What if Someone Confronts You About Your Fee?

When you announce a fee increase, you may have a student or parent confront you about a fee increase with words such as: "That's 25% more than lessons cost now!!!"

This is such an unpleasant situation to contemplate that many teachers continued to be underpaid rather than risk having such a confrontation.

Believe it or not, such an occurrence actually is uncommon, but be prepared.

Do not succumb to the temptation of answering the student's implicit demand for justification. Do not attempt to tell the student he's been underpaying all along and he's being an ingrate to complain now. Do not solicit the student's detailed opinions on your business decision.

Instead, with a pleasant expression on your face (not a grin), answer, "Yes, it is" and leave it at that.

The next statement, therefore, must come from the student.

But it probably won't because he will see that you are firm in your conviction that the increase will go into effect, that your response indicates your refusal to discuss the pros and cons of it with him, and that you aren't going to back down from what you feel is fair remuneration for your services. The ball is therefore in his court.

He will either play or leave the game.

My prediction is that he'll play. That's why he's upset that he's going to have to pay more!

copyright 1998, Martha Beth Lewis, Ph.D.
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