In an effort to keep costs down and increase productivity, I've tightened thing up. For instance I've moved to "50 minute hours". Essentially, hour long tutoring and consulting appointments will last around 50 minutes. This will provide me the margin to set appointments back to back. In addition, I will be limiting free telephone consultations to 15 minutes. Evaluations for 1-2 students will be scheduled in 50 minute time slots, and evaluations for 3+ students will be scheduled in 80 minute time slots.
I charge the same price regardless of grade... And I write college, job, and scholarship recommendations for free!
A quick note on false economy: While it's tempting to try to educate your college bound highschooler for $150 a year, that's asking an awful lot. I've had parents ask me how to educate their student for free, with minimal parental involvement and "scholarship earning" quality. Ouch! Consider it this way: Paying a few hundred dollars now will earn your college educated child thousands later. Paying a couple thousand dollars for appropriate materials, classes, or tools can yield tens of thousands in scholarship money. While you might find $130 for a Psychology class outrageous, that's the cost of a CLEP guide, a CLEP test, and the testing center fee. A high-school credit plus three college credits for $130? Yes, please!
First of all, life happens. In no way will I be charging a cancellation fee because you need to reschedule next week's evaluation due to an upcoming scheduling glitch, or this morning's appointment because your children are sick! However, when I book your appointment I am reserving my time just for you . . . I'm not scheduling other clients, spending time with my family, or working on projects at home. When you know in advance that you can't make your appointment but don't show up or let me know in a timely fashion, I'm left with wasted time that can't really be spent productively. When you cancel at the last minute, ie with less then 24-48 hours notice, I've already turned away other clients who would have made use of that time slot. In order to keep costs down across the board, I have to charge when you don't show up or when you cancel at the last minute for non-emergency reasons.
Unfortunately, I've had a number of clients arrive very late or without a portfolio to evaluate. If you arrive for your appointment without an "evaluateable" portfolio, or so late that your evaluations can't be done, you will need to reschedule your evaluations and pay an appointment fee. This is intended to, marginally, reimburse me for the time I've spent waiting and/or looking over your materials. Your tutoring appointment begins at the scheduled time... not when you actually arrive : )
Because meeting at my Concord office:
I don't offer multiple-child discounts. I love large families and want to encourage them in any way possible. However, I also feel for the one- or two-child family that struggles to justify Rosetta Stone due to its high "per-child" cost. I try to keep my per-evaluation cost down for all of my clients.
Simply put, I've been known to trade an evaluation for a textbook or help with my car. For timed services, such as tutoring or transcript help, I just trade hours; I spend a few hours helping you set up a transcript and course descriptions and you spend a few hours teaching me how to bake. We can schedule bartering appointments or, at its simplest form, I can tutor your student while you do yard work, clean my house, or stock my freezer. I love to trade what I love doing for what you love doing... Barter as payment wins!
This is definitely one of those questions that I can't answer! I can, however, suggest some great area resources. Most local bookstores offer teacher discounts for items used in the classroom. AC Moore also has a teacher discount program. Donation Networks, in Manchester, has a variety of free office-type supplies. I have friends who do much of their curriculum shopping on EBay or Veg Source. I've also heard good things about Well-Trained Mind and the Homeschool Classifieds. Several friends have recommended Homeschooling on a Shoestring which is filled with low-cost educational ideas. However, the best resources that I've found locally are simply other homeschoolers! A quick email to a local homeschool group or two will often net me two or three resources that save me a ton of money.