And it's time for a new policy: To keep monthly rates low, every new contract requires a deposit — say, one month's tuition, refundable with 30 days' notice — to reserve a lesson slot. You'll want to consult a business attorney on the applicable state laws and store the deposits in an escrow account — but generally, you're entitled to charge whatever people agree your services are worth. And you're entitled to demand at least as much commitment from them as they expect from you.
Also, as landlords — or any month-to-month service provider — can tell you, it's easier to collect payment from customers while they're keyed up about a new hobby than when their enthusiasm has gone flat.
Thanks to Declan Leonard, of the Berenzweig Leonard business law firm in McLean, Va.
Miller has written for and edited tax publications for 16 years, most recently for the accounting firm KPMG's Washington National Tax office. You can find her on Twitter, @KarlaAtWork.