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When running a learning centre such as a tuition centre or kindergarten, the livelihood of the business depends on the number of students who signs up and stays with you. It is a no brainer that as the number of student increases, the greater the revenue / profit is. However, what comes next is a bigger challenge – getting parents to pay on time. Ultimately, this is a hurdle that most if not all education centres face. Unlike other businesses such as a gym, you probably would not deny the student entry into the class because his / her parent has not cleared their fees.
For centres who collect their lesson fee payments on a monthly basis, getting parents to pay on time is crucial as this would affect the company’s cashflow. You as the business owner have other financial responsibilities such as paying your teacher’s salary, rent, utilities etc. Hence, in this article, we will be sharing with you 3 pointers that you can apply to get parents to pay on time, every time!
Tip 1: *Terms and Conditions Applied* The first tip is to be applied when signing up a new student. Besides a registration form, get the parents to sign off on a Terms & Conditions sheet. Highlight to them that payment for the upcoming month must be done by the end of the current month (*Depending on the rules that you have set). Here you can also consider implementing an additional charge for late payment. We know of some learning centres who uses this just as a tactic to “threaten” parents to pay on time but do not really implement this. It is up to you on how you execute this. For example, if you are aware of a certain parent who has a track record of making late payments, you can give them a gentle reminder on this T&C. This brings us to Tip #2.
Tip 2: Constant reminder. Part of being human is the fact that we tend to forget things. We do not do it on purpose but as we are caught up in our daily routines, rushing from one place to another, it is normal that we might have overlooked certain mundane things to do such as making fee payment. In addition, your student might be attending 4 to 5 other lessons – all of which requires the parent to make payment at the end of the month! Therefore, we need to always be reminding both the students and parents.
For students: When the fee payment has been due for more than a week, pass the student a friendly reminder note and mention that the fees are not paid yet and to get his/her parents to make payment. This works best for older student as they might be ashamed when getting called out from class. For younger students such as those in pre-school, you can staple the note on the cover of their exercise book or a folder so that it is clearly visible to parents when they pick their children up from the centre.
For parents: Three days before the start of the new month, send them a reminder on making the fee payment. At the start of the new month, send them yet another message. By the 7th (or whenever the dateline is), give them a call and follow up with another message. This is where you can remind them of the additional charge that was set in Tip #1.
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Tip 3: Reduce friction of making payment. The third and final step is an effort centres need to make in order to encourage on-time payment. One of the reasons why parents do not pay on time is because of all the hassle it involves. If the only way parents can make payment is by coming to front desk at your centre (which involves taking additional time out from their busy schedule, finding parking under the scorching heat, walking up the never-ending flight of stairs, queuing to wait for their turn – you get what I mean), you probably need to consider other payment options. Generally, learning centres accept cash, credit card (wave or pin) or online bank transfers. However, in addition to all the struggles mentioned above, it is still a back and forth process where you (or your admin staff) would receive the transfer slip from the parent, update the fee tracking sheet, issuing a receipt and then finally sending it back to the parent. Now imagine doing this for a few hundred students every month. This would take up a lot of time.
Here’s a solution: AOneSchools Parent Mobile App – it allows parents to make payment directly from the comfort of their own homes and automatically receive the receipt. It gives the option of either online banking or the usage of credit card! In addition, they no longer need to be physically present at your centre and hence, this will encourage contactless payment and reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
By reducing the friction for parents to make payment, you can increase the percentage of total payment every month! So here we have three ways that you can try out! Let us know which method works best for you!