Becoming a tutor is a fantastic thing to try and be. It’s good for the tutor and good for the pupil, not only because you can help change the pupil’s future by helping them graduate High School, helping them get into college – or even guide them through their college studies – you can earn some serious cash on the side as a second income.
Remember though, tutoring isn’t just academic subjects. You can help tutor musical instruments, you can tutor in groups or privately – you can even help tutor somebody’s confidence or social skills. Whatever you’re choosing, you need to have an idea of how much you should be charging, right?
What Is The Right Amount To Charge For Tutoring?
Tutoring can be all kinds of different prices, but as a general rule you can expect to charge around the $25 – $75 per hour mark but this can vary depending on the subject you’re tutoring and what the circumstances are.
The circumstances can be things like how difficult the subject is or how niche the subject is, the amount of tutors in your area that cover the subject, the level that the student is at, how qualified or educated you are and most importantly – how experienced in the field you are, both as a tutor but also in the subject you’re hoping to tutor. You can’t expect to charge top dollar for something if you need tutoring yourself!
There are far more variables to consider than just these though. It’s well and good considering the basics that we listed above, but what about some of the other things that people often overlook? Let’s explore those a little more.
Other Variables For Tutor Costs
As with many other self-employed jobs or services, people often overlook the associated costs that come along with it. If you’re going to offer a tutoring service that means you need to travel around your town, or even around the State – you’re likely going to be paying out for transport costs such as gas or bus fares.
When you’re totalling up for how much you’ll charge as an hourly rate, you’ll need to take things like this into consideration.
More to this, you should also consider the potential costs for materials, if necessary. Effectively, anything that will cost you before you start earning – you need to try and put these costs within your charges, otherwise you’re not going to make much money on it!
Like with any small business or self-employed venture, it’s wise to get yourself set up in the right way to try and differentiate your tutoring business from your other working life. The best way to do this is to set yourself up with a business bank account and possibly a business credit card.
It’s also a good idea to get yourself some bookkeeping software or set yourself up on a bookkeeping app. You may need to pay a small fee or monthly subscription for their services, but it’s far cheaper than employing an accountant – and certainly better than making a mess of your tax return! You’d hate to be met with the cops or a hefty bill for something as simple as tutoring lessons!
The key thing here is that your tutoring has to make money – it’s brilliant to help people, but when you’re giving up your time and effort, you’re going to want to make a profit, otherwise it seems fruitless! So, it’s critical that you ensure your finances of tutoring are all in the right place and up to date.
As you move on with the tutoring business, your books can indicate to you how much you should be charging – and of course by that time, you’ve got yourself some much needed and much more vital experience.
How To Start Out In The Tutoring World
Before you do anything in the world of tutoring, you’ll need to do some of the basics. So, let’s guide you through what these basics might be.
You can’t go out and tutor someone about a subject if you have no knowledge of it to begin with! You don’t necessarily need to have any teaching qualifications or experience to start out tutoring, but obviously if you have these things – that’s a massive bonus.
If you want to tutor but have no knowledge or experience, then consider getting yourself academically qualified first before doing anything. If you’re interested in tutoring but have limited life experience in the field, for example home economics, then maybe you should only stick to the very basic students.
Either way, you need to have a grounding. The best possible advantage you can have before you start off tutoring is a college degree, work and life experience and be financially stable with a healthy life overall. If you’ve got these things, the demands that come along with tutoring won’t be so difficult – so consider getting to this point first before getting out there.
Doubling down on the previous point, if you’ve got some experience and qualifications – you may wish to consider getting a further qualification or getting some tutoring experience without the pressure. For
Example, you could try and do an example lesson with a friend or family member for free and see how it goes. Provide a feedback form for the “pilot subject” and keep practising your skills and develop your lessons.
The more you do this and the more feedback you get, you can assess yourself and see where you might need to improve – eventually, your weaknesses will become strengths and your strengths will be even stronger. Remember, nobody ever became an expert overnight or without experience.
Whilst on the subject, make sure that you know your field inside and out. Be confident in the knowledge that most questions poised to you about your chosen expertise will be answered.
Confidence is shown through your delivery of your tutoring – if you’re not confident and your students see that, they might not book more tutoring sessions with you, and when it comes down to it, the way you make money is not just by getting new business, but by keeping repeat business.
Families of the students can talk and recommend your services – so make sure you’re delivering the best lessons each time!
Finding And Sourcing Clients
Finding clients for tutoring is of course where your money is actually going to come from, so ensuring you come up with the right strategy is incredibly important.
There are many different methods you could use to source your clientele. If you’re more of the classic style, you could get into contact with local schools, colleges and other educational institutions with your business cards or pictures with your number attached to it.
Educational institutions are a great place to start, but of course the ones that you choose will depend on what you’ve decided is your level of tutoring. If you’ve decided you only know enough to constitute teaching the basics – perhaps advertising your services with a college isn’t the right move.
However, if you’ve followed the advice and you’re very confident and knowledgeable, then by all means get your name out there with as many schools and colleges as humanly possible!
Another way you can find clients is through word of mouth. It’s possible that a friend or family member has somebody that needs tutoring in your subject. Maybe you could offer a starting discount or discount for a friend.
If you’ve got your first client, hopefully you’ll get other business from their recommendation to friends or family. Either way, you’ve likely got repeat business from this person (assuming you were good enough!)
Indeed, it’s the repeat business that will keep your books ticking over. If you can get a loyal customer base, even if they don’t need tutoring eventually – you could get business from other members of their family or friendship group.
In the modern era, the best technological possibility for sourcing clients we have at our disposal is social media and the internet in general. On the most popular social networking sites, seek out some like minded tutoring groups and ask some important questions. See if you can get as many tips and as much advice as possible.
It’s also a great idea to get yourself set up on tutoring apps like Varsity Tutors – you could get some experience and clients here, but you may need to do the whole session online.
Making A Name For Yourself
Adding to the previous point, utilizing social networking sites and the internet will be crucial in getting your name out there as a tutor.
If you’re serious about tutoring, it might be a good idea to set up your own blog and website with contact details for your services, all linked to your social media accounts – which you should have created separate pages for.
You don’t want to use your personal account as you want to differentiate between your business and your personal life, so ensure everything is set up separately from life to work.
It would be wise to invest in business cards too. If you can, get some great looking business cards that have all of your information for social media and your website on them – really entice your potential clientele.
Place some of these business cards in your town and places where they are likely to be seen – like we said in the last point, such as colleges or schools. Remember to put them in places like campus coffee shops or nearby diners too.
To make sure that you’re giving your students the best possible lessons and teaching experience they could pay for, you might find it beneficial to do some research on the nearby area for tutors that are offering what you’re offering. If you find one, get yourself a couple of lessons (even if you’re better than what they’re offering!).
It’s a great way to find out how the tutoring experience goes and the methods that other tutors employ when teaching their students. It’s also a perfect opportunity to find out how much tutors in your area are charging for their services, which will help you out when you’re creating your price tag. If you think you’re better than the opposition – maybe you could charge more!
It’s better that you don’t outprice yourself to begin with though!
Get Your Business In Order
We need to cement the point of separating personal lives from business lives. When you’ve got your pricing, your clientele and you know what you’re doing, you’ll certainly want to keep the following things in check:
- Business bank accounts/credit cards
- Business book of clients, fees and receipt book
- Business presence (social media/website/contacts)
It’s also important that you’re realistic with your tutoring. Don’t get yourself into debt or buy 3000 business cards if you’re going to be running a small, on the side tutoring operation.
What To Do About Your Tutoring Price
It doesn’t matter how low you set your prices at, the chances are that eventually, somebody is going to try and renegotiate your costs and try and get your services for a fraction of the desired price. So, here’s some things you can do when this situation happens, or is likely to happen.
Increase Your Costs By 10% To Begin With
If your initial cost is 10% higher than you’d be happy to accept anyway, then you can negotiate downwards to this price without it hurting you financially. It can also be a good way to start negotiations to certain clients by offering a 10% discount for the first 5 hours or something to this effect.
You Don’t Have To Agree
Contrary to what many believe, the tutor has the power in the pricing situation – particularly if you’re the only tutor in town. If somebody is adamant that your prices should be driven down to a complete joke of a cost, you don’t need to spend your time or effort for no reasonable return.
If the customer really wants the lessons, they will accept your costs. Remember, if one client has a special deal and others hear about it – your overall costs will need to be dropped to accommodate this, and that will simply lose you money over time.
The costs of your tutoring will depend largely on you, your experience and your qualifications – but if you want the best possible advantage – follow our guide and good luck out there!
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