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Charging for cancelled lesson

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 

I've had to charge a few people in the past when they didn't show up for a lesson or cancelled on really short notice without a very good excuse. My normal policy is 24 hours, or if you have a family emergency you can cancel within 24 hours free of charge. Outside of that, I charge the full rate because I lost that money when I could have had someone else take that spot had I received more notice.

 

I'm wondering if any of you have been charged like that and it soured the relationship with you and your instructor. Have any of you called it quits with your instructor because of an inflexible cancellation policy?

post #2 of 41

My instructor would never charge me for missing a lesson.  However, the reason for that is that I respect his time and he knows that.  If I were to miss a lesson or have to cancel last minute, he knows it was an honest mistake or an emergency.  Also, it wouldn't be a frequent occurrence.  

post #3 of 41

I'd quickly find a new instructor.....

 

......or I'd start charging him my hourly rate for any time he kept me waiting.  a2_wink.gif

 

 

Having said that, people who don't have the common courtesy to show up for a time the they've reserved, should be taken out back and beaten with a rusty rake!

post #4 of 41
I fully understand why an instructor (or anyone who gets paid by the hour like that) would charge someone for missing an appointment, but the instructor should also be aware that it's not all that difficult for a consumer to move to another instructor who doesn't have that policy (especially if they weren't overly enthused about the initial one), and paying $100 or whatever to not get a lesson isn't a bad reason for most people.

EDIT: There's a Seinfeld episode about that. Google tells me it was season 6, episode 17, "The Kiss Hello."

Then again, I'm not someone who would ever miss a lesson or be late without a damn good reason. In fact, the last time I got a lesson (omitting my Erie trip last year) was AimPoint, and I was an hour early. (And it was a private course so I ended up taking a nice scenic drive down the south shore of Massachusetts to pass the time.)
post #5 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post

I'd quickly find a new instructor.....

 

......or I'd start charging him my hourly rate for any time he kept me waiting.  a2_wink.gif

 

 

Having said that, people who don't have the common courtesy to show up for a time the they've reserved, should be taken out back and beaten with a rusty rake!


I agree with that first part, that's why if I need to cancel for any reason within that 24 hours, I will credit the cost of the lesson. So the next one is on me. I think it goes both ways though.

 

I'm trying to figure out how many people would stop seeing an instructor though so I can figure out if it's worth it in the long run to just let it slide in order to keep them coming to me, or if it is worth it to charge them for cancellations because they will stick around anyway. So thanks for your input!

post #6 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Stone View Post


I agree with that first part, that's why if I need to cancel for any reason within that 24 hours, I will credit the cost of the lesson. So the next one is on me. I think it goes both ways though.

 

I'm trying to figure out how many people would stop seeing an instructor though so I can figure out if it's worth it in the long run to just let it slide in order to keep them coming to me, or if it is worth it to charge them for cancellations because they will stick around anyway. So thanks for your input!

To me, it would really depend on the person and seems like it would have to be on a case by case basis.  If someone is standing you up frequently, I would certainly start charging them.  Maybe you let new students know that they get 1 "freebie" if they miss or cancel last minute, but then you charge them for missed lessons after that.

 

You also have the option of charging half the price of a lesson for a missed session.  Again, if it were me, I would have to base it on the person's history with you and how they've responded when they missed or cancelled on you.  

post #7 of 41
Time is $$ what time is it? Time to get a watch.
I am pretty sure the instructor I have used would charge me. Don Brown over at Harbor Driving range. Has a camera draws lines knows the golf swing . Love's his job.Has got golf channel mention too from some youngster who broke Michelle Wee's record
I think if you make the rules on breaking a lesson and its part of the rules for it yep they should of called. If it was an emergency different story
post #8 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamo View Post
 
EDIT: There's a Seinfeld episode about that. Google tells me it was season 6, episode 17, "The Kiss Hello."

 

 

"We musn't disturb the delicate genius" - great episode

 

I can understand both viewpoints. As an instructor, you depend on filling your time with clients in order to maximize profits but you also want to retain as many possible. As a client, you're paying for these lessons and you hope that you wouldn't get charged if something came up.

 

There probably should be some sort of cancellation policy (24 hours notice, etc.) but exceptions should be granted in the case of an emergency.  

post #9 of 41

One of my guys charges for lesson blocks to be paid up front, offers a few different packages. There isn't an expiring period to use it but if you book a time and don't cancel within the allowed time to do so it's charged as a lesson. We can book individual lessons in hour blocks but to reserve it you have to enter a credit card and agree to the terms. The money is spent before you get there. It's all done on-line. I like it.

post #10 of 41

To be honest, I would probably call it quits.  If I had to cancel it would be because I didn't have a choice, perhaps an unexpected work obligation.  I wouldn't begrudge the instructor for making me pay but I would be very reluctant to schedule another appointment with a rigid cancellation policy.

 

A determining factor for me would be the likelihood that the instructor would have had to turn someone else away because of my appointment.  If the teacher is booked 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, I can see charging for cancellations. If he only gives 3 lessons a day and spends the rest of the day in the pro shop watching TV, that would be another story.   


Edited by jowlar - 5/7/13 at 4:37pm
post #11 of 41

Does that mean the PGA Professional that no-call-no-showed me should have paid me for the lesson?  This was several years ago.  I showed up, warmed up (paid for the bucket out of pocket), then waited...and waited...and called...and waited...and called...and then the range closed.

post #12 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Stone View Post


I agree with that first part, that's why if I need to cancel for any reason within that 24 hours, I will credit the cost of the lesson. So the next one is on me. I think it goes both ways though.

 

I'm trying to figure out how many people would stop seeing an instructor though so I can figure out if it's worth it in the long run to just let it slide in order to keep them coming to me, or if it is worth it to charge them for cancellations because they will stick around anyway. So thanks for your input!

What am I missing here? If you, as an instructor, for any reason, cancel, you "credit" the cost of the lesson? The next one is on you?

If I were your student, you bet your ass I would get a credit.

If you're booked 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, your in high demand. You can pretty much call people out for missing dates.

If you're scrounging for students, back off or you'll have less of a client base.

It's a business, exceed the customers expectations and quit thinking like a union plumber whose s... don't stink.

post #13 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmyc View Post

What am I missing here? If you, as an instructor, for any reason, cancel, you "credit" the cost of the lesson? The next one is on you?
If I were your student, you bet your ass I would get a credit.
If you're booked 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, your in high demand. You can pretty much call people out for missing dates.
If you're scrounging for students, back off or you'll have less of a client base.
It's a business, exceed the customers expectations and quit thinking like a union plumber whose s... don't stink.

I think what he means is, not only do you not get charged for the lesson that was missed, he also gives a free additional lesson for the inconvenience. Very unusual, and generous in my opinion.
post #14 of 41
Thread Starter 
Yes, sorry that is what i meant. I dont think it is overly generous because I know that if I received a last minute cancellation I would feel like I should be compensated for setting aside my time for nothing as a customer.
post #15 of 41

If I forgot a lesson, or had to cancel at the last minute due to circumstances under my control I'd expect to pay for the lesson. It's pretty disrespectful to make an appointment with someone and then not follow through on it.

 

If I couldn't make a lesson due to circumstances outside of my control I'd have no issues with an instructor charging me for the lesson, however if they were good enough to reschedule without charge that would certainly generate a lot of goodwill. It's the sort of thing that might keep me coming back even if I'd moved further away or something.

 

By the same token if I turn up for a lesson and you've double booked or need to cancel for some other reason I'd expect a gesture to be made that showed that you respected the value of my time. If you reschedule before I head down and I can make other plans then I'd have no issues as long as it didn't happen too often.

post #16 of 41

You can charge whatever you want, but don't be surprised when people don't find your time as valuable as you do.

post #17 of 41

I think you have to be honest with yourself.  Do you typically turn down bookings because you are booked up.  Are you going to be at the practice facility anyway.  If it doesn't affect you most of the time and you want to gain customers I wouldn't charge.  I definitely wouldn't charge a longtime customer unless you have warned them and it becomes a habit.

post #18 of 41

I've been in this business for 8 years, albeit in a different sport.  

 

I've been fortunate enough to have built up a client base, that sometimes throughout the year I have a waiting list on days.  When people no show / no call, they are getting charged, end of story.  Our policy is upfront and is known to the customer.  Now if somebody calls inside the 24 hour window with something legitimate it's almost always a no charge.  But I have had a couple of students who literally don't show up more often than not, and I've passed these kids along to other instructors.  To me, that's irresponsible.  There is no excuse to not give a ten second phone call to cancel a lesson, especially if the instructor is in demand and can fill the time slot.  And no parents, your son having a cold is not an emergency that excuses you from making a phone call.  

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