Starting a tutoring business


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February 14th, 2018
Jessica Thiefels

Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years. She consults in digital marketing, community management and content creation.

If you’re considering setting up your own tutoring business you might not know where to start. We provide invaluable advice on how to take the first steps.

Starting a tutoring business is an effective and straightforward way to make the most out of your academic experiences. Whether you are looking to earn while you study, need a second income to support a change in career, or you’re interested in teaching in the long-term, it can be a lucrative and fulfilling endeavour.

Here are a few key considerations for anyone considering setting up a tutoring business.

1. Find your niche

As an academic achiever, it’s natural that you would want to tutor people in your own chosen subject, whether that be English, Maths, Mandarin, Equine Law or Viking and Old Norse Studies. When it comes to making money from your tutoring business however, you may want to begin with some market research.

Check to see what the demand for tutors in your particular subject is like in your area. Although your expertise might be valuable to someone pursuing the same educational goals as you if your niche is too specific you could struggle to find anyone in need of your help. Likewise, if your subject is already well represented by tutors in your locale you might find drumming up business difficult.

Look for a happy middle-ground between market demand and what expertise you have to offer. Your Old Norse Studies PHD could feed into a job tutoring for History GCSEs, or you could teach skills learnt in your English degree to a student studying an American Literature A-Level.

2. Plan out your logistics

Like any other enterprise, starting a tutoring business requires thinking about the day-to-day logistics of your work. Will you go to clients, or will you expect clients to come to you? If the former, how will you get to your client’s location? If the latter, how will you make sure your home is an appropriate professional environment?

Beyond the banalities of location, transport and equipment, you should also consider the profitability of your business. However you choose to operate, your work will incur expenses that will need to be offset by the amount you charge per hour.

3. Get the right paperwork

There are very few barriers to entry for tutoring in the UK — something which can attract many casual tutors to the business. But to protect yourself, your pupils and your income there are certain measures you should take.

Register with the HRMC

If you are starting a tutoring business you will need to register with the HRMC and declare your earnings to the government. This applies even if you are only working part-time. Setting up an earnings and expenditure spreadsheet early on will help you keep track of the money you make.

Insurance for private tutors

You might damage an item in a client’s house, or a client might accidentally hurt themselves in yours, and without insurance, you could be held financially responsible. Of equal worry is if you were to make a professional mistake, such as teaching a curriculum incorrectly, and have legal action taken against you.

Insuring your tutoring business will help to protect your business and your income. Make sure you find an insurer who will provide public liability and professional indemnity insurance for private tutors and take out a policy before you start seeing students.

Consider a DBS check

Once known as ‘CRB’, the DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) can provide you with an official certificate stating that there is no known reason why you cannot work with children or vulnerable adults.

Although having an up-to-date DBS is not a legal requirement[1] for tutors in the UK, it is an added feather in your cap, allowing students and parents to feel secure working with you.

4. Market yourself

If you’re just starting out in the tutoring business, you won’t have built-up the reputation to benefit from word-of-mouth yet. But with a little tenacity and patience, you can grow your first network of students online.

  • Sign-up to a tutoring directory 
    On a tutoring directory site, there are free and paid options for tutors looking for students and vice versa. Set yourself up a profile and see how it goes.
  • Market your own website
    If you have the technical know-how to make your own website (or the grit to figure it out) this a brilliant way of driving customers straight to you. With paid advertising, you can prospect to interested parties in your area.
  • Get on social
    Social media can be a powerful business networking tool. So, set yourself up a professional profile on all the major networks and start spreading the word.

There are a million different ways you could find your way into starting a tutoring business — but whatever your route, you should make sure that you remain profitable and protected. By following guidance on market positioning, record keeping and vital cover such as professional indemnity insurance you’re in with the best chance of running a sustainable, long-term business.

Getting a quote is quick and easy, but make sure you do your research before buying. Understanding how professional indemnity insurance works to protect you is essential to getting the right level of cover.


[1] https://www.superprof.co.uk/blog/security-checks-for-home-tuition/