Starting a Tutoring Business

June 25, 2012 | By | 1 Reply More

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tutoring businessHumans have been tutoring each other since the dawn of history how else was the making of fire learned and passed on? This need for face-to-face attention continues today.

People are hiring tutors in almost any area in which skills can be taught and acquired: ranging from academic subjects and computer use, athletic skills to hobbies. While most independent tutors have students come to their homes, some go the clients’ homes or may be able to use space at the students’ schools, or if they’re helping students with a sport, they’ll use the appropriate kind of field or facility.

Academic tutoring has been in particular demand because of the increased expectations placed on high school and even grade school students. As one tutor told us, “What used to be taught in college in the old days is now taught in high school.” Crowded classrooms don’t enable the individual attention many students require, and parents are finding that their children are not sufficiently prepared for college nor for the entrance examinations necessary for admission. They realize their children often need more personalized attention than they can get from classroom instruction.

Taught without the pressure of peers or authorities, many students learn through tutoring what they don’t absorb in a classroom. As a tutor, you’ll customize what you teach to the level and needs of each of your students. While tutors who specialize in computer topics will need equipment for their students to use, most tutoring requires little in terms of books or materials.

Beyond academics, you can also teach or tutor any skill someone wants to learn. Music, the arts, and sports like baseball and tennis are a few such areas where both children and adults need additional help. And remember, it’s going to be easier to sell yourself if you have teaching experience or are degreed in the subjects you’re tutoring.

Tutoring is a word-of-mouth business but to get to this point, you’ll need to take the initiative to develop a base of students. This is best done by calling on teachers in the subject areas in which you specialize as well as talking to school office personnel and counselors. You should also spread the word among your neighbors and friends it’s likely you’ll find your first students among people you already know. Posting fliers on community bulletin boards, writing articles for or buying ads in local publications and having a Web site are other ways of generating business.

Qualifications of a Tutor

Becoming a tutor is as simple as saying: I’m a tutor. There are no state or licensing requirements. Of course, parents usually won’t pay much for a tutor who has less than a four-year degree. And the more qualified you are to teach your target group, the more successful you will be.

In making tutoring your at-home occupation, begin by creating a list of your one-on-one, small group, or other teaching experience.

Targeting Your Market

After developing a list of teaching experiences, you can use it to decide what age group you want to teach as well as what subjects you can teach. A common error for many beginning tutors is assuming that they must be versatile. If you know you can’t teach math higher than PreAlgebra, define your tutor offerings in terms of arithmetic assistance. If you simply don’t have the patience for the pace of elementary students, define yourself as a Junior High/Middle School or High School tutor.

After you have established yourself, you can expand your range. When the students continue to do well in their schools, their parents will begin to ask help for their younger siblings

Success in the Tutoring Business

Success for a tutor is usually defined by the increase in their tutees’ school grades. It only takes one satisfied parent to begin building your tutoring business. When parents are pleased with their child’s progress, they are eager to pass along the name of their tutor. Thus, success is also measured in the number of queries a tutor gets from potential clients.

Promoting Your Tutoring Business

Word-of-mouth is the biggest marketing tool a tutor has. Most of your clients will come to you because somebody who has already hired you to tutor their child recommends you. But getting those first few clients is almost as easy · even if you haven’t got any friends or neighbors who’ve already hired you and who can spread the word about your availability.

Simply devise a resume. Although the top item will naturally be your name, phone number and address, the most prominent item should be your target statement: the ages or grades and the subjects you will like to tutor. This should be followed by the dates and brief descriptions of any teaching experience you deem relevant. (Unlike a regular resume, a tutor resume can have gaps between dates of experience.) The last item on your resume should be your education. Next, take your resume to each of the local schools from which you want to attract your clientele. Stop in at the office and introduce yourself to the school clerks — parents often ask them if they know of any tutors. Then visit that school’s counselor(s) — describe your teaching abilities and your target students. If the school doesn’t have a counselor, visit the principal instead. Finally, put a resume into each teacher’s school mailbox.

After you’ve visited all the schools in your target area, take your resume around to the local grocery stores. Many have bulletin boards on which people place sale or service fliers. Other places to post your resume could include: dance or martial arts or gymnastics schools; the recreation offices of local parks; children’s play centers or child-oriented restaurants. Some of these places have policies against posting fliers but many are accommodating.

For more ideas on promoting a tutoring business, read the article How to Market a Tutoring Business

Costs of Tutoring Business

There are almost no expenses in a tutoring business. You don’t buy textbooks because the students bring their own. Some tutors provide writing utensils and paper but I expect my students to bring this equipment to their sessions. You don’t have transportation or site-rental costs because tutees come to your home. You don’t even need a special room in your house: I set up a card table in my living room but most tutors use their kitchen or dining room tables.

Just about the only expense you have is the printing of your resume. One batch of a thousand one-page resumes should last you about a year. After that, you’ll want to update it before reprinting.

Other articles on tutoring business:

Recommended Books on Starting a Tutoring Business:

 About the Author: 

Joyce Gowens is Chief Writer, and Home Business Expert at The site offers home-based business start-up kits, online classes, e-books, chats and enthusiastic support for moms who want to have it all a family and a career. Visit for more information.
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  1. coralcallister says:

    Great article, exactly what I was looking for.

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