How to start a tutoring business

Editorial Team

5 min read
Woman tutoring boy

  1. Identify a client type
  2. Write a business plan
  3. Register your business
  4. Obtain applicable licensing
  5. Market your services
  6. Get ready to accept payments

There’s a lot to like about being a professional tutor:

  • Being your own boss allows you to choose your hours and clients
  • You can choose a subject matter about which you’re passionate
  • If teaching online, your business can be sustainable even during a pandemic

Finally, you can live and work anywhere while accepting clients from around the country, or even the world. Imagine helping a student with algebra homework while you sit on the beach. Or, maybe you relocate to another state but are still able to offer remote graphic design lessons to recent college grads from your hometown. Already sold on the idea of starting a tutoring business? Let’s dive in.

How to start a private tutoring service

Follow the steps below to help get your private tutoring business off the ground.

1. Identify a client type

Most tutors have specific subjects or grade levels in which they specialize. Thus, the first step involves finding a ready market for whatever it is you wish to teach.

Just a few factors to keep in mind:

  • Depending on what subjects you choose to teach and the state you live in, you may need certain certifications or accreditations to be considered a professional tutor.  Having a tutor certification helps reassure parents, caregivers, and students that you’re a qualified educator.
  • Depending on the age group with which you plan on working, your target market may be parents. Moms and dads are the ones who sign their kids up for SAT prep or French lessons.
  • Consider your tutoring session format. Do you want to teach students in a group setting, on a one-on-one basis, or both?
  • Remember that your target market isn’t limited to those within driving distance. Thanks to online video platforms, it’s never been easier to connect with clients all over the world.

2. Write a business plan

Business plans are often required when seeking outside funding from investors or banks. Fortunately, the startup costs for tutoring are quite low. This means you may be able to finance the launch entirely out of pocket.

Even still, having a written business plan is a good idea. This roadmap allows you to prioritize limited resources so that you can scale your operations more quickly. For tips on the writing process, read our guide on how to start a small business.

3. Register your business

Even if you’re a one-person operation, you’ll need to choose a legal structure for your tutoring business and register in your home state.

  • Sole proprietorships offer the easiest setup. They are a favorite among startups. Just know that your personal assets are not separate from those of your business.
  • Partnerships are common whenever there are two or more owners. When set up correctly, they can offer more legal protection than sole proprietorships.
  • Limited liability companies (LLCs) are common due to their easy setup requirements, and they create a separation between your business and personal assets.
  • Corporations are favored among larger companies. They have the highest setup and maintenance costs, but they also offer the strongest liability protection.

If you’re like most private tutors who are just starting, you’ll probably want to look into your state’s requirements for sole proprietorships or LLCs.

4. Obtain applicable licensing

Permits and licenses may not be a legal requirement in the tutoring world. Depending on the field you choose and the state in which your business is registered, having some type of accreditation or certification from a recognized authority may help you secure more clients. Because the entry barrier is so low for tutoring, having credentials is a good way to distinguish yourself from the rest of the competition.

5. Market your services

We have an entire article about how to write a marketing plan – including everything from launching social media campaigns to using online ads. Though if you’re targeting tutoring clients, you’ll also need to go wherever they congregate – whether this means PTA meetings, social media groups, or networking events.

However, you also need engagement tools to help keep those clients coming back. These could include everything from promotions to referral rewards to loyalty points.

6. Get ready to accept payments

The final step involves setting up payment processing. Many professional tutors choose Clover for our comprehensive offering of point of sale (POS) solutions.

  • The Flex and Go are two portable handheld POS devices that allow you to quickly accept in-person payments no matter where your tutoring business takes you. We also make it possible to convert your existing smartphone into a fully-featured credit card reader with the Clover Go app.
  • We offer online payment capabilities that allow your customers to book and pay for lessons – just as they would from a traditional eCommerce site.

In addition, all of our POS solutions come with built-in customer engagement tools, which help you to transform first-time students into long-time clients.

We hope this guide has helped demystify the process of how to start tutoring. When you’re ready to accept payments, don’t hesitate to contact us. Thanks to third-party apps in the Clover App Market, you can expand your POS system with any number of scheduling and booking software plug-ins.

To request a live demo of our POS solutions, contact a Clover Business Consultant today.


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