A few years back I realized I done messed up – and I had about 40k in student loans. Woops! Not bad compared to friends – but I needed to pay them off fast before I could start a family. So I started a side gig for some extra income.
I’ve been tutoring now for 5 years and I would highly recommend it to other young women. It’s a great way to make a little extra cash. Plus if you are thinking about home schooling your children you can get a little practice working with students of all learning levels.
I started out on a website finding students but now I work off referrals and I find students through a town Facebook group.
The benefit of working with a 3rd party site is that you have tools at your fingertips to collect payment. You also have a buffer between you and the parent/student to keep you safe while working out logistics. Plus there are parents actively posting to the job board.
The downside of a website is they takes a noticeable cut of your hourly rate, and they may have restrictions on what subjects you can apply for.
For new tutors just starting out a 3rd party is the way to go. Get your feet wet with some extra protections and take advantage of the resources provided. You wont make as much but you can always go around the site at a later time.
I’ve made a decent amount in the last few years tutoring but I have a few rules I stick to each time I start negotiating a job.
Get everything in writing. Hourly rate, parent expectations, scheduled meeting times are all in writing. I rarely speak to the parents over the phone but if I do I bump an email out to them for my own records. Professionalism should be respected by the parents – if it’s not I don’t work with them.
Set a quality rate. When a parent approaches me about tutoring I always tell them the same thing. My rate is $40.00/hour. I have turned down multiple jobs due to them asking if I’ll work for less. Know what you’re worth and what your time is worth. Currently I’m working with a student twice weekly so I did offer a small discount. If they go to weekly it will go back to 40/hour.
Cancellation Policy. If a parent doesn’t cancel within 6 hours of the session I still collect half at our next session. This is something I lay out when I explain my rate.
Payment each session. I ask for cash each session. When the session is over the parent pays me and we agree on the next meeting time. Using a 3rd party website like I have in the past I logged each tutoring session as soon as I got home and payment was direct deposited to my bank twice monthly. (In fact on the website you can’t even communicate with a parent until the parent has set up payment information)
Always tutor in a public space. Personally I just say “I tutor out of the city library”. If a parent asks me to come to their home I politely decline and state it’s for the safety of myself and the student I’m working with. The only exception would be a family I knew.
My husband has their contact info. Every time I have the opportunity to tutor I run it by Ryan. When I accept a job I have the parents names, numbers and any other info available to him.
Tutoring is always a blast for me because I love the way a students face lights up when they finally get it. But if things are jiving well, or the parents aren’t keeping up their end of the deal I’m fine walking away. There are always more students confused by common core math that need a tutor.
Until next time,
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Cover photo credit Katherine Clark