Compared to other part-time jobs, private- or home-tutor jobs pay quite a good rate per hour. However, the problem is to work enough hours as a private tutor, so that you can still make a good income as compared to other part-time jobs.
The reason for this is, that a private tutor normally specialises in a subject or area of expertise. A family normally has a child that requires attention in a specific area as well.
Due to the nature of the job (remediating, rather than just supervising), and the higher rate of pay per hour, a typical family or will require lessons once or twice a week.
This means a private tutor has to find work at different families and spend time travelling to different families and students needing help.
Most students and families requiring private tutors, require these services during the student’s free time, which is often after school – serving as additional limits to tutor time.
Many tutors don’t understand the market well enough to fill up their timeslots with tutoring.
Often, they think that parents can come to them, instead of them to the parents. This does suit the tutor, as the tutor can then line up students after one another; however, the parent is the customer, and, unfortunately, the customer, not by the employee, shapes the market.
Parents might go to a private tutor in their area if the pricing is lower, to compensate for their travel and time.
What works in this scenario, is normally a group class, where three or more students share the time and the price. This concept is also employed at tutor centres, where students are grouped together, offering lower rates per hour.
All too often, though, it is the working parent who can afford a tutor, and they are not always able to transport children. They might see this as an extra burden on their time.
Thus, even though a few parents might consider this option, this is definitely not the norm.
A tutor that wants to have many tutoring jobs, needs to be flexible and adaptable.
Parents from some areas might not be able to afford the same rate you advertise in another area.
Ideally, pricing needs to relate to the area income, as well as to the tutor’s experience and skill level.
A simple way to bring down the price is to offer to share the lesson with two students.
A busy tutor will also be willing to travel to distant areas. Typical to this industry, tutor jobs are scattered broadly and not congested in one area.
If fuel is an issue, it might be a good idea to consider alternative options, like a scooter, public transport, cycling, etc.
I have only one private tutor on my books that is flexible like this. She charges a very reasonable rate and she is currently completing her Masters in Education.
Because she is a student, her time is a little more flexible than someone who works full-time. She tries to fit in parents from different areas, and sometimes shifts her schedules around to accommodate as many clients as possible.
She stays in the West rand, where she is primarily looking for tutor jobs. Currently, she also tutors Grade 2 and grade 7 remedial lessons in North riding and Afrikaans grade 5 in Douglasdale.
She is willing to travel as far as Lonehill, without asking an extra fee for the fuel and travelling.
Thus, she is open to tutor far beyond the Westrand boundaries, beyond Roodepoort, Florida and Bergbron.
She tutors primary school subjects, High school Maths and Afrikaans extra lessons in areas as far apart as Northcliff, North riding, Linden and Douglasdale. She will even consider Fourways, Bryanston and Sandton for as little tutor work as one hour of private tutoring only.
Now, let’s compare this with typical requests from students from the University of Johannesburg and from WITS University who applies to tutor privately:
I am getting many requests from tutors who prefer to only tutor in their area where they stay, or closeby to there.
Some private tutors wish to only choose tutor jobs, if a student books a minimum of 3 consecutive hours per week.
Other tutors want a minimum rate that makes it hard for certain income levels to afford.
These tutors will not get many jobs, as they are; first of all, specialist in a certain subject(s) and secondly, limiting themselves to job opportunities in one area only.
All these requests places these tutors further away from being employable.
They are missing many tutor jobs by making themselves unavailable in other areas and turning down tutor jobs that are, perhaps only one hour per week.
As the rule in life goes, the less you try, the smaller shall be your chance of success.
Contrary to what most private tutors believe, there are still more tutors than there are jobs. A tutor is a luxury which only some parents can afford, unless a tutor can adjust their fees to the income level of the area.
There is perhaps a shortage of suitably qualified teachers in South Africa. However, educational requirements to be a private tutor is much simpler – to only have obtained a distinction in the subject he or she wishes to tutor.
This sets a tutor apart from a teacher, and increases the amount of qualified tutors looking for jobs in South Africa.
Thus, even in the education industry, it remains important to differentiate yourself, to meet the customer’s needs and to be excellent in what you do.
All this will aid in good future references and leads sent to you by satisfied parents.
Remember to think like a customer when you market yourself. Be adaptable and put forward only your best.