Location, Location, Location. When you are starting a career as a private tutor, this mantra has significant meaning for you. How does where you live affect the fee you charge your clients?
It does affect it, that is a certainty. However, there are other factors to consider when you decide on your hourly rate. Elements like your teaching experience, the subject you teach, where you teach (online tutoring, one-on-one tutoring, in a tutoring centre) and the level you teach (beginner, intermediate, advanced).
Concerning location, the more affluent areas of Canada tend to demand a greater amount of tutoring for their children. Why? Several economic reasons are at play. The wealthiest places in Canada, like the five major cities: Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver and Calgary, are relatively expensive places to live.
Toronto and Vancouver rank on the Mercer 25th Cost of Living Survey at 115 and 112, respectively.
In these areas, we find that the demand for private tutors of all sorts: academic, sport and the arts, have all gone up significantly over the past seven years. The most recent report from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) from 2015 shows that demand went up 9% from 26% of parents hiring tutors in 2012 to 35% in 2015. Being a certified tutor has never been more in demand.
Why the significant increase? In Ontario, and particularly the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), several private schools cater to the educational requirements of the affluent who want academic excellence for their children. To gain acceptance, children must sit entrance exams. Once enrolled, the impression is that private school education is more demanding and complex.
Both these factors provide ample reason for parents who require and can afford to pay for academic support and supplemental teaching for their children. Another element to consider is the expanding global economy and what parents around the world now understand – their children will need an academic edge to gain acceptance into the best universities and obtain the most lucrative jobs.
Find out about teaching English as a second language here.
What is the Average Tutoring Rate in Canada by Province and City?
Let’s look at the average tutoring rates in Canada courtesy of the Superprof data centre.
The average tutoring rate per hour, across every major city in Canada,
is a healthy $23.49
Ontario is the most populated province in Canada, with 14.45 million people or 38.3% of the national population. As such, it has eleven of the twenty-two cities we sampled, including the metropolis of Toronto. Each city is a wonderful hub for tutoring. Surprisingly, Kingston came out on top with the most expensive tuition rates at $26. Toronto is a close second at $25, and Hamilton is the runner up at $24. The cheapest rates in the province are in Waterloo, Kitchener, Peterborough, Windsor, Thunder Bay – all university towns. Here you can arrange tuition for an average of $21.
The rates in the other major Ontario cities are:
London - $23.30
Barrie - $23.30
Niagara Falls - $23
Québec In Québec, the two major cities are Montréal and Québec City. In Montréal, the average rate is $24.50, and in Québec City, you can expect to pay $25.
British Columbia is a notoriously expensive place to live. As such, their rates are the highest in the country at $29 in Victoria and $28.50 in Vancouver.
The Western Provinces
In the west, cities like Calgary, Edmonton, Regina and Winnipeg all post vastly different fees. Calgary is the highest at $25.60, Edmonton is next at $24, Regina is a respectable $22 and Winnipeg is $22.
The Eastern Provinces
On the east coast, there are fewer people and the economy struggles somewhat, yet the tuition rates are not that much lower than the rest of the country. Charlottetown in tiny P.E.I. is the highest at $23. Fredericton is next at $22.60. St. John’s is $22, and Halifax, the most populous city, is posting the lowest rate at $21. With seven universities and three colleges in that city, the supply of peer tutoring in Halifax is likely higher than demand.
What Factors Affect the Pricing of Tutoring Jobs Across Canada?
The number one factor that affects pricing is supply and demand. If there is an overwhelming demand for supplemental instruction in your area of expertise, it will not matter if you live in Victoria or Sault Saint Marie. You will earn a better than average rate either independently or as part of a learning centre.
For example, you may be the only English tutor in a small town with a high school of 700 students. That is a big pool of potential clients who could require your assistance with homework help, reading comprehension, test preparation, writing skills, note-taking and exam review.
Where there is a concentrated amount of net worth and families with children, the demand for private tuition and tutoring companies will be greater than in a smaller community where salaries are below the national average, and there are fewer children.
It does come down to what people can afford. By and large, those with the means will spend it on their children in the form of private education, extracurricular sports, and individualised tutoring to give their children academic success.
However, if there is significant demand, there will be an influx of supply to fill it. Competition between tutors is fiercest in the big Canadian cities. Coaches, teachers looking to supplement their income and private tutors all try to make their rate the most competitive to stand out from the crowd.
Those with the most experience, teaching at the highest levels of difficulty, can command a better fee. College-level courses, English tutoring, math labs, social studies, calculus and anatomy and physiology are all examples of the types of courses that require more experience and knowledge to teach successfully.
Then there is the non - academic tutoring, like the arts or sport. No parent believes these are absolute requirements. However, for those with means, they are often added to the child’s tutored activities.
How Does Your Tutoring Service Change From Cities to Smaller Towns?
Based on socio-economic models, if a parent has not been exposed to music or sports education themselves, they won’t deem it a necessity for their children. Add whether they can afford the additional expense, and you have the reason why cities with lower net income rates have fewer extra-curricular sports/art programs.
Check for private tutoring jobs here.
There is one clear differentiator that is in favour of small towns versus the larger cities. That is in cities like London, Waterloo, Kingston, Halifax, St. Catherine’s, and North Bay, which all have vibrant university communities. Here you will find a large proportion of students who either require tutoring and or can provide it by appointment. Peer tutors are some of the most effective and reasonably priced in the market.
Toronto and Vancouver are the most expensive cities to live in Canada. If you compare a university city like Waterloo with Toronto, the cost of living is estimated to be 26% lower.
When you are setting your rates, find out if the subject you are teaching is saturated with tutors and tutoring centres. Then you can decide if you need to be cheaper than the pack and if you have the right rate for the cost of living in your area.
Tutors who teach music, drama, dance or fine art are often full-time artists who supplement their income with teaching. Traditionally you will find them in larger cities because there is more professional work for them there.
The arts are an area where tutors can charge a higher fee for their tutoring program in a small town. If there is significant demand for their expertise, arts professionals will become a tutor. Artists have the education certification and will provide assistance to kids who want to learn the craft they love.
How do I earn more if I live in a small town, a less prosperous area, or where there is stiff competition?
There are two options available to you if you are faced with less tutoring demand or a vast supply of tutors in your subject, competing for students in your area. You could expand your services to the online tutoring world or offer group tutoring sessions.
Let’s explore both.
With the advent of Skype, online tutoring services can be globalised. You could be a math tutor, writing tutor, yoga instructor, tennis coach or a chemistry tutor. You can teach anything online!
There are three significant advantages to tutoring online:
- There is no commuting time or expense.
- You can expand your potential client base globally instead of locally.
- The schedule is as flexible as you are, given time zone changes.
One of the best online tutoring websites is Superprof. They make becoming an online tutor easy as it’s a professional, respected site that offers to host your tutoring profile for $0.
There’s no free tutoring, but advertising your services is free with Superprof.
Group Tutoring Lessons
Study groups are a wonderful option to earn more revenue and make the classes cheaper for your student base. In group study sessions, you accept two or more students (however many you can teach well) and teach the same subject to students who are at the same grade/level.
Economically, you would charge a lesser amount to each student per hour. I.E. if you charge $30 for math tutoring hourly, consider $20 for group lessons. The best part is, should you have five students, you are now making $100/hour.
The key to this method is to make sure each student feels they are getting your attention and support. Student success is paramount. If you can do that, you will have a loyal group of clients who will come to you for exam preparation, study skills, test taking or academic support of any kind. The sky’s the limit.
If you would like more detailed information on becoming a tutor check out this article.