How to Start A Tutoring Business? The Complete Guide for Beginners

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Sam Thomas avatar
Sam Thomas Updated: January 01, 2021

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How to Start A Tutoring Business? The Complete Guide for Beginners

If you’re looking for a simple and inexpensive home business that you can launch quickly, tutoring is worth exploring. Tutors are in hot demand in all subjects and students of all ages, from as little as kindergarten kids to post-university graduates. Beyond standard classroom work, people also need tutors to provide supplementary instructions, often for students who require exceptional help in a specific subject field. Tutors are usually required to support learners in test revising, such as for the SAT or GRE. People sometimes also require tutors to help them pass major tests or prepare for advanced schooling.

Table of Contents

Why you should start a tutoring business

When it comes to being a tutor, there is no lack of benefits for you to consider.

1. High flexibility:

To be a tutor, you normally do not need a teaching degree or other advanced preparation. In-depth knowledge of the subject matter and the ability to describe it in a manner that everyone can easily understand are what you need. Tutoring may be provided at the customer’s home, at your house, or at a separate venue, such as a school or library. The technology has made it easier to tutor online using video chat tools, so you can tutor clients who live out beyond your area from the home or office.

You normally do not need a teaching degree or other advanced preparation
You normally do not need a teaching degree or other advanced preparation

Also, you get to choose to tutor as much or as little as is useful for you. You make your own decision on which students to take. You have the same flexibility as your students in terms of taking a break, skipping a session for any reason, or stopping altogether. You have total authority in how you educate and get to develop and grow as a tutor while at the same time earning something extra.

2. Supplement income source:

Tutoring can be very conducive to your wallet. Depending on the subject and the pupils’ educational level, tutors will usually receive anything from $10 to $75 per hour. Generally, knowledgeable tutors in specialized topics such as different languages, advanced mathematics, or post-secondary content can charge more. A tutor is not only being paid for the subject-related expertise but also the curriculum understanding, years of experience presenting it, and creating learning support tools.

3. Developing soft skills and body language:

Tutoring allows you to interact with students one-on-one in a way that teachers in conventional classrooms cannot do. Also, teaching learners at home and in front of their family members may trigger a little anxiety, but when you do it on a regular basis, you will start realizing things are getting easier before you know it. By doing that, you can improve your soft skills like conversation skills, facial expressions, body language, control of anger.

Tutoring allows you to interact with students one-on-one in a way that teachers in conventional classrooms cannot do
Tutoring allows you to interact with students one-on-one in a way that teachers in conventional classrooms cannot do

4. Increasing confidence.

When a student passes a test with flying colors, how would you feel?. Job satisfaction is the most incredible reward a tutor can get because they can realize that they have propelled the way for the student toward success, and there is no more great honor than to help others thrive.

5. Increasing Knowledge:

During the school holidays, a few evenings a week or cramming, and you will make a fair bit of extra money while at the same time developing your knowledge, figuring out various ways to illustrate concepts, and helping yourself learn new skills.

Spreading knowledge increases the magnitude and depth of knowledge. Consider it as a revision type. Tutoring enhances students’ skills and provides a good command of the subjects to tutors themselves.

Spreading knowledge increases the magnitude and depth of knowledge
Spreading knowledge increases the magnitude and depth of knowledge

6. Respect

Teachers will always be respected, regardless of which sort of teacher they are. And, they will always be remembered as an individual who helps students succeed in the academic race.

7. Ability to work with multiple types of students:

Along the way, you will learn how to deal with different kinds of students: the lazy ones, the hard-working ones, the smart ones, and also the dumb ones. As their tutors, you will find a way to accommodate their unique demands.

How to start a tutoring business

There are several ways to get the tutoring ball rolling from home. You may consider buying a tutoring franchise or business opportunity. Or, try signing up for one of the several online tutoring firms, such as Brainfuse, Chegg, or Tutor.com, to work as a tutor. Or you can begin on your own from zero.

Consider these following steps if you’re eager to start helping students excel in school:

Step 1: Choose the subjects that you are going to provide in your tutoring business.

You must be experienced and proficient in the matter, as no one would like to feel their hard-earned money being wasted on some random snobs. It may also be useful to provide qualifications for the topics you want to teach.

You should love the subjects you will be teaching. If you are both genuinely knowledgeable and passionate about the subject matter, you will be a much better tutor.

 If you are both genuinely knowledgeable and passionate about the subject matter, you will be a much better tutor
If you are both genuinely knowledgeable and passionate about the subject matter, you will be a much better tutor.

Step 2: Decide the age groups you will work with:

Providing tutoring lessons for elementary and middle school subjects may be easier for both you and the students. But when it comes to financial things, you can often charge more for tutoring older students, college seniors, and adults. Your expertise area will also affect the age groups you can tutor.

Step 3: Decide how you will provide your classes:

Do you want to work only with local students or only online due to limited transportation? Or do you want to tutor both? If you’re going to tutor students within your local areas, where will you conduct your tutoring lessons?

With regards to locations, tutoring in public places such as café and library may work if you want to teach at neither your house nor your students’. These days, libraries often provide private rooms that you can use and not be disturbed by other library visitors.

If you decide libraries would be your go-to venue, do some research if the library needs reserving in advance. As your business grows, or your students’ number increases, you may need to rent commercial space for your tutoring classes.

If you choose your houses to be your teaching venue, prepare a plan B for who will take care of your pets and family members’ gatherings while you’re teaching.

Decide how you will provide your classes
Decide how you will provide your classes

Step 4: Decide on your pricing and rules:

Some things to consider on pricing are the topic and grade level you’re instructing. Remember, the more advanced the topic and grade is, the more qualified you are, the more you can usually charge.

Step 5: Get the resources you need to provide tutoring classes:

The fact that you don’t need to spend loads of money to get started is one of the best things about launching your own tutoring business. Just ensure that you have a couple of basic stationeries, like markers, pencils, and paper. And later on, you may need to do some tax fillings, so do not forget to keep your receipts.

Regarding books, there are many teacher stores, both online and offline, where you can get teacher books, workbooks, and other materials to help you with your tutoring. If you intend to tutor online, you need a computer with good image and audio quality. You might consider using an app that supports digital whiteboard writing.

Also, do not overthink and rush out to buy things. You may get shocked, looking at how much stuff you have purchased that you don’t even use. What you do want and need to make providing classes easier will become apparent as your business grows.

Get the resources you need to provide tutoring classes
Get the resources you need to provide tutoring classes

Step 6: Decide on your pricing and policies:

The subject and grade level that you will provide tutoring are some factors to take into consideration. The more advanced the subject and degree is, the more you can charge. Typically, tutors skilled in specialized subjects such as advanced mathematics, foreign languages, or post-university subjects can charge more. A tutor is not only being paid for the expertise but also for the prepared curriculum, years of experience teaching it, and learning support tools.

Step 7: Don’t overthink:

You can simply download the free teaching plans or worksheets from sites like Curriculum Pathways or Lesson Tutor. To track how much you have earned and/or used, try apps like QuickBooks’ Self Employed. If you struggle to find your first students, then try services-offered apps like Toot and Fiverr.

Step 8: Review licensing conditions (and buy insurance if needed):

You can get in contact with the county clerk’s office or your city’s department of licensing to find out whether or not you need a license. Some cities’ laws require licensing even when you are just a home-based business.

Review licensing conditions (and buy insurance if needed)
Review licensing conditions (and buy insurance if needed)

Ask an insurance agent if business insurance is needed. If you tutor at home or on a commercial property, you may need liability coverage.

Step 9: Check How to market your tutoring service:

A decent marketing tutoring plan would include a website where everyone interested can get to know you, a networking plan, such as by schools, and a referral marketing or word-of-mouth.

You may also ask schools to refer you to their students. If they can’t, ask them to at least allow you to put leaflets on their newsletter boards. For your tutoring company, consider building a website. But since not everyone can afford a website, you can simply open a Facebook account for your tutoring company.

How to market your tutoring service

It may not be easy for you to get your first student, so try using these strategies.

1. Email or Send A Text to Everyone You Know.

Let literally everyone you ever contacted know about the services you provide.

This method is considered the perfect way to attract consumers by a lot of tutors. Notice everyone that you have begun this business, and you wanted to let them know, even if they may not have had the need, perhaps they know someone who does, or at least you have created brand recognition.

Email or Send A Text to Everyone You Know.
Email or Send A Text to Everyone You Know.

In this sense, your network is no longer constrained to your own only but has expanded to your network’s network, and that’s where the fun starts. By letting people know what you are doing, you have made it easy for individuals to recommend prospective clients to you.

You can say something like, “I hate to bother you, but I just wanted to let you know…” or “Hope it’s all good! “I only wanted to drop a notice that I recently began tutoring for the SAT. If you knew anyone that might be interested, feel free to give them my phone number.”

After all, you are a teacher, so please be polite. You don’t want to be asked never to contact them again because they find you impolite or because they find your post spammy, do you?

2. Create Eye-Catching Marketing Materials.

Designing eye-catching flyers and business cards can do wonders for your business. You can try using a designing website such as Vistaprint to create your eye-catching yet affordable postcards.

Don’t forget business cards. Business cards make you look professional and give you something to impress your clients and referral partners. Vistaprint also allows you to print business cards. Make sure you have included your credentials, website and contact details, website, and your level of expertise and subject you can teach.

3. Offer A Free Seminar.

Contact the nearest libraries, schools, and places of recreation. Clearly emphasize that you will host the events for free, but ask them for permission to give the visitors your business cards at the end of the seminar. Many people want to have a taste before spending their hard-earned money on something, and these places are an excellent way to deliver you free seminars.

Many people want to have a taste before spending their hard-earned money on something, and these places are an excellent way to deliver you free seminars.
Many people want to have a taste before spending their hard-earned money on something, and these places are an excellent way to deliver you free seminars.

Your potential customers can be lurking everywhere out there that you may never know; with this tactic, you can tap into other people’s audiences. These seminars can earn you dozens of students, netting you thousands of dollars.

Also, don’t stress out too much about getting crazy high numbers. You don’t need to turn every seminar visitor into a client; remember that five people can net you one client, and that’s okay; you have already secured 500$ a month.

4. Use Social Media

Social media power is non-questionable; they help you reach a considerable number of potential clients in a fairly short amount of time. Try joining local mom groups on Facebook who may be looking for a tutor for their lazy sons and post your services there. To harness the power of the Internet, make sure your posts are interesting, so when they pop up in your friends’ newsfeeds, people are triggered to hit “like” or “share” your posts, which would be a boon for your business.

5. Try an Online Tutoring Agency.

Posting your tutoring profile on an online agency, like Care.com or WyzAnt, is one of the quickest ways to stand out from the crowd and get a client as soon as possible. However, you need to be aware that these agencies will charge a fee or take a cut of your tutoring fees, aka the commission fee. The more you work, the less you have to pay.

Common mistakes when starting a tutoring business

Though starting a tutoring business may seem shiny and glamorous for those who have the expertise required, it is not risk-proof. Neither teaching nor operating a home-based business is easy, by all means. First, not all students are eager to learn, and working with them may be frustrating at times. Can you make sure that you are passionate enough to work with some of the indolent ones? Having subject knowledge is not synonymous with passing it along effectively. In addition, being a tutor means you have to follow around students’ schedules, meaning you may have to say goodbye to hanging with friends or going on a picnic on weekends. Also, don’t forget that tutoring is not a long-term contract; once your students have sailed through the tests, they no longer need your service.

If starting a tutoring business still sounds right for you, avoid these common mistakes to make sure your side job is profitable and does not get on your nerves from day one.

1. Tutoring your school’s students or your past students.

This mistake is often seen in teachers who are teaching at a public school. It doesn’t matter how nice and kind a parent seems or how long ago you taught their child; if the parents heard something through the grapevine, you’re going to be asked about it. Are you open enough to discuss the resign of the former headmaster? Plus, as a teacher, you must stay away from any perception of bias. Don’t put your reputation in doubt or put yourself in an uncomfortable situation.

2. Overestimate the importance of a website.

You are more likely to receive references from the parents and teachers of other students who know you and your job. Get some simple business cards and put your energy into nurturing those word-of-mouth referrals instead.

3. Undercharging and underestimate your expertise.

Here’s the truth, teacher and tutor alike. You are shutting your opportunity of making more money by not charging what you are worth. Although tutoring prices differ by the venue, the fact that you are qualified educators should be reflected in your charge. You will get the work done in less time than some random middle schooler … so charging an extra $20 more an hour than he does is totally reasonable. You can charge more if you’re providing advanced lessons. You worth it.

You worth it
You worth it

4. Taking on every student

I get it; you have a beautiful heart and want to support every student. But you should be just as mindful about the students (and parents) you take on as parents are about picking you. By now, you know that not every parent is easy to deal with. Some have unreasonable standards or lack constraints. You may want to have a tentative phone call and then follow-up in-person meeting with potential parents and students to ensure you are choosing the families you can help the best.

5. Shy away from promoting yourself

The most refined form of referrals comes from other families and colleague educators. However, if they don’t know you are looking for tutoring jobs, that’s not going to happen. Send an email or text a teacher, friend, colleagues at another school and let them know what grades and subjects you are providing tutoring classes. They’ll be doing the marketing for you!

Don't shy away from promoting yourself
Don't shy away from promoting yourself

6. Investing in resources that you do not need

You definitely need some lined paper and pencils. A pair of highlighters and markers may come in handy. So, you don’t have to indulge in costly schooling or any of the school equipment quite yet. When starting, keep your expenses down, so you can keep the money in your pocket for unexpected things in the future.

7. Thinking it’s silly to ask other professionals for help.

When a student ends up needing tutoring, that is probably because they are somehow having troubles with education. You will most likely be able to address the issue, but sometimes the student will have problems that you are not quite sure how to tackle. Don’t be shy to ask a peer for help or even recommend the family to an allied specialist like a speech therapist. As long as you keep personal information private, there is nothing improper with working in the best interest of the student.

there is nothing improper with working in the best interest of the student.
there is nothing improper with working in the best interest of the student.

8. Being afraid to ask for your payments.

If you have been a tutor long enough, you will realize parents forgetting to send you your money is the norm. If this happens, just simply shoot off a quick email saying how many lessons you have provided, how much money they owe you, and when you need it by, then they will send you your money. Or if you are still afraid, ask your family or friend, under the name of your “bookkeeper” to send them an email requesting your money.

9. Overpromising or not being entirely truthful about what parents should expect.

Tutoring is not an easy remedy. For a mere one or two hours a day, you teach the students to make up for gaps that might have been years in the making. Students must do their homework. If the pupil has a dyslexia-like learning problem, tutoring help would not “address” their issue. Be upfront and truthful about the education process with parents and be mindful not to guarantee immediate outcomes.

Be upfront and truthful
Be upfront and truthful

10. Not setting boundaries

You may have been a trustworthy ally of both the student and her friends. That doesn’t mean you’re always available for lengthy phone calls or post-tutoring chats about the new math exam from your students. If parents want to talk about their child, take a couple of minutes out of their child’s session to chat personally, and don’t waste your time. Set boundaries early on can save you from extra working hours, late payments, and late cancellations.

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Final Thoughts

I know how daunting it might be for you when starting out a business but remember: you don’t need to see the whole staircase; just take the first step. Follow these steps we have outlined above and work on the plan. I hope that people will start calling you like crazy and asking for excellent tutoring services.

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