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How do you set your rate for Private Tuition in the UK?

From Hati, published on 26/04/2017 We Love Prof - UK > Tutoring > Advice for Tutors > Private Tutoring: how much should you charge?

Recent years have seen a boom in the demand for private tutors in the UK.

According to a survey by EdPlace 25% of young people have had a private tutor, this figure rises to 40% in London. The sector is continuing to grow as a result of an increasingly competitive job market which is compelling parents to invest more in their children’s education.

Where there’s demand, supply isn’t far behind!

As demand for private tuition grows, an increasing number of teachers, unsatisfied with their salaries and working hours, are turning to private tuition. With hourly rates generally ranging from £15 – £35 outside of London, and up to £50 in the capital, tutoring jobs for ex teachers and others alike are a lucrative and stimulating profession.

Findings from a TALIS survey by the OECD showed that 73%  of teachers feel that they are underpaid compared to other similarly qualified professionals. A further 35% believe that they aren’t valued by society.

So it’s hardly surprising that qualified teachers are looking for ways to boost their income with a job that is stimulating and fits in with their timetables.

Private teaching offers flexible schedule but how do you decide what to charge? Image ¦ Private tutoring is becoming more popular are teachers are looking for a flexible way to earn an extra income ¦ source: Pixabay

Tutoring isn’t just for Teachers

Qualified teachers are not alone in seeking an interesting and flexible way to make an income. Artists often tutor alongside performance work in order to support their artistic pursuits. Many university students also take up tutoring alongside their studies to earn a bit of extra cash and jazz up their resumes. Private tuition offers the chance to control your own schedule and rates.

The million-dollar question: how to put a Price on your time?

Being your own boss comes at a price. Whether you’re an artist, a teacher or a student, you’ll face the same questions when it comes to creating your tutor profile: how much should I charge as a tutor? Where do I fit into that £15 – £35 range?

The tutoring rate that you advertise on your profile is more than just a number – it’s a first impression. Too low and you won’t be taken seriously, too high and you’ll out price potential students.

What makes this decision so difficult is that there is so much conflicting information out there about what to charge. £1000 per hour super-tutors have been getting a lot of press lately, and even tutoring advice pages offer completely conflicting advice. It’s almost tempting to pluck a number out of thin air, although we recommend that you resist that impulse.

Unfortunately we can’t set your tutor rates for you. What we can do is advise you on what to consider when setting your rates and provide you with as much pertinent information about tutoring charges in the UK as we can. Join us for a crash course in how much to charge as a tutor…

Thomas

Our students are very satisfied

”With Superprof, I was able to find the perfect tutor to motivate me and help get the grades I needed. I 100% recommend Superprof!”

Factoring in Preparation Time to your Tutoring Rates

When we talk about an hourly tutoring rate, we don’t really mean an hourly rate.

Wait, what?

Okay, technically speaking you are being paid for the time that you spend with the student, but the higher rates that tutors charge compared to other professions encompass the work that takes place outside of the classroom. Generally, you should factor in one hour of preparation for each hour of tuition.

‘Preparation’ varies depending on your subject. For example, a language tutor might prepare by:

  • reviewing a student’s progress and planning the lesson accordingly,
  • marking written work and providing feedback,
  • sourcing resources for speaking exercises or written,
  • coming up with questions based on a text,
  • sourcing grammar exercises,
  • setting homework tasks.

So a teacher charging £20 per hour for a class that requires one hour of preparation will actually be earning £10 per hour.

Factor in preparation time when deciding what to charge Image ¦ Teachers should factor in preparation time when setting their rates ¦ source: Pixabay

On Superprof, there is no intermediate between the tutor and the student, the tutor receives what they charge without paying any commission to the platform. This means that there’s no need for incessant calculations and percentages, if you charge £20 per hour, you’ll receive £20 per hour. All you need to work out is whether your tutoring rate is substantial when you take your planning into account.

Checking out the market: Private Tuition Rates for your Subject

To set your apart from the rest, what better that to stick an irresistible price tag on your tutoring services?

It’s tempting to undercut the competition in order to attract as many students as possible, but setting a tutoring rate is not quite so simple. In reality, your hourly rate should be reasonable and affordable, without seeming cheap. Accordingly, your tutoring rate should fall within the same range as other rates on the market for your subject.

When it comes to offering school support the market place can be fairly competitive.

Keeping an eye on the competition

Imagine that you are a language teacher. In your area there are probably dozens of language teachers with similar qualifications and experience. If you charge £7 when the average is £20, you’ll sell yourself short and come across as unprofessional. On the other end of the spectrum, if you charge £30 your students will expect you to have out-of-this-world qualifications and experience, which you may not necessarily have!

Before considering your experience you should take stock of the average rate for your subject. By using this figure as a base, you can then adjust your price according to your experience.

To help you determine your hourly rate, we have made a list of the average tutoring hourly rates for each subject on SuperProf:

Tax Law£40.00
Civil Law£24.72
Mandarin£22.90
Criminal Law£21.67
Economics£21.54
History£21.20
German£20.81
Arabic£19.68
Sociology£19.46
Russian£19.46
Chemistry£19.44
Physics£19.38
English£19.28
Mathematics£19.26
French£19.12
Italian£19.08
Geography£18.78
Spanish£18.04
Psychology£17.87
Biology£17.85

How much you charge for tutoring depends on multiple variables, so you can adjust your price according to your location, experience, the student’s level, and lesson format.

Some instruments are more expensive to learn than others Image ¦ Music tuition vary according to demand for certain instruments ¦ source: Pixabay

The Musicians Union advises a minimum rate of £32 per hour for music tuition and estimates hourly rates towards £38 per hour in central London. However rates vary according to demand for certain instruments. If you’re the only harp teacher in your area you could charge more for a lesson, whereas guitar teachers may need to set more competitive rates. Here is a sample of the average music tutoring rates found on SuperProf:

Trumpet£31.40
Piano£24.40
Violin£23.86
Guitar£23.36
Drum£21.38

In addition, lessons that require the tutor to provide more equipment may carry a higher price tag.

How does your Location affect your Home Tutoring Rates?

It’s all about supply and demand, or so we’ve heard anyway.

When we talk about private tutors, it’s easy to assume that all tutors are in the same boat when it come to setting their rates.

It turns out that this is far from the truth!

Private tutors must take account of social inequalities when deciding how much to charge. Above all it’s essential to bear in mind that not all areas of the UK are on an even footing when it comes to tuition rates.

Tuition rates depend on your geographical location, London and the South East have higher rates Image ¦ Tutors based in London and the South East can charge higher rates than the rest of the UK ¦ source: Pixabay

According to a 2016 study by the ONS, there is a considerable gap between standard of living and earnings from one local authority to another in the UK. For example, the average weekly earnings of employees in the City of London stand at £958, a small fortune compared to the £391 weekly income estimated in Rossendale (Lancashire).  Tuition prices reflect this gap. On average SuperProf tutors working in the capital charge and hourly rate of £21.77, whereas Lancashire-based tutors ask for £15.62.

This trend is echoed on a regional level. Tutoring jobs London or the South East should be charging a more handsome sum for private tuition than those working in the rest of the country. These rates reflect the earnings and the cost of living in each area.

Rates in cities may not conform to regional prices, here are the rates charged by our SuperProf tutors according to city.

London£22.50
Wolverhampton£20.07
Newcastle£20.00
Bristol£19.70
Birmingham£19.59
Manchester£19.51
Edinburgh£19.41
Coventry£18.78
Glasgow£18.60
Liverpool£18.32
Cardiff£18.21
Bournemouth£17.40
Reading£17.35
Leeds£17.34
Belfast£17.31
Nottingham£16.54
Brighton£16.13
Huddersfield£15.67
York£15.55
Bradford£14.39

Widen your audience

By offering online tuition you can tap into the tutoring markets in other geographical areas, so all is not lost for the Lancastrian tutors among you.

How does Experience affect your Tutoring Rates?

The ATL recommends that qualified teachers charge £30 per hour for private tuition, however this depends heavily on your experience levels. You must also ensure that the service that you provide merits the rate that you charge for it.

The Role of the Tutor

Private Tutors serve as academic role models for their students. When tutoring, it is vital that you know what you’re talking about, that you don’t make mistakes, and that you are rigorous when corrections and feedback. School support tutors play an important role in the academic success of a young person. It’s an opportunity to help students reach their potential, but bad tutoring practices can lead to academic failure.

“The only source of knowledge is experience” – Albert Einstein

With regards to your tutoring rates: the more experience you have, the more you can charge.

As an example, let’s look at foreign language tuition. Broadly speaking there are three types of language teacher:

  1. Native speaking tutors are from the country whose language they are teaching. These teachers are particularly sought-after as they know the idioms and subtleties of the target language and culture without even thinking. Students can learn naturally and quickly with native speakers, so these tutors tend to charge top dollar for their services.
  2. Qualified Language Teachers have studied languages extensively and have usually lived and worked in the country where the language is spoken. They are at an advanced level in the target language and have experienced the country’s culture. Whilst their knowledge of the language and culture may not be as profound as that of a native speaker, their qualifications serve as proof of their linguistic excellence. These teachers can therefore charge a substantial tutoring rate.
  3. Students tutors often offer private tuition alongside their linguistic studies. Although these student tutors are less qualified and experienced , they are often highly motivated and enthusiastic about their subject. They also have recent experience of studying in school themselves, and have a good understanding of the curriculum and exam formats. However due to their lack of experience, students cannot charge such extravagant tutoring rates, and often attract learners on a budget.

How does a university degree affect your rates for private tuition? Image ¦ University graduates can expect to earn more for tutoring ¦ source: Pixabay

Qualifications matter

For students, qualifications are evidence of your knowledge and having a university degree will increase your hourly earning potential. As such, an academic tutor with a PhD will be able to charge more than a graduate with a bachelors degree. Similarly, a musician who has completed their diploma will earn more per hour than an unqualified musician.

It’s not just the ‘what’ that matters, the ‘where’ is important too. Graduates from Russell Group universities can expect to charge more for tutoring than their non-Russell Group counterparts.

The ripple effect: word of mouth

Word of Mouth is more effective than other forms of marketing according to expert Jonah Berger. The better your track record as a tutor, the more you can charge.

Word of Mouth in the world wide web comes in the form of reviews. The more positive reviews you have, the more students will trust in your capacities, and the more they’ll be willing to pay for your time.

Charging for Private Tuition according to your student’s level

As well as your own experience, you’ll need to consider your student’s level and requirements when setting your tutoring rates.

Beginner’s classes usually cost no more than the subject average. Beginners are often looking to discover a new subject or learn a new skill. Their aim is to learn the absolute basics and the tutor would usually avoid going into too much detail.

Intermediate classes are for students who have got the hang of the basics and are looking to develop their skills under the guidance of a teacher. The cost of these classes usually conforms to the average for the subject.

Advanced classes are for students looking to perfect their skills. These students will often be at an advanced level in the subject so tutors must also be highly qualified and experienced. These classes are all about the detail. Teachers should be experts in the field and the lessons will generally require more preparation and generate more marking, which accounts for their higher price tag.

The level of study of the student can affect the rate that they pay for classes Image ¦ Primary level tuition is becoming increasingly popular ¦ source: Pixabay

School Support

When it comes to school support, your tutoring rate won’t necessarily follow this pattern. In this sector tutoring prices are often determined by demand and tend to be more competitive. SuperProf has calculated the average for each level of tuition:

Primary level tuition£19.27
Secondary level tuition£19.61
GCSE tuition£19.23
A Level tuition£19.89

In grammar school areas where children sit the 11+ exam, Key Stage 2 tuition may come with a higher price tag than Key Stage 3, as the latter don’t ordinarily sit any formal tests.

Adapting your Tutor Prices to fit the Teaching format

Private tutoring comes in many formats, and your teaching format can effect what your should charge.

Super tutors are known for charging extremely high rates Image ¦ Super-tutors have made the news with their jet setting tutoring schedules and sky-high rates. ¦ source: Pixabay

You may have heard stories of super-tutors who charge £1000 per hour and are flown across the globe to tutor young people for entrance exams. This format is fairly rare and we’d advise to avoid three-figure hourly tutoring rates – at least to start with – so that you don’t put learners off!

Super-tutors aside there are various other tutoring formats which each have their advantages.

Web-Based Tutoring

Online tuition is a growing trend in the tuition industry as it is simple to set up. Many tutors and students also prefer the convenience of this interactive and web-based learning style.

By tutoring online you are casting a wider net for potential students, geographically speaking, and can work more flexibly as you are not tied to a particular location. There is no general consensus when it comes to whether to charge less for online tuition, but according to a study by The Tutor Pages only 25% of tutors charge less. Online tuition eliminates travel time and cost, so you may wish to set a rate which rate reflects this. For sport and music tutors, remember that your subjects can also be taught online via webcam – all you need is a computer!

Online tuition is becoming more popular as tutors can choose their own office and be more flexible Image ¦ Online tuition comes with many benefits, such as choosing your office! ¦ source: Pixabay

Face-to-face classes

Face-to-face tuition is tutoring in its most traditional form. Advocates of this format insist that the physical presence of a tutor cannot be substituted by a webcam, as tutors can pick up on non-verbal signals that a student isn’t engaged or hasn’t understood. That being said, this format has its restrictions. Face-to-face tutors limit themselves geographically, have less flexibility, and face travel costs and time.

Some tutors choose to charge their students for their travel whilst others prefer to encompass their commuting costs in their tutoring rates. Whatever you decide, ensure that you set your face-to-face tuition rates with commuting in mind.

Group sessions

Group tutoring sessions usually come with a lower price tag per student, but a higher hourly income for the tutor – it’s a win-win! Whilst groups sessions provide children with an enjoyable shared learning environment, it’s important that you pay equal attention to each student and that everyone’s learning needs are being met. These sessions may also generate more marking for the teacher.

Ensuring a stable income: Block Bookings and cancellations

Some tutors worry about ensuring a stable income through private tuition. There are multiple ways to reduce this concern.

Block bookings

Block bookings are a great way of ensuring an income for the weeks to come. The problem is that students need an incentive to pay upfront for a number of class. Many tutors overcome this obstacle by offering a discounted rate for block bookings. For example, you may decide to offer the tenth session free if your students commit to nine classes.

Keep it simple

Be flexible with your students but don’t let your prices get too complicated! Offering options such as half-hour lessons, fortnightly classes, or group tutoring sessions is a great way to generate interest among students on a budget.

Should you charge your students for cancellations?

It can be very frustrating when your student cancels a lesson, especially at the last minute.

When you set up your tutoring profile it is wise to consider what your cancellation policy is. Whilst some tutors don’t charge a cancellation fee, others impose a 24 or 12 hour time limit on cancellations after which the student will be required to pay a full or reduced price for the lesson.

Whatever you decide for your cancellation policy, remember to be flexible (within reason) if your students have a valid excuse. This helps to build a strong teacher-student relationship, which means your pupils are more likely to spread the word about their excellent teacher.

Private Tutors: how to declare your earnings

“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes” – Benjamin Franklin

Saving the best until last – let’s talk taxes. When setting your tutoring rates it’s easy to forget that you may still be taxed on them. It’s therefore wise to ensure that you consider possible tax deductions when you set your hourly rates.

With SuperProf, this is the only maths you need to do (unless you’re maths teacher) as we don’t charge commission. If you charge £25, you’ll receive £25.

Tutors are self-employed and must pay their own taxes Image ¦ Setting your rate doesn’t have to be a taxing affair ¦ source: Pixabay

When you work for a company and receive a salary, your income taxes and National Insurance (NICs) are deducted from your earnings before they arrive in your bank account. As a tutor you may be self-employed. This means that even if you consider your tutoring income as a bit of extra pocket money, HMRC still wants to know about it and you must declare your income with them.

If your earnings are less than the taxable threshold, or if you don’t pay tax (students, this may apply to you) you must register anyway. However although you’ll be declaring your earnings, you won’t necessarily pay tax on them.

If you are tutoring alongside a day-job, your employment status may change. You can work out what your status is by using HMRC’s employment status indicator.

We understand that this feels like a very taxing affair (see what we did there?), but once you get your head round the different steps it will all fall into place.

Register for Self-Assessment

Your status depends on your particular circumstances, but many tutors will be self-employed. If you are one of these tutors, you must register for self-assessment by 5th October after your first tax year. It’s easiest to register online online. By doing so you will let HMRC know that you are working for yourself.

Sending your tax return

As a self-employed tutor you will be responsible for paying your own National Insurance and income taxes. This means that you will need to submit details of your earnings to the government by completing an annual Self Assessment Tax Return for every tax year. The tax year starts on the 6th April and ends on the 5th April, and the deadline for your tax return depends on how you submit it:

Deadline for earnings of the tax year 6 April 2016 – 5 April 2017
Register for Self-Assessment *5 October 2017
Paper tax returnsMidnight 31 October 2017
Online tax returnsMidnight 31st January 2017
Pay the tax you oweMidnight 31st January
*if you’re self-employed or a sole trader, not self-employed, or registering a partner or partnership


The deadlines for the tax year are after the end of this tax year. When you set your tutoring rate, you must keep in mind that you may have to pay tax on your earnings later.

Expenses for tutoring can be set off tax as business expenses Image ¦ Tutoring expenses can be deducted from your taxable profit ¦ source: Pixabay

Business expenses: setting things ‘off tax’

When you are self-employed you are considered to be a business and your business will have running costs. When you fill in your tax-return you can deduct some of these costs to work out your taxable profit.

There is a full list of these items on the HMRC website, however for a private tutor expenses may include:

  • stationary,
  • phone bills,
  • your webcam for online tutoring,
  • travel costs such as fuel, parking, vehicle insurance, and hire charges,
  • train, bus, and taxi fares,
  • advertising,
  • clothing expenses.

You must keep your receipts as evidence of these expenses.

Remember that you cannot include private purchases as ‘business expenses’.

Paying National Insurance Contributions

If you are self-employed you will pay your own National Insurance Contributions, usually through your Tax Return.

With all of these numbers in mind, you can now set your hourly rate for private tuition!

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