How to deal with Students requesting a lower rate

How have others handled this? I have had a few people ask for much lower rates, for example £10/15 an hour and often feel uncomfortable responding to these as my rates are clearly displayed on my profile. I feel like the tutors rates may not be made clear to the student when we respond to job postings?

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I usually say that my rate is higher than that but if that’s what they want to pay then there are other tutors who offer that rate that they can contact!

I’ve actually decided recently to put a “I do not offer discounts of any kind” on my profile because I’ve received a few messages like this. I’m conflicted about this measure though because it doesn’t look great on my profile.

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I’ve never experienced this, but students who request a lower price when the tutor’s rate is clearly advertised are bang out of order and should be reported. I would politely decline the request and recommend they search for a cheaper tutor. I would also make sure that I contacted Tutorful to make sure my booking / repeat lesson score isn’t affected by losing a client who isn’t prepared to play fair.

Hi Maddie,

I often say my expertise reflect my rate so hence why my rate is set at this level. Honestly if you have to lower your rate it’s say more about the level your going to offer. I sometimes lower my rate if the student is younger or if it’s more than one child from the same family otherwise the rate stays the same.

Hope this helps.

Hey,
I’ve had that happen a few times. The first time, I needed the hours and it was for a brother and sister, so I accepted it and I’ve had them for over a year now.
The second time, I had taught a sister at full price for a few months and they wanted the other sister to work with me, but I am quite expensive so they very politely asked for a discount for the second sister, and they apologised for asking. Both students are lovely and I don’t regret giving them a small discount.
All other times I have said no. Although, honestly, since I have put my prices up I haven’t had the problem so much. It tended to happen the most when I was charging between £30 and £40.
When saying no, just say ‘my rate is based on my experience and includes planning, teaching and marking time. There are a range of tutors to suit various budgets, and if you contact tutorful I’m sure they can help you find someone within your range.’ Or something along those lines.

This is a tough one for me. I used to set my rate rather low, and during the pandemic I slashed my prices for online learning. But with the 20% for everyone coming in (except old students), I realised I had to up my prices to actually get a decent salary of out this! So it depends how low it was, a couple of quid, I might be able to do, but if it was ridiculous, I would say no - this is my price, take it or leave it. My price isn’t too high though, if you factor in everything.

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Won’t discuss. Period. I have a range of rates from the corporate, down through higher levels of academia to this at very much the lower end. Parents have a wealth of choice and loads of info to help them choose and get the right fit. They can pay more, pay less or pay me. Oddly, I teach the haggle as part of an MA in business communications. But they pay me twice my Tutorful rate to do so. Nuff said.

Richard Burton

I’m open to discussion but for the most part am pretty much fixed in my price. If someone wants multiple sessions a week (same student or different students of the same family) a discount may be appropriate but that was only when I was at my highest hourly rate anyway.

I think a large part of it comes down to whether or not the request is in good faith. Someone who wants tuition for multiple children but can’t afford the expense isn’t being too unreasonable if they ask if a discount is possible, at least if done respectfully. Whether or not you could give it is another matter of course, but I don’t think anyone would say they’re doing anything ‘wrong’ as such. At the other end of the spectrum, I have also had people straight up tell me that they were going to pay less than half of what I was asking for, and for multiple sessions a week (so the money itself obviously wasn’t an issue).

Regardless, the response is still pretty much the same if there is no room to negotiate a deal. Respectfully say what my prices are and that there are many other tutors who may be able to help them who offer different prices.

This has only really happened to me once, but I just reiterated to them that this is my price, and if it’s not in their budget they can book a 45-minute or a half-hour lesson with me instead. I do offer discounts for block lessons as well.

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This is a tricky one - I tend to stick to the line that ‘my price is my price’. This is because I don’t want to be unfair to different families by trying to assess the price on a case by case basis, I’m not sure I’d be able to do this completely fairly or consistently.

I do however, maintain my price for a student even if my price goes up for new ones. So a student can be with me for years with no change in price.

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Don’t feel uncomfortable, just say no.

This can be tricky and depends on individual circumstances. These days I have a price and stick to it, as others do, because of my experience and the results that my students achieve. However I used to be more flexible when I was building my business up, but never to a ridiculously low level. I have one student who I teach at £5 less than the then rate, because after a couple of lessons there was a clear rapport and his mum assured me this would be for 4 years. I have taught him for 2 and he is starting Year 10 this year, so I know that in total I will have taught him for 4 years, loosing that £5 a lesson has paid off. Even now I will teach 2 students, husband and wife or twins for example at same level, at the price for one - it is no more work for me and has gained me several students. As Rosie says I never raise the price for a student no matter how long they are with me. Most potential students realise that I offer a fair price for my experience and accept the cost. I have had students who tried a cheaper tutor and then came back to me saying that they were not learning and would rather pay the extra money for my experience. These days I stick to my price and as other people have said, I refuse to negotiate.