How to Start a Home Tutoring Service
If you’re book smart, enjoy helping others learn and grow, and are looking for a way to share your knowledge while either supplementing your current income or embarking on a new career path, beginning a home tutoring service could be just the thing to scratch that brainy itch of yours. In addition to being adept in one or more specialty areas, such as math, science, history or English, it helps to possess great communication skills and the ability to translate tricky concepts into terms understandable by children. You’ll be encouraged to pull out some creative stops to hold your students’ attention, fuel their desire to learn, and encourage information retention. Ultimately, successful tutors implement teaching strategies that mold their students into fully-independent learners: You’ll teach them to think, draw conclusions and grasp complex concepts on their own. Although the monetary rewards are enticing, tutoring isn’t just a way to make fast cash. If you’re a driven self-starter that excites at the thought of holding the reigns to your career, read on to discover what it takes to start your own home tutoring service.
- Implement a Sound Business Plan
The best laid plans are well laid plans. Before pursuing a tutoring career you need to devise a strategy and give yourself a running start. Get things off of the ground by setting up milestones to prevent burnout and stay motivated. One of the most detrimental things to the success of any small business is lack of confidence. Establish reasonable monthly earnings quotas and refrain from viewing losses in a negative light. Have patience, for even the most successful businesses have had their share of slow times. First, determine where you will teach. Tutors can offer services within their own homes or accommodate their students by going to them. Print invoices and customer contracts prior to offering your services. Documentation of income is crucial for taxation purposes and contracts protect you from being shorted or stiffed on payments.
- Decide on Your Niche and Market
In the world of tutoring, it is well known that each tutor generally offers expertise over one to three highly specific subject areas. For grades K through 12, a larger variety of generalized subjects may be taught. For high school and college courses, however, it is recommended that you determine your strong point and establish a niche. For example, some tutors prefer math courses and select from algebra, geometry or calculus, while others’ capabilities lie in the realm of science subjects like biology, chemistry or Earth science. Once you have determined which subjects you are most confident teaching, ask yourself which grade level you would feel most comfortable assisting.
- Create a Portfolio
Every employer requires credentials and there’s no exception when it comes to small business clients. Creating a portfolio is the next step and a great way to assign yourself that “awe” factor clients crave. Create a personal website on which you will display your credentials, resume, experience and testimonials if available, even if it isn’t as fancy as you’d like it to be initially. Establishing a web presence shows ingenuity and is one of the best ways to market and grow your business. List all relevant teaching, tutoring and volunteer experience that you have. Go ahead and create a physical portfolio, as well: You’ll need it for offline marketing purposes.
- Determine Your Rates
Don’t sell yourself short when it comes to rates. Hop online for a quick Internet search and see what the “big dogs” are charging, or search for local tutors and start calling around to gauge the going rate. Average rates vary based on a few factors, such as geographical location, subject taught and subject level or grade level. One of the most convenient pricing methods is packaging. Offer package deals by quoting for set chunks of time and ask for an upfront payment. If cancellation is necessary, assess reasonable cancellation fees and issue payment refunds. On average, tutors set their rates between 15 to 50 dollars per hour, but the amount you’ll make is almost always directly related to the amount of time you’re willing to dedicate.
- Market Your Services
Remember that nifty website you created? Attract offline clients by creating business cards that include your business name, contact information and a direct link to your website. Hand out business cards to friends and family and ask them to pass them out to their friends, family and co-workers. Create mailers and attach your business cards, then place them in local mailboxes. Visit family-owned businesses in your neighborhood and ask them to display your business cards in exchange for a small favor or offer to help them advertise their services. Another effective way to attract business locally is by creating fliers with tear-off phone numbers. Tack the fliers to convenience store, laundry mat or college campus billboards. Additionally, present your resume to school teachers, principals and counselors. Taking out ads in the paper can produce quick results, but if you’re worried about expenses place an ad on Craigslist.com and don’t underestimate the power of social networking sites such as Facebook.com.
- Gain Experience
By no means are you required to have a college-level education to tutor, but it helps. If you’re lacking experience don’t fret. Current college students can beef up their resumes by participating in paid or volunteer peer tutoring services. Earn your stripes by offering your services to the children of friends and family members, or try your hand at tutoring online. There are hundreds of online tutoring websites offering part-time and full-time tutoring positions, and many don’t require the completion of a degree program. Tutor.com, for example, accepts applicants based on subject and written exams as well as the successful completion of a background check. Once accepted, applicants may teach in one or more approved subject areas and are given flexible scheduling options. Once you get that first client it’s all uphill. Proving that you can turn failing grades into “A”s is usually astonishing enough to earn you excellent word-of-mouth – and turn on the valve to consistent tutoring jobs.