Whether you’re teaching elementary students the basics of math or helping high school students prepare for the ACT, you can make a good living as a tutor. The question is, how much should you charge for tutoring?
As a tutor, you should plan to charge between $20 and $75 per hour for core subjects, or between $50 and $125 per hour for ACT/SAT college test prep. When setting your rate, you should consider your overhead, the complexity of the subject matter, as well as your credentials and teaching experience.
That said, with so many variables to consider, zeroing-in on the perfect hourly rate is easier said than done.
So, before you set anything in stone, here are a few more things you should consider when setting your tutoring rates.
As with any business, there will be costs associated with tutoring, and you don’t want to overlook them when figuring out your hourly rate.
Whether it’s the gas it takes to drive and meet your clients or the supplies, resources, and materials you use to teach your students effectively, be sure to account for every expense you incur.
If you want to stay in business and continue to help your students grow, you need to make a profit. To do that, you need to charge enough to cover your expenses and pay yourself a decent wage.
How To Find Tutoring Clients
One of the best parts about tutoring, is the abundance of ways you can find new clients.
If you prefer the traditional, time-tested approach, the best way to connect with students in need of tutoring, is to get involved with your local school system.
This is as simple as scheduling a meeting with the school administrators to let them know which subjects you specialize in, and how much you charge. If you can prove to them that your knowledge, patience and skill as a tutor will benefit their students, you should have no problem finding tutoring clients.
On the contrary, if the idea of meeting with school administrators is daunting and intimidating, you can take a different approach.
You can, instead, set up a profile on a number of different online tutoring apps, where students will reach out to you. If this is the route you would prefer, go check out Wyzant, Preply, and Varsity Tutors.
Negotiating Your Tutoring Price
I can almost guarantee that, at some point, a client (or parent) is going to try to negotiate your price down. And, if you want to run a successful business, you need to be willing to stand up for your hourly rate.
But we all know that is easier said than done. It’s one thing to decide how much you charge, but it’s a whole different ball-game when you have to stick to your rate while somebody’s putting the screws to you.
So, in an effort to prepare you for this moment, here are my three favorite tips to help you negotiate the hourly rate you want.
Tip #1 – Price Yourself High
Before you ever start negotiating, you should build a little wiggle-room into your pricing by setting your hourly rate high. In other words, set your starting rate 10-15% higher than you want to charge. That way, if you have to reduce your price, you will still make a reasonable rate.
Tip #2 – Be Prepared To Walk Away
This is the key to any negotiation. The person that is willing to walk away from a negotiation holds all the power.
Remember, you’ve worked hard to become an excellent tutor. So if your student wants excellent results, they will be willing to pay your rate.
If not, it’s ok to turn down their business.
Set your minimum rate, and be ok with walking away. Otherwise, you will just end up with a bunch of clients that walk all over you.
Tip #3 – Don’t Argue
Arguing and negotiating are two very different things.
If you want to negotiate like a pro, don’t be combative.
Instead, ask a lot of questions, and show your client that you are genuinely interested in their success.
Remember, after all the negotiating is over, you are planning to work with this person, so you don’t want them to think you are an arrogant jerk. The more your students feel like you are genuinely invested in their success, the more likely they will be to pay you top dollar.
Online Tutoring vs. In-person Tutoring
When you’re starting out, the idea of tutoring students online might seem like a dream come true.
However, it is a more difficult road than you might think.
Finding and winning new tutoring clients online depends heavily on your reviews and experience. When you don’t have either of those, your online client base will feel like a ghost town for a while.
That said, once you have a few reviews, and have built some online tutoring experience, the clients can start pouring in.
Unlike tutoring online, in-person tutoring, can be easier in the short term, but your market size will be restricted to people in your area. Therefore, as an in-person tutor you will end up relying heavily on word of mouth for the majority of your marketing.
Which form of tutoring should you choose? Truthfully, you should do both. After all, you can’t call yourself a tutor unless you have students to tutor. Plus, the more you put yourself out there as a tutor, the more experience you will gain. And the more experience you gain, the more you can charge.
How much should you charge for online tutoring? As an online tutor you should charge between $25 and $70 for standard K-12 subjects like Math, English and Science. However, for more advanced subjects like computer science or college-level calculus, you can charge up to $125 per hour.
How much should you charge for in-person tutoring? In general, you should plan to charge between $30 and $70 per hour for in-person tutoring. Just remember to factor in any expenses you incur while traveling to and from your tutoring sessions.
Group Tutoring vs. Private Tutoring
Another thing to consider, is whether you want to privately tutor your students (1-on-1), or tutor students in groups. Let’s figure out which option is right for you, and how much can you charge?
If your tutoring style leans more toward a personal (individualized) approach, private tutoring is probably for you. This is also a great option if you’re a full-time teacher trying to make extra money on the side.
Though, it does come with a few challenges.
For instance, the fact that every student has different struggles means you will have to individualize your lesson plans.
The ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach just won’t work.
You’ll need to spend more time preparing for each tutoring session, and pay greater attention to the learning style of each student.
Also, private tutoring comes with higher expectations; not only from students, but from parents.
So, as a private tutor, you need to take special care in setting realistic expectations.
Remember, your job as a tutor is to facilitate learning. But the results of your tutoring still depend on each student’s willingness to put in the work. Be sure to make this clear from the start.
How much should you charge for private tutoring? When it comes to private tutoring, you can expect to charge between $25 and $75 per hour. You should base your rate on the time it takes you to prepare individualized lesson plans, and the difficulty of the subject matter you will be teaching.
Unlike private tutoring, where you need to individualize each lesson plan, group tutoring requires a more curriculum-based approach.
Now, that doesn’t mean you can just abandon the individual needs of your students. It just means you won’t be able to provide the same level of personal attention as a private tutoring session.
Also, in order to remain profitable, you should set a minimum group size, and only run your tutoring sessions once you’ve signed up enough students.
Otherwise, you are better off with private tutoring.
In other words, if you earn $50 per hour tutoring privately, then you should set up your group rate in combination with your minimum group size so that you make double or triple that amount.
How much should you charge for group tutoring? A good rule of thumb is to set your group tutoring rate (per student) at 75% of your private tutoring rate. Therefore, if you charge $50 per hour for private tutoring, you should charge $37.50 per student per hour in a group tutoring session.
In this scenario, if you set your minimum group size to 5 people, you would more than triple your private tutoring rate.
Does tutoring pay well? Yes, tutoring can pay very well. In fact, most tutors make between $20 and $125 per hour. Pay rates are typically determined by the tutor’s level of experience, and the complexity of the subject matter being taught.
Can tutoring be a full-time job? Yes, tutoring can be a full-time job. In our research, we found that most tutors make between $33K and $90K per year. So, whether you work for an agency or operate your own business, achieving a full-time income as a tutor is definitely possible.