What is it and who is it suited to?
Research and planning
Rules and regulations
Reputation and marketing
Reputation and marketing
Like many businesses, a tutoring company relies heavily on reputation for its long-term success. Word-of-mouth recommendations account for a high proportion of promotional methods, and it goes without saying that a parent will seek out the opinion of a friend on the reliability and quality of a potential tutor for their child. It only takes one bad comment from a client for a tutor’s reputation to be tarnished, which could consequently take years to repair. Will Orr-Ewing from Keystone Tutors suggests turning down clients if you don’t think you can help them to the best of your ability. If you’re stretching your time and resources just to fill a booking, this will be reflected in the quality of service the client receives; an unsatisfactory client will be more damaging to your business than if you had turned down the booking in the first place.
To boost your trustworthiness, ask for references from previous clients. A few good testimonials will do wonders for your reputation. Another cost-free mode of promotion is to post notices and business cards on boards at your local schools, shops and libraries. A letter to the local education authority in your area may also be worthwhile as they could refer you to parents needing a tutor for their child.
Once your business is established and you have a number of tutors on your books, it would be hugely beneficial to invest in a company website. Getting yourself near the top of Google search will generate a lot of traffic to your site, and hopefully some new clients, however make sure the site looks authentic and reliable. Using certain keywords on your site can help improve your Google ranking, so it might be worth focussing on the fact that you’re a tutoring business in a certain geographical area, rather than saying you’re a maths tutor, for example. The more specific the terminology, the more relevant to the search you’ll be. If you can’t afford to hire a good web-designer to create your own web-site, there are a number of internet directories for tutoring businesses that you can join, although be sure to check out the site properly before signing up. Look for logos of established organisations on the home page of these registers, such as the Department of Education, OFSTED, the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), or the Times Educational Supplement, because they will only endorse reputable directories.
Placing an advertisement in the classified section of your local paper can be another good way to promote your tutoring business. It may be worth experimenting with different papers and supplements in your area – by asking enquirers where they heard about your company, you should be able to gauge how successful each ad is in generating new customers.