How Much To Charge As a Tutor: Everything You Need to Know

17 April 2022
Teaching Tips
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LiveBoard Staff

Now that you’ve set yourself on starting your tutoring career or even want to make some extra cash by sharing your knowledge with students as a part-time job, it’s natural for you to stumble upon the ever-lasting question: how much to charge as a tutor? Usually tutors would charge their students from $25 to $75 per hour, depending on the subject and the quality in which the material is delivered. According to Indeed Salaries, the average base salary of tutors in the US is $23.29 per hour. But as you would expect, it’s not relatively that easy. The price tag you set on your tutoring services may even go over the mentioned range. It depends on many factors, such as your costs, location, skills, experience, subject matter, and the clients’ profile. Read on; here’s your ultimate guide!

Always Take Your  Tutoring Costs Into Account

You don’t want to spend all of the money you earned on your tutoring expenses. If you’re going to ride to the town next to yours, you will have to pay for your vehicle’s fuel. If you want to tutor your students with expensive books or other materials, you might have to purchase those first. If you’re tutoring online, you might have to pay subscription fees to digital software and tools that would make the process smooth and effective. Get the point? If a photographer uses a $2500 dollar camera, they will charge a lot more than someone with a $500 camera. It’s the investment they have made into the quality. If you’re serious about starting a tutoring business, you should charge enough to cover your expenses and make a profit to continue to help your students grow. This may not be something mind-bending you just found out. But many starters make the mistake and learn the hard way.

Do Not Underestimate (Nor Overestimate) Your Tutoring Skills

A tutor teaching math online

The sweat, blood, and tears you’ve put into gaining the skills and expertise you now offer to students might be very different from the competition. It’s only natural that you charge more if you can provide better quality. Imagine two different situations:

  1. You have a degree in the subject matter you’re tutoring and years of experience under your belt.
  2. The other person is still an undergraduate student taking the same classes as their clients.

Which one of these would you choose? It would be a no-brainer if both were to charge $30/hour. That being said, don’t make the mistake of overpricing yourself because that will drive away potential customers who might need your help. Instead, find a way to market your skills to make people want to invest in you without breaking the bank.

Your Tutoring Experience Matters; How to Find Clients

As you’ve read the first part of the subtitle, you might have thought about the paradoxical question, “you need the experience to get a job, but you need a job to get experience.” But that conundrum is as old as “which came first: the chicken or the egg?” i.e., we have the answer – the egg, not the chicken egg, however. On a serious note, if you don’t have any experience in tutoring, it would be best to try and start somewhere. Here are some of our recommendations.

1. Start With Your Network

It would be best if you considered starting with people you know. It could be your friends, family members, or neighbors. Once you get positive feedback and results from those closest to you – use that as your social proof and charge other clients a bit more. Of course, don’t charge an arm and a leg right away; remember to take baby steps. Going back to the previous parallel, a photographer with no portfolio can’t charge much straight away. Instead, they start with their friends and family to gain experience, gather a portfolio, and gradually build on it.

2. Go Old School (Pun not intended)

Alternatively, you can meet teachers and administrators from nearby schools, depending on your subject matter, and let them know you specialize in a particular subject. They might connect you with potential clients who struggle with the same subject. 

3. Try a Modern Approach

If the last bit might sound intimidating, you can always take a contemporary approach and set up a profile on various online tutoring platforms, such as Wyzant, Preply, Varsity Tutors, or others alike. This way, clients will be able to find you from anywhere much easier and start the talks. 

4. Invest in your toolbox

Remember that the way you present your lesson to the audience largely matters for modern students. The seamless integration of social media into our daily lives made many people visual learners – a learning style where a student needs to see something to understand it. So, to stay competitive and be able to charge as much as you need, make sure you fit the trend. Use interactive video lessons to make your lessons more engaging, either in class or for remote teaching. You can make recorded lessons for your students or even share a live video lesson with them, encouraging them to participate actively. 

A Preteen boy uses a laptop to make a video call with his tutor

Negotiating The Tutoring Price

Deciding and setting a price for tutoring expenses is one thing, and agreeing to a specific price with a client (or parent) is another ball game. You will often have to sit and negotiate the charge at your clients’ request. So here are some tips you can take with you to the table if you meet that situation.

1. Price Yourself High Enough

Always ask for an amount that is a bit higher than you originally intended to. This will leave you with some room in case you have to reduce your hourly price.

2.  Don’t Hesitate To Walk Away

The person ready to walk away from negotiating the table usually holds power. If they chose you as the preferred tutor, you have given them enough reasons for that, be it your reputation, results, or referrals. That being said, you should remember that you might lose a few potential clients; you should not be scared of that either.

3. Focus on Mutual Success

Always show genuine interest in the success of your potential students. After all, their success is yours as well. Ask many questions and show them that you are invested in their positive progress. Additionally, have your ‘arguments’ ready. You should be able to state why your services cost as much as they do.

4. Prevent Any Tension

… at least on your side. That will most probably work both ways. But you never know who’s your next potential client. More so, you don’t have a measure of their temper. Don’t argue with them, but discuss. Instead, make sure the atmosphere is friendly and understanding. When all is successfully settled, you will have to work with them, so you’d both want to start things on the right note.

Final Thoughts

Tutoring is a valuable service, and, as such, you should charge what you believe is fair for your time and effort. However, it’s important to remember that price tags are not set in stone. What’s important is to find the right price point for your services that allows you to make a good income while still providing a valuable enough service to your clients. Keep in mind your costs, skills, and location when setting your price tag, and be prepared to adjust as needed.

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