How to Start a Tutoring Business Online (Step by Step)

Are you thinking about starting an online tutoring business?

Getting started can be a bit bumpy, but the income and growth potential of tutoring businesses is excellent.

Even as a brand new tutoring business owner, you can book clients for a minimum of $25 per hour, and it only goes up from there.

Here’s how to start a tutoring business online with step-by-step instructions.

What Prerequisites Do I Need to Become a Tutor?

Become a Tutor

There are no mandated prerequisites you need to meet to start a tutoring business. However, the more experience and credentials you have, the easier it will be to find clients.

At the very minimum, you’ll need a GED or High School Diploma. You’ll want to be at least one step ahead of the audience you’re tutoring.

If you tutor elementary-aged kids, you need a high school diploma. If you plan on teaching high school students, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree. For tutoring undergrads, you’ll have completed a master’s program, etc.

If you want to command higher rates and position yourself as an expert, you’ll need an advanced degree OR hands-on experience in the area you’re tutoring.

Aside from education, you need to know what you’ll teach and how to teach it effectively.

6 Steps to Starting an Online Tutoring Business

1. Choose a Niche You Can Be An “Expert” In
2. Determine Which Software and Equipment You’ll Use to Tutor Online
3. Decide on Rates
4. Build Your Website
5. Market Your Business
6. Deliver an Awesome Experience

1. Choose a Niche You Can Be An “Expert” In

Choose a Niche You Can Be An “Expert” In

The first step to starting a tutoring business is deciding on the subject or niche you want to tutor. 

You can specialize by grade level, subject, ACT, or SAT tutoring.

If you plan to tutor all ages on all subjects, you won’t get very far. So, specialize – at least a little.

Parents want to hire tutors who have experience and a proven track record. If you try to appeal to everyone, you will appeal to no one.

For example:

  • Tutors who scored high on college entrance exams are likely to find ACT or SAT tutoring clients.
  • Ex (or current) K-3rd grade teachers are perfect for helping younger kids improve their reading skills.
  • Fluent Spanish speakers are prime candidates to tutor students struggling with Spanish.

You get the idea.

You are most likely to secure clients and earn the largest hourly rate when you can position yourself as an expert in your subject.

If you already have clients lined up or have parents begging you to tutor their child, you can start with that subject. You can branch out later.

2. Determine Which Software and Equipment You’ll Use to Tutor Online

Once you have your niche, you need to decide what software you’ll use to do the tutoring. 

Here’s what you’ll need when it comes to software:

  • A virtual whiteboard
  • Conferencing software 
  • The ability to share your screen

To deliver a professional experience, you need an online classroom setup. There are many different options you can choose from for this. Here are a few to consider:

Determine Which Software and Equipment You’ll Use to Tutor Online

BrainCert – Brain Cert is a highly rated online classroom software with all the features you need, including the ability to accept payments. Other features include hosting ten students at once, tests and assessments, and custom certificates. They have a free plan you can test out.

Their paid “Basic” plan is only $39 per month and is suitable for online tutors.

Trilogy Mentors This online classroom suite has impressive features for tutors, and pricing starts at only $39.99 per month. Some of the most helpful features are file sharing, whiteboard, post-session feedback, and text chat.

LearnCube – Learn Cube’s software can be used from any browser without users having to download it. Features include a whiteboard, file sharing, group classes, homework, scheduling, and reporting. They have free accounts you can try. Paid accounts start at $14 per month.

Zoom – If you don’t want to purchase online classroom software, you can use Zoom. Zoom has a whiteboard app you can download for free. If you are doing one-on-one tutoring, the free version should be enough to get you started.

You’ll also need a quality computer, webcam, microphone, and of course, good internet service.

Get all of this in order at least a week before starting your tutoring business so that you have time to work out any kinks.

3. Decide on Rates

According to Tutor.com, a private tutor can charge between $25-$80 per hour, and college prep exam tutors can command $45-$100 per hour.

So, based on that info, how do you set your rates?

At the minimum, you’ll want to start at $25 per hour. Other factors that can affect your rate include:

  • The Subject – More advanced subjects will bring in more money. Likewise, SAT and ACT tutoring can command more since students wanting to enroll in prestigious schools need to achieve good scores. Parents of these students will be willing to pay much more money for tutoring.
  • Your Expertise – The more expertise and credentials you bring to the table, the higher you’ll earn. If you’re a current or former school teacher, you can use that to your advantage.
  • Your Location – Do you plan on marketing your services locally? If so, your local market will factor into your pricing.

Another idea is to offer group tutoring in addition to private sessions. The group tutoring sessions can help you command a higher hourly rate overall but be less expensive for individual students.

If you can build up a solid reputation for your tutoring business, you’ll be able to incrementally raise your rates over time. 

When your business is new, you may need to play around with pricing until you find the sweet spot.

4. Build Your Website

Once you’ve worked out the details, you need to build your home on the internet. 

Every time you market your business, you can point back to your website. Your website should be a place where potential clients can schedule appointments and learn everything they need to know about your services.

This will probably be your most significant business expense when you’re getting started.

I recommend working with a graphic designer who can build a professional website that reflects the brand of your tutoring business.

If you look professional, potentials will think you ARE professional. (Which is what you want.)

If you don’t have the money to spend on a graphic designer, you should, at the very least, purchase a premium theme.

Build Your Website

Here’s the information you need on your website:

About Your Services – Focus this section heavily on the benefits your students will receive and explain why you’re the best tutor to hire.

Tutoring Options – You’ll need a page with a brief overview of the tutoring options, including the length of each session, costs, and any discounts for bundling.

Client Scheduling Tool – When prospective clients come to your website, they should be able to book their appointments. You need to have some sort of scheduling software connected, even if it’s just Google Calendar. 

Payment Processor – You’ll need a way to take payments from your website. You’ll want to accept Paypal and credit card payments. Some options to consider are Stripe or Square. 

You can also choose to use online classroom software that has a built-in payment processor. This will save you from having to piece together everything.

If you put a phone number on your website and expect potential students to call to book a session, you’re going to miss out on appointments. 

Don’t throw up your website and expect it to do miracles for you. Make sure students can book their sessions and pay you on your website.

5. Market Your Business

With your website online and equipment setup, it’s time to find your first clients.

The easiest way to find the first few clients is to spread the word to everyone you know. Email, text, and direct message all of your contacts and ask for referrals.

(Don’t just post about it on social media – instead, reach out to social media contacts individually.)

Here are some other marketing ideas for landing your first few clients:

  • Host webinars – Host a free webinar or short class. If attendees (or their parents) like how/what you taught, they’ll be more likely to sign up for tutoring sessions. You can run paid Facebook ads to get your first webinar sign-ups.
  • Host local seminars – If you’re interested in tutoring locals, host seminars at the library or activity centers. At the end of the workshop, you can provide more information on your tutoring services.
  • Post Flyers – You should post flyers everywhere potential students or their parents will see. This includes libraries, activity centers, colleges, and even schools if you can. If you live in a small town, make a trip to the surrounding cities and post your flyers there too.

For long-term marketing, you can start a YouTube channel, blog, or both. These methods won’t be quick wins, but over time, when done right, they can bring you in countless leads. Before you start, learn a little about SEO so that your website or YouTube channel is set up to help search engines find you.

6. Deliver an Awesome Experience

Once you land your first clients, you need to deliver what you’ve promised. 

Have your material ready and do practice sessions before your first client sessions. Get feedback from your practice sessions so that you know what to improve on.

As you bring in more clients, you’ll get a feel for the most effective ways to tutor and how to improve the online tutoring experience. Always be open to feedback from your students.

When you deliver an incredible experience, your business will naturally grow through referrals.

Frequently Asked Questions About Starting a Tutoring Business

Frequently Asked Questions About Starting a Tutoring Business

What kind of startup costs are involved with starting a tutoring business online?

Startup costs for an online tutoring business will depend upon the equipment you have. If you already have a computer, webcam, and microphone, you’ll only need to purchase website hosting, online classroom software, website design, and possibly social media ads.

You should be able to get all of this for less than $3,000. (In some cases, much less.)

These costs are meager in comparison to starting a brick-and-mortar tutoring business. If you were to start a brick-and-mortar tutoring business, you could be looking at costs as high as $10,000 when you factor in renting and insuring a space.

Do I need a license to start my tutoring business?

Tutors don’t have to meet any special requirements, and as of now, no states require certifications to start a tutoring business.

If you plan to run your business long-term, talk to an accountant or business lawyer about registering and structuring your business. This is especially important as you grow since lawyers and accountants can advise you on the best way to protect your business as well as tax-saving moves.

 When first getting started, this is usually not necessary. 

Are there other ways to get paid to tutor?

Absolutely! If your tutoring business is slow going at first, you can sign up as a tutor with an established service as long as you meet the prerequisites. This will help you gain experience and pad your pockets when you’re new to tutoring.

Here are some websites you can check out if you want to sign up to be a tutor. (Most of these require you to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.)

These sites start new tutors at the $15-$20 per hour range. 

If you have never done online tutoring before, give one of these sites a try so you can make sure online tutoring is a good fit for you before investing money in tutoring business.

Are online tutoring businesses profitable?

Online tutoring businesses can be very profitable. Once the initial equipment to run the business is purchased (computer, webcam, microphone), the only ongoing costs are internet, web hosting, and online classroom software. 

With such low overhead, online tutoring businesses can bring in a lot of money.

The exact amount will depend upon the business owner’s ability to pull in clients, how much is charged for tutoring sessions, and how many hours are worked.

Tutors who do group tutoring sessions can command a very high hourly rate.

Conclusion

If you’re wondering if you can turn a tutoring business into a full-time income, the answer is a BIG yes.

As a tutor, the minimum you should earn per hour is $25. However, depending on the subject you teach, and how you structure your sessions, you can make $100 per hour.

As with any other new business, getting started might feel a bit rocky. However, after you learn how to secure those first few initial clients, growing your business will become much more manageable.

 

Affiliate Disclaimer: I may (and probably do) receive affiliate commissions from any products I recommend or links I put on this page. My opinions are my own but they are truthful and I do my best to recommend products that I have vetted and/or purchased myself.

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