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I was paid in advance to do 10 sessions of tutoring, once a week. Unfortunately, I did not think to keep track of how many times it actually happened, as there were some weeks where it didn't work out. (I'm a teenager taking pretty much my first job. Since I noticed, I have been keeping track.) Looking back at a calendar, I estimate it was 10-12 sessions.

What should I do? I'm aware that I am at fault here for not keeping proper records. I think I should just apologize for my mistake, and treat all the ones that I didn't count as the ten that were paid for, even if it means I lose out a bit. Is this a good idea?

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    Other possibility is that you may have a natural talent for marketing - what you just did is an implementation of the classical Pay for ten in advance and you'll get two more FOR FREE! :-) – Pavel May 26 '15 at 8:13
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Yes, your best bet is to charge only for the ten sessions you agreed to, even if you actually gave more. Why?

  • It was your mistake. Never charge a customer for something that is your mistake.
  • The customer might not have any extra money available, and might have stopped taking sessions if they thought they were going to be charged more. They would certainly expect to have been told at some point "you've reached the end of your ten sessions, do you want to pay for more?
  • it's always good policy to leave the customer feeling they've been treated fairly, or better than fairly.
  • This customer is going to be your main source of new business. Do you want them saying to potential customers "Scimonster charged me extra without warning me because he didn't keep track of sessions" or "Scimonster gave me some extra sessions and didn't charge me for them".

By the way, ask the customer how many sessions he thought you gave. Last thing you need is to think about charging for an eleventh session when the customer thinks he only had nine.

And of course use this experience as a reminder to keep track of sessions next time.

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    +1 for learning from the mistake - not doing that would be the real mistake. – mgarciaisaia May 26 '15 at 14:55
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Businesses keep records for many reasons, and you just discovered one of them.

In terms of record keeping, taking note of the date and time of your session is not good enough because your records may not agree with the other party's records. You have to require the other party to sign off on every session and you have to keep the record of every signoff.

In general, you must design your records to head off disputes before these disputes happen. The most fundamental disputes are disputes over whether services were rendered, whether money was paid for services rendered and whether the services rendered were appropriately renumerated.

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I've been on both ends of the tutoring before and I'd like to give you my opinion.

The extra lessons have to be free. They were not planned, your customer maybe would not have wanted them if they had known, and it was a mistake on your part not to keep count.

It also looks like you've built a good relationship and that you actually care about their education more than you care about money, so much that you went on tutoring them for two extra weeks. You were enjoying your time together (as I often did both tutoring and being tutored), maybe your customer showed improvement, you were close to finishing your program, you gave out a couple of sessions for free.

To me that's a sign of a good tutor, and all in all a good marketing move (like the comments said). Ask them for feedback, whether they will need it next year as well (maybe just once a month or so, to recap and keep track), and tell them to spread the word around to their friends.

In the end it will turn out better than if you had left after 10 sessions without finishing your program, and MUCH better than telling them to pay for extra sessions.

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