If you’ve got a knack for education and the mind of an entrepreneur, we can teach you how to build and launch your tutoring business today.
Business at a glance
Average Hourly $24-35
Here's the thing: tutoring hourly wages vary *widely.* Tutors report hourly rates from as little as $10 to as much as $100. It all depends on your expertise, how long you've been tutoring, and what you're tutoring.
Not strictly required but certification from these tutoring associations can be an advantage:
It goes without saying, but tutoring generally requires advanced knowledge and expertise in *some* specific field.
Starting a tutoring business as quickly as possible
If you’re looking for a business to start super fast without spending a lot of money, tutoring could be for you. All it takes is proficiency in one or more academic subjects and the drive to find students who are willing to learn (plus maybe some worksheets, but we’ll get into that later). Let’s take a look at how to start a private tutoring business.
Decide what you want to teach (and how)
The easiest part of the launch process is determining what to teach, since you already know which subjects you’re best at and which ones should probably be avoided—geometry, ugggghhhh. You can choose to tutor broad categories or niche topics, or both.
English as second language (ESL)
What to charge
$25-80 per hour
As mentioned above, it depends on the demand for the subject, the grade level, and the market in which you operate (big cities come with higher rates).
You’ll also need to settle on the grade level you are comfortable tutoring in each subject. Lots of people can probably tutor seventh grade science, but not everyone is able to cover twelfth grade calculus.
The last thing you’ll need to consider is where you can offer to host lessons. You can certainly find places to meet students for free, such as community centers, libraries, or your home, but as your business grows, you’ll likely want to expand to your own office or classroom space, which can get pricey.
If you’re wondering how to start a tutoring business online, which is the much cheaper and easier route, the answer is: Zoom! Or any other video conferencing platform that you prefer, such as Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Facetime, etc.
Tutoring online means you can start working right away without having to secure physical space, you can schedule appointments whenever is convenient for you and your students, and video conferencing services are available for free or for a nominal fee. Plus you can reach students anywhere in the world, not just in northwest Topeka or wherever you happen to live. And if you’re reading this there’s a good chance you already have a decent computer and internet connection, so what’s stopping you?
What are your startup costs and how much are you going to charge students?
Tutoring is a great business to start for the entrepreneur on a shoestring. Your product is inside your head, everything else is basically just office supplies. As long as you have a computer, an internet connection, and a quiet place to work, you can run your business online or in person for a very small initial investment.
Expanding file folder
Folders for student work
Printed worksheets, tests, homework, etc.
Plastic bin to carry everything
Total cost: less than $200
If you’re tutoring exclusively online, you can skip most of these items and create games, worksheets, tests, etc. digitally using a basic word processor or a service like Google Forms—for free.
As for how much to charge, the going rate ranges from $25 to $80 per hour, depending on the demand for the subject, the grade level, and the market in which you operate (big cities come with higher rates).
Keep in mind that you may be able to charge a premium for extremely specialized subjects. And since your overhead, especially for online tutoring, is almost nonexistent, that’s all profit, baby! Well, you should pay your taxes. Seriously.
Build a classroom website
Tutoring is a business relationship that requires a lot of trust, and the easiest way to start building trust is by sharing information about yourself. Students and parents are going to want to know who you are, what your qualifications are, your prices, and how to book sessions, without having to call or email. That means you have to build a website, almost before you do anything else.
Your website also allows your business to appear in web search results and is a convenient way for satisfied students to refer you to friends and family. Plus it’s a convenient place to collect positive reviews, process payments, and more.
Unless you’re a web development tutor, chances are good that you don’t have design or coding skills. No problem, Durable’s AI website builder can take care of the heavy lifting for you. With just a tiny amount of input from you, Durable goes to work writing copy, adding images, choosing fonts and colors, and then assembling it into a user-friendly website that gets results, all in just 30 seconds. If you need a visual aid, check out the tutoring website template.
Start promoting your tutoring business
When you’re first starting out as a tutor, don’t worry too much about complicated marketing strategies. Instead, cast a wide net and start to build a base of students who will generate positive word of mouth for your educational skills.
Share with your whole network, even folks who don’t need tutoring—chances are good they know someone who does.
Set up social media accounts on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Be sure to post useful content frequently and respond to questions and comments.
While tutoring comes with a lot of satisfaction from helping others, the truth is, you need to make that money. It’s best to set up your invoicing and payment processing system long before you open up shop, especially if you’re figuring out how to start an online tutoring business, since cash and checks don’t really work over video conference.
Use Durable’s invoice tool to create and send beautiful, easy-to-understand invoices. Durable invoices include built-in payment processing, so your clients can pay conveniently and quickly.
This is also a good time to think about separating your business and personal finances, allowing you to track your income more effectively and save money for future expenses (like taxes). Durable Money is an online business bank account that automatically integrates with your invoices and your website, keeping you on top of your finances.
You’re off to a good start
Once you’ve helped a few clients and are beginning to understand the ins and outs of the tutoring business, there are a few things you can do to take your operation to the next level.
Brand your tutoring business
You’ll probably launch your business under your own name, since you’re the product. But after a while, you can boost the memorability of your business and broaden your appeal to a wider audience with a creative and unique name. Use the AI business name generator for an easy way to see almost endless name options. You should also consider developing a simple logo and brand colors to boost recognition on ads, business cards, your website, and everywhere else.
Level up your marketing strategy
Your initial marketing efforts have worked, so far. But if you’re ready to go bigger, here are some things you can do to help your business find more clients and understand the competitive landscape.
Competitive analysis: take a deeper look at what competitors are doing. Pay close attention to tutors working in the same topic areas as you and take not of how they are promoting themselves, how much they are charging, and whether they seem to be finding success with their approach. What can you learn from them to optimize your own strategy?
Understand your customer: who are your best clients? Are they advanced in their studies and working towards Ivy League admission, or are you finding better success with struggling students who need extra help just to get by? As you tutor more clients, you’ll gain a better understanding of your ideal customer, which will allow you to hone your marketing materials and target more clients in the same category.
Send email: with contact information from your current students, their parents, your personal network, and visitors to your website, you’ve got the makings of a great email marketing list. Email them with reminders about scheduling, new tutoring topics, learning opportunities, study tips, anything that keeps your service top of mind. Remember that email is more effective than social media, all you have to do is click send.
Set up a CRM: client relationship management software is like a digital address book that never runs out of pages. It captures data about past, present, and future clients so you can manage and market to them more effectively. When you start to accrue a lot of students, a CRM will become indispensable if you want to stay organized.
You might not think that a tutor needs business insurance, but the unexpected can happen when dealing with kids and litigious parents, so it’s best to be covered.
Liability insurance can protect you from allegations of wrongdoing or negligence, and if you’re tutoring in person, personal injury or property damage. Check out the guide to business insurance for more info.
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Now that you’re a fully established business and brand, it’s time to put some thought into how you’re going to maintain your success in the future. Here are some things you can do to ensure that your tutoring business expands in a way that is manageable and profitable.
Write a business plan
Take a small amount of time to write a simple document that outlines things like goals, tactics, strategies, future costs, etc. so that you have a reference during busy or lean periods. A business plan helps to keep your eyes on the prize—if you need help writing one, you can find it from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Register your business entity
In most cases, tutors operate as sole proprietors, an informal business type that doesn’t require much (if any) paperwork in most states. But as you expand, you may find it advantageous to register as a formal business structure that offers things like liability protection, funding options, and tax benefits. Be sure to consult a business attorney or CPA to help you determine which structure is right for you.
Scale your tutoring business
As just one person, you can only handle a finite number of students in a day. If you want to increase your revenue, you’re going to have to expand your capacity beyond just yourself. You may want to consider:
Hiring additional tutors to work in person or online under your brand using your educational materials and methods.
Expanding your online-only tutoring business to include in-person lessons, for which you might need to buy or rent classroom space, which could require…
Financing or investment! Taking on a business loan or a small number of investors could give you the capital you need to expand at your desired rate.
And remember, you’re just like your students: the more you learn, the more successful you’ll be in the future.
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