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Do you love to teach? Are you looking for a way to expand on your passion for education? Starting your own tutoring business can be a rewarding and worthwhile endeavour that will utilise your skills and experience to help students achieve their goals. There are many advantages to running your own tutoring business, from earning extra income to investing in your future as your own boss.
Working out how to start a business can be a daunting prospect. There are several steps you need to consider before jumping in. Here we will discuss everything you need to know about the process of starting a tutoring business and how you can make the most out of your commitment to education.
Benefits of starting a tutoring business
Starting your own tutoring business is an admirable undertaking. Not only are you educating the next generation and helping to shape their future, but you are also investing in your own future prosperity and success. There are numerous benefits to starting a tutoring business that make channelling your passion for teaching into a tutoring service well worth the time and effort. A tutoring business is also one of the simplest small businesses to set up and get started. The advantages are many and include:
- Working from home or online
- Minimal upfront costs
- Low overheads
- Flexible hours
- Supplement your income
- Constantly challenge yourself
- Be your own boss
- Growth and expansion opportunities
Skills & qualifications required to tutor
You don’t need any particular qualifications to be a tutor or to start your own tutoring business. You simply need a passion for education and expertise in a subject matter that you are confident you can convey easily to students. An aptitude for, or experience in, teaching is a definite plus. A good tutor’s purpose is to improve a student’s knowledge and teach them how to study and prepare for exams.
To succeed in tutoring, you will need patience and communication strategies that enable you to handle students who may not grasp a concept easily. You should be familiar with teaching techniques and how to pass on knowledge to a wide range of students. As every student may learn differently, your skills should be adaptable to their preferred learning style.
Step-by-step guide on how to start a tutoring business
When you have decided to take the plunge and start your own tutoring business, there are a few steps you should consider to start your business off on the right foot:
1. Work out what subjects and level of education you are capable of teaching
The more subjects you teach will not guarantee that more students will use your service. Therefore, you should stick to a specialty or subjects that you are comfortable with. This will ensure you provide the best possible service to your clients. Being confident in your subject matter and your ability to tutor at the appropriate level, will inspire trust in your clients and result in positive outcomes and feedback.
2. Make a list of your target market
You need to understand where your clients are going to come from. A few informative considerations at this stage are; Who will you be offering your services to? Where are the students located? Will you target particular schools or regions? Are you going to provide your tutoring services in-person or online? Do you need to consider travel time and costs? Online tutoring does not restrict your service to your local area however, it can involve technological costs which may be limiting.
Defining your target market will ultimately help determine your services, costs, advertising needs, resources, and materials required.
3. Decide how will you provide your service
You have a number of options when it comes to where and how you provide your tutoring service. You can travel to the student, or they can come to you in your home. You could also hire an office specifically for this purpose.
You also have the option to tutor online, meaning you can work from home. With online tutoring, you will need to ensure both you and your students have the appropriate hardware and software to facilitate the lessons.
4. Set up your classroom
Once you have decided where and how you will tutor, you need to make sure you have the necessary equipment on hand to manage lessons. Of utmost importance when offering online tutoring, your classroom needs to include the appropriate hardware and software. Hardware considerations are; a PC or laptop, camera, and microphone. Software can range from word processing packages and related programs to assist you in teaching your lessons, to an online communication platform you will use to interact with your students.
5. Decide on pricing and policies
You need to work out how much you are going to charge for your services. Your fee should take into consideration your qualifications and skills. So, if you have a degree in a particular field, you may be able to charge your clients more. Typically tutors earn anywhere between $20 to $120 per hour. However, this will depend on your level of experience, overhead costs, and how much profit you want to make.
Additionally, you should decide on the terms and conditions you will set around your services and how everything will work. It is highly advisable to put a service agreement or contract in place that outlines the relationship between you and your client and the details of your tutoring service. This should be signed by both parties, including a student’s parent or guardian if they are underage.
6. Consider insurance
When providing a service to the public there are a few insurances that you should consider to protect your business. These include Professional Indemnity Insurance, Public Liability Insurance, Business Insurance, and Equipment Insurance.
By investing in these types of insurance you will be covered for potential property damage, accidental injury, and customer dissatisfaction with your tutoring service.
7. Decide on a business structure
You may wish to speak to an accountant before making any decisions regarding this step. Depending on your business structure, there may be tax implications so obtaining professional advice may be in your best interests. Generally, a small business of this type in Australia would lend itself to starting out as a sole trader. But do you need to charge GST? And how do you do this? Again, an accountant can provide advice and guidance on this.
8. Create a business name
This will inform your brand identity. You may also want to consider what your website URL might be when deciding on a business name. Make sure a domain name is available that matches or is similar to your business name. This will assist with your marketing strategy, which we will outline later.
9. Apply for an ABN and register your business name
In Australia, you need to apply for an Australian Business Number to ensure your business meets tax requirements. If your business name differs from your own name, you will also need to register it with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
10. Write a business plan
You should take the time to write out a detailed business plan that outlines every aspect of your business. This should include estimated costs, pricing, location of your business, and plans for future growth. This will help consolidate all of your decisions so far and help you work out the strategic direction of your tutoring business.
11. Determine a payment method
Lastly, you need to work out how you are going to get paid for your services. Above all else, for taxation purposes you will need to provide your client with a Tax Invoice. There are certain requirements you will need to include in your invoice to make it tax compliant. So, it might be useful for you to use an invoice template that will create exactly what you need.
Another option is to use an invoicing software program that will handle everything for you. Square Invoices removes the burden of invoicing from your shoulders by creating and sending your invoices, tracking which invoices have been paid or remain unpaid, and accepting online payments with one click.
This step-by-step guide is comprehensive and it may seem like a lot to begin with. But if you follow each step and cover everything in the list, you will be fully prepared and ready to concentrate on the next stage of your tutoring business – marketing and building your client base.
Marketing your tutoring business
In an ideal world, you will have a long list of clients lined up and ready to use your service when you start your tutoring business. However, this is not always possible and why having a marketing strategy in place is extremely important. You need to have a dedicated plan to get your business name out there and successfully reach your target market.
Social media is a powerful tool when it comes to promotion and awareness. In today’s society, there are few people who aren’t connected online through a social media channel. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn; each platform has its use and benefits in promoting your business and offering your services to a wide audience. You should consider joining forums and groups that relate to education and training, spread the word throughout your friends, utilise your industry contacts (if you have them), and promote your service on every platform. Social media can be an extremely effective tool to continue to grow your client base. By maintaining an interactive presence online, you can amass a loyal following who will help spread the word and promote your services on your behalf.
Creating your business website
A website should form part of your marketing strategy. Importantly, having a modern website helps legitimise your business by adding to your online presence. This is helpful for SEO (search engine optimisation), making it easier for clients to find you when they Google ‘tutor’ or ‘tutoring service’. A website also offers a platform on which your clients can learn more about your service, get to know you and your background, make contact with you, and schedule tutoring appointments. Ultimately, you need to make it as simple as possible for potential clients to find you and reach out to you.
Traditionally, website design has been expensive and difficult to manage. Thankfully, these days there are a plethora of options available in website design that offer simple templates and online stores for an affordable price. In fact, Square Online offers a free website solution designed specifically for eCommerce that will allow your clients to easily view your availability and make a booking to use your service.
Overall, your marketing strategy should utilise as many platforms as appropriate to create a solid online presence that will make you easy to find and connect with. Ideally, you should maintain a steady flow of social media content to keep your current clients engaged and encourage new business.