Thinking about hiring a private tutor but need to find something that won't break your budget? Any investment in education always pays off, but all those private lessons can quickly add up!

Tutoring rates and teaching approaches can vary due to a few factors: for example, whether the student is an adult learner, a university student or in primary or secondary school. The kind of work will affect the approach and how much the tutor will charge - are you looking for tutoring services to help you understand your homework, or to prepare for a big exam?

As a rule of thumb, the higher your level in the subject (whether that's Spanish, German, English, science, geography, math...) the more you can expect to pay. Basic grammar with a French tutor will cost less than an advanced business French class for professionals!

With so many options out there, how can you figure out a fair price that won't break the budget?

To give you a ballpark figure for what you can expect to pay per hour, here is the average cost of one-hour tutoring sessions for different subjects on offer in Sydney:

  • Maths: $29
  • Physics: $29
  • French: $35
  • Biology: $28
  • Philosophy: $39
  • History: $32
  • Design: $46
  • Computer Science: $31

In this article, we'll show you our best tips to save on your private lessons!

Save On Tutoring Rates with Group Tutorials

Signing up to group tutorials can be easier on your wallet, and comes with a host of other benefits:

Generally, the rate per hour will:

  • be divided evenly between the students, so each of you gets a discount
  • or you'll all received a reduced rate (ie. a tutor who normally teaches one-on-one for $50 per hour might take on a group of 5 students for $15 each)

Either way, you're bound to save on the financial side of things, and you can work effectively in a group setting whilst the educator gives individualised feedback.

Group lessons can also help with motivation as groups of students learning together can pool their study skills and inspire each other in their learning journeys. Parents may also like to hire one tutor for multiple children to keep the costs down.

Can you have tutoring sessions from the comfort of your own home?

But of course! By organising group tutoring in your home, you can reduce the overall cost.

If you and your friends all live far apart, you can always look for a tutor on Superprof who offers webcam tutorials!

Thanks to the magic of the internet, online tutoring can take place by video-conferencing with other students.

Even if a tutor doesn't explicitly offer group tutorials on their profile, there is no harm in asking!

Spread Out Your Private Lessons

To truly master a subject, you need to study regularly for months or years. If you're in this for the long haul and want to get your 10,000 hours, prioritise routine over intensive learning and schedule lessons less regularly to save money.

To set up a schedule that works for both the tutor and the client, it's important to plan ahead. Here are a few key questions you should ask  in your first session:

  • What's your availability? (holidays, evenings, weekends)?
  • What's your approach to tutoring?
  • Can less regular academic coaching sessions over a longer period be effective?
  • How often should we schedule tutorials?
scheduling your private tutorials
For best results, schedule your private tutorials in advance. (Source: Virtue Digest)

As long as you are focused in each class, and keep up the hard work in between, less regular sessions (say every two weeks or once per month) can still be very effective!

The aim is to make the most out of each tutorial, rather than relying on tiring intensive study.

This method can be very effective for teenage and adult learners, but if you're looking for lessons for a young child, weekly is still generally best for their growing brains.

Prepare Between Your Private Tutorials

Use it or lose it! The secret to academic success is to work hard and to work smart.

A private teacher upholds their end of the agreement by providing top-notch, tailored tutoring, but the best tutor in the world will struggle to teach an unwilling student.

The best way to get bang for your buck with tutorials is to put in the work in between.

In order to provide academic support and help you learn a certain curriculum, your tutor will generally give you tailored exercises to complete between lessons. To make the most of your lessons, you need to get on top of this extra work outside class.

If you keep up the work in between, you'll spend a lot less time catching up, and more time learning new things!

Working on your own isn't just limited to academic subjects - if you hire a sports coach, they'll also showing you stretching or lifting techniques, or tailor a routine for you to follow on your own.

Sports Tutorials in Australia
Train outside your tutorials to get the most benefit for your investment. (Source: Pop Psychology)

There are plenty of one-on-one fitness trainers with profiles on Superprof. Here are the average fees per hour for some common disciplines in Sydney:

  • Personal training: $43
  • Tennis: $60
  • Swimming: $43
  • Martial Arts: $43
  • Yoga: $61

Handy hint: Look for tutors who offer a discount if you buy 10 lessons in advance - you can find this on the pricing section of their Superprof profile.

Hire An Expert Who Is Is New To Teaching

One-on-one tutoring can be an important investment in your future career, and learning a new skill is great for your brain health and general well-being.

But accessing top-quality, experienced professionals doesn't come cheap - as with any service, you get what you pay for. With this in mind, you may need to make some compromises.

For example, you won't find in-home tutors with PhDs working for $20 per hour - generally, the best, most highly-qualified tutors will command the highest rates.

However, depending on your needs, a younger tutor with less experience could be a great fit for you. You can save money, as their rates are generally lower.

Plus, they can bring a lot of passion for the subject, can be very approachable and are often great at motivating children. Also, younger tutors are generally recent grads or still university students themselves, and bring a unique perspective to the learning experience.

At Superprof, we love rising stars. Many talented, knowledge people get their start in tutoring through our platform.

Can I learn music at home?
Try hiring a younger tutor to inspire your young musician at home - and save money! (Source: National Geographic)

You can filter tutors on Superprof by the levels they teach (beginner, intermediate, advanced), and then you can browse their individual profiles to investigate their qualifications, experience and teaching history.

Then simply get in touch with someone who looks promising!

Bonus: many newer tutors offer a free consultation, or even their first hour for free, there's no risk to you if things don't work out!

Some Side Effects To Consider When Paying Less

When it comes to tutoring, does a reduced rate always mean reduced quality?

This is always a risk when you spend money: whether you hire a highly-qualified and expensive tutor or a cheaper newbie, there's no guarantee that you two will click.

Prices for private tuition can vary a lot, and if you're looking to pay less, you may have to compromise on teaching experience or the amount of individual attention you're receiving.

If you're paying $20-$40 per hour, don't expect your tutor to come to your house (unless they live on your street!) as they'll be shelling out half their rate on petrol.

You may also need to allow some flexibility with scheduling, especially if you're hiring a university student for tutoring. Their timetable may change across the school year and from one semester to another, and they can't always offer tutorials at the same time each week.

Reduce your tutoring rates
Stay flexible with your schedule if you hire a university student. (Source: Journalism Research News)

In terms of tutoring quality, there are a few factors to consider.

If you need a tutor to help you or your child with a national curriculum, there are generally fewer risks as tutors can follow the guidelines set out by the high school.

Younger tutors need to start somewhere! But many younger tutors are already working towards becoming teachers, lecturers or academic tutors within a university.

With sporting tutors, you shouldn't expect a "lower-cost" sports coach to provide all the equipment - you'll need to bring your own mat, dumbbells, weights etc.

If, after your first lesson, you find that your tutor isn't what you expected, or you two simply don't "click", there's no obligation to continue. Since the first hour or consultation is often free, you can try a few different tutors and see if a younger, less-experienced or low-cost tutor is right for you.

At Superprof, you can try out lessons with tutors who are "rising stars", sign up for group lessons (at your home or online!) or benefit from a discount if you purchase 10 lessons in a row.

So what are you waiting for? Draw up your budget and start contacting tutors today!

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Erin is an Australian musician, writer and francophile living in France.