Why not become a private instructor? This is a dream of many people who don’t want to enter the National Education system or who are don’t have a certified teacher education.
A teacher is an expert when it comes to the transmission knowledge, empowering students, remedial coursework and scholastic support. Some even dabble in childcare.
However, they are sometimes amateurs on the subject of fees, salary and payment.
But don’t worry! You don’t need to have a PhD economics to learn how much to charge for your services. Whether you are a full-time instructor in a tutoring center or take on tutoring work to supplement your income, here is a useful guide on how to define your tutoring fees, and a few other tips thrown in!
What better place than Superprof, a platform for online tutoring with so many talented instructors in a vast range of topics and disciplines, to begin the journey? There’s no need to follow an expensive and time-consuming certificate course (although it can help to be a certified teacher): this article will allow you to brush up on some key points, and learn the main secrets of the trade of one on one tutoring (or small group tutoring) and academic success.
1st Step: research the market
Whether you are a math tutor, writing tutor or general educator, prefer small group tutoring or one on one lessons, or specialize in remedial courses or college advising, you’ll need to make decisions about your professional trajectory.
Before all else, it is absolutely necessary to familiarize yourself with the supplemental instruction market.
So don’t hesitate to get professional advice on your local market and competitive pricing! Remember to ask specific questions – the situation will not be the same for all the tutors, a French tutor does not earn the same as a reading tutor, for example! Math, science based tutors or test prep instructors tend to earn more…
For example, if you want to provide math tutoring, give small group exam prep or intensive ESL training, you should research average prices in your area for each of these different teaching strands.
Is your teaching aimed at a primary school audience, or at high school or college students? Do you specialize in college tutoring, peer tutoring or home tutoring? For which subject? Are you a math tutor or writing tutor, or do you specialize in a range of subjects? Or do you offer other types of training, including homework help, SAT prep, ESL training, etc.? Perhaps you are geared towards professional advising, such as CV writing. (This is also the type of information that should be clearly explained on your flier or professional website for future students.)
The criteria you’ll need to know to determine fees are: subject taught, geographic local, and student’s level (price will not be the same for scholastic support in primary school as for high school tutoring, for instance).
In fact, according to our annual report in 2017, one hour of English class and one hour of math tutoring averaged at $52.
For foreign language classes, one hour of Spanish lessons and one hour of French tutoring came to about $49.
So, if you are a specialist in a foreign language, you’ll have to lower your prices slightly in relation to your colleagues in the English and math departments.
Also, you’ll need to research how to declare your taxes as a tutoring professional.
2nd Step: learn to quantify your diplomas and credentials
The second thing you should know to set the right fees for your services is the market value of your diplomas and qualifications.
If you don’t know this essential information, you could be a young academic advisor who can’t seem to sell a remedial class or home tutoring session because you are charging the same amount as someone with more valuable degrees.
A schoolteacher with a long career behind him or her will be able to charge more, especially in the area of private instruction at the primary school level. Also, if you’ve graduated from a prestigious university or Ivy League school, and are a specialist in your area, it will be easier for you to monetize yourself.
If you have additional qualifications, you can also propose extra services for added fees. For example, you can charge extra if you are a teacher who specializes in remedial tutoring, an educator with a revolutionary methodology for standardized testing, or a psychologist instructor who boosts the esteem of children with learning difficulties.
Find out what type of training you need to qualify for supplemental fees!
Also, subjects that are less common than others (music classes, for example, or physics or life science classes) will demand a higher fee.
In reality, the rarer your qualifications are and the more experience you possess in a field of scholastic support, the easier it will be to valorize your work and charge higher fees.
3rd Step: know the lowest amount you can afford to work for
While we are on the topic of fees, we advise you to be careful not to undervalue your services if you’ve just entered the field. Some even offer free tutoring, or seriously reduced fees, thinking they need to prove themselves before charging a normal rate.
This is a very bad idea for two reasons:
- This doesn’t give confidence in your scholastic abilities – for you or your clients.
- You’ll have a hard time getting out of this infernal spiral to one day increase your prices.
So, if you’ve just entered the field of tutoring and academic services (surely this is what brought you to this article!), it is very important to know exactly the lowest price you can work for.
And why is this?
To avoid wearing yourself out physically and mentally.
Too often, we see young entrepreneurs throw themselves into their work telling themselves that it will improve in a few years. And too often, they have a burn out, and want nothing more to do with their businesses.
So with that in mind, before launching yourself into your field of private instruction and home tutoring, it is important to know the fees you can charge and the corresponding income taxes.
Don't give up! Didn't you decide to give private lessons for some very good reasons?
4th Step: freelance or salaried?
After you’ve identified your fees and related information, it’s time to put your skills to practice.
For this, two options are available to you: you can work as a freelance private instructor or as the employee of a company. Both have their benefits and advantages.
Freelance private tutor
The self-employed instructor is a free agent who can charge whatever price he or she wishes. They can also manage their own schedule and select their own students. Students looking to find a tutor will get in touch directly.
Private tutor in a company
In the other hand, if you work for a company, you’ll have less freedom, but more time to devote to planning your courses, etc. That’s because they’ll handle most of the scheduling and other supplemental details for you! You won’t need to spend time looking for clients.
What’s more, these types of agencies are always offering tutor jobs (even during school vacations). So if you are looking for private tutoring jobs, you should apply.
But don’t forget that the fees are often set by the company and you’ll have little choice in the matter. They will most likely take a commission per hour of courses taught.
In both cases, the prices are decided in function of the student’s level. Your payment wouldn’t be the same for homework support in a primary school, exams prep in high school and an intensive language course in night school, for instance.
Some schools also have tutoring programs that offer one to one lessons. So instead of working as a home tutor or in tutoring centers, the tutor meets the learner in a school setting. From there, on to school math – algebra, geometry, etc. – or standardized text prep – PSAT, SAT, ACT, GMAT…!
Also, however you decide to teach, plan to spend time on the Internet. This is because online tutoring and academic services are becoming more and more popular. But which tutoring services center or company pays the most?
From free tutoring sites (rather basic when compared to paying options) to courses via Youtube, there are numerous ways to find scholastic support on the Internet. Whether you need to brush up on your calculus or trigonometry, find a writing tutor, prepare for a standardized exam (ACT, SAT), take an intensive language course (ESL) or study remedial science, there is no shortage of sources.
You can also enroll for free on Superprof in order to be put in touch with your future students in private tutoring! As you may already know, Superprof is an international platform exclusively dedicated to private courses, and allows students and instructors to establish a close, confident relationship thanks to a system of certified testimonials and verified profiles.
5th Step: identify the non-financial criteria that could weigh in
To decide on your fees, you also have to consider your non-financial criteria.
This might come off as bizarre, so let us clarify: you’ll have more or less need for money in terms of your personal situation. A student who has just entered the job market and who still lives with his or her parents will have less need for money than a teacher who has children to support. As your needs are not the same neither will be your fees.
What’s more, if you live in a large city or in a country town, your rent (or mortgage) won’t be the same. So you have a bit of wiggle room to decide on your fees, depending on your personal and family situation.
We hope you’ve enjoyed these tips that the tutors at Superprof swear by! Consider this your first "assignment"! They are bound to help, whether you are a chemistry tutor, an English tutor, a writing tutor or provide homework help or free tutoring services. You will surely win the “Best Tutor” award now!
Now discover this all-inclusive guide to private tutoring...