You Can Easily Make More Money Tutoring If You Follow These Simple Steps
Like it or not, private tuition involves an element of showmanship. You are selling your expertise, your time, but most importantly, yourself. This blog will cover how to set up your new placement on the right track for you and your student, so that you can make more money tutoring.
Firstly, what not to do:
Hi – nice to meet you. How can I help?
This is a disaster and you’ve already lost the confidence of your student.
Well if you’ve made no effort to prepare before the first tutorial, the tutorial will likely be unstructured and unproductive. It might even be slower than if the student had self-studied! Whilst the long-term objective of any placement should be for the student to take responsibility of their own studies, many tutees are not at first ready to take control of their own timetable. That’s why they called on us in the first place. So what can you do better?
Before The First Tutorial
- Offer a free call before the first tutorial This builds trust before you begin. You should not cover any content (that’s what you get paid for in the tutorial) and this call should not be more than 15 minutes. Try the following format:
- Pleasantries – introduce yourself in no more than a couple of sentences. Remember to be positive and enthusiastic about working with them
“(Hi – I’m Richard. I’m really looking forward to helping you smash your GCSE maths paper. Last year I helped several students jump up two grades – together, I’m confident that we can do this!)”
- Gauge their needs – Ask them to explain in their own words (or the parent’s if they are younger) what they would like help with.
- Get specific – Try to identify a specific topic that you can cover in your first tutorial.
- Agree on what they need to do – Should they have any notes ready before meeting you? This sets an important example before you’ve even met: tuition is a partnership and they need to pull their weight in order to succeed.
- Logistics – Agree on where to meet and double check any logistical details. Ask the parent if their house is hard to find (the amount of times I’ve been lost less than 10 meters away from someone’s front door…). If tutoring online, confirm the correct email/ID to use and explain how they are to get into the online classroom.
- Create A Handout – This is how we really impress them and make a lasting impression. Formula cheat sheets or class summaries work best. Personally, I like to turn up with an exam question that looks difficult but is manageable and a worksheet that can be applied to similar questions. If you turn up with a couple of high-quality handouts, this will give your student far more confidence in you, and make them more likely to want to work with you. The best thing about creating handouts is that once you’ve made one, you can reuse it again and again and again.
The First Tutorial
- Don’t be late.
- Don’t turn up scruffy (jeans and a shirt is a safe combo – not too formal, not too informal. Remember you might have to impress the parents too).
- Don’t have bad breath (seriously – I know more than one tutor who lost work that could have been saved by a Tic Tac).
- Don’t try too hard to be funny, or cool, or someone you are not. If you can find out a bit about their interests, that’ll be handy if the tutorial slows down. But generally, just be really serious about wanting them to help them – that’s why you are there – and they’ll appreciate it. How often does someone give you an hour of their undivided attention?
- Always be positive – Check out The X-Factor that makes a successful placement
To make more money tutoring you have to retain your clients. The first tutorial is special because it’s a showcase. There should be two distinct parts to this tutorial
1) Solving A Problem: Get straight into the problem that you identified on the phone. You should make small talk to reassure them (especially if they’ve never had a tutor), but you have about 15 minutes to teach them something. If you can get your student to solve a problem that they couldn’t do before they met you, their trust in your ability will rise and you can both start to relax. Within the hour you should have had them complete 3 questions that they definitely could not complete before (it doesn’t matter how short – this is a taster session).
But if you can’t teach them something within 15 minutes, expect them to become confused, unengaged or even critical of your teaching style and the cost of the tutorial.
- If you set material that they could already do – you have added no value.
- If you set material that is too difficult and they are confused – you have added no value.
- How do they know if you’ve added any value if you haven’t asked them any questions? How do you know if they’ve understood?
2) Creating a Plan: Towards the end of the tutorial, once you’ve impressed them and shown that you can teach, and left them a resource to help them with their future studies, you need to move into the sell. You’ve shown that you can add value on this one topic. Now you’ve got to show that you can keep adding this value again and again. Set out an action plan for what you’d like to cover in the next five tutorials, and show them how much of the syllabus that will tick off. By adding life-time value to your students, you’ll keep them longer and you’ll increase the money you make tutoring.
A quick note on exploitation
I want to clarify that all tutors want to make more money tutoring but it is adding value that is imperative. Not more hours for more hours’ sake. If you take longer than necessary to teach something, that is exploitative, and the exact opposite of what I am proposing. Adding value is actively encouraging your students to aim for greater and greater heights, and helping them to get there.
After the First Tutorial
Set homework. Yes, students actually want homework. But here’s the trick: gauge it to the level of your student. If they are struggling, set easy homework to boost their confidence, and save the harder stuff for your time together. Set more challenging work to push your top students outside of class. Follow up with an email/text 24 hours after setting the work (message the parent for younger children), confirming that they have received it and ask them how they are getting on. If they do not reply, repeat every day until they do. Make it clear that homework is not optional. It’s part of the road to success Plus, now you have to meet with them a second time to go through the homework! Remember, you need to see your student more in order to make more money tutoring!
Next: Want to learn more? Why not read the tips I used that doubled my effective hourly tutoring rate.
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