With the economy being unpredictable these days, many long-time executives are losing their jobs as a result of down-sizing. Stay-at-home moms are finding a need to look outside the home to help supplement their family’s income and even teachers are being laid off due to larger class sizes and trimming of budgets in many school districts across the country.
However, even though our economic times may be stormy, parents still spend millions of dollars on supplemental education for their pre-college-aged children. Large class size mean less individual attention and competition to be admitted to a top university gets more difficult all the time.
This combination of individuals looking to find a career that will replace or surpass a traditional job and the increased need for supplementary educational services outside of school makes it worthwhile to look towards an entrepreneurial venture such as a tutor referral service. The owner finds qualified tutors and matches them with students in need of one-on-one, in-home tutoring.
Want to know how to start your own home-based tutoring business? One savvy entrepreneur shares her top seven tips:
- Be realistic when defining the area you will service. You can always expand once your business takes off. Since you will be home-based, a good rule of thumb is to offer your services within a half hour drive or 30 miles from your home office.
- Keep your overhead low. There is no need to rent or lease office space. Compare prices on phone service, a good computer, Internet service, etc., and budget accordingly. Whether it’s a hallway with a desk or a spare bedroom, be sure you have the necessities to conduct business from your home in a professional, comfortable way.
- Shop around for a web designer that will optimize your site for maximum “hits” and exposure. Prepare for approximately 75-80% of your business to be web-generated. Be certain your website provides detailed information in a simple, friendly, informative way. Let your target audience get to know you by browsing through your site – your personality should be reflected throughout your web pages. Make sure one of your web pages is devoted to “press.”
- Shop your competition frequently to ensure your rates are not the highest, but not the lowest either. Charge a modest one-time registration fee. Adjust your rates accordingly based on supply and demand; secondary math tutoring will always command a higher rate than elementary school tutoring.
- Avoid turnover amongst your tutors – interview thoroughly and be sure you are comfortable with the people who will be representing your company in the field. Find a background check company and utilize their services to verify your prospective tutors’ identity as well as criminal records, etc. Better safe than sorry when it comes to sending tutors to your clients’ homes.
- Get lots of press. Be sure to toot your horn. Write articles and press releases, get press coverage locally, sponsor a local sports team, and get your name out there! Order magnetic signs for your automobile, carry your business cards with you at all times, join a networking group that is comprised of parents with school-age children.
- Focus on delivering excellent customer service – take care of your clients and your tutors. If you show you care about them, they will refer you and talk about your company in a positive way. Send out thank you cards when you land a new client or receive a referral from a client. Keep track of your students’ and tutors’ birthdays and send them a $5.00 gift card to a bookstore.
Laurie Hurley has lived and worked in Newbury Park, California for the past seven years with her husband and two daughters, ages 10 and 13. For more information on how to start your own tutoring business, contact or visit http://www.hometutoringbusiness.com for a complimentary consultation to see if your skill set is a good match for this business.