How to start a tutoring agency

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Are you more Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society than Cameron Diaz in Bad Teacher?

Is your desire to educate today’s youth matched only by your entrepreneurial spirit?

Then perhaps starting a tutoring agency is for you!

Starting a tutoring agency can be very fulfilling, surprisingly simple and, if you run it well, can make you lots of money. You can even get a little extra for yourself by doing some of the tutoring!

Tutoring is listed as one of the top 16 industries worldwide for starting a new business. With a growth rate of 7% in the last year and a projected growth of 13.76% by 2022, there couldn’t be a better time to think about following that dream of running your own tutoring agency.

When an industry is growing this fast it makes it a lot easier to start a new business and we’re here to help you with the ins and outs of how to go about setting it up with a set of handy tips.

 

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In most cases, tutoring agencies are an example of what people in business speak call an ‘intermediary’. That may sound grand, but all it really means is that they provide links between two different sets of people – you act as a bridge between clients and professionals.

According to Talk Business, the vast majority of tutors advertise their individual services on sites such as Gumtree or Yell. This can put a lot of additional work on tutors who just want to focus on what they love best: teaching. This is where your agency comes in.

With tutoring agencies, such as the hugely successful Teachers To Your Home, the links they provide are between tutors who want work and clients who want a tutor. Some tutoring agencies provide online tutorials; some provide tutors in person; some do both. It’s up to you.

The tutoring agency charges the client for the tutor plus their commission on top. The client pays the tutoring agency, and the tutoring agency then pays the tutor for their work. This not only provides an opportunity for budding business owners to make money, but provides clients with the security of knowing the tutors they hire are accountable to someone and are verified.

Often tutoring agencies grow big enough to expand into other areas, such as running tuition centres, hosting education conferences, or publishing magazines, so it is often a great platform for an ambitious educational business to start from.

There are also opportunities to diversify your client list. Whilst most agencies focus on late primary schoolers, GCSE students and sixth formers (i.e. exam stressed young people!), the industry is expanding. Your agency could focus on providing tutors for all ages, as well as catering to parents who want their kids to be home-schooled: an increasingly popular choice.

 

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How to start a tutoring agency

1) Mark your territory

Start by finding out where you want to operate. Do you want to operate locally, nationally, internationally, or online?

Top tip: start in an area you know well already. That will save you time when searching for tutors and potential clients, since your prior knowledge will help you find the right places to look right away!

2) Find your niche

Figure out what you want to teach. Do you want to teach mainstream subjects, like English or Maths, or do you want to teach more specialist subjects like Drama, Art, or Computer Science?

Top tip: start off with fewer subjects. That way you will not try to do too much at once, and you will be much more likely to gain a reputation for high quality tutoring. From there you can expand.

3) Find your price

This depends on the clients you’re looking after, and the amount your tutors expect to receive for their work as well as their qualifications. Are they former teachers, professors or otherwise? Think about the following three questions to find a reasonable price to charge:

  • How much are your tutors charging for their services?
  • What are your admin costs?
  • How much are other tutoring agencies in your area charging for their services?

4) Sort out your admin

It is really important for small business to get on top of their admin early on, and this is true for all types of businesses, not just agencies. Sorting out your admin will cut your costs, cut time wasting, and increase your revenue and profits. The best way to do this is to use specialist tutor agency data management software like TutorCruncher that allows you to log invoices, schedules, billings and student records.

5) Get going

No plan is ever perfect. The trick is to get going, to find the faults in your plans early on, and adapt your plan accordingly. If you can be adaptable and energetic in the first few months, you’re bound to be more successful!

For more info on running a tutoring agency, take a look at the TutorCruncher Blog, which provides plenty of in-depth plans and ideas on how to succeed from those who have managed to find success. Their bloggers include current tutoring business owners, former law professors and international educators, so it’s a great place to start for some tips.

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