Tutor me softly...
January 18, 2014 1:24 PM   Subscribe

I need advice to help me start tutoring.

I would like to begin tutoring undergraduate English at my local university. I plan to place an ad in the school paper, but am unsure about what to charge. Any suggestions or advice would be helpful.

In addition, I have thought about placing a Craigslist ad for high school English and History. I am going into this blind. Any advice is appreciated
posted by melangell to Education (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I used to tutor undergraduate mathematics. You should see if the Department of English has a list of tutors that they publish on their website. The Department of Mathematics at my local university did and that (along with word of mouth) was where I got most of my business. Also helpful is setting up a website with information about your services, etc.
posted by Proginoskes at 1:37 PM on January 18, 2014

Another option is to look around for local tutoring services. You'll get paid less because the agency takes a cut, but you don't have to find the clients yourself, and it's a good way to build word of mouth until you're more established.
posted by number9dream at 2:01 PM on January 18, 2014

This is going to depend on location and average cost/accessibility of other resources. I'd price out my competition and charge slightly less to build up a stable before possibly raising my rates.
posted by vegartanipla at 2:03 PM on January 18, 2014

At present between 2/3 and 3/4 of my income comes from tutoring. This is US-based advice.

I recommend diversifying to include SAT math, or at least K-8 math, if you can manage it, to get some initial students. You may get the odd hour of writing tutoring here and there, or the occasional person preparing for the history AP, but I would not regard it as a steady thing. I am a humanities person by training, so I don't speak from any anti-English sentiment.

If you do not care about a steady income, and are content with only the odd student, then look not only on craigslist, but also on your neighborhood a/o university listservs. I would say I get about 1 reply for every 10 inquiries I make on craigslist, but more than half of those replies turn into jobs.
posted by skbw at 4:29 PM on January 18, 2014

Charge the market rate, once you figure out what that is.

Take into account what your level of qualification is compared to that of other tutors you find. A masters student might charge $80 an hour (made up number) and you figure that is what you should charge...but you have a PhD - or vice versa. Adjust accordingly.

Other tip to consider: contract. Make it very clear what services you offer and what your fee covers - then stick to that. They show up ten minutes late - then they pay for the full hour, but only get 50 minutes. They want you to correct an essay they wrote - that either happens during the 60 mins or they pay a supplementary fee per paper. Set a timer and treat its chimes as the law.

In my experience you need to lay out the ground rules in advance, or else you can end up getting into a relationship where you start feeling obligated to do them a favour. If you are going to do this professionally, then do it professionally :)
posted by man down under at 12:58 AM on January 19, 2014

Thank you for all the great answers! I appreciate the help :-).

skbw: Once upon a time, I was pretty good at math. Well, that is, until I took Calculus. Could you help clarify what types of math would consitute SAT math or K-8 math? I would feel comfortable through Algebra I and Geometry I.
posted by melangell at 12:34 PM on January 19, 2014

In my experience relatively few people want English and History tutoring. There is much more demand for algebra, geometry, and pre-calculus. The big market is parents who don't want to have to try to dredge up old memories of high school and middle school math and would rather pay someone to help their kid do their homework and study for exams.

At the university level there is some demand for helping revise essays, especially from students for whom English is a second language. But some of that demand comes from people who really just want to pay you to write the essay for them.
posted by vegetableagony at 1:55 PM on January 30, 2014

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