Are you raising your rates this year and feeling stressed about the response you might get from parents? Some parents will fuss and others might quit. However, if you don’t do something you’ll be worse off this year than you were last year because you’re not even keeping up with inflation.
This post will provide you with ideas to take the stress out of asking for a piano lesson rate increase. Check out four tips for when and how to break the news.
1) An Announcement in an Email – Many students take the summer off, so an email to parents in August may already be a common routine. Make it a routine that you email every parent about the new year. Tell them about upcoming recitals, new books, and your lesson rate increase. Slide it in there, and don’t make a big deal of it. They probably won’t make a big deal of it either.
Make your lesson rate increase announcement a one-sentence statement: Lesson rates will increase by $___ this year. Easy. Done. If you make it a small dollar every year, rather than skipping years, parents will even roll their eyes, and say, “That’s nothing.” No problem.
2) Same Time Each Year – If you increase rates at the same time each year, parents will expect an increase and ask you about it when they write the check for lessons that month. Once the routine is established, it’s a cakewalk. You just need to get the routine going.
3) Make It Small – One year I left a music studio to teach my students in their homes instead. I increased the rate by $5 to cover travel to their home. Parents wouldn’t have to travel to the music studio, spend the time sitting around waiting while I taught their child, and they’d be saving gas money. It was a great deal, but more than one family wanted to spend. They quit because the jump was too big, and I was sad to see them go.
These days I talk about a rate increase every year in August. Kids are going back to school and many kids are coming back to lessons after having taken the summer off. It’s the perfect time to request for an increase. As a routine, I ask for only $1. It’s enough to keep up with the rate of inflation, and small enough that parents never mind. Some even roll their eyes and say, “That’s nothing.” “No problem.”
Price increases happen every day out there in the world. That’s because business people understand the reason why it must be done. Music teachers just need to think like business people a little more often, and consider what they need to run a successful business.
Go for it!
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