If you have academic experience or knowledge, you could help a new generation improve their abilities. You can provide children, teens or adults with the skills they need to open up new opportunities in their lives.

Not only is tutoring an enormously rewarding thing to do, but it can also provide you with a new business so you can focus on that ambition.

This guide discusses how to set up an online tutoring business, including:

  • Subject and level
  • Equipment
  • Certificate and insurance
  • Marketing
  • Management

How to decide on a subject and level for an online tutoring business?

There are two major decisions you have first when you think about how to set up an online tutoring business:

  • Which subjects?
  • What levels?

Which subjects?

You don’t require any specific subject qualifications to be a tutor, but you need to attract people to learn from you. 

So think about which areas you have the most understanding. For example, you could have had roles in the past in a particular industry or qualifications in a specific subject.

Your highest level of qualification would encourage a potential student to trust your knowledge. For example, if you have a degree in Science, you’ll find it easier to get jobs tutoring that subject than English.

What levels?

Again, you don’t need to have a particular level of qualification to teach a subject, but it will help you find work. 

For example, suppose you only have a GCSE in French and want to tutor A-Level students with no other experience. In that case, it might be challenging to convince them.

It’s likely that whatever your highest qualification level is, you can tutor that level and below.

What equipment do you need to set up an online tutoring business?

A critical step in setting up an online tutoring business is ensuring that you have the right equipment to provide a quality service.

Wi-Fi

You need a reliable Wi-Fi connection to always maintain availability to those you tutor and ensure your lessons are uninterrupted.

The types of the internet you can get will depend on your area. Prices can start from £18 a month for basic broadband then start at £22 for fibre optic (which tends to be faster).

Hardware

Another essential to provide online tutoring is a decent laptop, which can be just as crucial as Wi-Fi to ensure you don’t face technical issues.

Any newer standard laptop should be enough for you to tutor from, ranging from £500-£600.

Suppose you tutor a subject that relies on a powerful computer (like design or web development). In that case, you’ll likely spend between £1000-£1200.

Software

To make the best use of your internet and computer, you’ll need the essential software to tutor your students.

Video calling

To tutor online, you need a video calling platform. These are free to use:

Teaching

If you want to add more to your lessons than just video, there are a few helpful platforms:

  • Floop — give students live feedback (free at the moment but will start to charge at the end of the 2022 school year).
  • Miro — collaborate and mind map with students (free for basic, £5.90 a month for advanced).

Is there specific certification or insurance you need?

There’s no legal certificate or insurance required to become an online tutor. Though it’s not compulsory, there are a few reasons to seek both.

DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service)

If you tutor students under 18, many parents will want to know you have a DBS certificate. It proves that you don’t have any previous criminal convictions to put their children at risk.

You can get it through the UK Government portal for £23, and it usually takes up to two weeks to receive. 

Public liability insurance

Despite not being in the same room, people can still have an accident while you tutor them. For example, students can trip over their laptop wire and injure themselves.

Public liability insurance can give you the peace of mind you need that you’ve got cover for student injuries or any property damage. 

How do you market your service?

Now that you’re prepared to tutor, you’ll have to find some students. To tell people about your service, think about how you’ll market it.

Target audience

Before you decide how to market yourself, think about who you should reach. It’s likely to depend on the chosen subjects and levels you tutor.

Your target audiences are the groups most likely to want to pay you for your service.

For example, if you teach GCSE level, you will likely need to target parents who’ll pay you to tutor their children.

Social media

You can think about where to reach them online with an audience in mind. It’s likely to be most effective to use social media in your marketing because different platforms appeal to diverse audiences.

For example, if you target parents, Facebook may be a great network because most of its users are either 25-34 or 35-44.

You can create content for free and aim to grow on social media or pay for promoted advertising. For more information on this subject, see: Why is social media important for business?

Can you manage the online tutoring business?

Once you know how to set up an online tutoring business, you also need to think about how you run it day-to-day. That can include how you manage your time and finances.

Time

As you gain more students, you have to learn how to manage your time and schedule. 

You can either do that with a paper diary (if you’re old school) or use one of the many tools available:

  • Google Calendarfree online planning software.
  • Scoro — starts from £19 a month for calendars and task tracking.

Finances

Your software, hardware, Wi-Fi, and marketing costs can soon add up. For that reason, it’s essential to make sure you can manage your finances and time.

Countingup is a business account with built-in accounting software that can let you keep on top of your money through your phone.

The app’s expense categorisation feature means that you can automatically sort all of your costs, so you can keep your service from being interrupted.

Countingup will routinely offer you tax estimates that let you know how much to put aside to make your Self Assessment easy at the end of the tax year.

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