When do you expect payment for services rendered?

So I stirred up quite a conversation on my Facebook wall yesterday when I posted:

Got this line in an email today:

"it's just that we don't prepay anything we always wait to receive the services and then we pay just like anything else in life for the most part."

Think I can use that to pay for college?

A few of my friends replied with:
  • Please tell me this person was no older than 16.
  • People just don't understand that the person performing the services has to make the commitment ahead of time to be there so the people attending have to make the investment ahead of time. It is an investment, often with those you do not see the return immediately
  • I attend many seminars and trainings as a nurse and as an educator myself and it's always prepaid. Sorry Gail. I think you should require prepayment in the event no one shows you still ought to be paid in full. Good luck!
  • Have to say..I've always had to prepay (Both for business and personal commitments), this way the presenter is paid and so is the venue in case anything happens and the "event" is cancelled.
  • "Like anything in life?" Really? I seem to recall paying at or before the time of service for every class or program I've ever taken. I pay my doctor BEFORE she sees me. Who ARE these people? This is not groceries we're talking about.
The back story: I have some people in my class today whose employer is paying for them to attend. My policy is payment received no later than the start of the class. I had been asked to mail a bill somewhere and I explained I am not set up to do that, payment is expected no later than the start of the class.  At their request I sent a credit invoice to them. This is part of the reply that was forwarded to me after I told the person attending that I would be holding their cards until payment is received:

"I can maybe pay it electronically on my credit card on Monday it's just that we don't prepay anything we always wait to receive the services and then we pay just like anything else in life for the most part."

I receive this after attended a workshop in college financial aid. Snarkily I'm thinking, can I use that line to pay for my daughter's college tuitition?  "Maybe pay it on Monday"?  The class is on Saturday, yes please pay it on Monday.  Paying it on Saturday would be preferable.

But seriously, I'm not a tradesman that you pay for after the repair has been made or a utility company. Many courses and programs require pre-payment prior to the course. If I buy Christmas presents I have to pay for them before I can take or receive them.  I'm actually pretty lenient on requiring payment by the start of the class instead of in advance. I have to purchase textbooks and supplies for each course, there are expenses to the instructor or school before a class is even held.  I'm sure the industry that these folks are in requirement payment prior services received.  Whether it's a small business like mine, or a large educational institution, prepayment for educational services is the expected norm, not the other way around.

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