How Much Should I Charge For Tutoring? [5 Factors To Determine Your Rate]

I am often asked, “How Much Should I Charge for Tutoring?” Unfortunately, my answer is never the same for each individual that asks me. See, the rate a person should charge another for tutoring depends on several factors. Something such as experience and skill level plays a crucial role in determining a tutor’s value. You shouldn’t expect to pay somebody $100 an hour if they’re a high school student with straight B’s. 

The average rate for tutoring is between $20 to $100 an hour. Lower grade level tutors such as elementary school typically make closer to $20 an hour. College and specialty skill level tutors make on the higher end between $75-$100 an hour.

Below I’ll break down how to determine what your tutoring rate should be as well as all of the factors that go into it.

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What Factors Affect How Much A Tutor Charges

For those interested in bolstering their personal finances, tutoring is a good way to earn side money. In some ways, tutoring is a mix between a freelance job and a regular one. You might have some common clients, but you have to connect with them like it’s a freelance job. Once a person understands how tutoring works and gains experience, they can better figure out how much they should get paid.

The following factors play a significant role in how much a person should charge for tutoring:

  • Location
  • Skill Level
  • Experience
  • Subject Matter
  • Communication Skills

Related: Check out these Best Online Tutoring Jobs To Make Money In Your Free Time

How Does Location Play A Role In Tutoring?

The main reason location plays a pivotal role in tutoring is that it determines your clientele. If I’m teaching in an affluent town, I should expect to earn a lot more there than if I taught in a low-income city. If the city you plan on tutoring in is well off, you have wiggle room to raise your rates.

You don’t have to tutor in the town you live in. You can drive to the next town or two over if that has a better chance for you to earn the most money. You’ll have to figure out how much money you’re spending on gasoline and if you have enough clients to justify driving to the next town.

Should the best financial option be your hometown, then that’s fine. The main goal as a tutor is to teach others and earn money for doing so.

I must say that the location you select isn’t just which town you go to. Other critical aspects include where you tutor. A library is a popular hotspot for tutors, yet some students may prefer the comfort of their own homes. The exact location you tutor in depends on your communication skills, which I cover later on. 

Why Does Skill Level Play A Major Role In Tutoring Rates?

Which of the following deals sound more appealing: $20 an hour for a former Professor who taught the same subject at a reputed college. $120 an hour for a classmate who does well in class?

Most people are going to select the former deal not just because it’s cheaper but it’s of better value. The second deal may help you learn more but the first option has significantly more wisdom in the subject. Even if the prices were reversed, the professor might be a better option just for their knowledge alone. 

A tutor can have a high skill level but low experience and vice versa. While both are often correlated with each other, generally, a high skill level retains clients better. Even if you don’t charge more with less experience, you can earn more money by keeping your current clientele happy. 

One important thing to note with your skill level is that it heavily ties into your communication skills for acquiring new pupils. If your knowledge impresses them, you can charge them a higher rate than a scenario where your experience is only passable. Skill level alone might increase a person’s rates by an extra $10 to $50 per hour.

How To Gain Experience In Tutoring

Without experience, you might not get a job you want. There’s an old problem I often hear, “I can’t get a job without experience, but I cannot get experience without a job.”

Compared to most other career options, tutoring is easy to get experience in. Not only is there a high demand for it, but there are online tutoring websites where you can apply for a position. The first thing to note for inexperienced tutors is to lower expectations. If you’re completely new to tutoring, you shouldn’t expect to charge more than $20 for most pupils. 

By starting low, eventually, you should get enough experience where you can up your rates. Even a small increase, like $5, can make a significant impact on your livelihood. One great way to increase your experience is to take in more clients. Experience is a lot more than just how many years you spend doing something; it’s a measure of how well-prepared you are to tackle any challenges associated with it. 

If you’re unsure how to begin gaining experience, try to start with either your local library or through an online program. When you’re in doubt, don’t forget to pick an ideal location for tutoring! All of these factors are tied together for maximizing potential profit through tutoring.

Does The Subject Matter I Tutor Affect How Much I’m Paid?

I say the subject matter you choose to teach is one of the most vital elements for your financial success. A subject like Algebra has plenty of competitors willing to tutor for low prices, but a topic such as Linear Algebra has far less competition, allowing you to charge more. Keep in mind that a subject like Linear Algebra is also more difficult, so it’s bound to have more people struggling with it and willing to pay top dollar to ace their tests.

I encourage you to aim high if you’re teaching a valuable, yet niche skill. It’s easy to go lower if your current rates aren’t panning out well but trying to start low and go higher isn’t as feasible without losing current clients.

You shouldn’t try to change the rates too often or you’ll risk alienating your current clients. One of the most important features regarding the subject matter is that it heavily relies on your competition. If your rates are higher than theirs, you better have more experience and skill to justify it.

How To Gain New Tutoring Clients

Building rapport with students is one of the most instrumental skills for success as a tutor. If you’re a likable person, you can get away with charging more per session. If you’re unlikeable, not only are you less likely to earn high wages, but you are also less likely to obtain clients. 

Communication skills are more than just how you carry yourself. Some factors, such as non-verbal cues, play a critical role in communication. If you see a student is frustrated, you should assess the reason for their frustration. Is the frustration a sign of growth on their part, or is their frustration a sign that they don’t understand what you’re teaching?

I believe that proper communication skills can also help you barter for higher rates. Some students may try to lock in lower rates, so it’s up to you to determine how low you can go and if you’ll budge in the slightest.

Through utilizing excellent communication skills, you’ll obtain significantly more clients and earn anywhere from $10 to $100 more an hour. How good you are in socialization determines how well you can present your skill level (or hide the lack of it), which can heavily control your rates. I believe that if there is one skill every aspiring tutor should improve; it should be communication skills first.

How To Set Your Rate As A Tutor

Your location should first define your rate. If you’re teaching in an affluent area, you can expect $100+ an hour to be a fair rate for certain subjects. If you plan on teaching in an impoverished city, $10 to $20 is more likely the going rate.

When starting out, one plan is to price yourself lower than some of your competition. This will help you enter the market and obtain clients. Be careful with how much you try to undercut, as it can make you look cheap and not worth it!

After you determine where you should teach, you need a good idea of how skilled you are in a subject. Highly skilled tutors should expect to earn anywhere from $20 to $100 extra depending on the location. In a similar vein is your experience, as they are often related to one another. 

The subject you select to tutor also heavily determines your rates, so something as basic as elementary math won’t earn you as much as something like Calculus. All of these factors, plus your communication skills, should ultimately determine your worth as a tutor.

It can range anywhere from $10 to $200+. I know it isn’t satisfying not knowing the exact amount you should charge, but these simple price ranges should get you a general idea of your value.

Therefore, here’s a general guideline for what to charge as a tutor:

  • $10 an hour for no skill, no experience, a common subject in an impoverished area
  • $25 an hour for some skill, some experience, a common subject in an average area
  • $50 an hour for some skill, some experience, rare yet useful subject in an average area
  • $100 an hour for high skill, tons of experience, any subject, any area
  • $200+ an hour for very high skills, tons of experience, any subject, affluent area

Final Thoughts

Knowing what to charge as a tutor comes down to location, experience, and your communication skills. Look at what other tutors teaching the same subject as you with the same amount of experience are charging. Also try to find out how booked up they are.

The great thing about tutoring rates is that you can change them as you gain experience and expertise. Specialty tutors or tutors with lots of experience should start their rates on the higher end. If you’re unsure, use the bullet points above for a general guideline.

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Steffa Mantilla

Certified Financial Education Instructor

Steffa is a Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI) and the founder behind Money Tamer. Her 12-year background in operant conditioning and positive behavioral change training is used to help people find effective motivators to change their harmful money behaviors. Steffa explains the reasons “why” behind people’s financial behaviors and how to successfully change them. After paying off over $80,000 in debt through budgeting, she now teaches families how to get their own finances in order. You can learn more about her here.

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