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Tutorful should not have too many tutors


My experience with Preply is that if you have too many tutors available on the site, tutors will put their prices down to unsuitably low levels in order to be competitive with other tutors and gain experience.

I have just seen this strategy recommended for a new tutor in the forum (although to a more acceptable £15 starting price). On Preply people often tutor for extremely low rates like $3 to $5 an hour. Such a market will lead to reduced profits for Tutorful as prices will be driven ever increasingly low.

Tutorful are presumably very aware of this potential problem with having too many tutors available on the site. Such a situation will not be beneficial for Tutorful or the tutors they work with.

It is a very difficult situation for tutoring sites because ideally everyone should have opportunity to be successful and be able to help themselves and others with their knowledge and talents. However, an excessive surplus of tutors will drive good tutors away and make it very difficult or simply unfeasible for new tutors (as is the situation with Preply).


Even £15 is far too low. By the time you take 25% off, add in lesson prep time for a bespoke tutorial, the extra little bits of time before and after the lesson, it’s not even minimum wage. £25 ph is my lowest rate, as I consider it to be £12.50ph equivalent.

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Yeah, that is fair. I started on £25. If there are loads of tutors and not enough clients, prices will continue to go down.

As tutors, we are only worth what people are willing to pay us. If your books are full charge more, if your books are empty charge less (when I started I tutored a number of students for free never mind £15ph). Supply and demand is a wonderful thing. If you can specialise and offer something no one else does you can charge more. If you are a primary teacher offering primary education you have a massive number of potential students but you also have an awful lot of competition from other primary teachers. The advice to keep your price high if you have no students makes no sence. Remember Wetherspoons make a fortune by being cheap.


I think tutorful’s search ranking algorithm solves this problem to some extent. Tutors who lose too many students will go down the search rankings and get hardly any new requests, whereas those higher up will get requests. So it’s not like all the tutors on tutorful are competing on an equal playing field regarding getting new students - which would indeed drive prices down were there a surplus of tutors.

This way tutorful can continue to be open to getting new talent and just let the algorithm determine whether those tutors rise to the top or middle of the search, in which case they will be competitive, or sink down, in which case they won’t.

There are a finite particular number of students looking for tutors each year. The number of tutors who can take on those students will be the number of tutors who are competitive. There could be loads of tutors below that competitive level in the search rankings, yet they would not put a pressure on the tutors higher up to reduce their price since they are not competitive.

The price pressure is on those tutors in the middle because less students look through the search that far down so they need to stand out in some way. Their other benefit is they would be found quicker by clients filtering for low price. There would not be pressure on the high ranking tutors to lower their price however.

I’m not an economics tutor so correct me if I’m wrong here but that’s how it seems to me!

Hi Joel,

In Preply there are tutors who charge acceptable and higher rates who are well established.

The main issue seems to be for the majority of people and newcomers who typically charge less than their value.

The algorithm and ranking system with Preply is comparable with Tutorful so it’s fair to make a comparison between the two sites.

I think this is accurate: “The price pressure is on those tutors in the middle because less students look through the search that far down so they need to stand out in some way. Their other benefit is they would be found quicker by clients filtering for low price. There would not be pressure on the high ranking tutors to lower their price however.”

So, yes things should be okay for the well established tutors but the risk is for the majority.

Edit: There’s no business sense in Tutorful having lots of talented people they work with who have to put their prices down to levels below their value in order to generate income.

That’s debateable!

Lots of sites do indeed take this approach and clearly find it profitable to move to a higher-volume/lower-quality model.

Certainly, cheaper lessons (especially now that they’re online and lack the same sense of perceived value that home-tutoring sometimes affords) are a significant selling point.

If there are more tutors than the market demands, then having lots of tutors selling at cheaper rates than they would if there were the number of tutors needed to supply the demand will not be as profitable.

Sellers’ market: Enough tutors to supply demand but not an excess. Prices do not go down.

Buyers’ market: An excess of tutors, more tutors than can meet demand. Tutors offer rates which are cheaper than they would in the sellers’ market to get the few available clients.

In both scenarios the number of clients is the same but in the second scenario, overall income for Tutorful and many of their tutors is less.

You could do this mathematically and work out how many clients are needed for particular topics (based on previous numbers during an academic year for example) and make sure that Tutorful has enough to supply clients who need tuition in that subject, but not a huge excess which will lead to the buyers’ market situation.

In the previous Wetherspoons analogy, that market is very different. Wetherspoons determines the wages of their employees. The Tutorful business model is very different because they work with tutors who determine their own rates and Tutorful make commission on their hourly rate. Also, should Tutorful be developing a Wetherspoons-type business mentality?: Wetherspoons forced to do U-turn on workers’ pay, following boycott call | Ethical Consumer

I actually find talking about money, profits, market share and all of that very boring. I’ve said what I wanted to say because I’m motivated to help people. I’m probably not going to make any more comments in this thread because from this point onward I’ll likely just be repeating myself.

I am having to phase out my tutoring and make money in different ways. There are so many inexperienced tutors undercutting me I won’t survive!


The problem with online tutoring is that it’s international. Tutors from countries with low taxes and a low cost of living are competing with us. We live in an ever more high TAX high-cost country. Good old Boris is protecting us by spending billions and billions on (who knows what). A well-qualified student in Columbia or India can live on a tenth of what we do and as such charge far less. The west’s problem is that it’s pricing its self out of the market. The good Doctor mentions people charging less than their value. I’m guessing he isn’t a Dr of economics, our value is determined by what the customers are willing to pay us. Tutorful is simply a company trying to maximise it’s profit, it owes us nothing if we don’t like it’s conditions we don’t have to use it. The world of the free market is brutal. The alternative is that we give comrade Boris all our money and he puts his arms around us and redistributes it depending on how he sees our value… hold on…welcome to 2021!!

Colombia is spelt like this.

Aha but Columbia is one of the Ivy league Universities. Surely not that cheap to live in New York??
Serious economic points made by Roger. Tutorful take note please. For face to face tuition for UK students we tutors have a major geographic advantage.

For Roger’s political points. Lets all hope that Boris doesn’t realise that many, perhaps the majority, of GP consultations are now being done remotely by telephone. Lets hope that large chunks of the NHS don’t get replaced by call centres based in India.

Not that ridiculous a projection -remember that Western firms decided that Vaccines would be cheaper to manufacture in India & failed to predict that India could and would ban Vaccine exports.

I have been with Tutorful for 3 years and over the last 2 gave always had a steady stream of students. I am now more expensive because I am more experienced and after Tutorful took away the 15% commission for experience d tutors and outed it to 20% again I had to put my price up. As others have said here, I am now undercut by all new inexperienced tutors charging as low as £15 ph. Everything Tutorful do is geared up to help the tutors in my opinion.

I am hoping over the next year to leave and gave my own website set up. I am already starting to get word of mouth and other social media recommendations and hope that will build my business back up.

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