What is it and who is it suited to?
Research and planning
Rules and regulations
Reputation and marketing
Research and planning
One of the first things you need to decide before starting up is what subjects you’re going to tutor yourself. This is usually your degree subject, or A-level choices, depending on the age and level of students. Obviously, the higher your qualification you have, the higher the level you will be able to teach, which will provide you with a wider range of students. It’s worth looking at the competition in your local area to see what subjects are not covered, because this could give you an advantage over others tutors. If there are already 20 maths tutors in your neighbourhood, it will be much harder to make your mark.
Next you need to decide on location. Will you conduct sessions from your home, or will you go to your students’ houses? Parents with young children may prefer the tuition to take place under their roof, particularly if they don’t know the tutor, so that the child can feel safe and comfortable in a familiar environment. However, you need to bear in mind the cost and time it will take for you to get to and from your lessons. If you don’t have access to a car or reliable public transport, this could be difficult. Some tutors only conduct lessons from their own homes, which can have many advantages; it will save money, time and energy, and can allow them to book more sessions into their day.
To run an efficient and reputable business, you should have the right materials from the start. Get hold of the curriculum for your chosen subjects, along with any relevant exam papers, which can be ordered directly from the individual exam boards. Other materials such as paper and pens, calculators and text books will be necessary, so thorough preparation before each session is crucial. Look out for adverts in the local paper for pupils selling their textbooks – this can be cheaper than buying first hand although getting your hands on the most up-to-date versions is important.
On the topic of preparation, careful planning for each session will help enormously, particularly when first starting out. Having a detailed plan laid out will build your confidence, and as you get more students, it will prove invaluable to help you distinguish between each session. It may sound menial, but keeping track of all your lessons in a journal can have huge benefits by providing a clear view of your schedule.
You will probably have a computer and printer already, but reliable IT equipment is necessary to keep on top of correspondence and bookings. Once business is flourishing, expansion might be on your agenda, which will be greatly facilitated by a company website, business cards, letter heads, and so on. These will add to the professional appearance of your business, and will help establish it as a reputable and reliable service.