Starting a Tutoring Business

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Starting a Tutoring Business: Getting Started

I enjoy teaching and would like to start a tutoring business in my home. I have about $20 to invest in this. I would like to tutor reading and basic math skills. Can you give me tips on how to get started?

Starting a Tutoring Business: Introduce Yourself to Homeschool Groups

Find out if there is a local homeschool group. Moms in my homeschool group often take their kids for tutoring in math, foreign languages and music. The opportunity to address the group or to put an ad in their newsletter would probably be under $20.

Starting a Tutoring Business: Starting and Staying in Business

If you are friends with any schoolteachers, let them know of your service and ask them to please recommend you to parents. Make a flyer advertising your services, and at the bottom, type your name, service and phone number vertically in about ten repeating columns. Cut these columns vertically, part way up the page. These strips can now be torn off and taken by interested parties. Post these flyers in libraries, laundromats, supermarkets, or ask permission to post them at schools.

If you are a credentialed teacher, be sure to spotlight that in your ad. If not, you need to sell yourself. What special skills and abilities are you bringing to the table? Be sure to make your flyer very professional looking. Lay it out neatly on a computer. If you don't have a computer, have a friend do it for you. Carefully proofread and make sure your grammar and spelling are impeccable. If you're advertising your tutoring ability, even in math, you want to be as correct as possible. Errors won't get you many clients!

Make your sessions with the kids as enjoyable as possible. Try to think of fun ways to convey the information, not just drills. They get those all day in school. A troubled kid will lose interest quickly if it's just like school. Prizes for progress are huge with younger kids. After you get going, stock up on inexpensive little things that kids would like. There are teacher bookstores where you can find creative ideas. Don't forget to look online. If the kids like you and want to come back, parents will recommend you to other parents.

Assigned tasks always take less time than you think, so have lots of extra activities planned. When a kid finishes early, devise games that fill up the free time and reinforce the skills taught. If you think a kid will just patiently sit there while you try to think something up, you're mistaken. This is when it starts to get crazy and learning goes down the tubes. The kids will try to distract you, so have a lesson plan and extra activities in mind for each session. Don't try to wing it!

A lot of the above you may already know from past experience. I tutored to supplement my teaching income 18 years ago and charged $20 per hour. If you're good, you can probably get much more these days.

Starting a Tutoring Business: Obtain Texts from Local School District

As a teacher, my best suggestion would be to contact the school districts closest to you to find out which texts they are using. Then, ask if they ever have a give-away or sell-off of old texts. Many districts will have either a give-away day or a sale to clear out space in their warehouses. You could get copies of the last set of texts (or the current one, if you're lucky) for little or no money. Even if you can't get copies of the texts, knowing which texts are being used will help you target the needs of the students, which will get you more business.

Also, if you talk to your local districts and the schools in your area, you may be able to get referrals to parents who are looking for tutors, at no cost to yourself. Many districts keep lists of tutors, and many schools (not all) will allow tutors to post signs in the office or will keep lists of local tutors, although some will only refer school employees. Make sure you have a resume that lists your abilities and experience, and include all the information you, as a parent, would want to know about a potential tutor. If you're not a parent, ask your friends for an opinion.
Karen in Denver, CO

Starting a Tutoring Business: Contact Area Schools

I tutor math from home and one of the best sources of customers is referral from a local high school. Contact your area schools and make sure the teachers know your qualifications and availability. All of my referrals came from teachers that I know and word of mouth from satisfied parents.

Starting a Tutoring Business: Create Relationships

I have been tutoring as a business for 15 years and I have learned that the best resource for students is simple word of mouth. Take the time to create relationships with teachers at schools. And tell everyone everywhere what you do. I have gotten many clients from conversations I had with moms in the locker room at the local YMCA! I have run ads in papers and made flyers, brochures and business cards, etc. I have found that these methods were a waste of money. In this field, people are much more likely to go with a personal referral rather than contact a stranger.

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Starting a Tutoring Business: Make or Borrow Necessary Materials

The most important investment you could make would be in advertising. Yes, spend as much as possible on printing flyers, tacking them up where children, parents and teachers can see them, and maybe a newspaper ad if its within reach (some newspapers offer free advertising). A basic principle of business is that your name must be out there.

This is only possible because you can borrow or make anything you need at home. The library is the best place to start. You should be able to find books specifically on tutoring and basic books for reading and math. One nice bonus is that you'll always have new (different) books for children to look at so they stay interested in it. If you feel that you absolutely must purchase books or other materials, try to buy them used. Garage sales, thrift shops, and online locations often offer a variety of great children's learning books. A great tool that can search for prices from different sellers for new and used books online is

You can easily make your own flash cards from ordinary 3 x 5 index cards. Use thick markers with dark ink to make them easy to read. Keep the flash cards very simple. To add visual interest, try to use different colors, clip pictures from magazines, or use different "fonts."

Most children learn well with hands-on materials, so be sure to keep plenty of these available. Addition and subtraction make more sense when using fruit, crayons or other small objects.

The best thing you can do is to make those people who need your services aware of your availability. Study tutoring techniques and learning styles while you're waiting for them to come to you. Check out different kinds of books to provide materials and ensure that you're spending the necessary time to make it a quality learning experience.
Jennifer W.

Starting a Tutoring Business: Advice from a Retired Teacher/Tutor

I am a retired teacher who did tutoring at times before I retired. One of the best hints I can give you is to never tutor a child that you are teaching.

Secondly, get your name "out there." This means to call all schools in your area that have students you can tutor and give them your name. Parents generally ask the school where their child attends. Certainly, ask your principal if your name can be given to parents. Let the teachers know you are available. If you can, run a small ad in the local newspaper. Use few words for cost sake but build yourself up!

Tutoring usually has to be done because the child did not get the basics. That's where you come in. If you do not have available materials for basic reading skills or math skills, borrow them from your school. Even Wal-Mart carries wonderful workbooks. Write a teaching curriculum, so to speak, for taking a child from bare bones to success.

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