Become a tutor: Business ideas for mums

(Updated March 2015)


Tell me more…

If you enjoy working with children, why not become a tutor? You could tutor them outside school hours in subjects such as maths and English. You can either work for an agency, find your own clients or both. You can work in your own home or in your clients’ homes, although it’s usually more cost effective to work from your own home as it saves travelling time and expense. You can work with individuals or small groups, primary school children or secondary.

What are the benefits?

  • You can choose how many hours you work
  • You can work weekends and evenings
  • It’s very satisfying work if you enjoy teaching but find the thought of being a classroom teacher too bureacratic or stressful!

Things to consider…

  • Make sure you really enjoy working with children!
  • Teaching methods will almost certainly have changed since you were at school. Unless you’ve been a teacher very recently, you’ll need to learn how your subject is taught in schools now if you’re going to avoid confusing your clients.
  • Although there’s no legal requirement, parents will usually want you to be DBS (previously CRB) checked. You can’t apply for a DBS check as an individual or self employed person, so you’ll need to get this through an organisation. You could do this by signing up with a tutoring agency, although they may make you pay for this. Or you could do some voluntary work, such as running an after-school club at a local school. This would also give you useful experience and may help you make some contacts. (Applies to UK only)
  • You may find it easier to tutor children who attend the same school because you’ll have  only one syllabus to work with.
  • Allow at least half an hour preparation for each hour of tutoring.
  • If you’re signing up with a tutoring agency, look for one that advertises regularly in the area where you want to work.
  • You can advertise in your local newspaper, by putting up a card in local shop windows,  on free websites such as You can also send your details to local schools – if parents ask for teachers for extra tuition, they may pass on your details. Once you get started, you should be able to get work by word-of-mouth referrals, so make sure you have some business cards printed that clients can hand out to friends.
  • Be clear about your expectations when you sign up a new client – how much notice do you need for cancellation? What happens if the child doesn’t do their homework? What materials do you provide? What happens if you or the child are late for a session?
  • You don’t necessarily need a teaching qualification, although this is a big advantage. The need for a teaching qualification will often depend on supply and demand in your area. E.g. if there aren’t enough qualified maths teachers to go around then you will be able to find work without a teaching qualification
  • There isn’t a steady stream of work throughout the year – work increases on the run up to exams and decreases over the summer holidays.

Recommended resource:

If you want to get to grips with the business side of being a tutor, including pricing, I recommend this course:

How to start a highly profitable tutoring business by Vicky Olubi

Not convinced that tuition is for you? Take a look at other business ideas for mums.

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