Articles in the Series:
- Starting a Tutoring Business
- Starting an Online Tutoring Business from Home
- How to Market a Tutoring Business
Tutoring is low-cost business that works well for stay-at-home moms, home schooling parents, even college students who want to earn income on the side. The number of individuals nationwide offering private tutoring for a fee has increased from 250,000 five years ago to more than 1 million today, according to the National Tutoring Association.
You can tutor students who need help with their academic work. You can also tutor foreigners in studying English or helping them in their studies, which are hindered by language barriers.
The important element of the tutoring business is your knowledge of the subject matter. While a college degree or teaching certificate may not be required, you need to have a full grasp of the subject matter especially if you are going to tutor high school or college students. Decide on your area of expertise – e.g. High school science, or elementary, or college math — and focus on that (though there are some who tutors elementary to college level clients).
The location where you are going to tutor is of prime importance. If you are a college student whose “home” is the dorm, consider tutoring in a library, study room or even the student’s home. If you are going to bring your clients to your home, check with your insurance agent and make sure that you are covered for any liabilities that may arise (e.g. your client slipping on the floor and breaking his/her bones).
Freelance Tutor or Work for a Learning Center
As a tutor, you can opt to start freelance or join a tutoring service such as Kumon Learning Center or Sylvan Learning Center.
The advantage of these learning centers is the strength of their brands, and their marketing and advertising capacities. To a significant extent, these tutoring franchises also enjoy the potential clients’ inherent trust that the tutors in their centers have been vetted for their skills, expertise and capabilities, and their background checked.
To apply as a tutor in one of the learning centers, be prepared to take a math or reading test, depending on what you will teach. This will help your employers determine your aptitude and capabilities, and your score will help determine whether you can get hired. Some centers will allow you to determine your available tutoring schedule.
How to Market Your Tutoring Business
There are a number of low-cost ways that you can use to market a home-based tutoring business.
To get clients for your tutoring business, approach schools in your area. You can talk with the principal or the teachers letting them know of your skills and qualifications (bring your flyer or brochure). Request permission if you could promote your business in the school by posting flyers in their bulletin boards or in places where the kids hang out. Get to know the right office and contact person of offices in schools where students seeking help with their academic studies go. Or better yet, ask guidance offices and student services if they could refer students to you who may need a private tutor.
Advertise in school newspapers, yearbooks or other school publications. Think of materials that are being sent to parents and whether you can advertise on them. You can also hand out your flyer to parents picking up their children after school. For more ideas on how to ensure that your advertising strategies are effective, read the article How to Make Your Advertising More Effective and Cost Less.
You can also advertise in classified ads websites such as Craigslist.com. A lot of tutors have successfully used Craigslist to find potential clients.
Post your fliers in the community boards in your local grocery stores or shopping centers that allow it. Some businesses provide boards for advertisements of local businesses. Check if coffee shops in your areas have community bulletin boards. Also check out community sports or recreation centers if they have boards where you can post your fliers advertising your tutoring business. These are places where both parents and kids go all the time, for sports, lessons and other activities.
Public libraries can also be a good place for you to post your fliers, if allowed. While some libraries are stricter than others and do not allow ads in their premises, some libraries are more lenient and offers local businesses areas for advertisements. Read the article “How to Market a New Local Business on a Shoestring Budget”.
You can also use the libraries to give talks to parents in the local community on topics such as “How to Develop Positive Study Habits in Children.” Doing talks or small seminars allow you to be seen as an expert by your target market. Libraries have meeting rooms that they rent out for minimal fee for activities that involve and benefit the community. However, do not blatantly say that the talk is intended to advertise your business as libraries may not allow you to rent their facilities. Read the article “Ten Ways to Market Yourself: Create Opportunities & Build Your Brand”.
Word of mouth is an important marketing tool for a tutoring service. Parents ask and share tips all the time, and they can be your best advertising tool. If they are satisfied with the tutoring service you provide, they will happily recommend and share your information with other parents and their contacts. For more tips on how to use word of mouth marketing, read the article “How to Create the Buzz for Your Business”.
With the Web as an established medium of business, it is important to develop a web presence. You can create a website that will serve as your online brochure. It can also be an efficient way to communicate with clients, where you can post course materials or exercises. You can market your website locally and post it in online directories in your area. If you are Web and technologically savvy, you can take your web presence a step further and start an online tutoring service.
For more information on shoestring marketing strategies, read 50 Free or Low Cost Ways to Market Your Small Business.
Pricing Your Tutoring Services
The price for your tutoring service depends on your established credentials and reputation in the business. It is important to understand: the better your credentials, the higher the rate that you can charge. High school or college students tutoring in some areas can charge anywhere from $10 to $15 per hour. A certified teacher with experience can charge $75 per hour, or higher.
Your rates will also depend on the subject you are teaching. You can expect to charge higher for advanced calculus tutoring compared to Grade 3 math. The amount you charge will also depend whether you do house calls and tutor the client in their homes, as compared to clients coming to your home.
Start by checking the rates of tutors in your area. In some cities, tutors can charge as much as $50 or more per hour, while in some places, $30 per hour is the norm. You do not want to overprice yourself out of the market.
Resources for Tutoring Businesses:
- National Tutoring Association http://www.ntatutor.org
- Association for Tutoring Profession http://www.jsu.edu/depart/edprof/atp/
- American Tutoring Association http://www.americantutoringassociation.org/
Recommended Books on How to Start a Tutoring Business:
- TUTORING: Complete Home Business Guide: Tutor at home, Set your own Fees, Set your own schedule, Earn more tutoring online, tutor to international people
- How to Start a Business as a Private Tutor. Set up a tutoring business from home. Learn the secrets of success from years of experience in tuition … and sample adverts. (Skills Training Course)
- How to Start a Home-Based Tutoring Business (Home-Based Business Series)
- How to Set Up a Tutoring Business: Start Up Tips to Boost Your Tutoring Business
- Tutor And Grow Rich!: Make A Full Time Income As A Part Time Tutor.
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