Bartering?

Grace said: Apr 5, 2011
 Violin
110 posts

Do any of you barter your lessons instead of charging money? I have a friend who is a Suzuki piano teacher and we were talking about trading lessons to teach each other’s kid. That seems like a fairly basic 1:1, “apples-to-apples” kind of a trade, but do any of you teach in exchange for yard work, babysitting, house cleaning, other services? I think that in general, it’s just easier to deal with money, but I was just wondering about it…

My old violin teacher used to teach the kid before me, and then I would see him mowing her lawn (she had a huge lawn), or trimming bushes, etc. during my lesson.

I was curious if anyone else had any advice or experience with bartering.

Ruth Brons said: Apr 5, 2011
Ruth Brons
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Livingston, NJ
148 posts

Over the past several decades I have occasionally and gladly bartered lessons for a wide variety of things:
babysitting, Spanish lessons, swimming lessons, architect services, marketing services,
housecleaning……if it’s a win-win for both parties, then why not?

Grace said: Apr 5, 2011
 Violin
110 posts

That’s great! How did you decide the exchange rate? Did you ever run into any problems? It’s nice when it can be a win-win situation.

Ruth Brons said: Apr 5, 2011
Ruth Brons
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Livingston, NJ
148 posts

In most situations each party agrees to our usual respective hourly rates.
I just credit a student’s account for the agreed upon amount,
and then the lesson fees eat away at the balance each week.
Simple.

Leslie said: Apr 5, 2011
Leslie ThackerayInstitute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Taylorsville, UT
26 posts

I trade babysitting for lessons. We decided on the girl’s hourly rate (which, is a little more than I would probably normally pay a babysitter) and I figure out how many hours she has to babysit each month to cover her tuition. It works great for me because she babysits when I need her for lessons plus at least one other night of the month that I usually use for a date night. Yes, I’m out of the money from teaching her, but a good, reliable babysitter is so worth it! I just need to find someone who will clean my house now!

Leslie Thackeray
Make Practicing Fun!
www.thepracticeshoppe.com
www.thacksuzukistudio.com

Diane said: Apr 6, 2011
Diane AllenViolin
245 posts

We got laundry room cabinets this year!

Most of the time trades work. However, I have had a couple of experiences where relationships changed and got a bit strange. I also keep trades quiet since if there is a trade going on the student’s family is probably under financial duress and that’s nobody’s business. I did have a family openly tell some of my other students and then all of the sudden they all wanted trades. That’s a problem for my finances! I decided that this year I could allow 1 trade. Next year—I may not honor any.

Diane
http://www.myviolinvideos.com
Videos of student violin recitals and violin tutorials.

Sara said: Apr 12, 2011
 Violin
191 posts

Trades can work. Just make sure you know the student well enough that you won’t be taken advantage of. I have noticed that on a trade situation the students often are not as dedicated and are likely to not practice, place sports games over violin group lesson, last minute cancel etc.

It can work well however, if you know the student well enought that you can be open and frank when things aren’t feeling equal, of if you feel taken advantage of.

I would recommend setting a date for and trade end or trade evaluation so you’re not committed indefinitely to a situation that doesn’t work for you.

“What is man’s ultimate direction in life? It is to look for love, truth, virtue, and beauty.” Dr. Shinichi Suzuki

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