How do you decide how much to charge?

Hi - me again! Interesting topic, this one. I was wondering how people decided on setting their rates. I have always intended to set my rate fairly low. It’s not because I don’t value myself as a tutor, maybe because I think there is still a stigma around tutoring that it’s for ‘rich’ families only, and I fully believe that EVERYONE should have access to a 1:1 tutor, regardless of income.

When the pandemic hit and it was all online I reduced my prices, especially for multiple lessons. People were struggling financially and needing education more than ever.

However, when Tutorful raised their commission, I was forced to up my prices, which I didn’t really want to do but felt I had to to even make ends meet.

I charge different prices for different people, depends on how long they’ve been with me. I’ve never raised prices for students on a yearly basis (even though I do occasionally rate my prices), so there are some that have been with my from the start that are still paying basic rate!

Do you guys raise your prices ever year? What are your strategies with money and how do you decide on a price? Is it different for different people? Please let me know! Thanks!

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Purely depends on how full my schedule is and my booking score. If I have a low booking score and I have lots of space I charge a low rate. I find that charging too much lowers the booking score and people tend not so eager to book, for obvious reasons.

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Interesting topic! I usually increase the rate by a few pounds whenever I go back online which is usually about once or twice a year. I used to charge £17 back in 2015 when I was still a student. Now, 1000+ lessons later, I charge £30. Same as you, I have kept the rate the same for old students so some of them still pay less than £30, depending on when we first started.

Out of curiosity, I checked the Tutors board to see how much other Science tutors charge and apparently £34 is the average price so I’m charging below average :joy: it doesn’t bother me much because it means I can tutor students from a variety of backgrounds and that in turn keeps me sane. I have some challenging students from the infamous East End of Glasgow but I also have some challenging students who go to private schools in London. The challenges are obviously very different, the expectations from the parents are very different but I like the balance. Supporting my students through their entrance exams is extremely rewarding and it’s an achievement we can all “measure”. But I still think helping someone pass their exams or become the first one in their family to take Science is so much more important even if it is less glamorous.

I totally agree with this! Especially this year… The families hit the hardest were those unable to create a proper learning environment for the kids at home. Those kids need us the most right now.

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When I started 8 years ago I had a Ba and Ma and I charged £25. I now tutor full-time. All my students are currently on a rate of £40 and I just raised it to £50 a few weeks ago.

My thought process behind deciding how much to charge kind of reduces to the factors of how much I think my lessons are worth as well as the demand in my subject market. I exclusively tutor A level Philosophy and RS, so it’s a small market. I put so much time and effort into my lessons and developing learning resources that I suppose I just feel like I want to charge more than average. I especially spend a lot of time developing my attempt to explain difficult concepts. I put this effort in every single lesson, since every lesson is an opportunity to test and develop my approach to conveying complex information. It often happens that my student’s eyes light up over something they had greatly struggled with in class suddenly becoming comprehensible. I do also have a bottomless reservoir of passion and I’m also reasonably entertaining. Ultimately when I think back on my lessons from 5 years ago, I feel like I’m now so much more effective at getting students the grade they want, so my logic is, surely that means my lessons are now worth more.

Now I don’t know other tutors and so to be honest I have no way to verify whether I’m really putting in a kind of effort which is in any way different, but I slowly raised my prices over the years and kept getting away with it so I assume I must be doing something right. I do realise that saying all this does come with a risk of seeming conceited.

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I personally have decided to charge £29 as I think it’s generally affordable for most people and in my mind pays adequately. I have a PhD and could charge more but don’t want to only teach privileged people.

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Hi Everyone - I tend to try to consider what the student is paying - I don’t want them paying more than £30 an hour. Again like so many here I have a social conscience and for me this is the hardest part of Tutoring by far. As a salve to my conscience I have one local student who I teach online but came to me via word of mouth that I teach for free, the family could not afford me, does anyone else do anything like this. I have reduced my rate on occasions depending on family circumstances, in short we have to earn a living but that is not the reason we tutor. Paul.

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By reading your replies, I think I am undercharging by quite a bit, so next time I open to new students, I will make sure to up my fees!

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I charge £40 for my lessons, but still have some students on £30 which was my previous rate. As others have mentioned, I never increase the price on current students, only if I get new ones, and I don’t raise it annually. I’m pretty happy at this current level.

I also have a ‘special deal’ on my profile where I give a £10 discount for the first month of online lessons. Some of my regulars I used to visit in person are on a slightly discounted rate because of online learning, as I don’t have to factor in travel time as well.

Although I understand the argument that everyone deserves 1-2-1 tutoring, I hold a BA in teaching and have spent a lot of time and effort on becoming the best tutor I can, so I think my rate is fair. If a regular student were to struggle due to the pandemic or external factors, I would of course adjust the rate or maybe encourage them to do a ‘duet’ with a friend.

I allow multiple kids in my sessions and sometimes have siblings sharing the lesson, so the parents pay half the fee for each child. Sometimes, they both attend the whole hour and sometimes, we split it into two 30-minute blocks.

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I think it is really difficult to find a balance between not underselling myself and not overcharging my students. Like many tutors I offer free mentoring, tutoring and support to students from underprivileged backgrounds which helps me to feel a bit better about charging students who can afford it.

I also mention on my profile that I am open to discussing prices if needed - so if a student/parent was to approach me and request a discounted rate for a genuine reason, I’m usually more than happy to accommodate.

I think to some extent its been a bit of trial and error for me: increasing my prices slightly, seeing if my bookings go up or down, and adjusting accordingly.

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You don’t sound conceited at all, @JoeL - that seems absolutely fair as it works for you :slight_smile: No judging here.

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Very interesting point! I ultimately look at my worth!!! Currently I have 20 years teaching in education from adults to secondary schools to high performing academics to a private school. In all of these establishments I have often taken on 1-2-1 work as well. Once I have looked at that I consider my area (i.e. East Midlands) and my own qualifications.
The main problem that I have is when to increase my prices. When I officially started 1-2-1 teaching in 2016 I had an hourly rate which I would add travel expenses on to if needed. I have since not increased my prices.
During lockdown, parents/ students would ask if I would reduce prices and I decided not to. My justification behind this is that by maintaining my prices, this will become my increased rates as I am therefore not travelling as much.

I want like to add that I do charge the going rate in my region and I do hope that I do not sound conceited in this. As also a classroom teacher, I spend my non contact time prepping lessons and marking. I currently have one non contact hour at my school so that time is important to me. Teaching as a 1-2-1 tutor, my non-contact time is travelling if I am teaching a student live or writing notes and preparing videos for students to practice. I quite often go over my 30 minute or 60 minute allotted time to catch up with the student and equally I am flexible with last minute cancellations.

When I look at this, I would only seem it fair that the price I charge is justifiable.

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I think everyone here is making some really great points. I particularly agree with what @Georgia said:

I can totally relate to this! I started tutoring as a student on £15 per hour and, even though I’ve graduated, I haven’t raised my fee because I feel bad about potentially locking out students from poorer backgrounds. At the same time, this is my career for now and I need to eat.

As soon as my degree officially comes through, I’m probably going to raise my prices (for new students), especially since my cost of living will be increasing as I’m moving out of my mother’s house in the summer (hopefully). There’s certainly a lot to take into consideration!

In general, I think your fee should reflect your skillset and your experience. Don’t sell yourself short, folks! That’s something I really need to tell myself sometimes :sweat_smile:

If anyone has any advice, that would be greatly appreciated!

All the best,
Eleanor

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katywilson6
The problem with online tuition, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic, is the perception that students would be panting for online tuition if you just put yourself out there. Indeed that might be the case but the corollary to that is there are also many more purveyors of education servicing the market. Graduate university students who can’t get employment, foreign academics offering services leveraged by relatively weaker currencies and opportunistic charlatans. The internet, across many sectors, has triggered a “Race to the bottom”.
Professionals in this country should be earning about £30 an hour. If you are offering tuition I suggest for every contact hour you should be putting in another hour of preparation, checking, following up and admin. We should be charging about £60/ hour for every hour we are on line, if we regard ourselves as professionals. I submit that very few of us are billing those sort of rates. Be wary of eroding your rates to the point that they are ridiculous.
It was once explained to me by an acerbic contractor friend of mine that the best way to go bankrupt is to lie on the beach and go bankrupt. Working your way into bankruptcy is patently stupid. Do not lower your rates.
Alex Sutherland

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I decide the cost based on my teaching experience and the number of students that I would teach at the same time. I would increase the cost after a year I suppose but it would depend on the student.

I do the same re 2 siblings

I currently charge £56 an hour. With the commission for tutorful, I end up with £44.80. That’s for an hour teaching, and about an hour planning and marking (sometimes more, sometimes less), and for my years of studying and experience. I don’t raise my prices (I still teach some at £35 from when I started) and I will negotiate if it’s a student that may not need as much planning (GCSE students are much easier as I already have lots of resources for them).
Honestly, I get people saying they wouldn’t want to only teach more privileged students (I come from a low income background myself), but we are professionals that work hard, so I believe our pay should reflect that. There are options such as group lessons for students that can’t afford the higher prices, but I do worry that there is a pressure to be self-sacrificing when it comes to teaching, and it can stop people from realising that we are qualified professionals if we keep that mindset with our rates. I don’t think anyone fully qualified, in an ideal world, should charge under £40 an hour really (I charged £30 when I started because I was worried about overcharging, so I do get it).

Also, I’ve found that I get a lot more enquiries since my prices went up, and I find parents trust that I know what I am doing a lot more. I also feel more confident to stand my ground with parents who try to dictate what I teach (it doesn’t happen often, but I had a few before and a few after, and after raising my prices they were much more likely to listen to me when I explained what I was doing and why, whereas before they were more likely to doubt me).

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