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Tips For Managing Tutors For A Tutoring Company - Part 3

Tips For Managing Tutors
TABLE OF CONTENTS
FACE-TO-FACE RELATIONSHIPS WITH TUTORS IS A MUST

It is absolutely necessary for you to have a face-to-face relationship with your tutors.

If you are running a multi-region tutoring company, you need to have a local manager who can build a business relationship with tutors you employ.

Failure to follow this point will lead to a myriad of results. For example:

  • tutors will feel unsupported
  • tutors won't respect your contribution to the process
  • tutors won't follow your processes
  • tutor will leave your business and take clients with them

This means the time and money you put into finding these tutors, training these tutors, and finding the client is undermined and lost.

Here are some of the costs associated with this loss:

  • advertising loss (money spend on Google Ads, print material, online ads)
  • recruiting loss (money spent on job recruitment sites like Monster, Workopolis, Indeed)
  • your time and effort into hiring the tutor
  • your time and effort selling the client
  • your reputation and brand

In my own tutoring company, I was so focused on finding clients and assigning tutors, I didn't spend enough time to build a relationship with the tutors I employed. I couldn't understand why they would overlook all the time and effort I spent on getting them jobs and paying them above the industry average.

The point was I didn't spend enough face-to-face time with my tutors and as a result I did not give them a reason to be loyal to me and my company. Believe it or not, paying a person an above average wage will not earn their trust and respect. Neither will hiring professionals with fancy degrees and accreditations. People are people regardless of their education. Don't make the same mistakes I made. Learn from my experiences operating a tutoring company. You need to take the time to build a relationship with tutors.

There will come a time a tutor will be propositioned by a parent. They will be asked to deal directly with them. In the end, parents might be able to save $10/hour and the tutor might be able to earn $5/hour more. If you don't provide incentive over and above this increase in wage to the tutor, they will accept the parent's offer.

What you want is a tutor that respects the time and effort you put into assigning them students. You want them to respond with, "I don't talk about money. You will have to speak to the main office." While they are in training you need to prepare them with this response.

USE TEXT MESSAGING TO CONTACT TUTORS FOR OPPORTUNITIES

People in general don't answer their phone when it rings. It might be a telemarketer don't you know?!?

So what does this have to do with tutoring?

When parents contact you for tutoring for their child, in many circumstances, they want to schedule a tutor yesterday! There are ways to prepare the parent for the time it takes to undergo the process, but that doesn't diminish the need you feel to assign a tutor and make the parent happy with your service.

You need to contact tutors and communicate potential assignments as fast as possible.

Using your 1-888 phone number to contact tutors may hurt your business. Badly!

There were many times when I assigned a tutor to a student who wasn't my first choice. Later, my first choice called and asked about potential students. Of course I was dumbfounded. Where were you last week? I would ask. In the end, it appeared they didn't answer my phone call because they thought I was a telemarketer or didn't recognise the number.

Okay, just use e-mail then?

Oh what's that? It got caught in your spam folder? Didn't I tell you to add the business e-mail to your safe senders list? Of course you did, but they didn't, and they never got the e-mail. Is this a lesson the tutor needed to learn so it doesn't happen again? Most definitely, but did they? Nope.

What is a business owner to do?

Text them!

As of 2017, text messaging is thousands of times better than phoning or e-mailing. If you are hiring tutors born after 1984, you MUST use text messaging to contact them. They will monitor their text messages far more than their voicemail or e-mail.

In fact, not using text messaging is tantamount to throwing your tutoring business away.

YOUR TUTORS WILL ALWAYS ACT IN THEIR OWN SELF-INTEREST

I know I don't have to tell you tutors will act in their own self-interest. You aren't living in a bubble, but that's not the point. As a business owner, you need to use this self-interest to your advantage. You need to know, if given the choice, they will choose what's right for them over what's right for your business.

Cell phones need to be banned from instruction. If you provide in-home services, your tutors need to know their cell phones must be left in their car. If they are working at your center, they can leave their cell phones in the car, or provide a secure place for them in the staff room.

When the tutor is with their student, they must give that student their full attention. I guarantee you the parents will notice. Furthermore, you need to have a face-to-face relationship with the parent. Your tutors needs to see you conversing with the parents.

An excellent way to set this tone is attending sessions with tutors and students. Reinforce the rules the tutor is expected to follow as well as the processes they are expected to carry out. Show them how well you communicate with the parents and the relationship you have with them.

This has a positive effect for the way your tutors perceive your role in the tutoring as well as reinforce your credibility and authority in the eyes of the parents. Doing this will greatly diminish the amount of nefarious activity that may occur when you do not make yourself available.

WHAT YOU SHOULD BE PAYING YOUR TUTORS
EDUCATION LEVEL WAGES PER HOUR
High School $12.00 - $15.00
BA $15.00 - $20.00
MA Don't bother
PhD Don't bother

If you offer in-home tutoring, and the tutor must use a car to travel to their student, you can add to the wages or ask parents to pay for the cost of travel. The wages above account for the time the tutor is helping the student. Depending on your location, you will have to modify these wages accordingly. However, these amounts are the industry standard at the time of this article.

Here is an interesting tool for calculating a fair wage for tutors. If you live in the U.S.A you might want to take a look. I added this resource since, as I described earlier, your location will greatly impact the fair wage of tutors.

You may pay tutors more than this, but you won't get any bonus points for doing so. In fact, it is my experience the more generous you are with people, the more they'll expect from you. Don't make that mistake like I did. Pay them fairly, and if they don't like it, let them go. In the long run, you want tutors who are appreciative of the opportunities you grant them. Dissenters will cause you more trouble than they're worth regardless of their qualifications on paper.

What's that about Masters and PhD's?

Unless you run a specialized service for post-secondary students, don't bother hiring academics. Academics make for absolutely horrible tutors to elementary and high school students. I know this is going to sound harsh and rub a lot of people the wrong way, but I came to this conclusion through experience and observation. In addition, academics are rarely happy with the wages you offer. They always want more. On a side note, most parents don't want MA's and PhD's teaching their children. There appears to be a cultural bias against academic's. I don't know why, but I routinely had to reassign these individuals at the behest of parents.

Save yourself time and headaches. Don't hire post-graduates that don't have a teaching related field of study.

You can think I'm awful for saying this, and that's fine. Go ahead and discover for yourself. I'm dispensing my knowledge in these articles, and you are free to take or not take my advice. I won't be offended.

NEVER STOP RECRUITING TUTORS

Don't stop the hiring process! I mean it.

It is far better to have too many tutors than not enough. This way, you can meet tutors who are really hungry for the job. You can find the best talent currently in the pool.

I routinely had to contact 4-5 tutors before I was able to assign them to a student. Tutor's oftentimes have chaotic schedules. While you may have a tutor who can teach a specific subject, you then have to worry about their availability, then their location.

In-home tutoring is the hardest to schedule and assign. Running a center is a little better. You can't always rely on the same tutor for a teachable subject.

You want to have many tutors available. You want tutors to know you have choices. Most importantly, you want a healthy pool of tutors so you can assign a tutor to a client as fast as possible to seal the deal.

Always recruiting can have another benefit. Refer any job ads from other websites to your site's application page. Ask the potential hire to upload their resume to you or fill out an application form. Doing so increases traffic to your website and signals to search engines your website is an authority in your industry.

It's not uncommon for 1/3 to 1/2 of your traffic to be job seekers. You need job seekers for your business, and in a way, they are just as important as clients. They are your clients too. Without tutors to fill your jobs you don't have a viable tutoring business. Use them to your advantage in this regard. They can aid your business long before you hire them, if you hire them.

WHO TO RECRUIT AND WHERE TO FIND THEM

I've already made my opinions known about who to recruit and who not to recruit. But there's more. Tutoring at the elementary and high school level deals with students who are minors. As much as it pains me to reveal, male tutors are not well received.

I don't know the exact causes, and quite frankly, I don't want to discuss those matters at all. I don't think it's fair male tutors aren't well received but it is reality. Unless the parent explicitly requests a male tutor, I would do your very best to assign a female tutor.

The way the numbers turn out, I wouldn't hire more than one male tutor for every ten tutors in total. Male tutors will sit in your availability pile for extended periods of time without being assigned, or they will face a high turnaround; constantly needing to be re-assigned at the request of parents. It's damaging to their self-esteem's and I always felt horrible taking students away from them.

Things need to change in this regard, but that is far outside the scope of this article.

Here are some places I recruited tutors from:

  • LinkedIn (Free but takes a lot of time to cultivate leads! Quality varies)
  • Indeed.com (Mostly free depending on time constraints. Good quality leads. Syndicated job lists)
  • Kijiji.com (Mostly free depending on time constraints. Moderate quality leads)
  • The Education Network (expensive: $600-$1000/year but a good place to find Certified Teachers)
  • Apply to Education (Canadian. Very expensive but provided high quality leads)

Of course there are massive job sites like Workopolis and Monster, but they are not a good choice for small businesses. These sites are so ridiculously expensive I could never justify the expenditure.

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COMMENTS

What has your experiences been like managing a tutoring company? Do you agree or disagree with any of the points listed above? Please provide your opinion and feedback. We welcome open dialogue.