Johnny is struggling with chemistry and algebra 2, and you want to get a tutor for him. You decide to get a home tutor, because you don’t want to have to take Johnny to and from the tutoring sessions.
So where do you start?
First, ask your friends and colleagues if they have used a good home tutor. You will be surprised how many parents have used a private tutor these days. You just might get lucky. I say you would be getting lucky because tutoring is a very transient job – many of the best tutors are only doing it on their way to bigger and better things. So the tutor your friend used 2 years ago may be in medical school now.
Second, go online and look for a tutoring company in your area. There will be many options – at least half of them will be center-based tutoring. Look for keywords like “home tutor” or “in-home tutor” which will imply that the tutor will come to your home. Once you narrow it down to a handful of tutoring companies, then use the following steps:
- Look at the website. Is it professional? Do they give an email and a phone number to contact them? Do they explain their policies, their philosophy, and the way their program works? Can you read about the owner of the company?
- Does the company have testimonials or success stories listed on their site? If so, take a minute to read through them. Do they look like they were written by a real person? Are there any from parents or students in your town?
- Call the company or send them a web inquiry. If you do this with several companies, you can measure the time it takes for a company to get back to you. Some of them have auto-responders that send you an automated message, this 補普通話 doesn’t count. You can tell an auto-responder because it is a general, canned email and it comes to you within seconds of sending your inquiry. You want to time how long it takes to get a live response from a real person. You would be surprised by how many companies don’t reply at all!
- Ask about price, and consider the price vs. service offering. When you are dealing with a company, you are generally going to pay a little more for the service they offer. Most tutoring companies screen their tutors – interviews, references, background checks – and if the one you are talking to doesn’t, then I would hang up. When you go with a tutoring company over an individual, you are paying for their work in finding and screening the tutor. This costs money as the work is done by real people. So don’t expect to get a premium tutor for $20 per hour. The price range for private, in-home tutoring from a company ranges from $40 through $150 or more per hour. Most companies charge between $40 and $75 per hour, and many offer pre-paid discount packages. Remember that often you get what you pay for – a higher priced tutor will have more experience, better credentials and be more engaging, on average, than a cheaper tutor.
- Does the company require an upfront fee or a long term contract? This is unnecessary, and unless there are other things you really like about a company, you should not pay an upfront fee or be forced into a long term contract.
- What happens if you don’t like the tutor? Do they credit you the first session? Can you get a new tutor quickly?
- How do the tutors communicate with you? Do they write session reports? Is it only verbal? Is there any followup from the administration of the company? You want to stay in the loop on the progress of the tutoring, so make sure they have a system in place.