Should I become employed as a tutor or should I start my own tutoring business?
As with anything there are pros and cons to both scenarios.
In this post we will explore some of the key advantages of being an employed tutor against being your own boss.
The advantages of working for a company and being employed to tutor.
Regular wage paid on time
Although we all grumble when we leave for work, we know that with a contracted job we have a fixed hourly rate and on the pre-agreed date of each month our employer will transfer our wages into our bank account. Any problems with late payments from the customers, isn’t our problem. We have done our work and will now be paid accordingly.
We can take holidays and we will be paid, we can take time off for illness and still be paid.
Guidance and suggested resources
When we start a new job we will be shown the ropes. We will be given suggested resources and guided on how to be the best we can be through any training that the company deem to be necessary.
If we have any problems or concerns there will always be someone there to turn to that can guide us. Sadly when you own your own business this is rarely the case.
They will find the work for you
“If you build it, they will come.” This is a quote from one of my favourite films as a teenager, Field of Dreams. In the field Kevin Costner’s character is told that if he builds a baseball pitch in his field “they” will come. Sadly in business, building the business isn’t sufficient; having built it you then have to work hard at marketing it. If you are employed as a tutor, it is not your responsibility to go out and find the work by marketing the company. You do not need to be trained in Google Adwords or Facebook ads. You don’t need to be a proficient networker or think about the best places for people to find out about your tutoring skills. This responsibility is that of the marketing department. It is up to them to ensure you have work to do and the company can generate enough work to create a profit.
The advantages of building your own tutoring business
Flexibility with the style you use
Most employers will have a style they would expect you to adopt. For example at Starr Tutoring we expect the tutor to travel to the employee and to use a range of resources. However, if it is your company you could possibly decide that you want to tutor on line or from the comfort of your own home. As your own boss this would be your prerogative to decide.
You may decide that your tutoring style is to work through worksheets, focus on discussion or simply working through worksheets. Again as your own boss, it is up to you to decide what will work best for you and what you feel will be best for the person you are tutoring.
You can dictate what you charge, the hours you work and when you take time off.
As the boss of the company you can also state what you will charge and in return what you will be paid.
To a large extent this is your call, however, you will find that if you set the hourly rate too low people will think this reflects your professionalism or capabilities and you will struggle to find work. To the contrary, if you set your hourly rate too high, people will struggle to afford you (I have seen adverts for tutors who charge £1,000 per hour! I don’t know what sort of response they get and they must have something pretty special to offer…)
Something I love about running the business is that if I want to take time off to go on holiday I can. I just have to tell the family that I won’t be there on those dates. I set my own diary. As someone who is self-employed you won’t be paid for the hours you don’t work and you do need to be aware that as you may decide to take time off, the family might do as well for holidays and unless you have policies in place, you could find your income fluctuates dramatically.
You can claim back your expenses through your taxes which will increase your hourly wage
It is hard to imagine a job which doesn’t incur costs.
These costs could include travel, internet access, phones, stationary, insurance, etc.
If you are self-employed or the company owner you can claim many of your expenses back against TAX. This can make a huge difference to your income and is something that is seriously worth considering.
Because it is your own business the more you put into it the more you will get out of it, someone else will not reap the benefit of your hard work
The disadvantages of being your own boss
You will need to find your own work:
This is something that I really enjoy doing. I love promoting the business, running Facebook ads, sending regular emails to keep in touch with people and to let them know what we are doing in case they ever need our help. When I first started tutoring I dreaded people finding out I was a tutor! Now much of my time is spent spreading the word about my tutoring business and the amazing service we offer. However, it is time consuming and you can waste a lot of money if people don’t respond to your ads as you expect them to.
Setting up a website (if you choose to have one) and getting started can be expensive.
These days creating a website with WordPress is fairly straight forward, though a badly produced website can look amateurish and cheap. It needs to be mobile responsive and load quickly or Google will penalise you in the search results. You also need to get it out there so that people find it and contact you as a result of finding it.
You can get a website created professionally. This will cost you anything from £1k +
Is it worth having your own website?
Yes, definitely! It not only makes you appear professional, I have found that many people will visit the national websites such as First Tutors and Tutor Hunt but then be turned off by having to pay to access the tutors details. By having your own website with your details freely available you will “capture” many of these parents.
People aren’t always prompt in paying
Being your own boss is great! It allows you a lot of freedom that you often don’t get in a contracted job. However, be warned there are people who will forget to pay you. If you are paid cash at the end of each lesson they will forget to go to the cashpoint beforehand to collect it and if you send an invoice they will choose to pay it in their own time or just not pay it all until you have sent many reminders and possibly threatened stopping the tutoring or legal action.
To counteract this you MUST put policies in place that the family are not only aware of but have signed to say that they are completely aware of the situation.
You need to tell the TAX office that you are earning an income.
You also need to tell them what your income is each year. To be honest if you are organised with both your money and your receipts, filling in the forms with the TAX office is very easy to do.
If you want to receive weekly techniques on starting and growing your tutoring business, email at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know and I will make sure you receive them.
I hope this has been helpful. If it has please leave your comments below