly to the student about it, and will even text the student a reminder the day before to bring payment.
Your last card to play is band director intervention. Frequently band directors wield larger influence than the private lesson teacher. So, you can try telling your student if they cannot bring funds you will be forced to tell band director. This may scare them into paying you, or you may actually ask if the band director will contact student’s parent/guardian. If all else fails school band budgets will sometimes compensate you for one month of unpaid lessons on a school by school basis.
Persistence will pay off in this matter. There have been times where I wasn’t able to collect a check by then end of school and could not get in touch with parent suddenly. I just kept emailing weekly, daily, until suddenly a check appeared in my mailbox.