Want to know how much to charge for tutoring elementary students? If so, then this elementary tutoring pricing guide will definitely come in handy!
As a teacher who tutored elementary students for many years, I’m often asked by those looking to do the same, “How much should I charge for tutoring elementary students?”
Though elementary tutor pay rates vary, they generally range from $20/hour for a high school student up to $75/hour for a certified, experienced K-12 educator with a competitive university degree. Several factors, not limited to location, market demands, education level, and professional experience, all affect the tutor pay rate.
Tutoring is a great side hustle that earns you a nice side income if you do it consistently and charge a decent rate.
This elementary tutoring pricing guide details the pay structure I’ve used and shared with educators for many years.
It’s going to help you decide exactly what to charge the parents of your primary and elementary-aged clients for private tutoring.
Several Factors Influence Elementary Tutor Pay Rates
When we talk about location, what we’re really referring to is cost of living.
Elementary tutors in big cities generally charge higher fees because of the greater expense of living in a major city.
But even within a city there are a range of economic levels, which leads to my next point…know your market.
2. Supply and Demand
Is there a great demand for elementary tutors in your area or school? Even if you live in a city, if there is no demand, your base pay rate may be lower.
I’ve lived in two big cities in the U.S.
When I say big, I mean well over a million residents. One school in which I worked, it would have been crazy for me to charge even $25 for elementary tutoring. Parents were not going to pay that.
Because there was absolutely no demand for elementary tutors. The school required teachers to offer tutoring to students twice of week, free of charge.
Yep, you read that correctly.
As long as we were within school contractual hours, the school could do as they pleased (within reason of course). So there was no demand for paid tutors.
Now that I think of it, I was never asked once by a parent to tutor his child, and there were never conversations about paid tutoring among teachers.
I guess teachers looking to tutor for extra cash looked for markets and/or schools in the surrounding areas that showed a greater demand for paid elementary tutoring services.
Fast forward a few years to another school in another big city.
The demand for primary/elementary tutors within the school (and in the city in general) was great! Parents shelled out money with little reservation, and it was often the story that I had to turn down offers.
I’m telling you all this to say that supply and demand has a significant impact on how much you’ll potentially charge for your elementary tutoring services. Keep that in mind.
A little more straightforward is one’s education level. Higher formal education fetches more moolah.
Are you a high school student, high school graduate, or college graduate? Do you hold a postgraduate degree? Did you graduate from an Ivy League university?
Just writing that last question makes me a little queasy, but I must include it.
I for one moment don’t believe that an Ivy League degree is a predictor of how well one can tutor young kids.
However, I’m a realist, and I know from experience that for some parents, prestigious titles hold weight. A lot! (This is more common in private, independent schools).
Other parents really don’t give two hoots! 😛
So kudos to you if you graduated with a competitive university degree, you may have a bit more leverage. (But with a degree like that, you probably already know that.)
A fancy degree is not the be-all end-all when it comes to deciding how much to charge for tutoring elementary students, but I’d be lying to myself and you if I said it made no difference.
Professional experience holds a lot of weight. And not just any ‘ole work experience.
Professional tutoring and/or formal teaching experience contribute to your elementary tutoring charge rate~A LOT!
Additionally, are you a certified teacher with a valid, current license in the area in which you’ll tutor?
By certified I mean, do you hold a state-issued teaching certificate?
Public school primary and elementary teachers in the U.S are usually required to possess a teaching license. Private schools may or may not require certification for employment.
Is certification important?
I definitely think so.
In my state, licensed teachers must collect 150 professional development hours every five years in order to keep their licenses and expertise fresh.
It provides some type of measure that they’re knowledgeable about the best and most current teaching practices as it relates to their subject area.
If I’m a parent seeking an experienced elementary tutor for my kid, knowing that an individual has a professional teaching license would make a positive difference to me.
It shows that you, as an educator and as my child’s potential tutor, possess the level of skills, knowledge, and expertise necessary to understand and help my child academically.
5. Subjects Offered
Individuals who tutor more “complex” subjects or who specialize in a unique pedagogy (eg. special education, bilingual education) can generally increase their charge rates a bit.
Depending on the complexity of upper elementary math, you can negotiate your rate.
Why do these areas warrant a bit more money? Because the demand is usually greater. If there is no shortage or need, you might be out of luck!
All of the above factors determine pricing for tutoring elementary students.
Now let me show you step-by-step how to set a price for parents who want you to tutor their primary or elementary-aged little ones.
Setting Elementary Tutor Pay Rates: Step-By-Step (2018)
1. Calculate the Average Tutoring in Your Area.
I love the handy-dandy tutoring calculator seen below. It’s a great app for setting baseline pricing for elementary tutoring.
Of course it’s not mandatory to use it as a baseline, but I love using it because it provides a clear guideline for establishing pricing and is great to refer to when speaking with parents who may have questions about why you charge what you charge.
Here’s how it works.
Just type in your zip code. You’ll notice there’s a place to input other data but I don’t use those because, in my humble opinion, the parameters are a bit limited.
After inputting my zip code, I get this number: $29.21 (as of September 2018).
So my elementary tutoring pricing range STARTS from this price point (*See my note in the next section about individuals with “some high school education*).
2. Consider Your Highest level of Education.
High school diploma: → base rate stays the same
Bachelors degree: → add $2 to base rate
Masters: → add $3 to base rate
Some high school: → base rate of $20 flat
3. Account for Relevant Work Experience.
- Years of professional tutoring → .50 x number of years OR
- Formal teaching experience in K-12 setting → .75 x number of years
4. Adjust for Tutoring a “Complex” or In-Demand Subject Area.
Add .50¢ to your base rate.
5. Don’t Forget About Your Teaching License or Competitive University Degree.
- An additional $1 for competitive university degree
- An additional $2 for a teaching certificate
Here’s what all of these calculations look like written out on this elementary tutor pay rate cheat sheet:
This elementary tutoring price guide is a suggestion and not set in stone.
So please, simply take it as a helping guide.
Some parents may push back on your fee request, but as mentioned earlier… Know Your Market! I increase my elementary tutoring base rate significantly if there is A LOT of demand for tutoring services in my school or area.
I’ve been paid up to $65 an hour for tutoring elementary kids (this was in 2015).
There was a healthy market at that particular school with a lot of demand for teacher tutors! So again, your market and its demands play a HUGE part in the equation.
Hidden Expenses For Which You Need to Be Compensated
If you’ll travel to the student’s destination (e.g. personal residence), increase your base fee. Consider wear/tear on your car in addition to gas and travel time.
It’s a real luxury to have a “mobile” tutor so-to-speak, so tutors should be compensated for providing this super convenient service (and a great value) to parent customers.
To make things easy, I use the U.S business mileage tax rate which is 54.5 cents per mile for tax year 2018. It’s a reasonable standard.
You can use an app to keep track of your weekly mileage.
Cancellations! One of the least interesting parts of elementary tutoring.
I know so many teachers who tutor as a side hustle, and too many cancellations soon enough creates anxiety.
You need to communicate with parents upfront about your cancellation pay policy.
Here’s what I do.
If a student simply doesn’t show up, I charge the full price of the tutoring session. No Shows= Full Charge.
If families cancel at least two hours before the start of the session, we’re good! No payment necessary.
As always, do what works for you, but do have a cancellation policy.
Share it directly with parents (in writing is even better).
With elementary families, lots of things come up (life!), and it’s okay to be flexible.
But if you’re really dependent on funds, I suggest a 24-hour cancellation policy.
If a client cancels within 24 hours, invoice for half the charge. You can do a one-time grace period or a grace period once every so many months if that makes you feel better.
Some educators share the opinion that cancellation policies are a bit harsh, but tutoring is like any other business. Your time is valuable and needs to be respected.
What If a Parent Tries to Negotiate a Lower Tutoring Fee or Can’t Afford Lessons?
This is a tough question.
As mentioned previously, many schools offer onsite tutoring to students who need extra help. Gently direct parents to those services first if they aren’t aware.
It’s ultimately up to you to decide how much to charge families who can’t afford your tutoring services.
Some tutors do a “pay-what-you-can” system. You can do it for one or two families, but I wouldn’t make it the norm (Parents talk so if you do for one it’s likely that others will expect the same).
I am of the mindset that as professional educators, we are professionals and should be compensated as such.
We should be kind and giving (as should every citizen), but we shouldn’t be expected to give away all of our expertise, services, plus time and in return expect to receive little compensation.
If you’re not worried about making a nice profit, then of course go for it. Volunteer tutor to your heart’s content.
But for others, pay is important, and it shouldn’t be frowned upon to have a certain level of expectation when it comes to your tutor pay rate.
Be reasonable with your tutoring pay rate (according to market conditions), but do charge what you’re worth!
How Much to Charge for Group Tutoring
Tutoring two or more kids at once is a great way to help families save money, and it’s a good value for you!
Here’s what I do…
I round up my base price (in this case $46.00) to the nearest dollar (if it isn’t already rounded) and discount $15.
So that’s $46.00-$15.00= $31 Per Kid for a total of $62 per hour. If only one child shows up, the price remains at my regular base fee of $46.00.
If you charge a lot more per hour, say $70, you may want to subtract more than $15. Maybe $20. Doing so evens out the values a bit.
Tutoring is supposed to be individualized instruction, so having more than two students at one time can get hairy if the focus is really on helping the children with their unique academic weaknesses.
I believe one-on-one is best.
But to help families with multiple children save money, this above pricing formula is an option I’ve used without issue.
Even better is to suggest a discounted fee from your base rate if parents commit to paying in advance a set fee for so many classes in a month.
At my base hourly rate of $46.00, if I tutor a student twice a week, that’s $368 a month.
But if a parent commits his child to an entire month and pays upfront, I could offer the same schedule for $330 flat! (That’s about a 10% discount for paying in advance for the entire month.)
This method guarantees you’ll get paid while holding the families and child accountable for regular attendance.
Tips to Show Your Quality and Worth as an Elementary Tutor
- Kids “talk” so make sure you’re actively tutoring. Parents want to know they’re getting their money’s worth.
- Keep a progress report log and communicate regularly with parents to let them know how their child is progressing.
- If possible, communicate with the classroom teacher so that you both are on the same page. Parents will appreciate this!
- Put your elementary tutoring pricing structure and terms in writing. Share a copy with parents before tutoring sessions start.
Showing this type of professionalism helps parents see that they made the right choice not only in choosing you as their child’s tutor but also in agreeing to your payment requests.
Charge What You’re Worth
Some people equate quality with price, so don’t sell yourself short!
I hope this pricing guide provided you with some insight on how much to charge for tutoring elementary students.
Treat your elementary tutoring like a business.
Charge a decent price for your quality services and then exceed your students’ and their parents’ expectations!