We love to share stories of business success that companies have had with TutorCruncher and their overall journey in starting up a new business. John Peden from HG Tuition gives a great overview of his personal experience in the tutoring industy, enjoy!
HG Tuition is a tuition centre in Trafford, Greater Manchester that offers tuition to primary school children. We're primarily geared towards helping them pass their entrance exams due to the prevalence of grammar schools in the area.
My wife, Michelle, basically runs the show and I help out with the IT side of things. I'm a web developer and have run a web agency of my own in the past so I'm a big believer in outsourcing work to software if possible. You build a system, put the system to work and you're then freed up to work on areas of the business that are actually really valuable to your customers.
We didn't actually start HG Tuition, we purchased it in 2018 from a school friend of ours who had built it from the ground up. Michelle was working in the business whilst teaching at a local school part-time and we were keen to expand our involvement with the tutoring business. When the previous owner mentioned that she wanted to sell it we looked through the finances and jumped in with two feet.
TutorCruncher was one of the first things I put in place when we took over. Up until that point, the business had gotten by on paper, cash and Excel spreadsheets. I knew that if we were to have a fighting chance of making it a success we needed to move away from that and into a more-structured setup. We wanted to avoid missing payments, tutors being paid late and also hoped that, by using the system, we'd be able to see what the next few weeks or months looked like in terms of projected earnings and scheduled classes.
We didn't actually look at many other platforms. TutorCruncher was well-reviewed on Capterra, the pricing was reasonable, it integrated with a wide variety of payment providers and the people we spoke to were all very helpful. Setting it up was pretty straightforward and I was pleased to see that it supported a variety of different business models, including ours.
The First Year
Now, like any business, the first year of ownership hasn't been as straightforward as I'd have liked. As we purchased an already-profitable business,we were keen no to rock the boat too much and just ensure that our parents were kept happy so that we could repay the debt we took on to finance our acquisition.
What I can say is that none of the problems we've faced with TutorCruncher. Thanks to the platform, our tutors have always been paid on-time and even though there have been a few issues with our accounting, they haven't stemmed from TutorCruncher.
As an example, one issue we ran into this year related to our pricing model. We informed customers at the start of the year that we'd figured out the total cost of their lessons over the entire year e.g. a £30 session, once a week, over 37 teaching weeks came to an annual fee of £1110. We took this figure and spread it across 12 months for them to give a monthly ‘membership' fee of £92.50.
In almost every case, parents were invoiced, automatically, without issue but several were very confused in August as there had been no lessons and yet they were being charged. Additionally, the wording on the invoice meant that the August subscription actually referenced September due to the timing of when we'd set it up this led to more confusion.
Another issue was that lessons had to be cancelled and refunded ad-hoc. This was one of the ways that a customer might have ended up with credit on their account which TutorCruncher allows you to use against outstanding invoices automatically. Raise a £92.50 invoice and the customer will only receive a charge for £72.50 if they have a credit balance of £20.
These issues have been easily rectified for the most part. As TutorCruncher integrates with Stripe and GoCardless we've been able to receive and refund bank and card payments without issue. As it integrates with Telleroo, we've been able to pay our tutors quickly, easily and securely. Additionally, fees for each of these services are wrapped up inside the monthly fee paid to TutorCruncher, which has meant there are no additional costs to track and log.
With the 2019 school year just around the corner, we have no plans to move away from TutorCruncher. We do plan to change the way we bill customers this year, using credit requests in advance of lessons as opposed to invoicing after the fact. Our only other operational goal is to get more organised but TutorCruncher will certainly help us in that regard.