Feb 27, 2018
Tutors can reach out to students’ schools to develop a professional relationship with their classroom educators, and gain a valuable source of future students for tutoring.
Tutors have plenty of resources to advertise their services and attract new clients in the digital age, from old standbys like the community posting boards at your local coffee shops and libraries to using social media and job posting websites like Craigslist.
The surest way to gain new clients is to build a solid referral network. Once your tutoring business is up and running, your current students (and parents) are your professional champions. Do well, and client testimonials and referrals will do the work of growing your business organically.
Tutors aren’t limited to word-of-mouth from current or past clients, or the hope that someone will notice your colorful ads at the local Starbucks. By contacting local schools, you can reach deep wells of potential clientele. Here’s how to start building those affiliate relationships with schools—and keep those referrals coming.
An affiliate relationship with a school is one in which a tutor has created a personal relationship with administrators and educators whom, when a need for tutoring is identified, will refer students and their parents your way. For tutors who are also teachers, the affiliate school might be one’s place of employment, and where your potential source of referrals are your colleagues.
But for tutors outside of the education system, the first step is groundwork.
Identify first what and who you’re going to tutor. Are you a math tutor for middle schoolers? An American History tutor for high schoolers? Or solely focused on test prep?
Then it’s a question of where you’re going to tutor: aka, finding your affiliate schools.
Draw up a list of schools near your home or workspace, or if you’re willing to travel, within a convenient radius. If you’re not familiar with your area, go to www.greatschools.org and type in your zip code to find local schools (as well as useful intel on local schools, like AP course offerings and student performance).
If you’re a teacher, the first step to start the relationship is talking to your school administrators and colleagues, who can refer students your way. For other tutors, all it takes is an introductory email addressed to the school’s principal or an appropriate administrator (for instance, if the school has a dedicated after-school programs director).
Your introductory email should include basic information about your tutoring—for example, what subjects and age brackets you tutor—and a copy of your resume/CV, highlighting your education and professional qualifications.
Having students from the same school will allow you to build familiarity with the school curriculum and their teachers, too. Reach out to teachers to discuss students’ progress and identify areas where your tutoring could further support learning in the classroom.
Stay in regular contact with your affiliate schools. By developing a relationship with teachers and school administrators, you’ll increase chances of a word-of-mouth referral. If you have a regular email bulletin or listserv for providing updates to clientele, add your affiliate school contacts as well. The more you stay on their radar, the more likely you’ll get those referrals.