How to Get Tutoring Clients

In today’s post, we’re going to talk about the best ways to get more clients for your tutoring business.

If you can find enough clients, tutoring can quickly become a lucrative source of full-time income.

The hard part is finding the clients. But once you’ve got that locked down, it should be smooth sailing for your business.

Anyway, let’s get to it. Here are the most effective ways to get tutoring clients.

  • Show your value.
  • Make a website.
  • Get some business cards.
  • Use a tutoring website.
  • Join a tutoring association.
  • Offer your services at nearby schools.
  • Ask friends and family.
  • Ask existing clients for referrals.
  • Start a YouTube channel.
  • Promote yourself in local Facebook groups.

Show your value

If you want to bring in new tutoring clients consistently, you need to show people that you know your stuff.

Show your value to anyone thinking of hiring you.

No matter which subject you’re tutoring in ‒ math, English, SAT, ACT, or something else ‒ there are a few ways you can show your value to anyone thinking of hiring you.

Get a tutoring certificate

Several national tutoring organizations offer certifications in a variety of subjects.

If you can complete their certification requirements, the boost in authenticity will help you turn interested students into paying clients.

This is especially helpful if you don’t have any clients yet.

Many people are understandably wary about hiring a tutor who hasn’t tutored anybody. A certification can help rid wary potential clients of their fears and help you get hired.

Anyway, here are some of the most prominent organizations that offer tutoring certifications:

Share your test scores

If you’re providing tutoring for standardized tests like the SAT or ACT, sharing your scores is an excellent way to show potential clients your services are worth paying for.

This tip is only applicable if you did well on these tests. If you didn’t perform as well as you would have liked, highlighting those mediocre scores will likely do more harm than good.

Share client testimonials

If you already have an established client base, you have a valuable resource to pull from: client testimonials.

Nothing will sell your service better than the stories of other students who found academic success because of your guidance.

Share client testimonials.

If you have any particularly unique tutoring success stories under your belt, ask the client if it would be okay for you to use their story for promotional purposes.

If the client says yes, ask if you can use their name. The testimonial will still be compelling if you can’t but using the client’s real name will boost the authenticity of the recommendation.

Work part-time for a tutoring center

Tutoring is a skill. No matter how well you know a subject, you’ll likely need a bit of practice teaching it before you become an effective tutor.

To get your feet wet in the tutoring world, you can try to get a part-time gig at one of the major tutoring chains.

The pay isn’t great ‒ it’s typically less than $15 per hour ‒ but working at one of these tutoring centers for even a few weeks will make you a much better tutor than you would be if you started a private practice without any experience.

Here’s a list of tutoring centers you can consult. Check if they have any centers near you and apply for a job if they do.

Remember, your end goal will be to exit these centers and use the experience to build your base of tutoring clients.

Don’t get bogged down working for one of these companies, as they pay they give you will be paltry compared to what you could be making as a private tutor.

Make a website

Creating a professional website for your tutoring business will help you get clients in a few ways.

A website will legitimize your tutoring business

Many tutors operate on a phone-only basis.

They don’t have websites or business cards or any permanent entity to help them promote their services. They rely entirely on word-of-mouth to get new clients, which makes it much harder to find new clients.

Make a website.

I don’t recommend a word-of-mouth approach, especially if you’re starting your tutoring endeavor.

One of the biggest obstacles new tutors face is proving that their business is legitimate.

Many of these “phone-only” tutors have rich social networks they can rely on to bring them clients, so they don’t need to worry about appearing legitimate to strangers.

But unless you have a network substantial enough to bring in a good number of clients, you’re going to need to appear legitimate to people who don’t know you.

And one of the best ways to do that is by creating a website.

A website lets you implement digital marketing strategies

If you want to get new clients from search engines and social media platforms, you need a website.

Without one, you won’t have an online hub for your business that you can send people to.

In any digital marketing strategy, the website is typically the endpoint in the campaign. No matter where you initially target people, your goal will almost always be to bring them to your website and attempt to convert them into a paying customer.

How to make a tutoring website

If you want to make a tutoring website, I recommend reading through this guide from WebsiteSetup.com in full: How to Create a Website: An Easy, Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners.

Get some business cards

Designing and printing business cards will help legitimize your tutoring service like a website will. They’ll also make it easier to turn casual encounters into business opportunities.

If you want to make some business cards for your service, I recommend using Vistaprint. They offer high-quality cards at an affordable price, and they have designers on standby to help you create a compelling design.

Use a tutoring website

There are many websites out there that allow you to advertise your tutoring services. Here’s a list of the most popular options:

Some of the websites on this list are companies you can work for, while others are tutor aggregation sites that allow private tutors to list their services.

Offer your services at nearby schools

Schools are the best place to advertise your tutoring service. And it’s not hard to see why: everyone there is a potential client.

The main challenge with promoting in or near a school is gaining access to the students and their parents.

Many schools ‒ especially those with children of high school age or younger ‒ are understandably hesitant to let outside people promote services to children or their parents.

If you offer standardized test prep or another subject that would be of interest to high schoolers, your best bet is to contact the front office and ask if you can place a flier on a bulletin board or get a quick mention in the school’s next email newsletter.

Access becomes a bit easier to get when you offer college-level tutoring services.

Many colleges have a simple approval process for posting flyers on bulletin boards around campus. If you have a legitimate tutoring business with a website and a business card, it should be relatively easy to gain approval for bulletin board postings.

You can also join social media groups for specific colleges and advertise your services there.

Ask friends and family

If your tutoring business is brand new, the easiest way to get some initial clients is by asking friends and family to help you out.

The first people you ask should be those with school-age kids, as they will be the most likely to hire you.

Ask friends and family to help out.

You can still get clients by asking people who don’t have kids to help you out, though.

While they may not be able to hire you directly, they can share your business card or website address with the people in their lives whom they think would benefit from your tutoring service.

Ask existing clients for referrals

Tapping your existing client base is an easy, cost-effective way to bring in new business.

Your clients are living proof of the benefits your tutoring service can provide. As long as you help your students improve their grades and perform better on their exams, asking them to refer you to their friends will be a straightforward process.

But even if you’re the best tutor on the planet, there are still some guidelines you should follow when asking for referrals.

Set expectations from the start

When you begin tutoring a new client, ask them if they’d be willing to agree to a deal: if you can bring their grades or exam scores up, they’ll refer you to at least one other person.

Unless you’re dealing with someone who’s in college, you’ll probably want to make this deal with your client’s parents instead of the client themselves.

Kids and teenagers have zero interest in telling their friends to get a tutor, so any deal you make with them will go out the window as soon as the session is over.

Ask when someone compliments you

When a client or their parent mentions visible improvement or says you’re doing a great job, be quick to ask them for a referral. You can say something like, “I’m so happy to hear you’re happy with the tutoring so far. Do you know anyone else who might find my services helpful?”

Offer incentives

You’ll find getting referrals to be much easier if you offer incentives to both your existing clients and the person they refer to you.

Providing discounts to both people is the easiest way to give incentives. The amount of the discount is up to you, but it should be limited to the first session.

While it might be tough to swallow, the most effective discount will be a free session. Most people will work much harder to get something for free than they will for something that is only discounted.

An added benefit of a free session incentive is that it will make it much easier for your clients to talk to people about you.

People love to give their friends things, especially when it doesn’t cost them anything to do so.

By handing your client a “Free First Session” coupon with your logo emblazoned on it, you’re giving them something valuable to give to someone they care about. They’ll be much more likely to tell at least one other person about you, and you’ll soon find yourself with more clients than you can handle.

Ask for a specific type of person

When you ask for your referral, don’t tell your client to ask anyone they can think of. Ask them to talk to someone who is struggling with their schoolwork or standardized tests and could use a bit of help.

Providing a free initial session at this point will make your offer to help seem more genuine instead of profit-motivated, so I strongly urge you to consider offering an incentive.

Be a great tutor

This is obvious, but it’s still worth mentioning.

None of these guidelines matter if you aren’t providing exceptional service. If your clients’ grades and test scores aren’t improving, no one is going to pay your referral requests any mind.

Start a YouTube channel

If you’re comfortable with providing remote tutoring services via webcam, starting a YouTube channel is a terrific way to build a base of clients.

Start a YouTube channel.

And unlike most new YouTube channels, you’ll likely find it pretty easy to start producing quality content. Think about it: you’re essentially giving one of your standard tutoring sessions. The only difference is that you’ll be talking to a camera instead of a person.

There are two main obstacles people face when starting a new YouTube channel: getting the equipment and learning basic videography techniques.

How to get the right equipment for your tutoring YouTube channel

There are seven basic elements to a starter video studio:

  • You’ll need one that can run some video editing software, so it can’t be too old.
  • You’ll need something that can shoot in at least 1080p HD. Any modern smartphone should do the trick. If you don’t have one, you can buy a 1080p webcam for under $100.
  • You can get a high-quality lavalier microphone for under $30.
  • If you have decent natural lighting from an indoor or window source, you don’t have to buy anything special. If you don’t have access to a good lighting source, you can get a nice pair of soft lights for about $70.
  • A simple tripod goes for less than $20. If you’re using your phone as a camera, make sure you get one that comes with a smartphone adapter.
  • Audio software. You don’t need to pay for this ‒ a free software like Audacity should do the trick.
  • Video editing software. Again, no need to spend money here. A free software like Blender will do everything you need it to.
  • A place to shoot your videos. Your studio setup is up to you. I recommend buying a whiteboard and markers to demonstrate what you’ll be talking about.

How to shoot a tutoring YouTube video

Once your studio is set up, you can begin shooting videos.

There’s a lot that goes into the video shooting and editing process, and most of it is beyond the scope of this article.

As such, I won’t attempt to tell you the ins and outs of video production. Instead, I’ll link to some high-quality resources that will help you start your tutoring YouTube channel off right.

Promote yourself on local Facebook groups

Facebook is the king of local networking.

No matter which town or city you live in, there are guaranteed to be at least a few local-centric Facebook groups that people post in.

If you join one of these groups and make an effort to become a regular contributor, you can promote your services and link to your website without fear of repercussions.

I don’t advise joining the group and spamming it with promotional messages right off the bat, though. That’s an easy way to receive a ban from the group admin, which will eliminate your chances of using that Facebook group to find new clients.

If possible, look for school-specific groups. The people in these groups are much more likely to be interested in a tutoring service than the average member of a town-based group.

Additional Resources

Shawn Manaher - Owner of Ignite Marketing
Shawn Manaher
Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of Ignite Marketing. He's one part local business growth specialist, one part campaign strategizing ninja, and two parts leader of an awesome nerd pack. He won't eat pancakes unless you call them flat waffles.

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