Setting fees seems challenging, as it requires a lot of brainstorming. You have to consider factors such as location, qualifications, and experience. And putting a price tag on your subject-matter expertise and determining your education’s value can sometimes prompt insecurity.
You might question your per-hour charges — higher or lower than the standard rates. If you’re on the pricier end, you may push potential clients away. Or, if you ask for too little, you might risk earning a sufficient income — not enough to make ends meet. Also, suspiciously low rates may make prospective clients question your expertise.
Thankfully, guidelines can help freelancers, such as tutors, set prices, taking some emotional aspects and overthinking out of the process. Students studying for a major exam or struggling in the classroom need a tutor’s help and are willing to pay for it, especially when the pricing is in line with the standards.
So how much do tutors charge, and what’s considered in range? Here’s everything you need to know about fees and hourly charges to help you make informed decisions. But first, let’s review what tutoring is.
What is tutoring?
Tutoring is a customized educational approach for individual students or small groups.
As a tutor, you typically conduct short in-person or online sessions, commonly an hour long. Depending on your expertise, you may help younger students having trouble digesting information at school, middle or high schoolers studying complex subjects or prepping for a standardized test, or college pupils wanting to further their classroom learning.
Whatever your specialty, consider tutoring in hourly terms instead of a monthly or annual salary, as it’s the regular norm. Even tutors who work at an agency and have consistent hours don’t often receive a monthly salary. Instead, the institution pays the tutor hourly at a predetermined rate.
5 factors that affect tutoring rates
The first question you may have as you set your rates is, “How much do tutors charge per hour?” This is an intelligent inquiry, but the answer isn’t concise. Tutoring fees range from around $15 per hour to more than $100 depending on the tutor’s educational qualifications and experience. This delta may seem extreme, but five factors play heavily into driving rates up or down. Here are the basics anyone about to start tutoring should consider when pricing services:
- Type of tutoring: If you work at a tutoring center, the administrator may set rates for you. And you may also be paid less than if you go out on your own since the institution takes a cut of the rate it charges the client. But some tutors earn more at an agency as the institution’s great track record attracts clients, helping tutors secure work and a high hourly rate.
- The number of students: As one-on-one tutors focus on a single person and create tailored lessons, these professionals can charge more per student. Tutors have to drop the per-student rate in group classes, but the upside is that they can earn more in the same amount of time. For example, if a tutor charges $40 per hour for one-on-one sessions but $15 per student per hour in a 10-person class, they earn more from the group.
- Location: Local competitors’ rates set parameters for what others should charge. If most tutors with similar credentials, class types, and subject-matter expertise in your area charge $50 per hour, you might not be able to charge $75. Also, tutors in urban areas tend to earn more than in rural areas, with some exceptions. The wisest course is to do market research on local rates to avoid confusion.
- Tutor’s experience: Sometimes, high schoolers and college students who excel at standardized tests or complex subjects, such as math and science, tutor their juniors or peers. These students earn less than more experienced, professional tutors who may have previously worked as teachers, professors, or subject-matter experts (e.g., a science tutor who was a chemist).
- Focus: Tutors taking advanced classes (such as AP biology) or with niche teaching knowledge (like working with neurodivergent students) may be able to charge more for their services.
Online versus in-person tutoring
Online tutoring has been a booming market since the onset of the pandemic. The market was worth more than $7.6 billion in 2022 and may grow nearly 15% until 2030. If you want to take online classes, you might wonder if you should charge more or less than in-person sessions. But there’s no one answer.
Online tutors often charge less to compete, as it’s a global marketplace. And since digital agencies don’t have much overhead to cover like in-person institutions, they can earn less and sustain operations. This, in turn, means some online agencies pay tutors less, with students enjoying extra savings as they don’t have to bear travel or commuting costs.
But online pricing isn’t lower by default, and some virtual classes are pricier than in-person ones. Online tutoring rates fall between $23 and $34 per hour (at the time of writing), which is on par with mid-range in-person rates.
How much should I charge for tutoring?
Several factors influence how much a tutor can charge, but these points alone won’t determine pricing. A tutor must do some research and soul-searching to convert factors into figures. Here’s a guide to setting your rate:
- Know your market: Tutors setting rates should start close to home. Local market research helps you learn almost everything you need to determine the correct rate range. Look up what other tutors with your experience level and subject matter focus charge in your area. This data point is valuable because it ensures you can compete locally and set a rate aligning with your skills. If you plan to work online, perform the same exercise, focusing on skill level and expertise rather than geography.
- Correctly gauge your experience: Don’t be shy. If you worked as a calculus teacher for 30 years, you’re more than qualified to charge the ongoing rate in your area for challenging subject matter. The same applies if you ace at helping students boost their SAT scores and have the track record to prove it. If you’re a high school or college student taking your first pupils, stick to the lower end of the range as you gain experience.
- Determine how much you need to earn: If you plan to make a living from tutoring, measure your financial needs and goals against your earning projections. If you have to earn $3,000 a month to cover your living and business expenses (such as marketing your services) and charge $30 per hour, you’d need to tutor for 100 hours per month. That estimate might not be reasonable if you have five students, as each would have to sign up for 25 hours. Through this exercise, you may find that bumping your rate by just $10 per hour would earn a couple of hundred extra dollars a month. Alternatively, you may find it wiser to partner with an agency providing a steady flow of pupils instead of going at it alone.
Streamline payments with Practice
As your tutoring business grows, you’ll need a customer relationship management (CRM) tool to help you keep up with administrative tasks. Not only this, but you’ll also need an automated payment software to manage invoices and payments. And Practice has both and more to offer. Our Client Management Software, made with small business owners in mind, provides a safe place to store student information, send messages and documents (like your tutoring contract), and schedule sessions.