How to Start a Tutoring Business

A man holding a book in front of a blackboard

A Quick Overview of Starting a Tutoring Business

Tutors can help kids who have trouble learning to do better in school, giving them more options when they grow up; but tutors aren’t just for elementary and high school students. College students often need help grasping concepts in their schoolwork as well.

Schools today put more and more pressure on students to perform. Classroom crowding means that most teachers are unable to provide the individual support that many children need. Parents are often seeking one-to-one help from tutors.

Tutoring can provide individual training in areas of reading, writing, and math, along with other specialized areas.

Tutoring is something that you can get into without expensive equipment, office rentals, or complicated licensing.

Whether you are a professional looking for some extra money, a stay-at-home parent, or a retired person who wants to help others, tutoring allows you the freedom to work from home and the luxury of being your own boss.

Tutoring is a lot like teaching, except you have the opportunity to work with students on an individual basis. Students who are struggling in school may have a better shot with your tutoring.

Skill Set

  • An appropriate level of academic knowledge for the students you tutor.
  • Meet with parents for progress reports.
  • Meet or speak with the teacher for evaluations and suggestions.
  • Patience, especially when you’re working with students who don’t understand a concept.
  • Put concepts into easy-to-grasp terms for different ages.
  • Great personality.
  • Common Business Skills

Hours of Operation

Hours vary, after-school hours, evening, and weekend hours are best for students.

Equipment and Supplies

Monthly Expenses and Operating Costs To Consider


See Our Page on Licenses and Permits

Startup Cost

The initial financial investment is very low. A good rule is to only buy what you need. You can go to a school or teacher supply store and buy all kinds of interesting materials, but keep in mind that you only really need the basics, especially at first.

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You can get started for under $100 for supplies, business cards, and fliers. You may also want to put an ad in your local newspaper. Otherwise, you can contact local schools, after school centers, teachers, and your friends to tell them that you’re available for tutoring.

Simple Marketing Tips

Word of mouth is often the most effective way to promote your service. Satisfied parents will spread the word to other parents in need of your services, and before you know it you might have enough students to provide a full-time income. Enlisting the help of local schools and teachers can also get you referrals.

Fliers and classified ads are inexpensive ways to advertise if you choose to do so. Ads in the school paper are cheap and can make their way home to parents. You could place your fliers in laundromats, libraries, grocery stores, and other places where parents might see them. If you are tutoring college students, you can often place fliers in specified areas of the college itself.

Requirements and Considerations

  • Many students learn through tutoring what they don’t absorb in a classroom. As a tutor, you’ll customize what you teach to the level and needs of each of your students.
  • Beyond academics, you can also teach or tutor any skill someone wants to learn. Music, the arts, etc.
  • It’s going to be easier to sell yourself if you have teaching experience or a degree in the subjects you’re tutoring.
  • Success for a tutor is usually defined by the increase in their student’s grades. It only takes a few satisfied parents to begin building your tutoring business. When parents are pleased with their child’s progress, they are eager to pass along the name of their tutor.
  • Research has shown that more effective tutoring results when clear steps are followed to help the student achieve independence from tutoring. See Dr. Ross MacDonald’s book, entitled, The Master Tutor.
  • It is not how much you know but how you help the student learn on their own.
  • Consider tutoring your students in an innovative and non-traditional manner, such as online. Many students don’t want a stranger (even if it is a tutor) in their home and don’t want to drive to a session either. In addition, some students don’t have the time to actually meet you during the day due to work responsibilities. Tutoring online reduces the risk of liability and allows you to provide the same service at a competitive cost.
  • Know your schedule and only offer times that work for you. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new client and find yourself overextending yourself to accommodate them. In the end, this will have a negative effect on your service. You might end up late to sessions or having to reschedule, or at the very least deal with a great deal of stress.
  • Prepare a contract or agreement that you and your clients can sign. Outline both your expectations and your client’s expectations including payment, price, and schedule.

Pros and Cons:

The Pros:

  • You can work from home.
  • You don’t need any special licensing.
  • You can fit tutoring in on weekends and evenings, leaving your days free.
  • You can tutor online.
  • Quick setup.
  • Very little overhead.
  • After you have established yourself, you can expand your range.

The Cons:

  • It May not be steady work.
  • You may not be able to teach certain things to some students.
  • Parents may put a lot of pressure on you for their child’s success.
  • Students may not want to be tutored and are uninterested in learning.

Type of Customers

  • Elementary students.
  • High School students.
  • College students
  • Adult students
  • University Students


Tutors normally charge between 15 and 40 dollars an hour for their services. Rates depend on the subjects and the levels being tutored as well as the location where the services are offered. Naturally, services offered in larger cities will cost more.

If you go to your clients’ houses to do your tutoring, remember to factor travel time into your pricing. If you spend an hour tutoring and an hour traveling, your rate for that one hour of tutoring will have to be enough to compensate for two hours of your time.

The potential earnings from a home tutoring service are really dependent on the efforts and the commitment of the individual. If more time is allocated to tutoring, then more income will be generated.

How To Start a Tutoring Business

The steps to starting almost any small business are very similar. For example: Researching your business idea, writing a business plan, getting funding, and choosing a business location are some of the steps to starting a business.

In my post, The Essential Steps To Start a Business you can find the details you’ll need.