What is it and who is it suited to?
Research and planning
Rules and regulations
Reputation and marketing
Whether you’re planning on setting up a business on your own, as a single tutor, or whether you are hoping to establish a tutoring agency where you’ll employ and manage other tutors, the same principles apply. From legal regulations, to planning, preparation, marketing and pricing, this guide offers advice for anyone looking to enter the tutoring world.
What is it?
Everyone has the right to a good education. Governments past and present have made learning in schools a top priority, however there are still many young people who don’t receive a satisfactory standard of teaching. There are also countless children that fall behind in class and struggle to keep up with their contemporaries. An increasing disenchantment with the English education system has resulted in greater demand for extra tuition, both outside of school hours when at home, and during the day as organised by the school.
September is ‘back to school’ month and is traditionally one of the busiest months for tuition. As demand has grown, individual tutors have begun to set up their own businesses. With relatively low start-up costs and no formal training obligatory, tutoring has become an easy way for people to make some extra cash. However, the perception that you can set up a tutoring business easily needs to be corrected, explains Will Orr-Ewing, who founded Keystone Tutors. “Just because the start-up costs are low and it’s light on regulation, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be professional,” he explains.
Who is it suited to?
To set up a tutoring company, you don’t need to be a fully qualified teacher. Although many professional teachers do tutor in their spare time or in the school holidays, the tutoring business is not reserved for them alone. Furthermore, you don’t need to have a PhD in your chosen subject to be able to teach it, because the quality of teaching is not directly related to the level of education. Of course, it goes without saying that a good understanding of your chosen subject is a must, therefore high qualifications are desirable. A thorough understanding of the education system and the curriculum are also essential attributes for a good tutor.
Enthusiasm and a positive attitude are key characteristics for someone starting a tutoring business. Students will come to you for extra help and may have very low confidence in the subject, so an enthusiastic and encouraging tutor will do wonders to boost their self-esteem. Will Orr-Ewing emphasises the importance of being passionate about both the subject you’re teaching and for the business you’re building. As with starting any business, if there is no enthusiasm or drive, the chances of success are slim.
It will pay dividends if you’re well organised and good at time-management. Planning and preparation will play a pivotal role in the day-to-day running of the business, so someone with the ability to prepare and stick to a structured plan will be more likely to succeed.