Three Reasons To Let a Client Go

Time to Let a Client Go

Whether you are a tutor or you run a tutoring center, one of the priorities that remains front and center is finding clients to work with. However, is there ever a time when it makes sense to suggest that a tutoring relationship should end? It’s not a common occurrence, but here are 3 reasons why it may make sense to let a client go.

1.  Lack of payment

This one should be a no-brainer, but those new to tutoring find themselves in this situation more than they probably should. If you have a client who regularly pays you in excuses rather than money, it’s probably best that you let them go.

Sure everyone has a rare slip-up where the checkbook is left at home or you don’t have change for a $20 bill. As long as it’s something you’re comfortable with, accepting an “IOU” once in a while won’t sink your business.

However, when this type of practice becomes the norm, it makes sense to either shift to a pre-payment policy or possibly even let the client go. Consider the fact that there are always other clients out there, and odds are, they will be more reliable.

Thankfully, this type of uncomfortable situation is totally avoidable. When taking on a new client, be sure to put in place a policy where payment is due at the time of each session or, better yet, payments are expected up front. By establishing these guidelines, you protect both your income and your time. Speaking of which…

2.  Frequent cancellations

When it comes to tutoring, time is money. When a client cancels on you, the time you had set aside for their session is now, potentially, time you are not getting paid for.

Most tutors try to protect themselves financially from these types of situations by putting a cancellation policy in place where the client is required to pay for the session if a certain amount of advance notice isn’t provided. However, for the client that is canceling multiple times a month (either with or without sufficient notice), you may actually be better served by letting them go.

You may think, “if I’m getting paid for the canceled session, what difference does it make? I get paid to NOT tutor!”

While this is a fair point, think about the bigger picture. Your success as a tutor or a tutoring center is largely based on your ability to produce academic results. For the student who cancels sessions more than they attend them, the effectiveness of your tutoring skills is not really given a chance to shine.

Consider the value to your brand if the canceling student was replaced with one with better attendance and, likely, better results. Your tutoring would produce another success story that could, in turn, lead to more word-of-mouth marketing and attract even more clients.

3.  The completely disengaged student

Speaking of success stories, it is always in the best interest of your tutoring endeavors to try and accept clients that you feel you can help succeed. Good tutors tend to have a toolbox full of approaches to try and differentiate the learning process so that every student has a high likelihood of being successful.

That said, some tutoring clients are so disengaged that it may be difficult or even impossible to help them make progress. It could be that they are habitually showing up with incomplete homework or simply disregarding your instructions. Perhaps they're refusing to attempt work either during or between the tutoring sessions.

For tutors using the Clear Choice Test Prep system, this can pretty easily be remedied with an automatic email progress report to mom or dad. These email progress reports include all sorts of tracked data: everything from test scores to time spent logged in, to a full list of lessons you've covered in the past week. And because this report also includes a list of all the overdue work, it's a great way to trigger early interventions to get the course back on track.

For more information on the benefits of using our 100% custom branded test prep system for tutors, feel free to give us a call at 628-400-7737 (PREP).

In either case, it is important to remind yourself that you are neither a babysitter nor a psychiatrist. It is not your job to provide parenting advice or break disrespectful habits. Tutors are educators seeking to educate students. By all means, use whatever resources you have at your disposal to make a breakthrough, but know your limits.

If you find yourself in a situation where the client is not taking the sessions seriously or, worse, deliberately disrupting the learning of others in a group tutoring session, it is time to have the conversation about ending the relationship.

As mentioned before, your brand is built on success. While you are getting paid to work with an obstinate student, there is little long-term benefit to holding onto clients who, for whatever reason, are so disengaged with the tutoring process that growth cannot occur.

Furthermore, should the client share stories of their lack of progress with others (and withhold the fact that the client’s lack of effort is actually the root cause!), your brand could suffer irreparable damage.

As with the other two cases, you would be much better served by letting the occasional client go so that you can focus all your attention and energy on clients for whom you can really make a difference. Ultimately, this will benefit everyone, including the clients you terminate. Perhaps this move will constitute the life lesson they've been needing to receive.

Have you ever had to let a tutoring client go? How did you come to the decision and how did it play out? Share your experiences with our readers in the comments below!

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Matt McCorkle