Does Your School Have a Membership Freeze Policy?

Tired of the same  number of students enrolling and quitting?  Best to have a school exit and freeze policy in place.

Here is a simple solution.   A written clear to understand and explain School Freeze Policy.

Your school policy can vary, but it should be in writing and clear to understand. There are a number of ways your school can manage students that take a break from training for whatever reason:  summer break, medical, travel, transportation issues, financial, lost interest,  etc.  A good policy can prevent or slow down that freeze turning to a quit.

Our first year students are enrolled for six or twelve months with automatic renewals and a 30 day cancellation policy requiring a written notice.  That means one more payment from the date of notification.  In many cases that extra time helps us help a student get over a hump and stay in.
If they do take the time, we will apply that payment as the first payment on their return.  It remains a credit if they fail to come back.  If they give notice and attend the following month then when they come back they start to pay again on their return.  But the stats are not promising once they stop training.

Your policy should be clearly explained when they first enroll and in writing which will serve overall to maintain good will between all parties.

In the past we have used 90 days, one year, 18 to 36 month commitments and agreements with no exit clause, with a 50% exit clause and various tweaks and negotiations to help maintain cash flow.  All of these have their pluses and minuses and depending on your comfort zone can be in place from the get go or as an upgrade.  You need to balance potentially leaving a chunk of money on the table and the value and cost of your schools reputation  when dealing with contractual arrangements including freezes.

Short term you can include make up classes, even private sessions without an interruption of the monthly payments. You can extend time at the end of a contract rather than any missed payment.  For example, if someone has a discounted quarterly or semi-annual rate and wants to freeze 60 days they would need to always be current with an active Agreement in place so the extension lengthens their next due date.  Freezes are not used to terminate and restart again.  They understand that this arrangement maintains their place in the school and maintains the amount they pay.  If they don’t come back for whatever reason that  is on their end.  The “last payment” made is part of your contract and follows a clear written policy that maintains  good faith between you.

At the end of the day what is reasonable and fair for all parties should be at the heart of your contract  policy including any 30-90 day freezes.

In these economic times my stats on new enrollments were supported by longer term enrollment commitments, auto renewals and a simple easy  30 or 90 day exit policy depending on the program.

Generally going to court or threatening to enforce a  financial commitment of students no longer motivated to continue runs a very high risk of creating bad will and with a clear policy you can and should avoid ill among former students and their families.

The bottom line, no matter what is in writing,  when you feel good about agreements based on good faith, you will foster a very positive attitude when it comes to enrolling, training, and maintaining  a great place to teach and to learn.

Paul Keller/SOS Coach

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