So here’s something that makes me a little nuts…
I teach knitting for a good part of my income – I love it, love my students, love the yarn shops – very happy and very lucky.
But sometimes things aren’s so sanguine.
Right now I’m experiencing a bit of a boost from some good mentions in mags, etc., so my dance card is filled. This October I decided to book myself solid – strike while the iron is hot. Generally I like to book a full day when possible. To be crass, it’s more money. If I’m going to the trouble of gassing up the PT Cruiser and driving to a shop, it makes sense to do as many classes as possible while I’m there.
I was approached in Aug to teach at a local yarn shop – just one class – and agreed. Since then I’ve turned down three other venues who wanted to engage me for the same day (today), but I’d already committed to a shop, so backing out was NOT an option.
Well, I thought it wasn’t. Apparently it was for the yarn shop in question.
I showed up early – as I usually do – and the shop was closed. There were no hours of operation on the door, and the shop in question has no website, so I thought, “Maybe they’re usually closed on Sat, but they’ll come and open up for my class…”
No such luck. I phoned home and had Gerry look up past emails on my computer to make sure I hadn’t mistaken the date (not the first time that would have happened…) but no, THIS is the day – and I have an email “confirming” the date and time from them to prove it.
I waited outside the door for about 1/2 hour past my scheduled class start time. All alone. I scrawled a note and slipped it under the door and left.
I have a confirming email from the shop owner, but what I don’t have, though, is a signed letter of agreement from them.
I send out LOA’s when a shop approaches me to teach. They look it over and if they agree to the terms they send it back – if not we discuss them and come to an agreement. The terms differ from shop to shop, but generally I ask for a set fee per hour, transportation expenses if the shop is far away, accomodation if I need to stay overnight, and I specify a date by which the shop must cancel or else they will owe me the full amount of the fee. I’m not sure how legal it is, but I feel that more important than being a punishment, it’s a great tool to start a conversation with a shop over what will be required for a teaching gig.
I’ve just started doing this, but it’s been a very good business decision as earlier in Sept I was booked at a retreat which went out of business, and the fact that I had a LOA allowed me to collect my fee.
I’m waiting to see if this shop will honor the agreement (and the LOA – even though they didn’t sign it and send it back…) And I’m also starting a new policy. I will not teach at a shop unless I have a signed letter of agreement in my hot little hand.
Ah – venting is good.
And – in order not to waste the day – I stopped by another yarn shop – Modern Yarn – which is opening today. I was really happy to see a lovely collection of yarns, a great range (good wools, good price points, good cottons and hemps and silks and some very fun Japanese yarn) and two very nice proprietresses. If you’re around Montclair, you should stop by (no affiliation – I just liked the shop!) While you’re there, walk down the street to Beans and have a great cup of coffee.
Obviously I ended up enjoying my day quite a bit! Now back to knitting.
Dance, Goat, Dance!
Tomorrow night at 7:00 I’ll be reading selections from Cheaper Than Therapy at the Dancing Goat in South Orange, NJ. C’mon by, say “Hi!” and have a chai!