Does Tutoring Promote Dependency?


In most cases it does…but it shouldn’t.

There’s two sides of tutoring: education and finances.

Like any business, without income you have a hobby.

Private in-home tutors can charge a lot, but it’s hard to acquire customers.

Tutoring companies hire tons of tutors, but pay them poorly.

You may be asking yourself, “what does money have to do with dependency?


Sales drive a business so without them you’re dead. Most tutors (educators at heart) are motivated intrinsically to help students. Unfortunately a lot of large tutoring companies take advantage of them by paying a low percentage. The dilemma for tutors is: stay on my own and make more, but struggle with getting new clients OR join a company where the flow of customers is high, yet get paid a fraction of a cost. (see personal trainers at the gym)

Managing tutors at a test prep company put me in the shoes of a tutor. That’s why I shared what I did in my last post. The company needs to make a decision: do we do what’s best for the student or company?

The former means less income and the latter means more.

The former means less hours and the latter means more.

The former focuses on independence and latter focuses on dependence.

Up-selling is important, but manipulating parents with fear shouldn’t be the primary sales tactic. Do what’s best for the student, period. That can be interpreted as counterintuitive business advice, but it comes back to your focus: independence or dependence.

As a former youth director when it comes to working with teens it’s much easier to “do things” for them, because it’s faster and more efficient. But you have to ask yourself: what is the goal?

As a parent of a teenager if you want to teach your son/daughter independence through giving them responsibility you have to coach them.

Essentially that means show them, then let them do it. Early on it can mean failing or taking longer, but in the end you’ve given them a skill (tool) to succeed later in life.

We’ve taken that same coaching philosophy at Growing Forward Academy. Our tutors suggest a certain amount of hours to work with a student, but ultimately it’s the parent’s decision what they want to pay. We’re forthcoming about less than recommended hours may result in lower outcomes, but it’s very important to us that the families we’re serving know we have the best interest in mind for their kids.

It may not be the smartest business decision to make as a company, but since we value relationships over everything else: we choose people over profit any day.

Published by

Scott Asai

Helping people develop their leadership skills to advance in their career

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