Private tutoring can be a good source of income. The hourly rates are very good compared to many other professions. The only thing that limits them is having sufficient clients and the number of hours you can work.
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Being a private tutor is a great job. Seeing your students progress is extremely satisfying. But, let’s face it, very few people work for pleasure alone. The main aim of any profession is to earn a living. Thankfully, as well as being personally rewarding, private tuition is also financially rewarding. Parents are willing to pay to get the best out of their children, but how much exactly can tutors earn? Read on to find out...
There are two options if you wish to make a living as a private tutor: being employed or being self-employed. To be honest, companies that hire full-time tutors are very rare indeed. Most hire on an ad hoc basis as tutoring jobs are intermittent. Your best bet is to become self-employed.
Finding work as a self-employed tutor is very difficult at first. You need to get clients in order to build a reputation, which will bring more clients. But getting the ball rolling can be almost impossible. In the early stages you may wish to register with a tutoring agency.
Working for a tutoring agency will make it easier for you to find clients. They are the first port of call for parents searching online for a tutor. However, the agencies will charge you either a percentage of your income or a one-off fee for the work they send your way.
Very few companies employ full-time tutors.
As you would expect, the hourly rate for tutors varies depending on their experience, their qualifications, their reputation, and their location. Location is actually the most important factor here. In places where tutors are in high demand (for example, places with many independent schools requiring entrance exams) their fees are correspondingly higher. Also, in places which have a higher cost of living (particularly London) tutors will charge more.
So, how much exactly should you charge as a tutor? Well, only you can decide that, but here’s a rough guide:
Another thing which can affect what you charge is where your lessons take place. There are three options here: tutoring from your home, tutoring at the client’s home, or tutoring online. Let’s look at each in turn...
Having your clients come to you is by far the easiest option for you. You do not have to spend time or money travelling which means that your fees can be lower. While this is good, as lower fees attract more students, it has its downside. Fewer parents will be willing to spend their own time and money shuttling their children to and from lessons.
With this in mind, the hourly rate you charge should be at the lower end of the prices listed above.
Visiting your students provides them with a better service so you can charge more for this. I would recommend fees at the higher end of the prices shown above. Of course, travelling brings costs of its own. Petrol is not cheap and you will also have to spend time getting to and from the client’s home so these expenses can also be added to your price. Be aware, however, that charging too much will put many clients off. It’s up to you to find the perfect balance.
Tuition at a client’s home is the most expensive.
The third option, which is becoming more and more popular, is to tutor your students online. This is convenient for tutor and student alike. It is, however, a much less personal experience and so the costs are much lower than tutoring face-to-face would be. The price you charge is up to you but I would recommend basing it on the lower end of the fees listed above and then lowering it by five or ten pounds.
The length of your sessions is, again, up to you. You may favour shorter or longer ones, but both have their pros and cons. Lessons of thirty minutes may be fine online but in-person they can be impractical (you may spend as much time travelling as you do teaching). Lessons lasting two hours might drag on and you could lose the student’s attention. Having said that, some things (like practice papers for example) do require lengthier sessions.
Session length depends on location, subject, and preference of the student.
It is a fact of tutoring that your hours of work will have to be outside the hours of school (unless you tutor a home-educated child). That means having to give up your evenings and weekends, except during the school holidays. If you are prepared to do that then, in a typical week you could probably work three or four hours each weeknight, and ten to twenty at the weekend.
Even if you can fill all those hours it only amounts to twenty-four hours a week, so is tutoring a part-time job? Not necessarily. Children only attend school for 190 days a year. That means there are 175 days in which you could work full-time. If your calendar is full then you could conceivably work for over 8,000 hours a year, when a full-time job requires only 2,000.
Being a private tutor is not only lucrative, it is also a pleasure. Watching your students develop as they learn is one of the most rewarding experiences in any profession.