Summer is almost upon us so it’s time to take a good look at your tutoring business. Summer planning for tutors is super important. If you fail to plan properly, you could hit a summer slump. However, if you take the right steps now, summertime can actually mean an INCREASE in business!
Here are 3 Ways You Can Work With Students This Summer!
1. Continue Tutoring Your Current Students
First things first, when summer planning, you need to check in with the families of your CURRENT students.
Here are some important questions to get the answers to:
- Are any students discontinuing services at the end of the school year?
- Which families want to continue tutoring over the summer?
- Does this leave any student vacancies you need to fill?
- Of your students who are continuing, what does their summer schedule look like? Will they be taking vacations or going to camp? This may impact your income as well as your availability to see additional students.
- Will you need a minimum commitment of total sessions over the summer to hold a student’s spot for fall, or are you okay with students taking off for summer and then returning?
You need to find out who will be staying and who will be going. Then you can start to build a summer schedule and see if you even have space for new students.
If you are considering offering some summer-specific group options (like a week-long class to get ready for back-to-school, or a summer-long writing club), you need to know how many current students you’ll be working your schedule around.
2. Bring on New 1:1 Tutoring Students
Summertime is a great time to work with new students! Often times with busy tutoring schedules, starting in the summer is a great way to bridge the learning gap and save a student’s spot going into the new school year. (Those spots fill up quickly!)
Be CLEAR about the type of summer tutoring you have available. You need to share your services in a way that parents and guardians (and even other educators) will know exactly the kind of services you provide and who is a good fit for those services.
Are you looking to support students in catching up before the new school year starts for just the summer? Be prepared to share how you can create a targeted learning plan to help students catch up on the skills they need most before moving into the next school year. You are presenting a “package” here.
Or are you focused on bringing in long-term students (for example, instructional intervention for a student with dyslexia) who will need continued support and a long-term support plan? You will want to communicate how your services are the intensive, systematic, diagnostic interventions that will support that child for their specific needs and the support they will need for longer remediation. In this case, you are presenting that this child’s “journey” to reach their full potential begins this summer.
There is one thing you need to be aware of before bringing on new tutoring students over the summer. You need to look at your FALL schedule and make sure that if you have new students this summer, you will have room to continue serving them during the school year. It wouldn’t be fair to start working with new students who can’t continue in the fall due to after-school schedule limitations.
3. Group Offers
In addition to 1:1 tutoring, you may be thinking of running group offers this summer.
Groups have a lot of positives!
- Variety of scheduling options from 1-2 weeks to weekly sessions all summer long. You can create a schedule that works no matter what your summer looks like!
- A shorter duration means you don’t have to worry about if there are enough after-school hours to continue services in the fall.
- Working with a group usually makes it more affordable for parents.
- The community and collaboration aspect is appealing to students and parents.
- It can be a great “first step” for families to start working with you and then move to private tutoring once a positive relationship has been established.
- You can focus on skills (such as a multiplication camp, ramp-up-to-3rd-grade skills deep dive, essay-writing prep for high school, etc.) or you can focus on more “community” types of offers like writing clubs or book clubs.
Groups are an incredible way to diversify your offerings and expand your reach, but there are some challenges that come with running summer group programs.
- It is harder to fill a group than a private tutoring session. You need more marketing and outreach (especially if you do not already have an established business where your community knows about your services). Families have to have similar needs and interests and be able to follow the group schedule.
- You need to decide ahead of time how you will handle student absences since there will be a pace for group learning. Is regular attendance required? If they will be out of town, will you send materials to help them catch up?
- There may be challenges with finding a group meeting space (if meeting in person) or navigating group learning online if you don’t have previous experience.
If you are interested in making group offers a part of your services, it is worth the extra time and effort it may take (especially in the beginning) to get them off the ground. You may or may not fill up your groups as quickly as you’d like. But if you are committed to having group offers, doing the work, and don’t give up when challenges arise, the end rewards are worth it!
Now, Go Promote Your Summer Offers!
Now that you know what openings you have for new students and what group offerings you’ll have this summer, it’s time to spread the word!
Marketing is a long-term game. If this is your first time promoting your services, it may take a while. This is easier if people are used to hearing about the services you offer.
For support with marketing, check out our advertising basics of print, online outreach, social media, community outreach, and marketing strategy modules within our Member’s Academy!
Here are some tips and strategies to get you started!
First, think about the connections you ALREADY have…
- parents of current & former students
- after-school program leaders
- friends who are parents
- professionals that work with families
If you are just starting out, you need to take the scary step of actually SHARING what you are doing with people you know. This will often be your most SUCCESSFUL outreach method. The great thing about this is it is FREE.
Reach out individually (because these are people you have a relationship with). Share what you are doing, and see if they’d be willing to share it with anyone they know who may be a good fit.
To learn more about why community outreach is so important, read: 3 REASONS OUTREACH IS IMPORTANT TO YOUR TUTORING BUSINESS SUCCESS.
Also, make it easy for them to pass on your information! Attach a PDF flyer if sending an email or share with them the direct link to your social media post. Don’t forget to make these visually appealing! You can use a program like Canva.com.
Once you’ve reached out to people you know, think of groups where parents may be hanging out and ask the group leader/moderator if you could share about your offer. In some groups, this may not be allowed. But it’s worth asking about!
You may have the budget to invest in outreach. If you will be offering your services in person, think about purchasing some “lawn signs” that can go in heavy traffic areas and popular corners. Or, you can pay for an ad in a local newspaper, church bulletin, or hang flyers in libraries.
You can also invest in FB ads, but we want to caution you that there is a learning curve in doing this! You may want to work with a pro.