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  • Private Tutoring By the numbers

    The size of the global private tutoring market had surpassed over $102 billion dollars back in 2012 per the ICEF and has since been growing at an average rate of over 4% per year due to several factors including rising student enrollment, favorable demographics, adoption of new technologies, increased competition, along with understaffing in schools. CBC’s Sheila Whyte coined it “the tutoring revolution” starting back in 2009. “A report by the Canadian Council on Learning says that as many as a third of Canadian parents hired a tutor for their children in 2007, fueling the growth of franchise outlets such as the Oxford, Sylvan and Kumon learning centres”. Spending on tutoring generally has grown between seven and 10 percent from 2006 to 2009 and has since been following a similar growth rate. Across North America, spending on tutoring is estimated at $6-billion dollars annually. Research firm Global Industry Analysts Inc. forecast in 2014 that it expected the industry to be worth US$196.3 billion by 2020 as demand for online tutoring ads to an already exploding sector.

    So you have decided to become a private tutor

    The growing trend globally and in Canada is towards at home lessons and tutoring. The online tutoring market is already over saturated with a global race to the bottom on hourly fees. Learning centres and franchises like Kumon and Sylvan as well as private tutoring centres have dominated the landscape over the last 20 years, but parents and students alike are looking for more convenient and cost-effective ways to get the additional support and tutoring they need. The issue for private tutors is getting legitimacy, endorsement, exposure and help to expand your student base and maintain a consistent flow of students. Successful private tutors bypass the traditional franchise business models which take anywhere from 40% to 80% of charged fees. Traditional agencies bill parents out at over $50 per hour and pay their tutors well under $20 for the most part. On top of that, the market now demands specialized tutors to meet their needs and may not conform to the traditional curriculum offered by most learning centres. Private Conversational ESL Tutors in Vancouver charge from $20 to $30 per hour on average. Advanced Degree holders and Certified Teachers charge well over $50 per hour and elite tutors charge upwards of $120 per hour. Whether you are looking to work part-time, supplement your income or expand your student base and privately teach full time, the private tutoring field can be very lucrative especially given the growing demand.

    Getting Started

    1. Identify your talents and expertise

    Choose your lesson subjects and understand what category and market they fall into. Teach something you enjoy and are passionate about. You may want to specialize or be a generalist. Offering multiple subjects may increase your appeal and ability to book more lessons to the same student or family. It is also important to know your target market and understand the demand for the lessons you are offering.

    2. Build your Personal Brand

    Showcase your achievements and experience. Know how to effectively communicate your qualifications, degrees and certificates. If you are a student talk about things like your GPA and academic achievement, Scholarships, volunteer experience and your field of study. Once you establish a student base maintain a high degree of professionalism. Provide good customer service and build loyalty. 3 Communicate the ongoing need and the benefits or improvement from your lessons. Be punctual, act with respect and always maintain good communication.

    3. Know what you are worth!

    You need to know what other people are charging for tutoring and other extra-curricular lessons in your area. You do not want to undersell yourself and charge too low. Along with charging your hourly rate you may also want to charge a materials fee. If you are offering group lessons charge and an additional fee for each extra student.

    4. Trust and Safety

    Establishing your reputation and gaining recognition is critical. Prior experience in paid teaching along with recommendations from clients goes a long way in establishing your reputation and gaining the confidence of paying clients. Going through a vetting process and gaining endorsement as well as communicating that will help you attract and build your client base. You also need to understand the rules, laws and regulations where you intend to teach. If you are working with children, you should obtain an enhanced criminal record check and consider renewing it every year. You should also communicate that you have it and when you obtained it. Adhering to a code of conduct and upholding a high ethical standard will help you establish credibility and professionalism. In person, tutoring is much more rewarding and effective for most subjects than online tutoring and helps in building the student teacher relationship but it also requires a higher degree of professionalism. Being self-employed and working from home can open you up to certain liabilities. Personal liability insurance and home based business coverage is recommended especially if you are teaching young children or have a large number of students.

    5. Prepare your lessons!

    Understand the curriculum and practice it. Create your lesson plans in advance. There are many resources available online you help you come up with ideas and a good methodology. Know your client and prepare for the process of discovery. Spend some time to identify their needs, weaknesses and learning objectives. Document these and refer to them in your evaluations and reporting to students. Make your lessons interesting and interactive. Create a realistic timeline for each lesson and a realistic road-map to reach the students learning objectives. Check back here or at for further articles and workshops offered on lesson planning.

    6. Sign up for PayPal and offer payment options

    Being able to accept payment by credit card and online will help allow customers to make quick buying decisions and pay conveniently. It will also potentially help you book more students and sessions.

    7. Get the word out!

    Advertising your services is very important. Order and give out business cards. Put up posters and distribute flyers. TutorSage allows you to share your profile on social media and give out your unique profile URL. Posting on Facebook Groups and using social will go a long way. Blogging and posting articles will also help get you gain exposure. Write some tutoring, education or lesson related articles and please submit them to We may publish them on our blog giving you full credit and direct readers to your profile. If you haven’t already make sure to sign up and list your lessons on