Are you someone who aspires to work in the field of education, but want to be your own boss? Do you want to supplement your existing income as a teacher? Are you a student pursuing higher education with time to spare? If so, then starting a home tutoring business could be an excellent way to fulfil your dreams of teaching, while earning an income from the comfort of home.
A home tutoring business is one of the easiest businesses to set up because you can get started with zero investment of money. At a bare minimum, you need a clean room with a table and few chairs, where you can teach your students. You also need to familiarise yourself with the academic content taught in schools for the subjects you want to tutor.
However, tutoring business has come a long way over the last two decades. It has become highly competitive. There are coaching centres near almost every residential area, offering tuitions for a wide-array of subjects. As a tutor, it's no longer just enough to put a sign outside your house that says 'tuition offered'. For your home-tutoring business to succeed, you must put your thinking hat on and jot down the ‘what, where, and how’ of your business.
To make the process simpler, we have listed seven things you must do when starting a home tutoring business.
1. Determine which classes, subjects, and board you want to teach
Choosing the class and subjects you want to offer tuitions for will depend on your educational qualifications, the level of comfort in teaching a particular subject, as well as interest. For example, you could be an Economics graduate, but prefer to tutor children in 8th to 10th standard children in English.
Having decided on the grade and subjects, spend time reading the course material. Buy the academic books being taught in schools and read through the chapters, making notes and lesson plans.
Since the course content for the same class differs across examination boards, you could start with Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) course material, and then switch to the State Board and the Council of Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE) syllabus.
2. Choose the location for tuition classes
If you have a spare room at home, then prepare it for tutoring lessons. Remove personal items, and place a large table with three to four chairs. Place accessories such as a wall clock, a small white or slate board, and a couple of posters with inspirational quotes. Ensure that the room has adequate lighting and ventilation. If you don't have the luxury of space at home, start with offering home visits, where you go to the student's home to teach.
3. Determine your pricing
Ask yourself what is the minimum per hourly rate that you want to get paid. Then compare that to the tutoring charges of other tutors in your area who teach the same subjects. Ensure that your asking price is not too high or too low compared with the competition. Tutors who work with students in higher secondary, or tutors that provide coaching for competitive exams, tend to command a higher fee than tutors for middle school.
If you are qualified and good at what you do, people will ultimately pay well for your services. However, since you are just starting out, have reasonable expectations on how much you can charge clients.
4. Advertise your services locally
It is time to get the word out there. Here is a list of things you can do to advertise your tutoring services -
- Message or call people within your social and professional network telling them about your new venture. Don't feel hesitant - you are now a business owner, which means you must be a confident salesperson as well.
- Place a signage outside your home indicating the teaching services offered.
- If you have some advertising budget, place ads in local magazines and insert leaflets in newspapers
5. Use the web to expand reach
The web has been a game changer for the tutoring industry. Tutors are now using the web to both advertise their services as well as teach students. Here are the first few steps you can take for using the internet to promote your services-
- Register with tutoring portal My Private Tutor. Create an online profile and describe the tutoring services offered. Potential students can view your profile and message you if they are interested.
- Enlist your business for free with online directories, which are equivalent to the traditional Yellow Pages book.
- Enrol as an online tutor with tutoring portals. To work as an online tutor, you must have a reliable internet connection, a computer with a webcam and a quality microphone headset. For information on online tutoring, read this blog called, " Tips on Starting an Online Tutoring Business" written on our Malaysian website.
6. Discuss expectations with new clients
The tutor-student dynamics has evolved. On one hand, students today are more aware of the world around them and are particularly tech-savvy; on the other hand, parents have become more demanding of tutors because they realise the acute competition their children face.
Before you start with a new client, assess the student’s current capabilities and improvement needs. Compare this with the results that the student/ parent hopes to achieve with the help of the tuition classes. Do you have the skills and the experience to help achieve those goals? Is the parent being realistic of his/her expectations from the child?
Figuring out these aspects before agreeing to take on a new student, will determine your success as a tutor, and your ability to attract new clients in the future.
7. Make a monthly plan to 'improve'
The first three months of your business focus on getting started. Once you begin tutoring, you will identify areas of improvement for yourself - maybe you need to change the way you teach when tutoring young kids; perhaps you need more knowledge on some aspects of the subject; or you need a better understanding of the exam patterns in school. List down all the things that will help you be a better tutor. Then make a weekly / monthly plan to get those things done.
Home tutoring can be a part-time or a full-time business depending on your inclination and the time available. While it’s an opportunity to earn a livelihood, home tutoring is also an important service that you offer to your clients. Never lose sight of the fact that your efforts will have a significant impact on how well a student performs in school or a competitive exam.