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Tutoring business. Fastlane? Warning: LONG

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Walra

New Contributor
Aug 18, 2014
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I have an idea for a business. I have tried but never gotten a business off of the ground before. This is usually due to over eagerness and rushing into things. So I am looking for some feedback on my idea to see if it would be worthwhile pursuing, or if I should look for a slightly different idea. I believe that execution is more important than the IDEA so i am going to give as much detail as possible.

Here is my thought process so far. I am concerned that the SCALE and TIME aspects are not quite good enough.

IDEA:
Run an online tutoring business (targeted towards math and sciences for high school students up to first year of university).
-Clients would pay for their lessons online and upfront, buying several weeks at once. (Discounted rates for longer amount bought).
-I would pay the tutors that I've hired every 2 weeks for the hours they have taught.
- Lessons taught over skype/teamviewer
- Would charge $45 per hour. Would offer lessons once,twice, or three times a week.
-Tutors would get a reasonible wage ($12ish per hour, more per hour (up to 17ish?) if teaching more students)
-Focus on schools from my local area, 30-40 Secondary Schools.
-Parents are my target demographic.
-Eventually make the process mostly automatic.

NEED:
I live in a city (about 135,000 people) with a university. The competition to get into many universities is very fierce. Parents want their children to be successful and we could give that to them. The difference between a 70% average and an 80% is huge and with a bit of tutoring, anyone can get those great marks.

VALUE:
-I have recently finished a University degree in an extremely intensive Math and Science degree.
-I have contact with the university where I can find many hungry 2nd-3rd year students who would want to tutor instead of work part-time.
-Most importantly, since students in 2nd/3rd year have JUST gotten out of high-school, they know the material, the pressure, and the likely questions a student will have, better than anyone else.
-Don't know of any online tutoring in my city. Nice for parents not to have to drive their kid and wait around while they are tutored.
- E-mail the parents with mark updates made into nice compact info graphics. Would make the parents feel good looking at nice marks. If it was pretty it might get shared around/hung on a fridge for all of the parent's friends to see.

ENTRY:
- I have just gotten out of the school system. I know the curriculum, I know the material. I still know teachers who could give me course information. I could get the resources to have kids in my area absolutely CRUSHING these tests and exams.

CONTROL:
-I would be in control of the business. Hiring tutors.
-Huge potential profit margin.


SCALE/TIME:
*Possible issue!!!*
-I am not sure how many people would sign up for tutoring just in my city alone.
-I can expand to include surrounding big cities.
-HS Students are only free after school, so ALL tutoring hours would be from 3pm - 9pm MON-FRI or on weekends which means very few clients a day per tutor.
-I would need to hire and co-ordinate MANY different tutors due to the lack of daily hours.
-I would need to have MANY different students.
-Students probably don't need tutoring in the summer so 2-3 months of the year are DEAD.
-Each year rotates, and once students graduate/get past 1st year, they never need my service again. So, a constant battle to gain clients and constant loss of valued, loyal customers.

ROUGH MAX $$$ ESTIMATES:
~$30 per lesson.
1 tutor can do 30 lessons per week. ($900) ($3600 per month)
10 tutors can do 300 lessons per week. ($36,000 per month)






I know that good ideas are pretty common, and I'm not married to this idea. It took me one day to think this all up, so I can find another idea pretty easily I'm sure.

Is this a fast lane business? If not, can I make it one? Or should I think of something different?



Thanks so much!
 

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Walra

New Contributor
Aug 18, 2014
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2
13
Although Khan academy is a great resource, there is a huge difference between Khan academy and hiring a tutor.


Specialized lessons.
The ability to ask questions on exactly what the student is confused about.
The "forced" motivation to do homework.

I've used Khan academy personally, and I find it very difficult to find material that is relevant to actual coursework. Once you find the material it is good to get a basic understanding of the concepts, but it always took me ages to find.
 

The-J

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It can definitely be Fastlane. A couple things to note:

You're competing with in-house tutoring places (Oxford Learning, Sylvan, Kumon) that charge less than $45/hour (at least where I live) and are there with the student, showing them the textbook, working through problems with them. You're also competing with independent tutors who make more than $17/hour. My friends and girlfriend in high school tutored 8th and 9th graders for $20/hour.

You cannot achieve the scale you want on your own, you will need to hire out.

Your tutors will be unlikely to stay with you for a long time.

You're wrong about students not needing tutoring in the summer. Asian parents will put their kids in educational programs for their entire summer to get their kids ahead in exams. But again, you're competing with in-house tutoring places.

If you're going to be doing this online, you don't have to think purely local. You're gonna want to scale into the world. That's, coincidentally, how Khan Academy got its start. Mr. Khan was tutoring his cousin in India and wanted a way to put the lessons online so people all over the world could see them.

You're going to be selling mainly to parents, not to students. Keep that in mind.

Good luck!
 

Walra

New Contributor
Aug 18, 2014
5
2
13
Thanks for the advice, there are some important considerations here.
I just want to make sure I am off on the right foot as I figure it'll be a lot easier to change what I am doing now than after I have already committed a large amount of time.
 

Mattie

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Well you can find tons of tutors in college's looking for jobs on the boards in Cafeteria's. Not hard to pin advertisements on boards, or even mingle with students if you know where they hang out.
 

mememan

Bronze Contributor
Oct 16, 2013
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Honestly, at those rates, your students can just get a PhD from ITT to do the work for them :p
 

Walra

New Contributor
Aug 18, 2014
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2
13
Heh, Well it is certainly possible that the rates are slightly too high.
30-35ish may be more competitive pricing wise.
However, I could charge for more if I have an program with extra benefits over a normal tutor.


I am starting to feel like this idea is only average. It doesn't seem like a super slam-dunk idea. It doesn't feel like I am doing anything new or much to add much value compared to potential competitors... Which doesn't seem like a great start.
 

MayaMagpie

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Jul 11, 2014
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Remember that you don't need a blockbuster new idea to be successful. Just make your service a bit better than whatever's out there. If you want to stick to some sort of tutoring, then try and add a new twist, in addition to the "online" bit. Put yourself into the position of your clients, both kids and parents and see what you could do to make your business better.

I remember when I was tutoring, my students hated that they had to do it, and hated sitting there for 1-2 hours (and it had nothing to do with my tutoring, the kids just hated maths). Maybe one could try a different approach, like bite-sized tutoring, every other day for 15-20 minutes instead of 1 solid hour of horror. Or a service specifically for homework and questions that come up. A flat rate for having a tutor on hand whenever needed.
You could also see if you can come up with better study material.

Just a regular tutoring service may be a bit lame, but I think this may be one of the classic things that haven't changed in ages and are due an overhaul. Good luck!
 

RBefort

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I always see wyzant tutoeing or something on indeed when insearched tutoring jobs. U had to have tutors take tests and all that, then u searched by zip. I searched around me and no one had signed up through site. I live in smaller area, however. I know a couple big online places do tutoring outside of this one, as they always advertise for tutors on fb. Might look into them and see what they lack. There are obviously a lot ot students, so I am sure there is a need somewhere
 

drilonnn

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Mar 2, 2014
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$45 an hour?? That's to expensive, for $30 an hour you can find tutors that can do that eye on eye with the students.
 

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Walra

New Contributor
Aug 18, 2014
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2
13
Thanks everyone for the responses, I am actively working on building a business.
I have done some research on possible competitors and there are a number who specialize in online tutoring.
Compared to the competition and I think I could add value for customers here and there. (@MayaMagpie, the idea for smaller tutoring times seems great)


It seems very daunting, the numbers of the big guns. such as WyzAnt has more than 38,000 tutors. Which is alot.

Thanks for the ideas everyone.
 

Stu_Hefner

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Mar 9, 2011
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I think you should look at having your tutors do in house tutoring rather than online. Plus You are charging too much. Drop the price and focus on acquiring clients. That way it will be easy to get tutors on board. If I was a tutor and you told me you had 10 kids lined up for me already, then im already sold. My point is make it easy for your employees. You need to take baby steps with this one. We ran a tennis coaching biz that worked off the same model. And after a few terms it turned out fairly lucrative for very little hours work. It would never be completely fastlane due to lack of magnitude but it was a great gig. I see your tutoring business taking on the exact same form that our coaching one did.
 

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