Private tutoring is a booming business in Canada. It offers those who love to teach the ability to set their hours, their rates, as well as define the distance they travel for work. Teachers, subject experts and students all gravitate toward this profession.

Tutoring is a $1 billion/year industry in Canada

and a $100 billion/year business globally.

You probably know what you would teach if you decided to become a private tutor, but do you know how much to charge? It depends on two things: your location and your expertise level.

If you provide home tutoring, where you work will dictate who you teach. In large cities and affluent suburbs, the demand to hire tutors is significant. In smaller, less prosperous towns, there are fewer tutors, and they tend to charge less per hour. There is also a growing number of online tutors. Having an online tutoring business increases the number of students you can reach as well as the competition pool for those just like you.

There is an incredible need for high school math and science tutoring worldwide. Source: Visualhunt
There is an incredible need for high school math and science tutoring worldwide. Source: Visualhunt

When setting your hourly rate, you may be tempted to charge as much as possible. However, you must justify it. Do you have the teaching experience and stellar academic performance potential clients expect when they compare you to others? Or, conversely, you may charge less to win students by being the cheapest person available.

The psychology of your rate per hour is essential. If you price yourself too low, the impression may be that you are less qualified and, therefore, not as competent. The key is to set a rate that is competitive, relative to your city, and your area of expertise. Your job is to sell yourself. Your fee tells people you are qualified, skilled and reasonably priced.

How do you decide what to charge your clients? We’ll take you through the process and set a smart price relative to your location, subject areas, and experience.

Do you want to earn well? Check out these online teaching jobs now!

Step 1: Setting Your Rate Based on What You Teach and Where

The first step is to check out the competition. What do other private tutors who teach the same subject as you charge in your city? When you research this, you will start to see an average rate. There are a couple of other factors to consider, as well.

Price According to Subject

The first law of economics, supply and demand, is in play here. The more people want a math tutor (for example), and the fewer math tutors there are means rates will be higher for those tutors. Conversely, if there are many math tutors and not much need for math courses tutoring, then fees will be lower.

Let’s say you are a cello player, and you play in a string quartet and have completed all your courses from the Royal Conservatory of Music and at university. You want to give cello lessons to students in your city. Highly qualified cello players are in short supply in cities and especially in small towns. You are going to be able to charge a high rate in both areas, but the caveat is there may not be as much need for cello tutoring, as there is for English tutoring or math and science.

Another part to consider is what equipment is required to teach your subject? Academic tutoring is straight-forward. A computer, whiteboard, paper & pencils will do the trick. On the other hand, if you are teaching hockey skills, there is rink time, equipment and one-on-one tutoring required. Generally, the more resources you need to coach the subject, the more expensive the lesson.

Find out about teaching English as a second language in schools.

Individualized sports training, like hockey, includes costly equipment. Source: Photo by Gerhard Crous on Unsplash
Individualized sports training, like hockey, includes costly equipment. Source: Photo by Gerhard Crous on Unsplash

Price according to Location

Where you tutor is essential. Are you a home tutor or part of several tutoring companies? Do you provide group tutoring or need specific equipment to make your tutoring programs effective?

Several things affect your rate when you work in one place:

  • the standard of living where you work
  • the number of students who need the service
  • the number of tutors in that geographic area

Expanding your business to become an online tutor is an excellent idea for several reasons. It expands your potential student pool to anywhere in the world, as long as you speak the language. There is no travel time for lessons. All you need is a computer, the internet and free programs like Skype to connect and create a classroom.

 Tutoring online makes local tutors global. Source: Visualhunt
Tutoring online makes local tutors global. Source: Visualhunt

The downside is there’s significant competition in the virtual learning space, and tutoring jobs can be hard-won. To combat this, create a smart profile, establish a competitive tutoring rate and use testimonials to help you stand out from the crowd.

Superprof is the perfect resource to promote your business worldwide.

It’s a free service that has high traffic and a fantastic reputation for bringing talented tutors together with eager students.

Step 2: How Much Experience Do You Have?

Your personal experience and background should also impact your rates. Tutoring rates should alPrivate tutors fall into three categories: professional experts, teachers and students.

Professional Experts

These are the ivy league educators who have years of hands-on experience and schooling who can command the highest dollar for their subject matter. In the field of language tutors, they are termed ‘native speakers’ and they are paid handsomely for essay writing, proofreading and reading and writing skills. Professional experts have typically tutored for years. They are most popular with university and college-level students as well as IB high school students.

School Teacher

The most sought-after tutors are teachers. They can teach elementary and high school math and literacy, as well as study skills and test-prep. They can provide homework help and know how to improve a student’s academic performance overall. Their years of experience in academic support means they can charge higher than average prices.

Students love helping others, have academic skills and create an enjoyable learning environment. Source: Visualhunt
Students love helping others, have academic skills and create an enjoyable learning environment. Source: Visualhunt

Students

Student tutors are the most plentiful and relatable teachers in the market. They are not very expensive due to their relative inexperience. However, they can teach subjects like trigonometry, anatomy & physiology and go through homework assignments and exam review exceptionally well because of their recent academic success. They are also excellent at peer tutoring and are available for summer tutoring, which is a popular niche in the market.

The best tutors calculate their expenses before they tell you their fees. Source: VisualHunt
The best tutors calculate their expenses before they tell you their fees. Source: VisualHunt

Step 3: What Are Your Tutoring Expenses?

There are five expenses to consider when calculating your price per hour.

  1. Preparation time
  2. Commuting
  3. Equipment and resources
  4. Advertising
  5. Taxes

Preparation Time

If you charge $40/hour and it takes you one hour to prep each lesson, you are making $20/hour.

Commuting

If you drive to your student's houses or work in a learning centre, how long does it take you to drive there and back? Deduct that time from the amount of money you made in that day/night.

Equipment & Resources

If you teach piano and have students come to your house for lessons, you must maintain the piano (tuning and cleaning) and the eventual purchase of a new one if yours breaks or gets too old.

Advertising

You can send out flyers in your neighbourhood or create lawn signs to advertise. Also, when people want to find a tutor, providing one hour of free tutoring is a useful marketing tool. Or you can use sites like SuperProf that promote tutors online free.

Taxes

Tutoring is considered self-employment. Be sure to disclose any income you make to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Have a look at this article to find out how to declare your income and what expenses you can deduct.

Step 4: Group fees, bulk bookings and rates based on difficulty

There’s a lot to be said about making your rate system as simple as possible. As far as private lessons are concerned, a single price makes sense. However, when booking multiple sessions at once or various grade levels and study groups, you can vary your fees to accommodate the situation.

If you book ten sessions as a chemistry tutor, you may consider giving them a 10% discount

or make the tenth lesson free.

This is a win-win for everyone as it stabilises your income and gives your client a cost break.

Elementary school courses are less demanding than secondary school or university. To that end, you can adjust your fees based on the difficulty of the course and the amount of time it takes you to prep the lesson.

Group sessions are popular as students get reduced pricing, and you will earn more teaching multiple students at once. If you charge $50/hour for private tuition, group lessons can be $35/hour x 3, 4, 5 or more. One important note: give each student individual attention, so they feel there’s value for them personally.

Now that you know how to do the most challenging task, setting your price structure, it’s time to go out and become the math tutor, English tutor or chemistry tutor you know you can be.

If you would like more detailed information on setting your price  check out this article.

 

 

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Carrie

I am a Freelance Writer from Toronto with two teenage boys who keep me laughing and perpetually learning.