How to Start a Home-Based Tutoring Business

Steps to Opening Up a Tutoring Service in Your Home

Start a Home Based Tutoring Business
•••  Credit: Steve Debenport | Getty Images

If you’re looking for an easy and affordable home business that you can start quickly, tutoring is one you should consider.

Tutors provide additional instruction beyond the regular classroom teacher to students to help them learn a subject. Tutoring is needed at all levels of education, from elementary to college, and on a variety of topics. Tutors are also needed to assist students in test prep, such as for the SAT or GRE.

Tutoring is an ideal home business for teachers and instructors; however, you don’t need a teaching degree or any specialized training to be a tutor. What you do need is knowledge of the subject matter and the ability to explain in a way that others can learn.

Tutors earn anywhere from $10 to $75 per hour depending on topic and education level they assist. Generally the more specialized the topic (i.e. foreign language or advanced physics) or higher education (i.e. college level), the more you can charge.  

Tutoring can be done either in your client’s home, at your home, or in another location, such as the school or library. The Internet has made it possible to tutor online using video conferencing tools, so you can tutor clients who live outside your location from the comfort of your home.

There are several pros and cons to starting a home-based tutoring business. Some of the pros include:

  • It’s quick and affordable to start. You don’t need any specialized training or equipment, so you can start as soon as you can find your first client.
  • It’s extremely flexible, so you can start it part time around another job.  
  • You can expand from being a one-person business to organizing other tutors to work in your business.

The cons of a home-based tutoring business include:

  • The need to work around students’ schedules, which usually means tutoring in the late afternoon and evenings.
  • Not all students are eager to learn.
  • Tutoring services are often short-term. Once your student has mastered or completed the course, your services are no longer needed.

How to Start a Home-Based Tutoring Business

There are several ways to get started tutoring from home. One is to buy a tutoring franchise or business opportunity.  Another is to sign up to work as a contractor at one of the many online tutoring companies such as Brainfuse, Chegg, or Tutor.com. Or, you can start from scratch on your own.

If you’re ready to start helping students succeed in school, here’s a list of how to get started tutoring:

  1. Determine what subjects and educational level you can tutor in. Common topics needed include math, English, and science from primary grade to high school. Many college students need help in these areas (i.e. calculus or statistics), as well as in the subjects of their major.
  2. Make a list of potential students. Based on the subject and level you want to tutor, who are the people that are most likely to hire you?
  3. Decide how you’re going to provide tutoring services. Do you want to tutor only with local students or only online? Maybe you want to do both. If you’re going to tutor local students, where will you conduct the sessions? Note, you want to check with your local city/county zoning department if you plan to tutor in your home. Also make sure you have good liability insurance, in case your student gets hurt on your premises.
  1. Gather the tools you’ll need to provide tutoring services. There are many teacher stores (online and off) where you can get workbooks and tools to assist in tutoring. If you plan to tutor online, make sure you have a good web cam with clear audio. You might consider using a service that allows for digital white board writing.
  2. Decide on your business structure. You can get started tutoring right away as a sole proprietor. To protect your personal assets, you might consider creating a limited liability company (LLC).
  1. Create a business name. You can operate your business under your given name (i.e. Sally Sue), or you can create a business name (Excel Tutoring), or a combination of the both (Sally Sue Tutoring). If you don’t use your given name, you’ll may need to file a fictitious name statement with your city or county clerk’s office.
  2. Obtain needed permits and licenses as required by your city or county.
  3. Decide on your pricing and policies. Some things to consider on pricing are the topic and grade level you’re instructing. Remember the more advance the topic and grade, the more you can usually charge. As far as policies, you’ll want to have terms around when payment is made, how to cancel a tutor session (will you still charge if they don’t show up without a call), and expectations.
  1. Write a business plan, outlining all aspects of your business, and how you plan to grow it.
  2. Map out a marketing plan. A good tutoring marketing plan will include a website where people can learn about you, a networking strategy, such as through schools, and a referral system.