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Can you make a living out of being a private tutor?

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by Lucyjane85, Oct 14, 2012.

  1. Hey,

    I am currently an NQT but have never planned to stay in the classroom as the work load and pressure from the government is too stressful. I 'd still like to teach and enjoy working one-to-one with pupils. So my main question is can you make a living out of being a private tutor? I'm trying to find out what all my options are now so any info or advice would be gratefully received.
    Teachallover likes this.
  2. MaisieMai

    MaisieMai New commenter

    After being a primary class teacher for 20 years, I am now a private tutor. Earned about 15k last year (my first year), and was pleased with that, but I am aware that it was partly because two schools employed me as a self-employed tutor. This year I may not have school work due to budgetary restrictions, but have several private pupils from 6 to 15 years of age. I anticipate though that I will probably not make more than 12k this year. I work extremely hard doing a full time job for part time wages. However, I would never go back to being a full time class teacher. I love my life now! With regard to your own situation, I wonder if it might be harder for you to get lots of private work as you are inexperienced. However, if you can do it financially, I would say, 'Go for it'.
    JanetKRose and Grace100 like this.
  3. mielo59

    mielo59 New commenter

    The simple answer is YES but there are all sorts of caveats.
    It depends on where you live and what you teach.
    The key to success as a tutor is getting referrals. If you are a good teacher you are more likely to get referrals. Some people are naturally good teachers, other become good through experience. If you spend time as a classroom teacher it will definitely help you as a tutor. It's impossible to say how long you need to be a classroom teacher in order to 'learn your trade' but I would say at least 5 years.
    It is a bit of a sweeping generalization but I would suggest that nobody under 30 years should consider being a full-time tutor if there are other employment options open to them.
    Kateray1 and Grace100 like this.
  4. That's a tad harsh methinks! No where has the OP said or hinted that they do not like hard work - rather they have seen the light. Sooner rather than later.
  5. langteacher

    langteacher Occasional commenter

    I suppose it depends on the area you live, your own outgoings and the subject you teach. If you are only teaching young ones then I suppose there is a limit to how much you can earn in the evenings but if you teach a subject that also appeals to adults (for whatever reason:- I sometimes get retired adults who want to learn languages for holidays and retirement etc)
  6. Hi Lucy
    Would it be possible for you to tutor and work part-time as a teacher initially? If you could do this you would gather additional teaching experience, pay down debt if you have any (and so reduce your outgoings) whilst building up a reputation as a tutor and getting those all-important referrals.
    You would also have the freedom and flexibility to look at other potential income sources. You don't say what your subject areas are but there may be paying opportunities outside teaching that you could investigate. You could consider becoming an examiner. You could research what non-fiction sells best on Kindle and find out how to market your own books.
    Hopefully this advice is sound but be aware that scams relating to second incomes abound on the internet so proceed with caution.
    Best of luck

  7. There is no need to be rude!
  8. Hi Lucyjane
    The short answer is YES. I do and have done so for the last 18 months. Up to July 2011 I was working for Adult Education as the Family Learning Manager under contract. At the interview they gave the permanent post to another member of staff (a cost-cutting exercise I think). I already had a number of private pupils from previous work that I had kept on, luckily. What I then did was to sign up to a number of private tutoring websites who alert me by email if someone is requesting my tutoring service. For this one of them takes a one-off payment of commission - the others are all free. I get 80% of my work from the commission site. I am now tutoring from 4.30 until 7.00pm every night (yes, 5 nights a week) with 2 pupils on a Saturday am & 2 pupils on a Sunday am. I have all day free, apart from preparation, until 4 pm as I travel to their homes. 40-50% of my work is referrals from existing or previous clients. Since August 2012 I have also taken on 4 tutors as associates, and I act as their agent and take a small commission off their tutoring fee.
    I would not go back to working for anyone else again - it is too cut-throat and I do not like having to justify myself constantly when I know I am an extremely good teacher.
  9. Yes you can...HOWEVER it depends on how many students you have and what you charge. I am a full-time private tutor. However, I live in Rome and teach English. I therefore have many potential students. I charge 30 euros per hour. I make a comfortable living. One problem i encountered however was FINDING private students. For me this was solved with free registration to www.LessonPark.com but there are lots of similar sites to help you. Good luck and let us all know how it went.
  10. obs



    Could you please tell me which tutoring website you signed up with that charged commision?

    Many thanks
  11. Yes you can make a living as a private tutor. I have tutored for over twelve years (often in my spare time as I was invariably in full time work). Private tutoring requires you to be organised to make a living and to keep accurate records so that you are clear about which types of students and tutoring strategies are more lucrative for you.
  12. reva13

    reva13 New commenter

    I became a private tutor whilst at university, and enjoyed it so much that I stayed a tutor! I now have many private clients, and even a couple of international clients. I even just got taken skiing in Switzerland by my last client - which was fantastic. I moved into university tuition so that I could work more daytime hours, and less antisocial times (weekends and evenings). I treat tuition like a profession rather than a part time job. Any time not in tutorials, I put into my own university tuition website and creating resources for my next tutorials. The work is seasonal, and last January I worked 30 days solid and had a full timetable. At £50 an hour for up to seven hours a day, seven days a week, I was out-earning even my friends at Goldman Sachs for that period.

    If you are prepared to put your heart into tuition, and find your niche (mine was university tuition) it can be incredibly rewarding and well-paid work.

    If you want any advice, I'd be happy to help out as best I can! Good luck!
    JanetKRose likes this.
  13. The short answer is yes although I am a little concerned that you seek to avoid a heavy work load. The truth is that the income can be very good but given that the work is seasonal you should expect to be very busy at certain times of the year, as other times will be quiet. I used to tutor face to face and then opted to tutor online only using my own website www.tutorsokholo.com. As a professional tutor I enjoy being in control of my income although I work very hard. The principal benefit of online tutoring is that I have access to a global student base and can tutor from any geographic location that I choose.
  14. I posted this on another thread:

    'As people have indicated - it depends.

    Important factors include:

    Your expectations of a 'living'.

    Where you live (more rich clients in London).

    Your subject(s).

    Your experience.

    I don't earn my living just from tutoring - I have a very high expectation of a living which I can feed quite well from just my teaching day job. I also get pension, sick leave and paid holidays from it - quite a lot to give up isn't it?

    I am tutoring A Level Maths to supplement my day job and it pays for nice holidays etc. - the things teachers aren't supposed to have and am averaging £45-50 per hour. I have acquired clients purely by word of mouth and the advertising costs were £nil. I could double my weekly commitment of 5 hours average to 10 tomorrow.

    I get a decent price without argument and could also probably increase it if I got greedier. My clients know that and they don't give me any grief - idiot parents can be more stress than you can imagine as your relationship is more personal - unless you're careful.

    But I am an A Level examiner, I know the syllabus backwards and save tons of time for students and my experience makes the job easy for me. I couldn't possibly do this if I was learning my trade and I REALLY know assessment and the tricks of the trade - no matter how good you are at your subject, assessment is something separate and different that you have to learn.

    Some subjects are wanted - Maths and Science for example but others like ICT and Computing which I used to teach are box office poison round here.

    I couldn't equal my day-job income from school tutoring very easily and with the fringe benefits are you sure you want to go that way?

    But it is nice to have on the side.'

    You are an NQT - be patient, give it time - it should get better - think about tutoring when you have more experience.
  15. reva13

    reva13 New commenter

    I just stumbled across this feed and found that I last wrote on it 3 years ago! I thought I'd write a follow up for anyone who stumbles across this :)

    By sticking to private tuition, my rates have grown dramatically. I now charge £84per hour standard, but have been requested at over £100. I only take on 5 students at most as my tuition company has now grown from humble beginnings to over 2 million sales per year. 2 tutors this month broke £10,000 in a single month (!!) and 27 earned over £2000 last month (March is the 3rd best month of the year). Most of these were part timers. So yes - you can earn significant amounts tutoring. I'm just launching a private tutoring blog on my experiences, so please feel free to read and get in touch if you have any questions.

    The biggest change in tutoring over the past three years has been the rise of online tuition. Now, it does not matter where you live, you can earn top rates. I think that there is a bias towards quantitative subjects (economists are always in demand) but I know 11+ specialists who earn significant amounts tutoring English.
    MathMan1 and JanetKRose like this.
  16. kfrazer92

    kfrazer92 New commenter

    In the event that anyone stumbles across this wondering if it's worth going private.

    I have been a private tutor as my full-time job since January 2015 and I'd have to say that, yes, you can make a living out of it.

    I'm young (24) and started part time in 2012 alongside my degree and it's served as a "stop gap" between graduating and deciding where I want to teach full-time (Primary/ Secondary/ FE). Because I am "unqualified", I probably undercharge, but I am incredibly experienced, I have never paid for any kind of advertising, and have used websites such as First Tutors and Tutor Hunt to find students (First Tutors did my nut in as they deactivate you if you don't reply within X amount of days, so I'm not on there). If I listed where most of my students found me, it would be: recommendations first, then Yell (free listing), then Facebook (I have a "like" page) and finally through Tutor Hunt.

    I live in an area with a lot of poverty (Wigan) and if I charged £84 an hour, I'd be lucky to get one student! I charge between £16 and £20 an hour, and I have 21 students right now (after SATs, GCSEs and A-Levels this will shrink a bit, but not much!), so if you do some number crunching you'll see that it's possible to live off that. Cost of living is much lower where I live, however, so if it's higher where you are, adjust that accordingly. The main thing that makes me popular is that the subjects I offer are maths and English, I'm experienced in dyslexia, dyscalculia, ADD, ADHD, autism, speech and language delay and other special educational needs, and I also am able to cover a wide range of subjects on a "one off" basis with a maths and/or English student (I have a few that I help with study skills, RE, PE, science and history). As a qualified teacher, I wouldn't take less than £20 per hour (£30 in likes of London).

    It's a lot less than you'd be earning, I suppose, on a full-time teaching contract. However, it's worth mentioning that I can lie in 3 days a week, I can enjoy being part of my local rounders team at this time of year (even with exams upon us!) and I have enough free time and disposable income to travel a lot more than any of my other friends my age. I find a lot of joy in my job and I have seen some of my students grow over the last 3years, and that's something I don't think I'd find in a different education role.
  17. frangipani123

    frangipani123 Lead commenter

    @kfrazer92 do you find that you spend a lot of time travelling to your students?
  18. kfrazer92

    kfrazer92 New commenter

    I do, but only because I don't drive and therefore choose to walk (especially if the route is pretty!). My "big day" is Monday. I walk 50 minutes to my first student, then 30 minutes to the bus (but the walk is so lovely!), 20 minute bus to the town centre, have a leisurely lunch then a 5 minute bus to the next one. From there it's 45 minutes to the next, and after that, they're all 30 minutes.

    I never travel more than an hour, though. So for 5 hours work, I would travel 3 hours total. I personally enjoy the down time and if I drove it would be nowhere near as long (that 50 minute walk is a ten minute drive! It's just winding roads around fields up a gigantic hill!).

    Short answer would have been yes!

    But really, it's about perspective!
    MathMan1 likes this.
  19. michelle_s_butterworth

    michelle_s_butterworth New commenter

    Hi, I'm a private tutor myself and was considering getting some associates on board - was just wondering how you go about it? And how much responsibility it entails?

  20. langteacher

    langteacher Occasional commenter

    As a tutor, I do not understand why anyone would be an associate. why would I want to pay a commission to someone? What is in it for me? I do about 20-25 hours a week and I pay no commission to anyone

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