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. The best part about working as a tutor is you get to teach something your passionate about. Tutoring use to be only seen for subjects like math, science or English, but there's now tutoring for everything. Whatever the subject you want to teach about you can make it a reality working as a tutor.
You probably know what you would teach if you decided to become a private tutor, but do you know how much to charge? This question shouldn't be overlooked. It's important to know the factors that go into deciding your price. We created this article so you can set your prices accordingly working as a tutor in Ontario. You don't want to charge too high and you don't want to charge too low. 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.
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.
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Steps to Setting Your Prices in Ontario as a Tutor
Becoming a tutor is a wonderful job choice. You get to make an impact on so many of your student's lives. It's a rewarding job you'll get to do every day. Tutoring can have its own challenges, but at the same time, it offers a lot of freedoms that other teaching jobs can't offer. One of the challenges tutorings has is you have to set your own prices. This can cause a lot of confusion for new tutors. Should you charge higher or lower than the average? or What is the average price of tutoring?
There are a lot more questions that come from choosing your prices. The most important thing is not to overlook setting your prices. You need to be paid what your worth and charge a fair price to your clients. We created 4 steps so you can set your prices accordingly. Follow each step to find out the perfect price for your tutoring session.
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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.
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.
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Price according to Location
Where your tutoring 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
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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. Online tutoring is also becoming increasingly more popular. You no longer have to leave your own to learn something, you can learn right in the comfort of your own home. The number of online tutors is going to keep growing. As an online tutor, you can cut your costs and start teaching right away.
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. Having more experience you should be paid a higher price than someone who has less experience. You can simply offer more. More experience means you'll have a better understanding of the topic of your tutoring. Your students will be able to learn quickly and efficiently. Tutoring rates should fall into three categories: professional experts, teachers and students.
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.
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.
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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.
Step 3: What Are Your Tutoring Expenses?
Tutoring expenses need to be calculated in order to figure out your tutoring rate. You need to be able to cover your expenses first and foremost and then be able to pay yourself. Having your expenses calculated will help you figure out what you need to be charging. You should re-evaluate your expenses every couple of months to ensure you're staying within your margins. The higher your expenses are the lower your paying yourself. You may need to start charging more if your expenses become higher. For example, if you move from your house to renting office space to teach out of. Your expenses could much higher. Also if you're taking on more clients you may spend more money on materials. Re-evaluating your expenses will help you keep making a living working as a tutor.
There are five expenses to consider when calculating your price per hour.
- Preparation time
- Equipment and resources
If you charge $40/hour and it takes you one hour to prep each lesson, you are making $20/hour.
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.
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.
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. Individual sessions should be at a higher price than group sessions.
You need to be paid a fee that makes individual sessions worth it. If you're charging the same for a group session it would be beneficial to do only group sessions because your earning potential would be much higher. Charging more for individual sessions allow you to get paid well and you can offer more value to the students. It's beneficial to both parties. There's more to your rate system than individual and group sessions.
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 stabilizes 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.
Why Does Setting Your Price Matter as a Tutor in Ontario?
It can seem like a lot of work to set your prices as a tutor, but it shouldn't be a simple process. You need to be paid what your worth and charge a fair rate at the same time. Thinking of a random number isn't the way to go. You also shouldn't price yourself too high or too low. Setting your prices too high can cause problems. Your first problem arises because of your demographic can't afford your sessions. You end up losing clients and money.
Sometimes tutors set their prices higher than average because they feel it makes them seem like a better tutor. In our world, things that cost more like products or services should typically be of better quality, but as we know this isn't always the case. If you're charging a higher rate you need to able to prove you're worth that price. You need to ask yourself why you're charging higher than the average. Following the steps above for setting your prices means you won't end up overcharging.
On the other end of the spectrum, some tutors charge less money. They feel it makes them more affordable to everyone, but this causes problems. Yes, charging a lower price means you're more accessible to more people, but you're going to have to work harder and still could be making ends meet. You deserve to be paid what you're worth. You should be charging enough to be comfortable making a living. Sacrificing your pay isn't worth the added stress.
Having a low price causes another issue as well. Clients can start to question your tutoring. They can start to ask themselves why are the prices so cheap? Are they a bad tutor? We all immediately judge things. Imagine if you saw a dentist offering cleaning for $20 dollars. This is way below the price of cleaning and you start to wonder why. Having a fair price for your tutoring session allows you to make a living and serve your clients to the best of your ability.
How to Talk About Your Tutoring Rates?
One of the things new tutors can experience is nervousness talking about their tutoring rates. It's one of the reasons we created the 4 steps. It makes you feel good about your prices. Talking about rates to your clients is something you're going to have to do. It's a step you can't miss if you want to get paid. The easiest way to talk about your rates is by explaining them before your first session with your client. This way once the session comes you can focus on the tutoring and not the prices. Setting your prices up ahead of time leaves you so you don't have to think about talking about them during the tutoring session.
If someone has reached out about your services there already interested in your services. You shouldn't feel like talking about your tutoring rates is going to affect their decisions. The only way the client can lose interest in your services is if they don't see the value in the price. Having the 4 steps figured out allows you to have proof of your prices. You can show the client the factors that go into the pricing. This way they understand your pricing schedule and know they're being charged a fair rate.
Talking about your tutoring rates can be nerve-wracking but it's something you have to get through. After your first few times talking about prices with your clients we're confident you'll stop feeling the nervousness around pricing. At the end of the day, you know your prices are fair and reasonable and your clients will see that as well.
Start Setting Your Tutoring Rates in Ontario
After going through the steps you should feel good about your prices. Your pricing can be one of the hardest things as tutors. It can be hard to put a price on your services if your new to tutoring. You don't know if you charging too much or charging too low. This is something all tutors will experience, and it's something every tutor will get through. Having these 4 steps laid out ensures you'll feel confident about the prices your charging. The last thing we want is for you to be underpaid for your services.
Now you need to make that first step and start setting your tutoring rates for your services. You'll be glad you did it. If you would like more detailed information on setting your price check out this article.