How to Start a Tutoring Business

Thinking about starting a tutoring business? Not sure where the first place to go is when it comes to getting started? Then read this article until the end. Because I’m about to give you the three essentials that you need to start a successful tutoring business.

If you haven’t read my prior article on how to start a business as a teenager, be sure to read that after this article, because I went over five business lessons that I learned running a tutoring business in my senior year of high school. Even if you don’t want to start a tutoring business, you can still find value out of this article because I’m going to go over essentials that you need to run any service-based business that you might have in mind.

Success step #1: 3 Core Things

First things first. Let’s go over what you need to start a tutoring business. You need at least three core things.

Essential #1 – You need to be able to answer the question of what sort of tutoring are you going to offer.

When you’re asking, you need to answer is whether or not the tutoring you’re doing is specific to certain subjects or tests, or if it’s potentially something related to hobbies such as the violin or playing chess. Not everything has to necessarily be academically focused. Finally, when it comes to your offer, you’re going to also need to understand how to price your services.

When you’re thinking about this, I recommend that you provide an introductory rate for your new customers to try you out and see whether or not you’re a good fit for them and their needs. I also recommend having an hourly rate as well as a discounted rate for longer sessions or group sessions.

Essential #2 – Either a website or a central place where people are going to learn about your services.

You need to be able to answer the who, what, where, when, why and how behind your tutoring services. You can create a website using Squarespace, Namecheap or any of the commonly used a domain and hosting services. Or you can also go old school and mainly promote your business through either old fashioned flyers and business cards.

You’re going to need to answer a few key questions. The biggest one being, why in the world should I hire you over every other tutor? You might also have to answer questions like, what are your credentials? Do you have what it takes to tutor this particular subject? What are your test scores in the past when you took this particular test?

On your tutoring website or your flyer, you’re going to need to also answer how and where the tutoring is going to occur. That being said, I sometimes go to my students’ houses as long as I knew the parents were always present for the entirety of that session and that they were willing to pay convenience fee for me going out to their residence.

Typically, I’d stick to public places like Starbucks or your local library. Because back in the day, I would be able to schedule all of my students back to back to back and have a solid three or four hour cycle of working with different students while only needing to go to that location once in a day.

Essential #3 – A phone number for parents to call you.

The last thing you’re going to need as you position your offer is you’re going to need a phone number for parents to call you. A great way to do this is to set up a Google voice number. It’s completely free, and it essentially redirects your phone calls to your particular phone without you having to give your personal phone number away.

This is also a great way for you to keep track of texts and voicemails that parents leave you in a central place. And separate it from your personal phone number. It’s really common for tutoring websites to have a phone number. So make sure you have that in your website.

Now that we understand the three things you need to start marketing your tutoring services, let’s dig into some marketing strategies as you get started with your tutoring business.

Success step #2: Marketing your services

Now let’s talk marketing. The biggest question we need to be able to answer here is how are my potential customers going to find me. When answering this question, I typically found the most success when it came to listing on Craigslist. All you need to do is put up a services offer and list it on Craigslist every day or every other dayand then you’ll start to get some prospects coming in for potential business.

Nowadays, though, there are a lot of new companies where you can create your own tutoring profile and they’ll help you find clients. The only downside to these sites though, like Wyzant is that when you do create a profile and a student finds you through their site, they’re going to take a big commission for every single session that that student schedules with you. The benefit of running a private tutoring service is that you will always be able to keep all of the cuts since you sourced that particular client.

Aside from Craigslist or these tutoring directories, you can also try your local paper using the classified section. This is an easy way for you to get some parents that still get the paper every single day. And you can also try Facebook Marketing. Be sure to check out my articles on Facebook Marketplace. I go over more on the buying and selling of things on Facebook Marketplace, but a lot of the same functionality translates over to if you’re going to try listing your tutoring service on Facebook.

Lastly, you can also go old school. There are always a ton of local bulletin boards that you can find at your local parks, libraries as well as public facilities. All you need to do is ask whoever’s in charge if you can post your flyer there. And then from there, you can have those flyers that essentially have the cutoffs that have your phone number, that parents can then contact you with.

These sorts of bulletin boards are most commonly found in local coffee shops, libraries as well as guidance departments at the local schools. When you’re making a flyer, make sure it’s super visually appealing. The easiest way to do this is to use it a free site, like if you don’t have any past design experience. Make sure the flyer includes a basic rundown of your services, your website, and your email, as well as your phone number. These are the core essentials that you absolutely need to have when it comes to an effective local flyer.

Success step #3: Wow your customers

Finally, we need to wow our customers. Now that we have customers, we need to actually tutor them. I want you to think about your services from the lens of your customer. Are you the best tutoring service since sliced bread? And if not, how can you be?

The easiest way that I did this was by remaining highly communicative with parents and always on time. I’d also make sure that I was always carrying around a pack of five gum. I don’t know exactly what it is about five gum. I suspect that it’s because it lasts for a super long time, but for some reason, kids, regardless of age from grades K through 12, loved this. And it was just an easy way for me to make kids like me a little bit more because I was able to give them some gum during the tutoring session.

I don’t know if it was just a fluke with my students, but as long as the parent and your students are cool with it.  Try it out and see what happens. In my situation, all of the parents of my students were cool with it. And I think it works because it was a small gesture of appreciation for the students showing up that day and giving them something that at least they would enjoy during a tutoring session in the case where it was mostly a tutoring session driven by their parents’ motivation.

They might’ve hated the subject or even me as a tutor, but they loved five gums. So it worked well for kids K through eight and sometimes high school students as well.

Be sure to check out my article on how to build customer loyalty if you want to learn other ways that you can wow your customers as you start your tutoring business.

Big takeaways

Two big takeaways from today’s article.

  1. The first one is to make sure you wow your customers. This is a universal business lesson that not enough people do well. Think about the last time that it business did something that you appreciated a lot as a customer, and think about how you can apply that to your tutoring service. For example, it could be offering a free tutoring session for every 10 sessions that a student does with you.
  2. The second takeaway is to specialize as much as possible. The big bucks in tutoring really come from teaching particular subjects that are very specific. In other words, doing well on tests like the SAT or state exams can be a great way for you to market yourself as a tutor versus just a generic Algebra 1 or English tutor.

The reason why is because in these situations, your customer always has a key goal at the end of their school year that they are working towards. Whether that’s the state assessment, their SAT scores for their college applications or something else.

If you’re just starting a business and still trying to nail down your exact offer and how to position your services and be sure to get my new business jumpstart kit. In it, you’re going to get 15 questions to ask yourself to get more clarity on your offer and more.

If you found this article helpful, be sure to check out my YouTube channel to get new videos every single week I’ll help take you from zero to self-starter as you grow your business, get more customers, and hone your business acumen. Also, feel free to share this with anyone that you think might benefit from learning how to start a tutoring business.

In the next article, I’m going to go over how to be an introverted entrepreneur and three things that I learned in the process.