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How to start a tutoring business

Becoming a home tutor could be a profitable way to earn extra income and develop into a full-time business. Learn how to start a tutoring business, the skills and qualifications you need, start-up costs, and how to attract customers.

A tutoring business can be flexible and may involve minimal upfront costs to get started.

While starting a tutoring business can be relatively straightforward, it’s a good idea to understand the necessary skills and qualifications, legal requirements, estimated costs opens in new window, methods for attracting clients opens in new window, marketing and promotion strategies opens in new window, and general tips for growing your new tutoring business.

Read our guide on ten reasons to start your own business opens in new window.


1. Determine your target customer

One of the first steps to starting a tutoring business is deciding who your client is opens in new window – from helping students prepare for exams to providing language lessons to adults.

While many tutors work with children of primary and secondary school age, there is also the option to tutor adults.

You could look into becoming a tutor for adults who want to improve or pass GCSEs in core subjects such as maths or english.

If you are fluent in a second language, you could teach children or adults to learn another language.

Whether your client is a child or an adult, it’s a good idea to write down a clear definition of who your target client is.

Questions to ask can include:

  • if aiming your services at children’s tutoring, which school years do you want to tutor?
  • do you want to specialise in one or more subjects?
  • do you want to tutor specifically to pass specific tests or exams such as GCSEs?
  • are you looking to tutor on a 1-2-1 basis or in a group?
  • do you want to tutor face-to-face or online?

Choose a business model

You can choose different tutoring business models for how you will offer your tutoring services.

Buy a franchise

You can purchase a tutoring franchise opens in new window through an established name where you become part of an established name in the industry which can help you find clients.

It’s worth considering, however, that buying a franchise will involve upfront costs and will restrict your freedom in terms of how you run your business.

As with any financial decision, it’s a good idea to seek independent specialist advice before committing to any purchase.

Work from home

Another option for your business model could be being based at home opens in new window and setting up an office-style area where you have clients come to you for the tutoring sessions.

This way should involve minimal costs to yourself in getting set up and will not incur any travel expenses.

Work online

You could offer your tutoring services entirely online opens in new window, needing only a laptop and internet connection to connect with your clients.

Travel to clients

Another option is travelling to each client and running the tutoring sessions in their homes.

This will incur travel costs, but if you build up a local client base, you could book sessions for clients near each other.

What skills and qualifications do you need?

No specific qualifications are needed to become a private tutor in the UK, but having good subject knowledge in your area is important.

The skills you need to start a tutoring business include:

Subject knowledge

Deciding what you will teach will be based on your expertise, so specialist knowledge you can share to help your clients with is key.


Being able to communicate well is essential to running a tutoring business.

Communicating sometimes complex topics in an accessible and digestible manner is essential to help your clients understand the subject matter.


Patience is an essential skill for tutors as you may be working with clients, especially if your clients are children who struggle to understand the subject and sometimes may find concentrating difficult.

Business requirements

It is straightforward to set up a tutoring business but there are some standard requirements you will need to address.

Working with children

It is a legal requirement that you obtain a clean Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check opens in new window if you work with children as part of your tutoring business.

Anyone else working with you will also need to be individually DBS checked.

A basic DBS check will confirm that you do not have any criminal convictions and allows you to work with children and vulnerable individuals.

The check will cost £18, and it can take up to 14 days to receive the certificate.

If you plan on promoting your services through online tutoring platforms, these often require an enhanced DBS check.

Individual tutors are not able to apply directly for this check – instead, you’ll need to go through an approved ‘umbrella body’ that will process the enhanced DBS check for you.

Find a list of relevant umbrella bodies on the government’s website opens in new window.


Registering your business

You’ll need to register your business with HMRC and ensure you comply with relevant legislation, such as:

Comply with legislation

If your tutoring business employs others opens in new window, you will need to ensure you comply with employment legislation such as contracts, holiday, and sick pay.

You must also comply with health and safety legislation for your clients and any staff you employ.

You can find relevant information from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) opens in new window.

Read our guide on registering as a self-employed business owner opens in new window.

Start-up costs

The relatively low start-up costs are a significant advantage of starting a tutoring business.

There are, however, some costs to incur when starting your business, including:

General equipment

A laptop and reliable IT equipment, including broadband, will be necessary if you run online tutoring sessions, while stationery opens in new window such as notepads and pens could be beneficial.

Teaching resources

You will need relevant teaching resources to start a tutoring business, including any curriculum information on the subject areas you will be tutoring, and you may need to order exam papers from the appropriate examination board.

Relevant subject matter textbooks and online paid resources that could benefit your clients are worth considering.


Professional indemnity insurance opens in new window will be required, but other types of insurance are optional.

Read our tax, insurance and the law: guidance for small businesses opens in new window.


As you start your tutoring business, you may need to invest a small amount into marketing opens in new window to inform potential clients about your services, whether printing business cards or advertising your services locally.

Travel costs

If you plan to travel to your client’s home for the tutoring sessions, you will need to factor in your travel costs.

Attracting customers and marketing strategies

When starting your tutoring business, there are some straightforward strategies to attract new customers, including:

  • word of mouth: tell people locally about your new venture, particularly contact those who have children that may be considering extra help
  • free trial lessons: you could attract clients by offering a free trial session to new clients
  • tutor networks: advertising your tutoring business on local tutor networks could help you reach new clients
  • partner with the local school: approach your local school and find out if you can share your tutoring services with their pupils.

Once your business is established, and you may be considering further marketing to expand your business, you could try the following:

  • advertising on social media: advertising your tutoring business on your social media channels opens in new window is a good way to reach potential new clients
  • local advertising: advertising your business in local shops, schools, or community venues can let more potential clients know about your services
  • testimonials: sharing satisfied customers’ testimonials can help new clients find your services
  • content marketing: as your business grows, it could be beneficial to create some content marketing around your subject area that could attract new clients looking for a tutoring service
  • promotional activity: promoting your business with discount offers or referral programs can help spread the word to potential new clients.

Read our helpful guides on the benefit of social media platforms for your business:

Scaling your tutoring business

If you want to expand your business, there are several ways to approach this.

Online tutoring

If you’re not already offering online sessions, changing to an online offering, or adding additional sessions could help you scale your business, as online sessions are less time-consuming than face-to-face and have no travel time to factor in between clients.

Group sessions

Offering group sessions can help you scale up your tutoring business by allowing you to work with more clients at once and increase your earning potential.

Expand into new subject areas

Expanding your offering across new subject areas can allow you to grow your business by making your services appeal to a broader client base.

Hire additional tutors

If your business is growing at a rate you can’t manage on your own, it could be beneficial to employ the services of another tutor to take on some of the responsibility, so you don’t have to turn down any work.


Learn with Start Up Loans and help get your business off the ground

Thinking of starting a business? Check out our free online courses in partnership with the Open University on being an entrepreneur.

Our free  Learn with Start Up Loans courses opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window include:

Plus free courses on finance and accounting, project management, and leadership.


Reference to any organisation, business and event on this page does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation from the British Business Bank or the UK Government. Whilst we make reasonable efforts to keep the information on this page up to date, we do not guarantee or warrant (implied or otherwise) that it is current, accurate or complete. The information is intended for general information purposes only and does not take into account your personal situation, nor does it constitute legal, financial, tax or other professional advice. You should always consider whether the information is applicable to your particular circumstances and, where appropriate, seek professional or specialist advice or support.

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