The great thing about the tuition industry is it's really easy to break into. You don't need to have any experience and you don't need to pass any teaching qualifications. You can virtually set up a tutoring business overnight. This is exactly what I did and I'm now regarded (in my humble opinion) as a top tutor in my local area - Hillingdon, West London. Here is how you can do the same:
What level to teach?
The first question that should cross your mind is what levels you're going to cater for? KS2? GCSE? A-Level? or a mixture of all 3? To answer this question, I've provided some statistics below on the most sought-after level. These statistics are taken from all the enquires I've received over the past 2 years, as a result of marketing campaigns carried out throughout West London.
|Other (KS1, Degree-level)||5%|
As you can see, GCSE is the most popular level. This means if you want to get a good return from your tutoring business, you must offer GCSE tuition. If you don't, you're missing out on a lion's share of the market. Although these statistics are taken from West London, you should expect similar results across all parts of the UK. Tools like TutorCruncher can provide useful insights and analytics into your business performance and guide your marketing efforts:
A screenshot from the TutorCruncher Dashboard ** What subject to teach? ** There is no point offering GCSE tuition if you're not going to offer the right subjects. In my experience, Maths and English have been the top two subjects on a parent’s wishlist. I guess it's because these two subjects (again according to statistics) are the hardest GCSE subjects to pass. As of September 2015, students who fail their GCSE Maths and English will continue to study these subjects until the age of 18. Hence, providing a bigger opportunity for tutors. Make sure you offer GCSE Maths or/and English in your tutoring business. Another subject you could offer is GCSE Science as this subject is compulsory until the age of 16. Note, to teach a subject at GCSE level, you must (in my opinion) achieve at least a grade A in that chosen subject. So, if you would like to offer GCSE maths tuition, you (or your tutor) must have an 'A' grade at this level.
You can operate from home (this is what I do) or you can visit the student's residence. If you choose to operate from home, make sure you have a clean, spacious environment, which is free from distractions. Also, introduce the tutee and his/her parents to the rest of the family. This is important because parents, in general, find it uncomfortable sending their kids to a stranger's house. By showing them that there are other family members around, it should give them peace of mind. If you're travelling to a student’s home, charge travel expenses. A good rule of thumb is £1 per mile.
When setting up, you don't need any specialist equipment. Basic stationary and a workbook is all you need to carry out an effective tuition session. You may still have some lying around the house (from your studying days). If not, pick them up from your local WHSmith. Choose a textbook which has plenty of exercises. You can use the chapters in the book to structure your lessons going forward. For thousands of other free resources, I would highly recommend www.tes.co.uk .
How are parents going to contact you? You can use your personal mobile phone but I tend to keep my personal line and business line separate. Insert a new SIM card into an old mobile phone and you now have a new business line. ** Marketing - Getting your first group of students ** By far, the quickest way to get new students to your tutoring business is word of mouth. Once you have the entire infrastructure above in place, send a broadcast message on instant messaging services and social media. The best services, in my opinion, are Whatsapp and Facebook. The great thing about these applications is it only takes a few seconds to send a broadcast message and the recipient can share it with their contact list. Hence, benefitting from viral marketing. This is how you should compose the broadcast message: _ 'Hey guys... I recently set up a tutoring service. I'm offering maths tuition for all levels up to GCSE. If you know anyone who requires tuition, please share this post. They can send me a message or contact me directly on (insert your business line here)' _ In my experience, most people like to ring you for more details. The conversation is 'live' and they can have their queries answered then and there. That's why it's important to include your contact number in the post. Including your contact number should be non-threatening as I expect you to have a good relationship with the contacts on your Whatsapp and Facebook accounts. Even if you don't, it shouldn't be too much of a problem as you've decided to keep your personal line and business line separate. Word-of-mouth is the best way to get your tutoring business off the ground. I turned to friends and family at the beginning and I got a handful of students this way.
By Jeevan Singh - Jeevan is the Founder of A-Star Tuition, providing maths tutoring in West London.
He has built a successful business on small marketing budgets and offers his advice on how to get your business off the ground.