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How To Make More Money Tutoring Online

How to make more money tutoring online

When I first started my online tutoring business, I quickly learned that to make money tutoring online, I needed regular students. Today I want to share with you my number one strategy for turning your new arrivals into regular, long term students. The kind of students who will buy large numbers of lessons from you month after month.

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I recently returned from a four week break abroad doing voluntary work in America but I already have a busy schedule of online students lined up. How was I able to take a break from my tutoring business for a month and then continue again without losing all my students? Two words:

Lesson Packages.

Lesson packages for online tutors

As an online tutor, two of the biggest challenges I used to face were finding students and then keeping them. Working hard to get a new paying student, only for them to have one or two lessons and then disappear, was frustrating and made growing my business difficult. I wanted to establish a system that would make it possible for me to take a break from work without being afraid of losing all my students and having no one to tutor when I got back. I also wanted to have a more regular and reliable source of income that didn’t fluctuate so much from week to week depending on if my students showed up. Since those early days, I’ve managed to achieve these goals by selling online lesson packages.


How do lesson packages work?

As well as single lessons, I also offer packages of 5, 10, 25 and 40 lessons. You may be thinking to yourself:

‘Who’s going to buy 40 lessons in one go?’

‘That’s too big a commitment’

‘Surely that’s waaay too much money to ask for in advance!’

Online tutoring lesson packages

If you’re finding it difficult to get your head around going from selling one lesson at a time to selling 40, I understand. It feels like a big jump, especially if you’re used to asking for payment after you’ve finished the lesson and not before. Let me assure you, there are students out there who are happy to pay £1000+ in advance for a large, discounted lesson package. Not only that, but when the 25 or 40 lessons have been completed, they’ll often buy the same package again… and again!

Now, it’s unlikely that a completely new student will go straight for your biggest lesson package and in my experience, will most likely start with a smaller package like 5 or 10. But that’s fine. That gives you enough time to show them how much your lessons can help them and why they should continue receiving tuition from you.

Discounts

Before I’ve completed the last lesson of their first package, I review my new student’s progress, ask if they’d like to continue and offer a larger package. Getting your pricing right is important here. A common expectation is that the larger the lesson package, the bigger the discount will be. The individual lesson price for 5 lessons needs to be less that a single lesson. 10 lessons should be cheaper per lesson that the 5 lesson package and so on. That’s the main reason why I don’t offer packages bigger than 40 lessons because offering too much discount for large packages would result in an hourly rate that’s too low.

Tutoring insurance cost

Not sure what your tutoring rate should be? Have a read of this post I wrote about What to Charge for Online Tutoring.


Why sell lesson packages?

As well as having a more consistent source of income and not worrying about taking holidays, there are many other advantages to selling lesson packages in advance. Once you establish this system in your tutoring business, it can be a game changer. It will allow you to take your tutoring business to the next level and you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. Here are some more advantages of selling pre-paid lesson packages:

Financial
  • Increased cash flow makes it easier to manage business expenses, like larger one off payments.
  • Pre-paid lessons make it easier to establish a cancellation policy. This reduces cancellations and makes sure you don’t lose out if students cancel at the last minute.
  • Package discounts are better value for the students than single lessons.
Learning
  • A bigger financial commitment often results in a bigger learning commitment from students so they’ll work hard to get the most out of your lessons.
  • A commitment to a lesson package makes it easier to plan a course or curriculum when you know how many lessons the student is willing to pay for.
Time
  • Advanced scheduling, weeks or even months in advance, makes it easier to work to a schedule that suits your needs.
  • A single package sale means you don’t have to make a sale and organise a new schedule every week. This will save you a lot of time in the long run.
  • Advanced payments means no time wasted chasing late payments.

How to sell a lesson package

Paying for online tutoring

Most students will want to buy a package if they can see the benefits of doing so. You need to be confident and clear that this is a good thing for them (as well as you). The main benefits you can lead with when making a sale are ‘it will work out cheaper for you’ and ‘I can secure a regular day and time for your lessons that’s best for you’. (You might need to change your policies so that only students who pay in advance can secure a specific time slot in your schedule). I've found that longer term students like to organise their schedules in advance so really appreciate having the same days and times for their lessons. They also like the convenience of one off payments rather than having to enter their card details or make a bank transfer every week. 

If you can’t imagine that one of your students would be willing to part with a big chunk of money before having their lessons, you might need to start off offering only 5 or 10 lesson packages. But go ahead and offer the packages! You might be surprised at the positive response you get.


How to set up a lesson package payment system​

Making sure students have a quick and easy way to pay for your lesson packages is key. I use a payment processor called Selz and add 'Buy Now' buttons to my WordPress website. That means my students can pay for lesson packages any time they want with their bank card or Paypal account and receive an automated receipt for their purchase. My Selz account is connected to my bank account and the payments are automatically transferred to my account every week. I've been using this system for years and it works every time.

If you don't have a website yet or you do have a website but haven't got an online payment system set up, I can help you. I'm offering a limited number of one-to-one coaching calls for tutors. In these 1 hour calls, I can walk you step by step through the process of setting up your own online payment system so you can start selling lesson packages and make more money tutoring online. Click the link below to find out more:

One-to-one Coaching Calls for Tutors

Fast-track your way to online tutoring success with personalised one-to-one coaching calls

Matt Thompson
 

Matt is an online English tutor and founder of Smart Online Tutoring. He's a big fan of technology and when he's not teaching or helping others with their online tutoring businesses, you'll find him on the badminton court.

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