121, private and corporate teaching share a common difficulty. What is it you may ask? Well, it is that they have a higher chance of cancellations and noshows.
Now, if you have some kind of cancellation policy then you should get paid, unless the cancellation is just before it kicks in i.e. an hour. For no shows it should be no question about getting paid if there is a signed contract with a clause mentioning such a situation.
It’s in these situations that us teachers have to put our business hats on. Personally, I like to keep my teacher hat on but it seems that the more freelancing I do, the more I need to get into the business side if I want to get paid. It’s definitely a plus working for a school which pays you a flat fee, cancellation or not but I don’t think the majority of us are in that situation.
Enforcing the cancellation and noshow policy can be uncomfortable but if it’s in a signed contract then it should be followed, in theory. I mean, we block out the time, plan etc. In the case of working at a school, there are more costs incurred.
I know several students who are professional and are fine to pay for cancellations and noshows but I’m pretty sure I know others who wouldn’t be. the same as I know people and organisations who don’t seem pleased to pay for their training at the end of the course. For independent freelancers who take on one big in-house contract this can be terrible. I had a friend whose company was in this situation too. Letters were sent and lawyers were mentioned. Maybe he got paid in the end but how can you survive for months with no pay, even worse, how can you fay the costs of your business?
I’ve come to trust my instincts now. When you meet new or potential clients you do get a sense of if they understand the rules and will follow them. After all, I think most of us live up to our end of turning up and delivering quality so why should we have to enter conversations about getting paid for our work. One reason may be the opinions some clients have of the service we deliver. Here are some I have heard:
“They’re only English classes, it’s not serious”
“I thought it would be OK”
“Why should I pay for a class I didn’t have?”
On my end, I tend to dress and behave professionally. It’s a job and when you’re working with business people you have to look and be the part.