The TutorPanel Process

This blog entry is for companies that want to understand the basic principles behind the TutorPanel system. If your tutoring company is looking for a unified system for managing students, schedules, billing and finances, this post will provide you a good overview of how TutorPanel helps you do these things efficiently and with less errors.

The Tutoring Business Process

If you think about the normal flow of your tutoring business you might map it out like this:

1. Recording New Student Information

You’ll enter the student’s contact information and other details about them as well as their parents’ contact information if the student is a child.

2. Setting a Billing Method

Next, you’ll determine how you will bill the student. You might have the student buy a package of tutoring sessions that they can use up over a period of time, you might bill them per session, or you might bill them per week or month.

3. Scheduling Tutoring Sessions

Once you’ve chosen a billing method you will need to schedule lessons so that the student and tutor know when to meet.

4. Recording Lesson Notes

You’ll want the tutor to take notes about the session that can be shared with the student or the student’s parent and for the tutor’s records to evaluate the student’s progress over time. The tutor will also have to track lesson attendance since this may impact billing.

5. Invoicing

Students or their parents will likely want itemized invoices showing their fees and payments. Depending on your billing method you might send these out once a month or more frequently

6. Accounting

You’ll want to track lesson fees earned, payments collected as well as any other fees and business expenses. If you have multiple tutors you’ll also need to keep track of tutor hours and earnings.

To complete all of these administrative tasks effectively, many independent tutors and tutoring companies use different software programs or tools each suited to a specific task or a couple tasks. Student contact information and details might be saved in an Excel spreadsheet, scheduling might be done using a calendar program, lesson records might be kept in Word documents, and you may track earnings and expenses using Quickbooks. Each program is good for its specific task; however, these programs rarely share data between each other which can be a major disadvantage.

The Problem with Separate Software Programs

There are two main problems with using separate tools or programs for managing different processes in your tutoring business. First, taking data from one program and entering it for use in another program often results in clerical errors. These errors might not seem like much, but when you consider the amount of additional time it takes to fix the errors time spent on the phone going over billing with a parent, time spent tracking down the error and the way these types of problems reflect on your company it really makes sense to do what you can to avoid them in the first place.

Second, using multiple programs for completing different administrative tasks in your business results in a lot of time wasted on entering data in each program separately, instead of entering it into one program that then uses it to complete all of the administrative processes in your tutoring business.

The Tutoring Business Solution

The main idea behind TutorPanel was to combine all of these processes into a single, unified system so that data could be shared between each administrative process. This drastically reduces the amount of time spent moving data from one program to another and reduces clerical errors that result from reentering data. TutorPanel is not a general business management system it is a management system designed specifically for tutoring companies.

The TutorPanel Process: Setup. Reconcile. Results.

1. Setup

TutorPanel breaks the administrative process for tutoring companies down into three parts. The first step is setup. When you first open your TutorPanel account you will begin by entering some general information about your company and setting up a tutoring price list. This information only has to be entered once, although you can update it at any time in the future. The setup process that you will complete more frequently includes the information you enter when a new student starts with your company, or when you hire a new tutor.

With TutorPanel you enter the student’s contact information and details related to their studies. If the student is a child you will also enter their parent’s contact information. You will choose a billing method for the student. TutorPanel offers several variations including per session, prepaid tutoring packages, and periodic billing with several adjustable variables. The setup step also includes setting up the student’s initial tutoring schedule. TutorPanel lets you create a recurring schedule so that you can schedule for months at a time. You can set the tutoring sessions to repeat on certain days of the week or on a periodic basis from a start date. If you want to add the student to a group lesson that already exists, TutorPanel lets you do this as well. You can also set up lesson reminders that will go out to students or parents by email to remind them about upcoming tutoring sessions.

2. Reconcile

After everything has been set up, the next step is to reconcile tutoring sessions. After each tutoring session, the tutor will log into his or her TutorPanel account and will reconcile their lessons each day. They can adjust the start and end time and the cost if necessary. Next they mark the lesson as attended, rescheduled, cancelled or missed. Finally they enter the lesson notes. There are public notes that can be shared with students or parents and private notes for the tutors records. After the lessons have been reconciled the attendance details, duration, cost and notes will be available for use in other administrative processes.

3. Results

TutorPanel processes the information added in the setup and reconcile steps and processes it for use in other administrative tasks. After lessons are reconciled, students and parents can view the public notes and lesson details in their own accounts. You can also enable automatic emails to send lesson notes to students and parents. The lesson fees on the students account are calculated and can be accessed by the administrator, adult students and parents of child students. Invoices can be easily generated by choosing some options in a form or can be generated automatically if you set up an auto invoicing schedule. Tutor hours are automatically totaled based on the duration of reconciled lessons. TutorPanel also calculates your tutor’s earnings based on wages you set for different types of tutoring or on the wage you set for a specific tutor.

The TutorPanel Advantage

Because TutorPanel is able to share data between each of the processes in your tutoring business, you and your staff can spend less time on administration and more time on teaching and growing your business. Clerical errors are reduced because data reentry is minimized. Missed sessions are reduced because you can send email reminders in advance. Parent’s don’t need to phone your office to request billing information because they can access all past lessons, fees and invoices online from any internet enabled computer. TutorPanel pays for itself in labor savings alone and also provides you with some intangible benefits such as appearing more professional to clients, offering convenience to both tutors and students, and helping you as an owner to be able to see your company’s performance in real time.

Another advantage of TutorPanel is that your employees and clients have easy access to all of their own information in one place. When you open a TutorPanel account you can create separate accounts for staff, tutors, students and parents with each account only having access to their own information. Plus because it’s webbased, your employees and clients do not need to install any software on their computers and you don’t have to pay multiple pay license fees for multple computers. Any computer with an internet connection can access TutorPanel. Tutors can reconcile their tutoring sessions right after lessons or at the end of the day from their own home. Students and parents can access their calendars and billing history from work or home. You can log in to your account at the office or while travelling to check up on things. Other software programs simply do not offer this level of convenience and accessibility.

Try it for 30days

If you have a tutoring business and you want to manage it for growth and profit, we invite you to sign up for a free 30 day trial and evaluate TutorPanel for your own company.  Click the Pricing link in the header to signup.

Click Here to Start Your Free 3-Week Trial of TutorPanel

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