I get it. I totally get it. Things are crazy right now and with inflation driving prices higher every week everyone is squeezed.
Sticker shock at the gas pump and at the grocery store means your money doesn’t go nearly as far as did last year. You want to raise rates…you need to raise rates, but is that a good idea?
After all, prices have gone up for everyone and a rate hike might just be what pushes some families over the edge and into the quit zone.
So, what do you do? I can’t answer for everyone, there is no “one size fits all” solution but I will share some of the things I am doing (and considering doing) to compensate for rising prices without raising my rates right now or taking on a lot of extra work hours.
1- Focus on student retention. It’s way easier to keep the students you have than it is to find new ones. Do your best to keep your students happy and moving ahead. See the post “Student Retention”
2- Start teaching group and/or buddy lessons. Families can save money and at the same time, you can earn a little more by teaching more than one student at a time.
3- Teach online. If you are traveling teach at least half of your lessons online. If you are a studio owner, ask parents to have a hybrid of online and in-person lessons. This will save them and your teachers time and travel expenses. You may be surprised at how much parents like this option. I worked at a studio before COVID. I am still teaching most of my students online.
4- Offer legacy pricing. Raise prices for new students, and keep rates the same for the students you have presently.
5- Understand tax law and keep good records. Depending upon where you live you may be able to include music, materials, instrument repairs, travel expenses, and even your home studio as business expenses. This can mean big savings.
6- Consider making some extra money using the “Gig Economy” Yes, you can play actual gigs, but you can also make some extra cash on platforms like Sheet Music Plus, Sound Better, or Fiverr writing, playing, editing, or transcribing music.
7- Be sure you are getting reimbursed for any materials you are providing for your students. Let families pay for books and materials. If you can buy method books etc. in bulk at a discounted rate and sell them to your students at the regular listed price. Or join a membership like this one palomapiano.com where you can resell our music and materials to your students.
8- Restructure your schedule and payments to free up some time to make money doing other things or accepting additional students. For example, if you normally charge $30 per lesson and teach 24 lessons per semester cut down to 20 lessons in the same time period.
9- Charge recital fees and fees for participation in events. Sell snacks and drinks at your recital or at least ask parents to bring these things.
10 Hold a fundraiser to help cover things like recital venues, new equipment for your studio, and scholarships for deserving students. Piano teachers never seem to do this but just about every other activity does. For example, my granddaughter’s Irish dancing school sells T-shirts and asks for donations at events.
I personally am not going to raise rates right now. I think most families are squeezed enough and I don’t want to risk losing students. It is often easier to keep the students you have than to find new ones.
Read the post, “Tips for Student Retention”
If you decide not to raise your rates, be sure to let your families know that you are intentionally not increasing the price of lessons right now. Most people will really appreciate this and want to stick with you.
If a family does let me know that they are leaving and I want to retain that student I will follow up with a phone call and offer them some options such as group or buddy lessons, or perhaps a “scholarship” aka reduced rate.
My goal is to be able to earn enough money to keep doing what I love. Teaching people to play the piano! I will do my best to serve my students and take care of my needs at the same time.
I encourage you to keep going. ai believe this too shall pass and things will level out. Remember that you are amazing, and you are doing something that will add so much joy to the lives of your students.
If you would like to find out about becoming a member of Paloma Piano we have a number of very attractive membership options including a free membership that offers a large number of piano scores, teaching resources, and games. The free membership is forever free and no credit card is needed. Check it out!
You can explore all of our free materials here.