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How Much Should You Charge For Tutoring?

Woman tutoring a child after charging her parents an appropriate amount

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Now is a great time to become a tutor. Tutoring is an excellent way to earn money on the side or as a full-time gig. You can tutor online, in person, one-on-one, or tutor groups. You can tutor just about any subject as well, but the question you might be asking yourself is, “how much do I charge for tutoring?”

The amount you can charge for tutoring is based on many factors, such as your qualifications and experience, the subject you're teaching, and the student's grade level. Because of these factors, tutors can expect to charge between $25 and $125 per hour.

In this article, we'll discuss in detail the costs that go into running a tutoring business, how to find clients to tutor, tips about your rates, and more specific ideas on how much you can charge for tutoring services.

Let's jump in.

Costs Involved in Tutoring

Part of factoring in your tutoring rate is how much it costs to run a tutoring business. For example, if you drive to your client's homes, you'll have to factor in the cost of gas in your rate.

You also may need supplies to help you tutor. For example, assume you're a math tutor. A math tutor may need a scientific calculator, pencils, graph paper, or even a portable whiteboard to demonstrate how to do complex problems.

A third expense that you may incur when providing tutoring services is your own personal education expenses. School curriculums change, and students may be learning a subject differently than you learned it, and you'll need to know how to tutor the subject matter as per how the school wants students to learn.

Likewise, you may need to brush up on a specific subject before you feel fully confident that you can charge someone to tutor them in it.

If you have several clients and are taking your tutoring business seriously, then having bookkeeping software like Quickbooks is essential. This way, you can track your income and expenses for when tax time comes around.

As you can see, there are multiple costs to consider when you start a tutoring business, and all of these costs must be factored into your rate.

How to Come Up With Tutoring Rates

As mentioned earlier, the rate that you charge for tutoring is based on your qualifications and experience, the subject you're tutoring, and the grade level of your client. You'll also want to be aware that you may occasionally run into a prospective client who wants to negotiate with you.

The question you have to ask yourself is, “do I want to negotiate my tutoring rates?” A good business person knows that they have to stand by their rates, but sometimes, especially in the beginning, it may make sense to let someone haggle with you a little, as then you'll be able to bring in money, versus not having a client and bringing in no money at all.

Negotiating rates is entirely a personal choice, and you definitely don't have to lower your rates for any reason other than that you want to work with the client and take in some money versus your standard rate.

Here are some pointers for coming up with rates if you do plan to allow someone to negotiate with you.

Make Your Asking Rate Higher Than The Minimum You're Okay to Work For

Simply put, your initial rate should be higher than the minimum rate you're willing to work for. That way, when someone tries to negotiate your rate, you can comfortably come down because you're still getting a rate that you feel is fair.

Take, for example, that you're planning to charge a minimum of $50 an hour for tutoring Chemistry. You could post your rates as $60 an hour, which gives you some room if someone wants to negotiate with you. You won't go below $50 an hour, but you may still get $55 an hour or even the full $60 an hour if your client doesn't try to haggle.

Don't Accept Less Than You're Comfortable Working For

It's bound to happen that you'll have a tutoring client who isn't willing to pay what you're charging, even after haggling. In this case, you'll have to tell yourself that it's okay to walk away from a potential client. Working for less than you want can make you feel frustrated, resentful, and potentially not do as good of a job as you would have had you charged what you're worth.

Additional Things to Consider When Coming Up With How Much to Charge for Tutoring

We've gone over factors to consider when coming up with a rate and now let's talk about how those factors may affect your tutoring rate.

  • Qualifications: While you don't need specific qualifications to be a tutor, you can certainly charge more if you have a college degree in the area you're tutoring in. If you're a teacher or a professional who works with the subject matter daily, you'll also have a reason to charge a higher rate for tutoring.
  • Experience: The number of years you've worked with your subject area as a tutor and the number and types of clients you've had all factor into your experience as a tutor. With more experience generally comes higher hourly tutoring rates.
  • The grade level of your clients: Generally speaking, higher grade levels mean more complex topics. This is especially true for college-level tutoring. You'll likely charge more for older clients who are studying more complicated subjects.
  • The subject you're tutoring: Tutoring specialized subjects like math and science will allow you to charge more versus if you were tutoring English or History. This is because specialized subjects require greater mastery and are typically more difficult to learn.
  • Your flexibility: Tutors generally need to work around the schedules of their clients a little bit. You may need to tutor nights and weekends to maximize how many clients you have, however, you can certainly charge a little more if you make yourself more readily available outside of typical business hours.
  • Seasonal: If a major exam is coming up, such as the SATs, you might consider charging more in the coming weeks before the test. Then again, you might be able to rapidly fill up your schedule if you don't raise your rates, as many other tutors may increase their rates during critical periods.
  • Where you live: If you live in a major city, you can charge more than if you lived in a more rural area. The cost of living is typically higher in major cities, which means your clients will expect to pay more for tutoring services. Additionally, if you live near a private school or a major university, you may be able to charge a bit more as well.

How to Find Clients to Tutor

You have many options available to you when you're seeking tutoring clients.

  • Reach out to the schools. Meet with school administrators or teachers and let them know you're available to tutor students. You'll likely need to provide credentials and possibly references, as well as your availability, the subjects you tutor, and how much you charge.
  • Post that you're available to tutor on Craigslist or a tutoring site like Preply. These sites will help you find matches local to you or through online teaching.
  • Tutor for the website Chegg. Chegg pays you to tutor students and answer questions that people have about different subjects.
  • If your town or city has a local paper, consider placing an ad in the paper that you're available for tutoring services.
  • Be active in local Facebook groups where parents congregate. If you're tutoring college students, be active in social media groups where college students talk about their academics.

Tutoring Online vs. Tutoring In Person

There are advantages and disadvantages to tutoring online versus tutoring in person. The short of it is, it makes sense to tutor both online and in-person if you're able.

Tutoring Online

Tutoring online generally requires you to have decent reviews before you'll get a lot of clients. Getting those initial reviews might be tricky as well. In addition, there's a lot of competition online, and your tutoring profile might get lost in the sea of other tutors who are trying to get traction on a specific tutoring website.

With that in mind, once you get good reviews, you'll likely have no problem getting clients and filling up your schedule.

Tutoring In Person

Tutoring in person has the advantage that there may be a lot less competition, and you can use word of mouth and local connections to find clients. This makes it easier to get started, generally speaking.

That said, when you only tutor in person, you'll be limited to how many people live in your area that need tutoring services. Because of this, it makes sense to tutor both in-person and online to maximize how much money you make as a tutor.

Private Tutoring vs. Group Tutoring

You'll want to determine if you want to do private one-on-one tutoring, group tutoring, or both.

Private Tutoring

With private tutoring, you'll focus on each individual client's specific needs. You'll cater your lesson plan to the client, which may require more prep time on your part. You will be under higher scrutiny from your client or their parents as you're being hired to work specifically with the client and not with a group of people.

When doing private tutoring, be sure to work with your client on clear goals for each interaction. What are they struggling with, and what do they hope to learn? Are they taking a big exam? What is the minimum score they hope to achieve? These types of questions will help you create goals with your client that will ultimately help you be a better tutor for your student.

Group Tutoring

When you do group tutoring, you'll focus on getting through class materials in a way that helps everyone attending. That said, you won't be able to give as much attention to each client.

With group tutoring, you'll often charge less per client – approximately 75% of the rate you'd charge for private tutoring – and to run a successful group tutoring business, you'll want to have a minimum group size.

For example, if you charge $40 an hour for private tutoring, you might want to charge $30 per hour for group tutoring and make your minimum group size three students. That way, you'll earn $90 for an hour of work.

Can You Make a Living With Tutoring?

You can absolutely make a living as a full-time tutor. Tutors set their own hours and choose their own rates, and given the average rate of a tutor, they can earn a full-time income in fewer hours than a typical person will work in a 9-5 job.

To get to the point where you're tutoring for a living, you'll likely need to build up enough clients where you're tutoring 15-20 hours per week, depending on your rates and if you do private tutoring or group tutoring.

How Much to Charge for Tutoring Based on Subject

Let's go over some specific rate ranges for various subjects:

  • Math: For middle school and high schoolers, you'll likely be able to charge around $40 an hour, though more for AP math. For college-level math or SAT prep, you can expect to charge as high as $125 per hour, depending on your background and where you're tutoring.
  • Biology: Biology tutors often charge between $40 and $100 per hour. Having a degree in Biology or being a Biology teacher will allow you to charge on the higher end of this spectrum.
  • Chemistry: Chemistry tutors often charge between $30 and $70 per hour, depending on the level of chemistry. If you're tutoring college-level Chemistry, especially advanced Chemistry courses, you can charge a higher rate, such as up to $100 per hour.
  • English/Reading: Reading tutors charge a wide range because it really depends on the student. If you're tutoring a child, you may not be able to charge as much, unless they're far behind for their grade, in which case your expertise may come in handy. Reading tutors can often get between $15 and $50 per hour, depending on the help the student needs.

Wrapping It Up

Tutoring can be a lucrative side hustle or a full-time career. If you find that you're getting more clients than you can handle at your current rate, consider upping your rate a bit. This way, you'll earn more money without having to book more clients than you can handle.

What subjects are you interested in tutoring?

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