The Definitive Guide To Growing Your Tutor Business



Watch this short video below for a brief introduction outline of this guide...

Welcome.  This Definitive Guide is a 'reference book' to help you work on your tutor business where and when needed.

You may find it most useful to read quickly through it today, to get an overall understanding, and in future to come back here to get specific help on the different component parts.​

Rather than publish this in paper format in a book, which would necessarily have a cost attached, we have opted for this online version.  This means it is available free of charge to you, and it also means that you can give feedback and input of ideas, so we can more rapidly edit and update it for everyone's benefit.​

As with any subject, there is a 'Theory & Background' section, to help give a framework of understanding, and there are 'Practical' sections​, for the specific tactics and strategies to apply to help grow your business in the right way.

​We suggest at least skimming and scanning through the Theory section, to help structure the practical strategies, and to enable future growth.

Who Is This For?

​This guide is for all private-hire tutors, with their own business, for novice tutors, existing tutors (with a moderate business) and experienced tutors.

This guide is for tutors teaching any subject, to any age range, whether 1-to-1 or in groups.

Because of this broad range, the person being taught and the person paying for lessons may or may not be the same person.  This means that for different tutors, the person paying may be referred to as the 'parent', 'client', 'customer' or 'student'.  Here, we will differentiate the person paying as the 'parent' or 'customer'.

Similarly, the terminology that different tutors use for the person they teach may vary.  So we will interchangeably use the word 'pupil' and 'student' to mean the person being taught.

This guide will show how to get more pupils, how to keep them and how to increase profits.​


About The Authors

Duncan Ritson-Elliott

Esther Ritson-Elliott


Feedback & Add-Back

After you have read this, at the bottom, add a comment with your feedback to answer these 3 questions...

  1. What was most useful?
  2. What has proved to be the most successful method within your own business? 
  3. What more do you want to know about?

SIDE NOTE: It is recommended to bookmark this page, or 'favourite' it. 

This is a large reference guide which you will likely want to refer back to later in your business growth.

To bookmark this page, click CTRL and D on your keyboard and save.

You also might want to Facebook Share this page to help others and to help you more easily find it again later (using the Facebook search function).


Theory & Background Part 1 - Introduction

With the UK tutor business being worth an estimated £6 billion (according to EdPlace), students and parents clearly know the need and value of having a private tutor.

This means you are in a potentially profitable and rewarding occupation.

It may also mean you will face heavy competition, so it makes sense to work smart to grow your tutor business.

Growing your business - and doing it the smart way - means using as much intelligent 'Marketing' as possible.

To some people, 'marketing' means having to cold-heartedly sell-sell-sell. To others it means having a logo.

​They're both wrong!

Peter Drucker Management Educator

The purpose of marketing is to make selling unnecessary

With great marketing, that is well thought out and integrated across the whole customer experience, business growth becomes easier and more effective.

Recall the last thing you bought, where it was the first time you'd bought it (ie not a regular purchase), where you enjoyed the process, and didn't feel like it was a hard decision.

That was good marketing by that company.

Many Apple iPhone fans feel that way. That is because Apple have some of the best marketing in the world (Apple's marketing is worth studying).

So what are your options?  It would be fair to assume that as a private tutor you don't have Apple's marketing budget. So how can you do it more cost-effectively?


Marketing Concepts:​

Below are some marketing concepts that are separate but overlap.  These can be stitched into the framework which comes after.

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)  << Click to expand

The Power Of Simplicity       << Click to expand

Fiduciary Responsibility << Click to expand

Darwinian Marketing  << Click to expand

Brand Continuity  << Click to expand

Story Strength  << Click to expand


 ​Theory & Background Part II - The Framework

There only 3 ways to grow any business...

1. Increase the number of clients / pupils

2. Increase the average transaction value

3. Increase the frequency of repurchase

Because of the power of exponentials, a 33% increase in each will not mean a 33% growth in your business; it would mean a 235% increase in your business (for example if profit was £100; 100 x 1.33 x 1.33 x 1.33 = £235).  So it is worth considering each and all of them.  Similarly, it is worth returning to this guide in the future, to optimise the other elements within your business.

​In this guide, we will look at each in turn.  First, the brief overview;

Increasing the number of clients / pupils.  Note that this element of 'client base increase' includes lead generation, conversion from enquiry to sale, and retention (keeping them as a paying client).  Below you will find many strategies outlined to help you achieve getting more paying students/pupils.  These are what might commonly be called 'marketing strategies', from advertising, to using a referral system.  In this Definitive Guide you will also find conversion strategies as well as retention strategies.  See the index tables for a quick overview.

Increasing the average transaction value.  This means raising the amount of money taken per payment.  You might increase your prices, up-sell and cross-sell other items, package complementary services together, offer greater units of purchase (ie sell more lessons and services in one package), and change the profile of your service to be more 'up market'.  Could you improve your skills and qualifications?

Increasing the frequency of repurchase.    How soon could you have your customers buy again from you, repeatedly?  You might incentivise repeat, regular purchase.  For instance, TutorPay will enable you to facilitate this more easily (regular, automated, repeat payments based on calendar-scheduled lessons).  You might run extra 'club' sessions, for existing customers only.  You might develop an online course as an add-on, or 'back-end' sale to your lessons.  TutorTube enables this as a members-only online learning course.  You may want to follow all the 'Retention' strategies, to maintain your relationship with your pupils and parents.  With a solid relationship, you may be able to up-sell to a more frequent lesson schedule plus add-on services.


This Definitive Guide is structured using this same framework.  The Guide sections are;

  1. Increasing students, by increasing traffic, conversion and retention;
     - Online methods,
     - Offline methods,
     - Retention methods (over-arching both online and offline)
  2. Increasing average transaction value
  3. Increasing the repurchase frequency


Now let's look closer at the details of each element to grow your tutor business.


​Increase The Number Of Pupils

The following formula will help you to identify how to increase the number of students within your tutor business;

Traffic + Conversion + Retention = Pupil Growth


Some quick definitions for clarity;

"Traffic":  Visitors, potential customers, leads, who first see your offering, whether that is talking to you, seeing your website or whatever marketing you have in place. A bit like a person walking through a shop door for the first time.

"Conversion": The process by which you take these fresh 'visitors' and turn them into paying customers - into paying students (or parents).

"Retention": The processes you apply to help keep them as paying customers for as long as possible. 

So in order to increase your pupil numbers, you need to;

  1. Get more people to come to you,
  2. Convince them to become a paying customer, and
  3. Keep them happy and keep them paying.

These 3 steps may seem obvious, but when you break it down into these parts, each has specific methods and tactics, so you can work on specific actions to improve targeted aspects of your business.

So you can break down the work you need to do to get more paying clients into...

  1. Methods to attract new people,
  2. Methods to help them decide to sign up with you, and
  3. Methods to keep them signed up with you.


Feedback & Add-Back

Now that you have read this Theory & Background section, add a comment with your feedback to answer these 3 questions...

  1. What was most useful?
  2. What has proved to be the most successful method within your own business? 
  3. What more do you want to know about?



The remainder of this Definitive Guide to Growing Your Tutor Business is the practical action-steps and is in sections according to the framework outlined above, for easier reference.

Get The Extras:

We've had to strike a balance between making this Definitive Guide as useful and actionable as possible - and it not being absolutely huge to the extent that it is a long-slog to read through it all.

So we have had to make editing decisions here, to include enough for you to get started on any one of these marketing strategies, and then included how and where to get more advanced and detailed help.


You do not have to use each and every one of the methods and strategies outlined in this Definitive Guide.

We would suggest that you skim, scan and scroll down through the rest of this Definitive Guide to Growing Your Tutor Business, and make a few quick notes of the ones you want to take action on. Some will take a few short minutes and then they're done, and don't need to be repeated (like submitting to tutor directories) and some take repeated work ongoing (like SEO and Facebook marketing).

So it is recommended to do 2 things;

  1. Pick the quick easy wins. For the single, non-repeating things, do them, get them done, and move on.
  2. Pick one method and get good at it before adding any other method to your work.

​You don't have to do them all at once.


The rest of this Definitive Guide is as follows;

  1. Increase your student base:  To read the detailed methods for getting new potential students, converting them to paying customers, and keeping them...​
    - Click here to read the Online methods <<  NEXT
    - Click here to read the Offline methods <<
    - Click here to read the pure Retention methods <<
  2. Increase your average transaction value
    - Click here for details <<
  3. Increase the frequency of repeat purchases
    - Click here for details <<