I am an engineering student studying in one of the top schools in my country. I have been tutoring students for about 2 years, sharing my expertise with those who are about to take university entrance exams (mostly high school students).
Students usually find me through my blog where I post articles about problem solving strategies, time management, dealing with stress, building resilience and patience etc. I also share stories of my previous students and their successes in exams.
During sessions, I usually:
- solve difficult, challenging problems
- talk to students about common sources of distraction and how to deal with those
- talk to families about their attitude towards the student and how they can provide the student with a more efficient environment (I don't charge money for these talks of course, they are usually like tea talks)
So, generally speaking, I work roughly as a personal trainer for these students.
Most of my students say they are satisfied with the learning experience. I regularly provide the students' families with information about the student's progress, and they also openly express their satisfaction and say they are willing to continue with tutoring sessions.
The problem is, after 2-3 months of tutoring 2-4 hours per week, the families suddenly and abruptly change their minds and want to put and end to the sessions, with no display of dissatisfaction or distrust. Am I missing something? Is it possible that I have problems with reading some cues about their attitude towards me? How can I keep my client families wanting to stay with me until the end of the semester?
P.S.: For the sake of comparison, I charge $15 per hour which amounts to $120-$240 per month where an average white collar earns $1200 per month in my country.
EDIT: There are some tutoring centers, located in a building with super crammed and dimly lighted classrooms, employing teachers so incompetent that they are unable to find a proper job at a school, charging $2000 up front per year and these families choose to send their kids to these tutoring centers. Is there a psychological effect of paying up front, where you feel like you have to get the most of what you have just paid, instead of the option I give them where they can choose to cancel whenever they want?
1 year later: I just heard that about this thing called "scope creep" and had kind of a revelation. While it may not be directly applicable to private tutoring space, what I noticed is this: Whenever I agreed to stay for a tea-talk, the parents were always eager to extract the maximum amount of wisdom out of me. That "wisdom" is actually a part of what I'm being paid for, so under the disguise of courtesy (and freshly baked cakes), they were trying to learn as much from me as possible. Once they think they have learned enough, I'm immediately dumped since there is no need for me anymore. Besides, I was basically willingly reducing my hourly rate and giving out free information in exchange of food and small, praising talks.
Who cares about free cakes? Oh how childish I was.