Working as a private tutor can be a very rewarding job and the financial benefits can be quite significant. In this post, we look at how to make money as a private tutor by considering the demand for your specialist subjects, how much you can charge, and how to find students.
If you have solid knowledge of a particular academic subject and have flexible communication skills, then you could make money as private tutor. Unlike secondary school teaching, you don’t need to have a PGCE. In fact, there isn’t a formal tutoring qualification in the UK at all. However, that doesn’t mean that private tutoring is a free-for-all.
Tutors in the UK are typically more qualified than the students they teach. Most are educated to degree level and above, and some are undergraduate students. Whether you’re looking to make some additional money as a student, or whether you want to become a full-time private tutor, there’s certainly enough demand in this £6billion industry.
Consider the Demand for Private Tutoring in Your Subject
In order to make money tutoring, you need to know that there is enough demand in the subject that you plan to teach. In the last decade, the private tutoring marketplace has grown to an estimated worth of £6 billion in the UK alone. With 1 in 4 school children in the UK (increasing to 40% in London) using private tutors, the industry looks set to continue on an upward trajectory long into the next decade as well.
According to a 2016 report published by the Sutton Trust, there is most demand for private tutoring in Maths, English, Science, musical instruments, and foreign languages, in that order. However, there are plenty of tutors out there that make a living from tutoring more ‘niche’ subjects, such as the 11 Plus and other exams related to grammar school and university entrance.
Find Out How Much You Can Charge as a Tutor
In the UK, most private tutors work part-time and according to our analysis of private tuition fees, charge between £15 and £41 per hour. However, there are also tutors who work full-time (in as much as a tutor can), whether as self-employed individuals (sole traders), limited companies, or on a contracted basis with schools. Some of the factors that will affect how much you can earn as a tutor, include:
- Your location - there tends to be more demand for tutoring in London and in grammar school areas.
- Travel – will you travel to students’ homes (and pay travel costs), or work from home (and pay for insurance)?
- Experience – more experienced tutors can command a higher fee due to their proven track record.
- Working hours – most tutoring takes place after school, on the evenings, and at weekends, unless you have a contract with a school.
- How you advertise – some tutoring platforms take a commission on every lesson that you teach.
Recent reports suggest that private tutors earn 38% more than secondary school teachers (although the analysis looks at hourly rates and not yearly salaries), which would suggest that ‘full-time’ tutors should be capable of earning a decent full-time income.
This thread on the TES forum provides some interesting insights into tutoring full-time.
Will You Tutor In-Person or Online?
Before you can start making money tutoring, you need to decide where you’ll tutor. Will you teach students in-person at their home, at yours, or in a public space? Or will you tutor online? Or will you do both?
There would appear to be enough demand for both in-person and online tutoring, should you choose to focus on only one. If you decide to tutor in-person, you should attempt to see what the demand is like in your local area. Are there many secondary schools near you? How about grammar schools? Are there other tutors in your area? If so, what do they teach and how much do they charge? A little market research in the early stages can really help you find your positioning.
In recent years, online tutoring has really taken off and in the digital age, there’s no doubt that the demand for online tutoring will continue to grow. Being able to teach from your laptop, using not much more than a headset, enables you to connect with students worldwide, rather than just your local area.
Financial Overheads to Consider
One of the most appealing aspects of making money as a tutor is that there can be very little overheads. Essentially, all you need to start tutoring is the appropriate textbooks, access to past, or sample exam papers, and a laptop. If you decide to travel to students, you’ll need to account for travel costs, and if you tutor online, you’ll need to consider the commission fees charged by some tutoring platforms.
And of course, there’s tax. Rather than go into detail about paying tax as a tutor, you can read our full guide, here.
Finding Students to Tutor
Undoubtedly, the most difficult aspect of making money as a private tutor is finding students. We’ve written quite a few posts that cover marketing and advertising, and we’d recommend you read the following articles for a good overview:
To provide you with some initial ideas on how to find students to tutor, consider the following list, all of which are covered in detail in this post on marketing for tutors.
- Word of mouth marketing – most tutors find students through word of mouth by building up a good reputation online, or in their local area.
- Register with a tutoring agency – let them take care of finding students for you.
- Register with tutoring directories - like the one we have on The Tutor Website. A good tutoring directory will appear high in search engine rankings, meaning students can find you online.
- Keep an eye on tutoring jobs boards – we have one on our website too, which is free for tutors to use.
- Create your own website – having your own website means that you won’t be reliant on other platforms to find work for you. If you’re willing to put the time into learning about SEO, you could have tutors come to you.
- Be active on social media - choose two or three sites that you’re familiar with and connect with people who may be interested in using your services.
This post only really scrapes the surface on how to make money as private tutor. If you’d like to learn more about how to become a tutor and how make money tutoring, then you can buy our eBook ‘How to Start Your Own Tutoring Business’ for £21.99 – it’s packed full of useful advice.