Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Retaining freelance instructors

The nature always win, one way or the other...If you read this and think about working as a freelance instructor make sure you choose places with decent arena surface, ideally with an indoor facility as well.
One of the riding schools I work for received a rain of cancellations and yesterday, with one day notice, I found out there was no work for me today. When your finances are pretty much dependent on working things out up front, situation like this one is the last thing you need.
Needless to say, I am not too happy with how they tackle their freelancers. It transpired that last week they called off another instructor who also works on Wednesdays so this week they called me off.
The thing is, last week I had all my regular clients whom I always encourage to come regardless of the weather. I didn't teach any of the other instructor's clients who clearly didn't show up. I wouldn't mind being called off if there were mine clients who cancelled but if I find out otherwise I will be rather disappointed.
Yet another freelancer and I had a chat about it yesterday. He is in the business about twice as long as I am and agreed that the booking politics at the school are questionable.

The problem with this 'once you, once her, once him' system is that you loose one of the most important incentives for retaining your clients. Sure, their development and improvement give you personal and professional satisfaction but neither of these will pay your bills (unfortunately!).

I have almost finished my AI hours...once this is done I have to pay for a CRB check, take a Child Protection course, Equine Specific First Aid course, pay my BHS membership for the next year and a Register fee in order to be able to join BHS Register of Instructors. All this amounts to over £360 just to be able to obtain the Certificate. Now you see why I wish there were no cancellations...

Thankfully, for one negative thing there is usually one positive thing. Someone at Hamlet's yard is interested in lessons so I might just be able to expand my private clients list a tiny bit :)

And now off I go to the kitchen to cook some nice fish for supper :) For those who are maybe a little confused by this last sentence, the luxury of cooking on a Wednesday needs mentioning. It wouldn't happen if I hadn't had an unexpected afternoon off!
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