Tutoring can be a good side business that offers a good income. There are so many benefits of starting a tutoring business, including little upfront costs & a convenient work schedule.
If you love to share your knowledge to help learners attain their educational goals, consider tutoring as the ideal business for you. Below are nine steps you need to take before starting a tutoring business.
Determine your client
First, you need to know and choose who you want to tutor and what you’d love to teach. Moreover, knowing who your target audience is influences your whole business plan. Below are a few questions to help you identify your target customers:
- Which educational level do you wish to tutor? For example, a high school student’s teaching style and subject will vary from that of a middle schooler or college freshman.
- Do you plan to tutor for a particular test? Several tutors out there prefer a lucrative niche. You can find more information on this in the next section.
- Do you like one-on-one or group tutorials? You can take more one-on-one sessions or group classes based on your choice.
- Which do you prefer, local or online tutorings?
Acquire adequate knowledge on your subject matter
Your specialty determines the amount of income you’d be making as a startup tutoring business. After choosing your ideal client, the next procedure is getting enough knowledge on your subject of specialization. Here are ways to acquire knowledge.
- Choose a niche: As a startup, you can focus on subjects like technology, science, engineering, and math because they are usually in demand. Furthermore, you can narrow down your niche by focusing on writing college research papers or trigonometry. You can also choose a niche in standardized tests like the LSAT or SAT. Taking prep courses for these tests can be highly profitable.
- Examine your weaknesses and strengths: You must have an idea of the subjects you’d love to teach before starting a tutoring business. Then, you can assess your ability by taking a practice test in your niche. If, for instance, LSAT is your preferred niche, you’ll need to take numerous tests to identify your weak and strong areas.
- Learn to teach effectively: Knowledge is not enough when starting a tutoring business. You must develop your teaching skills if you want your tutoring business to succeed. Learn how to break down complex concepts to make them simple. This way, you will be able to adapt to your students’ learning styles and give them the results they want. Additionally, you need to polish your communication skills by watching subject-related videos or reading books.
- Obtain certification: Although you don’t need any certifications to be a tutor in the United States, it is something to consider. Acquiring certification with bodies like the National Tutoring Association can increase the reputation of your business services. You can also look out for other valuable tutoring certifications.
Design a business model
There are several business models you can use when starting a tutoring business. They include:
- Purchase a tutoring franchise: You can buy a tutoring franchise like Kumon or Sylvan Learning if you wish to function using an existing business model. Nevertheless, getting a franchise comes with its cons. These include lack of freedom & startup fees.
- Operate a home-based business: This is beneficial if you’re looking to reduce your startup cost. You can choose a space in your house for tutoring. Ensure that you read the laws of owning a home-based tutoring business. This way, you won’t pay extra fines and taxes in the future. However, one good side of running this type of tutoring business is the freedom to choose whether you’ll meet your clients online or at your home.
- Be a traveling teacher: If you don’t like the idea of using your home for your tutoring business, you can travel to your clients’ location for tutoring. Moreover, this could improve your relationship with parents since you’ll be saving them the stress of driving their children to lessons.
Get your business registered
You’re presumably operating as a sole proprietor if you take tutoring as a side hustle. However, you may consider choosing another business structure like an LLC as your business expands.
As an LLC, you’ll enjoy less liability and the option to be taxed as a corporation or sole proprietor. Furthermore, including “LLC” in your business name can enhance the professional appearance of your business. You are one step closer to your business registration once you’ve chosen the ideal business structure for your tutoring business. Afterward, you’ll have to come up with a business name.
When choosing a business name, make sure it is available, memorable, and unique. One good way to check if your business name is available is by running a fast check on the Secretary of State business platform. You can try our business name generator if you have any difficulty coming up with an ideal name for your tutoring business.
If you’d like to use a business name that is different from your legal name, or you’d like to operate as a sole proprietorship, you’ll have to file a DBA when registering your business. Do well to research your state’s DBA conditions to guide you through the right steps.
Additionally, you must include the phrase “limited liability company” in your business name when registering as an LLC.
Open a separate bank account for your business
It is always reasonable to create a business bank account. This will help differentiate business funds for personal finances, especially as an LLC. Combining your business and personal finances implies piercing the corporate veil, putting your legal protection and assets at risk. However, having a separate business account makes bookkeeping even more effortless. Consequently, your job operations are much smoother during tax seasons.
- Create a business checking account: With this account, you can receive invoice payments or cash & also deposit them. However, you should use your tutoring business account money to cover all business expenses. This way, all your transactions will not be restricted to one account.
- Obtain a business credit card: Several people don’t know that one’s business credit score can be separated from their personal credit score. Building a good business credit history improves your financial health and the growth of your business. This also helps you access funds from banks & other financial institutions.
Determine your pricing
It would be best to offer competitive and attractive pricing plans as a startup. For example, on Glassdoor, a personal tutor with 1-2 years of experience can earn between $14,000 and $42,000 yearly. You can also earn an average of $22/hour based on your billing and work rate. Below are a few methods to choose a fair pricing plan for your business.
- Study your competitors: Do you have other tutoring businesses around you? Regardless if they don’t specialize in your niche, how much do they charge their clients per hour? Answering these questions will guide you and help you come up with ideal pricing for your service. However, you can charge more if you are confident that you deliver more value than your competitors.
- Choose a target location: It would be best to have your target location in mind while trying to come up with the perfect pricing for your tutoring business. Are your potential clients capable of paying premium amounts for your services? Let’s take for instance, a standardized test like the SAT. Students in some communities may not take private tutorials at a high cost, while private tutorials may be the norm among students in other neighborhoods, which they also pay so much for.
- Use your experience: Although you don’t need a tutoring license to be a private tutor, it can help improve your credentials. You can also factor in your past tutoring experience or relevant college degrees to increase your pricing. Nevertheless, you may need to consider reducing your pricing if you don’t possess any of these.
Market your business
You need to let people know about your tutoring business, so designing a cost-effective and simple marketing plan is key. Here are a few steps to take.
- Ensure your elevator pitch is perfect: It is important to have a catchy and brief elevator speech. This will help you explain and describe your tutoring services by word of mouth quickly. Some areas to address in your elevator pitch for your tutoring business are information on your target client, their expectations, and the solution your tutoring service provides.
- Start by offering discounts: It may be challenging to get one’s first client, especially when they request results with previous clients, and you can’t tender any. However, offering discounts can attract clients without little or no experience. Afterward, you can ask for positive feedback from your first customers from the discount campaign. This feedback will increase your marketing prospect when pursuing new clients.
- Build your online portfolio: Creating a small-business website adds another degree of professionalism when starting a tutoring business. Use your online portfolio to list any experiences with tutoring or related fields. You also want to list any degrees and tutoring certifications you have. The right portfolio will attract the right client and land you the job.
- Create business cards: Although businesses are now going digital, designing business cards still offers the potential to promote your branding & marketing strategy. Since numerous tutoring businesses out there work with local clients, creating a business card that you can distribute within your community can be a good marketing approach.
- Build a referral scheme: Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth. It’s often regarded as a bread-and-butter marketing strategy for several tutoring businesses. A client who is satisfied with your services can boost your value. Therefore, you need to network with your customers to grow your business.
Prepare for challenges
As mentioned, a tutoring business can be a fantastic way to make a side income or a good replacement for your daytime job. However, there are a few downsides of tutoring you need to know and be prepared for.
- Your timetable needs to be flexible: Most of your patrons are students who can’t attend tutorials during the day because of school, which is also the same for college students. Therefore, you need to create an erratic schedule as you try to adjust to each customer’s availability. You should also be ready to forgo your weekend and evenings to teach your clients.
- Tutoring may try your patience: Some students may understand some subject matter faster than others. You need the patience to coach your students and be conscious of their various learning speeds. Try to learn diverse teaching styles to get familiar with your clients’ learning styles. As a tutor, it is your responsibility to meet learners halfway and deduce the teaching approach that works best.
- Produce impressive results: As a private tutor, you will not be working with students only, but will also work with parents. Sometimes, it will seem as if your services are rendered to parents instead of students, and you must keep them happy with good results. Another way to get them impressed is by building good communication skills & forming a conducive learning environment.
- Zoning problems: If you intend on operating your tutoring business in your home, you have to make sure you are following all zoning regulations. Furthermore, zoning requirements vary based on your state & county. For example, New York City permits home-based businesses but restricts the allocation of space you can use for your business. Visit the office of your county clerk’s office or reach out to a business attorney to know all requirements.
We believe you now know all the steps required to start and manage a tutoring business at this stage of our guide. Moreover, your tutoring business is bound to be successful if you follow all the steps provided in this article. However, it would be best to always remember that being a tutor does not imply that you are an island of knowledge. It is important and wise to pay detailed attention to the suggestions your students provide.
As a tutor, it is best to always acquire knowledge to help you get familiar with different subject matters. You can get knowledge through the different ways mentioned in this guide. It will help if you also devote some time to observe teachers’ gatherings in your neighborhood. This way, you will better grasp what tutoring entails and learn one or two things about your students.