• Support PF! Buy your school textbooks, materials and every day products Here!

How much to invest in tutoring business?

  • #1
565
60

Main Question or Discussion Point

I'm in the Bay Area currently and not sure exactly how the market works here.

How much money should I invest in advertising to get say 10 students at a rate of $50 an hour? Seems risky, but probably worth a shot. I'm taking ballpark here, not exact figures.

I just want a discussion because I don't want to go in completely blind.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
11,487
5,019
I would suggest using word of mouth from your existing students and facebook with friends to get a larger audience. I don't think general advertising will help you here.

All the tutors I know have done it through word of mouth from student to student or from teacher recommendations.
 
  • #3
gleem
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
1,603
963
Go to the source of clients the schools. Send a letter to the department head of nearby schools detailing your service.
 
  • #4
565
60
I would suggest using word of mouth from your existing students and facebook with friends to get a larger audience. I don't think general advertising will help you here.

All the tutors I know have done it through word of mouth from student to student or from teacher recommendations.
That's what I have done before. But I move from time to time. I can't afford to start over every time. There's gotta be a way to hit the ground running.
 
  • #5
jtbell
Mentor
15,518
3,352
Go to the source of clients the schools. Send a letter to the department head of nearby schools detailing your service.
Back in the Dark Ages when I was a student and then a professor, the usual way to advertise tutoring services was to put up notices on bulletin boards in hallways of classroom buildings. They usually had tear-off tabs with a phone number, or later an e-mail address. Has that become hopelessly low-tech now?
 
  • #6
BWV
592
495
Cant remember the name, but there was a finder site we used to find a chemistry tutor for my daughter a few years back. Seems the tutors would do a semester under the website, giving them a cut then negotiate their own fee directly with the parents
 
  • #7
565
60
There are people that tutor and eventually have it snowball into a multimillion dollar company. So there's got to be some way to do things more efficiently. Maybe appeal to a certain demographic? Or find a void in the market?
 
  • #8
152
102
I would suggest using word of mouth from your existing students and facebook with friends to get a larger audience. I don't think general advertising will help you here.

All the tutors I know have done it through word of mouth from student to student or from teacher recommendations.
Also a blog could help - even if a Facebook style blog, where you just post your thoughts into FB's page. Maybe write about things that excite you about teaching. And in other posts, maybe write about a specific academic topic and how you would explain it to someone having difficulties. You could even post about teaching your students how to learn on their own, etc. etc.

I know if I'm passionate about something, then it is an absolute joy to write about it. If I were teaching a subject as a tutor in a personal business, I'd be glad to do a blog of my experiences that serve as a window/glimpse into who I am (for prospective customers and/or parents of potential students to see).

Ezra Klein, who runs Vox, was just a political blogger, who developed a readership and caught the attention of the Washington Post and got his start into big-time journalism that way. There have been other bloggers who've caught large followings too and parlayed it into bigger and "better" things. That guy who heads The Penny Hoarder was just some guy, AFAIK, who blogged money saving tips.

I think given competition from major national tutoring brands like Princeton Review, Mathnasium, etc., a blog could be a good way to develop a sense of trust in you from people considering these other known entities. I know I wouldn't just hire some random person who placed an ad as a tutor somewhere for my child. I'd want to know a lot about that person. A blog could help.

Back in the Dark Ages when I was a student and then a professor, the usual way to advertise tutoring services was to put up notices on bulletin boards in hallways of classroom buildings. They usually had tear-off tabs with a phone number, or later an e-mail address. Has that become hopelessly low-tech now?
Nope, that concept is still around. Although, I dunno about tear-tabs. I see flyers all the time in the student center. But you have to get university permission, I think, to do stuff like that.

Cant remember the name, but there was a finder site we used to find a chemistry tutor for my daughter a few years back. Seems the tutors would do a semester under the website, giving them a cut then negotiate their own fee directly with the parents
What did your tutor cost if you don't mind sharing?

Also, these days, some people just do internet FaceTime, etc. tutoring. No need to drive to x,y,z location.
 
  • #9
152
102
Also, OP, a YouTube channel can help too. Although, to be very brutally honest, it seems it'd be hard to really compete in that market with Khan Academy dominating YouTube academic "tutoring" with free videos online. And on top of that, there seem like a zillion other free tutorials. I know this from my Applied Calculus class days, where I was searching stuff a lot and seeing all sorts of random people post tutorials.

But, maybe you could do a part-blog and part-"free" problem-solving tutorial channel. You could have some samples, for example, of common problems (ones that lots of people would probably have trouble with and search YouTube for) that you work through and teach....that gives a sample of our work. Then, maybe do the other half with "blog" type content. Some people do YT vids for ad dollars...but you need lots of views for that to start making good money.

EDIT:
Maybe you could have a Facebook page for your biz that is a blog and then post YouTube videos of your sample work into the FB page (on top of having them obviously on YouTube).

Second EDIT: I forgot to say GOOD LUCK to you too!!!
 
Last edited:
  • #10
BWV
592
495
I think it was $50 / hr
 
  • #11
565
60
Also, OP, a YouTube channel can help too. Although, to be very brutally honest, it seems it'd be hard to really compete in that market with Khan Academy dominating YouTube academic "tutoring" with free videos online. And on top of that, there seem like a zillion other free tutorials. I know this from my Applied Calculus class days, where I was searching stuff a lot and seeing all sorts of random people post tutorials.

But, maybe you could do a part-blog and part-"free" problem-solving tutorial channel. You could have some samples, for example, of common problems (ones that lots of people would probably have trouble with and search YouTube for) that you work through and teach....that gives a sample of our work. Then, maybe do the other half with "blog" type content. Some people do YT vids for ad dollars...but you need lots of views for that to start making good money.

EDIT:
Maybe you could have a Facebook page for your biz that is a blog and then post YouTube videos of your sample work into the FB page (on top of having them obviously on YouTube).

Second EDIT: I forgot to say GOOD LUCK to you too!!!
Thanks, yes that probably would be a good idea. Make tutorials and then maybe a website linking those tutorials to. I could even have a good website, and hopefully with some good yelp reviews from prior clients, I would be able to successfully run a good advertising campaign.

Yes I know that there are lots of free stuff. But I don't know if that kills my chances. I mean, Michelin 3-star restaurants make money even though they are way overpriced, because they target the right audience. It's not like there aren't cheaper alternatives for food.
 
  • #12
427
83
My advice would be to target specific courses at a local university. If a certain course is known to be hard, and is relatively intro-level, master the content, but not only that, see if you can find the HW from the past courses, and previous tests. This will allow you to be a top tutor for that course, and if you do well, word of mouth carries far. So when you make your flyers, you can say the course number, as opposed to a generic "calculus", etc.
 

Related Threads on How much to invest in tutoring business?

Replies
35
Views
39K
  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
3K
Replies
4
Views
999
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
8K
  • Last Post
Replies
7
Views
4K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
36
Views
16K
  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
952
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
8K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
9K
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
6K
Top