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Side Hustle Series: I’m a Tutor

by J. Money on Thursday, August 4, 2011

tutoring
(Guest Post by Paul Gallipeau, as part of our Side Hustle Series)

If you’re passionate about teaching, helping others, and are proficient in any particular subject or field, you need to be tutoring. It’s a dream come true; you get paid to do what you love! Plus, getting started is as easy as posting a craigslist ad. Seriously.

How I Got Started

I was a volunteer tutor through my university for three years before a scheduling conflict prevented me from continuing my service. Shortly after, I saw a flier for on-campus tutoring job openings. I applied and was instantly rejected because my GPA wasn’t high enough. Feeling rebellious, I decided I would set off on my own as a tutor and posted an ad on craigslist. The rest is history.

How Much Money is in Tutoring?

Tutors can make as little as $10 per hour or as much as $200 per hour. The rates depends primarily on the area that you live in. You can research what the pricing looks like for your locality by googling “tutors in city, state”, searching your city on UniversityTutor.com, and browsing craigslist “lesson” ads. If you’re new to tutoring I’d recommend charging an hourly rate that’s on the lower end of the spectrum and then increasing that rate as your ability, your experience, and the demand for your services grow.

Where to Advertise

The first move is to make a craigslist ad. Next, create a tutor profile at UniversityTutor.com because when you google ‘tutors in city, state’ UniversityTutor will most likely appear at the top of the results. When potential clients visit that site, you want to be able to be found. Another way to advertise online is to spread the news on your Facebook page or any other social networks you may be a part of.

Word of mouth is HUGE! Tell your friends, family, coworkers (pretty much anyone who will listen) that you’re a tutor. When your contacts meet someone who needs a tutor, or if they already know someone who needs a tutor, they will recommend you. Other options for advertising are posting fliers at local libraries, grocery stores, or small businesses. These organizations often allow free postings on public bulletin boards with significant exposure.

Landing Your First Client

I strongly encourage you to meet with your clients for free for the first session. This gives you both a chance to get to know each other and see if it’s a good match. It also gives you the opportunity to sell yourself to the client face-to-face. If you put yourself in the client’s shoes, would you rather pay someone you’ve never met to start tutoring your child or would you rather get a free session so you can test the waters before making such an important investment?

Start Now!

Have I sold you on tutoring? I hope so! What you need to do, right this second, is write up a craigslist post and get it online. Then make your UniversityTutor profile. It should take you about 30 minutes to throw some stuff together. Don’t worry about being perfect on your first attempt, it won’t happen. You’ll get better at the business aspects of tutoring with practice and study. If you have any questions I’m happy to help you. Have fun!

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Guest Post by Paul Gallipeau. To learn more about the tutoring business, check out Paul’s blog at HowToStartTutoring.com. (And as always, if YOU have a side income you’d like to share with us, give J$ a shout!  We love hearing new ways to get our hustle on ;)

(Photo by Tulane Public Relations)


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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Paul Gallipeau August 4, 2011 at 6:58 am

Woot! Thanks for sharing my article with the world, J$! You’re the man!

I work today, but when I get home tonight I’ll be back here to respond to comments and answer any questions that you guys may have. Hope you liked the article! :)

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2 No Debt MBA August 4, 2011 at 8:45 am

I tutored occasionally while I was in high school. $20/hr for some math and French homework hand holding was sweet, big, easy money.

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3 Brian August 4, 2011 at 10:17 am

I tutor occasionally. I have done some for physics (typical basic college or high school) and some finance tutoring (professor sends me 1 – 2 people per semester). I typically only charge $20/hr. There are some other math/science areas I could probably do, but since I haven’t used most of them in a while I am probably a little rusty.

@Paul: Great article I really enjoyed reading it. I never thought to advertise that much. I had been mostly word of mouth. I’ll have to set up a profile on that website. Thanks!

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4 Stephanie August 4, 2011 at 10:32 am

Great post! I never did any tutoring, though one of my professors did ask me if I was interested after I managed (somehow, I’m still not sure how exactly) to get a perfect score on my final exam for calc. But given that I had zero interest in ever having anything to do with calculus ever again (I just took it to fulfill a gen ed requirement), I said no. I was more interested in focusing on my marketing and English lit majors, though it never occurred to me that I could tutor people in those subjects.

At the moment, my side hustle is making and selling jewelry, which is a better fit for my marketing degree. :-)

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5 graduate.living August 4, 2011 at 11:29 am

My partner just got a part-time job tutoring through a national tutoring program (there are TONS in mid-to-big sized cities). They often have a GPA or ACT/SAT score requirement, but they pay well and offer reasonable hours. The one he’s currently employed with offers 8-15 hours/week at a little less than $20/hour. That amount of time is perfect, because he’s also a full-time graduate student and looking for an internship in his field.

If you scored well on the ACT/SAT, have excellent math skills, or speak a foreign language fluently, this is a really easy way to make extra cash. I also know in my state, where a lot of teachers were recently laid off, this can be an easy way for someone with a teaching degree to make some decent money.

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6 Sarah L August 4, 2011 at 3:46 pm

I go to a university in a rather small town, so I only charge about $20/hr. My main focus is Economics (I’m a Bus major with an Econ minor). I’ve had 2 clients so far, and both gave me glowing reviews on UniversityTutor.com. Now I’m the first tutor that pops up for economics tutors in my county. It’s funny, but just the fact that I have 2 reviews (and 5 stars-I’ve got such lovely clients!) sets me apart from everybody else.

I love it; even tutoring an hour/week is an additional $80/month. That’s like an entire month’s worth of groceries! Easy money and it doesn’t take up much time.

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7 Kody August 4, 2011 at 4:09 pm

Nice article Paul, great job! This article is so awesome because i know smart people who are struggling right now. I must show them this article, it could change their life forever. You never know.. Tutoring is a very good way to make money and now i know how to get started :)

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8 Paul Gallipeau August 4, 2011 at 5:26 pm

Wow, you guys are too nice! Thank you all so much for the positive feedback! I’m thrilled to have been so well received, I was just a little nervous. ;)

@Brian: The UniversityTutor profile is a huge help, I got a lot more calls once I made my profile and about 35% of my clients came from UniversityTutor.

@graduate.living: That is a great way to make money tutoring and it sounds like you and your partner are doing well. My goal is to sell you on tutoring for yourselves though, so here’s why I think it’s way better to do it solo instead of as an employee:
1) You make more money.
2) You don’t need to go through the resume/interview/hiring process.
3) It requires little effort to market yourself and once you’ve finally perfected your ads, it takes no effort.
4) Your education, grades, test scores, etc. don’t matter when you work for you.

@Sarah L: I’m glad to hear about your success and I’m a bit jealous too (Nobody on UniversityTutor ever reviewed me. I should ask.). I checked out your blog too and your post on eBay fees was pretty awesome. I didn’t realize they did that. I should start to at least skim their policy update emails now…

@Kody: Thank you! I’m so glad my article was helpful. If they do well and it does change their lives you gotta send me an email! That’d make my decade.

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9 20 and Engaged August 4, 2011 at 9:02 pm

I’ve considered tutoring but I don’t know what I want to tutor in! I’m pretty good in English and Math. History is a definite no no for me. I might consider middle school – high school English & Math. I’ll look into it as a side hustle for the upcoming school year.

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10 John Becker August 6, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Its great to see everyones trying to suppliment their student activities and help pay the bills, certainly remember those days and the tutoring I did for High School kids back in Europe…. just a bit of advice remember to report to the taxman if its applicable in your case. Dont want the IRS knocking on the door years later.

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11 Paul Gallipeau August 6, 2011 at 7:49 pm

@John: Yeah, you’re SO right! But there are a lot of tax advantages to tutoring; you can write off a lot of expenses for it. I have a few posts on the topic on my site. You can write off travel expenses, any books, magazines, or other media related to your tutoring field, as well as gifts (up to $25 per person per year). Here’s a link to the tax posts: http://www.howtostarttutoring.com/category/taxes/

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12 Natalie @ Mango August 8, 2011 at 11:05 am

Paul, this is great advice. For some reason I always thought becoming a tutor must be more complicated than just posting an ad on Craigslist. But now that I think back on it, I’m sure that’s how my parents found us tutors growing up. This article got me thinking though– there are probably tons of things you can do, just by placing an ad on Craigslist or a similar site, to earn some extra cash. If you have a big truck and a strong friend or two, you could help people move. You could mow lawns, do yard work, fix things around someone’s house, maybe even clean houses or maintain pools if you’ve got the no-how and the tools. But always be careful offering or accepting any services or products from those sites! I work for Mango Money’s blog and we recently did a post about staying safe on Craigslist. Check it out, it might be helpful if you’re thinking about doing something like this! http://www.mangomoney.com/blog/how-to/the-misadventures-of-a-craigslist-rookie

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13 J. Money August 14, 2011 at 8:28 pm

Thanks again Paul! I’m glad to see everyone enjoyed this as much as I did. Even though the last thing I wanna do is tutor someone, haha… unless it has to do with blogging/building out projects – then I’d totally do it! That’s just pure fun ;)

@Stephanie – Haha, yeah – def. sounds more interesting than teaching calc ;)
@Sarah L – Yeah, I bet! Most people don’t go through the trouble of either DOING reviews, or asking reviews, so if all you have is GREAT ones – even just a few – it looks great!
@John Becker – Exactly :) Good addition…You make that money, you better pay them taxes!
@Natalie @ Mango – YES!!! In fact, I may need to find someone to move a piece of furniture I may buy on CL! :) Good good idea indeed, thanks for sharing it with all of us.

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14 Isabel November 14, 2011 at 6:15 am

First Tutors is the leading tutor matching service in the UK, and has just released its sister site in the US: http://www.firsttutors.com/usa/
Totally free for tutors to sign up on and create your own profile, and they don’t force you to go through some rigorous application process! Also, as tutors deal with the clients direct, you get to keep pretty much all of your proceeds. Its already generating a lot of user interest across the US, just in need of tutors to populate it.
Sign up at http://www.firsttutors.com/usa/register.php :-)

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15 J. Money November 15, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Cool, good to know – thanks :)

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16 rabia July 11, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Hi.. I am very inspired by your article Paul. Can you Please suggest me from where should I begin tutoring? I have made my on line profiles but I don’t think that it will help. Can you please suggest me something? because I really need to make money due to financial crisis.

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17 Paul Gallipeau July 16, 2012 at 8:39 am

Hi rabia,

In my experience, my clients have preferred to have me tutor in their home. I have had a few who requested a public location, such as the library. Since you have your profiles set up, I’d suggest posting an ad to craigslist consistently. There’s a post on my site that can guide you through that (here’s a shameless link: http://www.howtostarttutoring.com/how-to-write-a-good-craigslist-ad/).

Hope that helps!
- Paul

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