As a tutor I have to ask students to pay their fees. Most of them pay the fees but almost at the end of the course. None pay within the first month or so. Most students feel urging them to pay their fee is annoying and suggests that my interest is only to make money, rather than teaching them.

Why don't people understand and respect the teacher's point of view also? People spend money on foolish things -- that's their choice -- but when it comes to pay someone and they can't, that choice becomes careless.

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    For clarification: did you explain clearly about your fees when they hired you? If it is your job, I assume you don't want to work for free...
    – user2135
    Oct 28, 2017 at 20:23
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    – JAD
    Oct 28, 2017 at 20:27
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    @peufeu what i observed that even you explain or give valid reason about fees in advance people never pay on time and telling them to leave in mid term is kinda bring stress to life and overall time get wasted. Oct 29, 2017 at 4:34

3 Answers 3


The key here is to flip the embarrassment around. Nobody ever wants to admit they need to be paid. We all like to pretend we are independently wealthy and don't have to worry about petty stuff like our invoices. But when people don't pay us, they force us to admit the shameful truth that being paid is an important part of the reason why we are providing this service to them. We feel bad having to say that. They should feel worse putting us in a position to have to say it.

You should be tracking each student's payments somehow, on paper or in a spreadsheet. If the agreed fee is "10 a session", and after 3 sessions they have given you 20, they are still 10 behind, yes? At the start of the session, if they are behind, you greet them:

Good evening, I hope you're ready for a great session. I believe you have 20 for me?

If they look puzzled or say "Why 20?" or something like that, or if they indicate they have no money for you, you show them the paper on which you track (only their) payments, or your screen where the history of everyone except them is white text on a white background, so they see only their own, and reply

You have had 3 sessions and only paid 20 so far, so you are behind 10, and today's session makes 20. Do you have 20 for me?

If they say no (and at this point they should be looking ashamed and embarrassed) then you are the noble one. You aren't going to let their forgetfulness get in the way of the learning process.

I see. Well, then you will bring 30 next session. I will make a note that you will do that.

And make the note. "Bringing 30 on the 17th." Now there is a concrete obligation. Not a vague "oh yeah I suppose I should probably pay my tutor some time."

It is annoying to be asked to pay. They can avoid this annoyance by paying before they are asked. That is one of the things you can teach them in addition to the scheduled subject matter :-) You can also offer to take advance payment and you will let them know when it is used up.


Welcome to Business 101. :-)

And the first thing to get clear in your head is that you are running a business.

As a tutor I have to ask students to pay their fees. Most of them pay the fees but almost at the end of the course. None pay within the first month or so.

Five basic business actions :

  • The contract. You need a written agreement signed by your clients. That should explicitly list payments and schedules for those payments along with your own responsibilities (what they get for their money). Without this all your complaints are just wasted effort.

  • If you want advance payments you encourage this with discounts for it. For example 10% off when you pay for all sessions in advance. A refund policy is also something you need.

  • Cancellations and no-shows. Typically people who don't show up or cancel at short notice (i.e. too late for you to replace them with someone else) are penalized - it still costs them part or all of the normal fee.

  • Late payments. These attract penalties. How rigorously you enforce this is your own business, but there's a difference between exceptions for humanly justifiable reasons and being exploited.

  • Give people as many ways as possible to pay you as easily as possible. A lot of people live online these days so give them a way to pay you through e.g. PayPal. Sure you have to pay a fee for these services, but a small fee is better than you not getting paid at all.

Most students feel urging them to pay their fee is annoying and suggests that my interest is only to make money, rather than teaching them.

Well students do need to understand that you're not a charity. This is how you earn a living. You don't do this for fun ( are you at the beach ? are you on holiday ? no, you're teaching. ). Anyone who has a problem with this needs to simply understand that this is the real world and you have financial responsibilities of your own.

What else other people do with their money is not your concern.

Your concern is having a well defined agreement that includes payment information.

And you must learn to be strict. No payment, no more services. Exceptions should be at your own discretion.

  • Thank you.but only fear about strict rules is that sometimes you loose customers and create unnecessary healthy communication, but i will keep this rules in mind. That is helpful Oct 29, 2017 at 4:30
  • I think you'll find it makes you seem more professional. That's always a good thing, IMO. How strict you are depends on the details of your business and your financial flexibility - only you know that. But you do need to start with a well defined version of what is expected. Oct 29, 2017 at 4:39
  • Yeah right, well defined version indeed solid structure to avoid such things. Oct 29, 2017 at 4:42

There is a very good tool for role playing games, called the "Same Page" tool. It's used when a gaming group comes together, to ensure that the people that are going to be spending significant amounts of time on a game are looking for the same things (or at least similar) out of the game.

If you didn't do something like this at the start, then you will need to level set with your students, especially the ones that are behind. Nobody expects you to work for free, but if you make it easy for them to avoid paying, many will (Either out of forgetfulness or neglect). You would need to emphasize the necessity of on time payments on a per session (or other arrangement, you could do something like $20 per session or $16 per session for a 10 lesson payment, things like that).

You may have to get to the point of withholding services. You are a commodity (knowledge of a subject) that they are attempting to utilize to better understand. Your time = money (Trite, but very true). If you spend your time and knowledge and do not get anything in return, then you can't pay bills, eat, etc. Also, you say that many don't pay until the end of the course? What happens if they just stop responding? After all, they aren't being tutored any more, what is the incentive to make up the back fees?

If they can't pay it all, offer to work for them. If you charge $20 (I am assuming US dollars) per session, let them know that you will work with them, they can pay $20 for the session and $10 makeup fee until the back fees are paid, and that in the future all money is due at the start of a session.

If they ask why, you can respond:

Unfortunately, I have had some students that have not paid for the tutoring service, which places a burden on me. To prevent this and enable me to continue tutoring, I need to implement this system. I appreciate your understanding.

Or something along those lines, whatever you are comfortable with.

In the future, I would have (if you don't already), have a written contract that spells out the responsibilities (Of both you and the student). You agree to show up on time, be available, give notice of obstacles, etc. They agree to show up, do the work, pay, etc.

The downside is that you may have to eat some fees or lose a student or two. If the payment structure was unclear, and now you are enforcing it, some may feel that it is a surprise and not like it. But bottom line, you need to do what you need to in order to keep tutoring and still make the money you need.


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