Starting a tutoring business is a low cost way to make a difference in a student’s life and earn some extra cash. Maybe you are a retired teacher or you left the profession to stay at home with the kids. You could be a part-time educator, or someone who feels you have the patience and passion to make a great tutor. Whatever your background, here are some tips for getting your own tutoring business off the ground:

Have a plan

Figure out which subjects you are most passionate and knowledgeable about. Identify areas of specialization and be willing to brush up on your subject. You may have been great at math in high school, but if you have a college degree in English, you might feel more comfortable proofing papers than solving proofs. Would you consider getting into the exam prep field? See if you want or need certification. Once you decide on your subjects, narrow your focus to a specific age group. You can always make modifications to your target group. Have an idea of the type of student you want to tutor. Are you qualified as a special education tutor?

Specify your services
Will you turn this into a full time job, or limit your services to after school hours? Would you agree to tutor students who are missing school due to illness or injury? You might have to start out by going to the student’s house for tutoring sessions. Decide how far you are willing to travel, and evaluate each client individually. Would the trip to his or her house be worth the cost and time? It is often ideal to tutor on your home turf. Set up a comfortable space with proper lighting to use for tutoring. Keep it clean and organized, but welcoming and conducive to learning. Make sure you can arrange for your house to be quiet during the sessions. Also have a realistic idea of how many students you will be able to tutor in one day.

One of the trickiest parts of establishing your own tutoring business is figuring out how much to charge. You don’t want your fee to be too high or too low. Do your research to see what the tutoring market is like where you live and how much of a demand there is for your specific specialties. Scope out your competition and see what they charge. Think about establishing a cancellation policy.

Market yourself
Get your name out there. Let your friends and family members know about your startup. Talk to the principals of your local schools to make them aware of your services. Hand out flyers at PTA meetings or post them around your community. You can also advertise on Craigslist.

The sessions
Decide on how you want to run your sessions when you get your first client. Set rules and stay on task. On a case-by-case basis, establish goals with the student and his or her parents. Understand why his or her parents hired you in the first place, and what kind of progress they expect over a specific period of time. Decide on the best way to communicate with each set of parents. See if it is okay to contact the student’s teacher. See if the student would benefit more from you helping them with homework or assigning additional work.

Keep track of the work done in every session and the progress that is made. The more organized you are, the more helpful you will be to the student. Also keep tabs on payments. Establish your own goals and business objections for your services. Be patient, and treat each child and their family with kindness and respect.