Sample page from Business Startup Guide (page 29) <<Back
Seven Secrets to Maximizing Revenue
1. Get the Customer Contract Signed: I can’t think of anything that is more important to helping your business run smoothly than a well-written contract! I simply cannot stress this enough. You may think ‘But what if the customer doesn’t want to sign it? I don’t want to lose their business!’ Believe me when I say I can’t remember losing even one customer because they didn’t want to sign the contract – even though my contract has some pretty strict provisions in it. You will find that once the customer has made the decision to use your tutoring service, they are so eager to get started that the contract is just a formality. So you should use their eagerness to sign on the dotted line to your own advantage, buy structuring a contract that is to your advantage.
2. Get Payment Up Front: When you sign up the customer, make sure you get them to purchase a block of hours up front. While some customers would rather pay for one session at a time, can you imagine all the administrative work involved in processing a separate payment for every single hour your company tutors! And many people who don’t want to purchase a block of hours, even a small block of ten hours, are often not committed and will quit after a session or two. To be fair to your customers, offer lower hourly rates for larger blocks of hours – for example $450 for ten hours, $800 for 20 hours, $1,800 for 50 hours and so on. Write it into the contract that these hours are non-refundable or stipulate a 20% cancellation fee.
3. More Hours: Be sure to maximize the hours you tutor your customers – here’s how:
- All tutoring sessions must be minimum one hour in length.
- Whenever appropriate, increase the session by an extra 15-30 minutes, unless the parents have specifically asked to keep it to one hour. Charge extra time in 15- minute increments.
- Encourage 2-3 sessions per week instead of just one. With Math especially, it’s difficult to make much progress if you are only seeing your tutor once per week.
- Charge an extra 30 minutes per month for each student for out-of-session time (writing the student’s monthly progress report, preparing homework etc.)
4. Minimize the down times: Customers are generally slow to start up tutoring after the summer holidays and the December break, so you have natural downtimes during September and January. This means that you need to be proactive and get your students started as early as possible. Send a letter or e-mail to all your customers in late-August reminding them to get started first thing in September (see attached ‘Customer Letter for August’). And before your students go on holidays in December, make sure you or your tutors schedule their first session in January. A faster start during these typically slow periods will serve your students well and increase profits significantly.
5. Summer Tutoring: There is no doubt about it - summer is the bane of all tutoring companies. The number of students actively enrolled will typically decline by as much as 80 percent or more during July and August. The good news, however, is that the few students who continue their tutoring during the summer, or part of the summer, tend to have significantly more session-hours per week. So if you proactively promote summer ‘enrichment’ or ‘head-start’ tutoring in May and June, you may generate enough business to keep busy on a part-time basis throughout the summer. Send a letter to all your customers in late-May extolling the virtues of summer enrichment tutoring, or head-start tutoring, and follow-up with a phone call a week or two later.
6. Charge for Extras: You should charge for any extra work you do for your client aside from your regular session time. This may include writing mock exams for your student before a session, analyzing their tests/exams in detail to find out why they did poorly, contacting their teacher to discuss your student, shopping for a workbook or textbook, follow-up assessments, or researching entrance requirements for private school or college. All of these activities should be charged at your regular rate because. You shouldn’t feel embarrassed about charging extra for any of these activities as long as you explain to your customer in advance that you will be charging for them. Your customer shouldn’t mind paying for any extra activities designed to help their children’s education, and will probably applaud your initiative in going that ‘extra mile’.
7. Actively Market Your Written Assessments: Try to sell a written assessment to all of your new customers. Although you may offer free in-home assessments for all new students, this should only include a test with the student and a verbal summary afterwards to the parents. After the verbal summary, try to sell the parents a detailed written assessment – a detailed ‘blueprint’ for their son or daughter’s tutoring program. Many customers will want a written assessment if it’s explained properly to them, and this will even enhance your professional image and differentiate you from other tutors who are simply providing homework help. Actively marketing your written assessments will establish your methodical approach as a tutor, and also bring in additional revenues. And make sure you add the cost of the assessment when you get your money up front!