You can feel it coming. You really don’t like disappointing potential clients, but it’s becoming inevitable. Things are going great with your business, but you are getting to the point that now you are going to have to turn away students!
For a moment or two you contemplate about bringing someone on to work with you would be worth the extra hassle. But there are so many things to consider. Where do you begin?
It does to Monica F. She wrote to me a few weeks ago seeking help, “I know that hiring and managing a tutor under you can be done in many different ways. I have so many questions swirling around in my head. How much do I charge? How do I handle scheduling? What steps are necessary?
I wouldn't even be in this position if it weren't for you and all the work you've put in to help other tutors. I appreciate you!”
If you can relate to Monica, then this post is for you! I've provided a lot of information and steps to consider. As Monica mentioned, there are LOTS of ways to hire and manage tutors. If you have a different or better system, please share in the comments!
Is it time to hire?
My first gut reaction to this question is, “Maybe”. A lot of tutors make the mistake to go big prematurely when starting a tutor business. I’ve seen tutors rush out and start hiring other tutors to join them before they have proven that their business is sustainable. For some tutors it works out, but for many it brings on extra stress and financial burden. They begin to wonder things like, “when will I get paid for all the blood, sweat, and tears I’ve put in?”
So what should your business look like before you start to hire?
If your business is completely full and you anticipate starting a wait list or possibly already have a wait list, this is a good sign that it may be time to consider adding additional tutors. However, if this doesn’t occur until later in a school year, you may want to hold off as tutors tend to have seasonal work mostly. For example, hiring in March versus October are two different things. In March, we are winding down the school year and in October the school year is ramping up!
If your business is busy and booming because you are charging a really low rate, I want you to stop and reflect on your rate. As the business owner, I want you to make sure you are getting paid an adequate amount. If your goal is to keep rates as low as possible, then by all means proceed…but do so with caution. Having other tutors working for you increases liability, expenses, and the hassle factor.
How do you know if you are charging a rate that can support you, allow you to pay taxes, save, and manage time off? You need to have a plan for these things to occur. I highly recommend using my free pricing planner. You can learn how to use it and download it for free.
Click Here to Learn How to Choose a Rate that Meets Your Goals Here.
So my advice would be that if you are full and charging an appropriate price for your services (hint $20 per hour is typically not appropriate—watch video to learn why), then my tutor friend. It’s time to explore your options.
Advice from a Pro
I decided to bring back my father in-law, a retired businessman with the ability to tell it like it is. We did a video about sole-proprietorship and LLC’s earlier this year. I wanted him to share his wisdom on hiring before we jump into some of the steps you need to take to hire another tutor.
Disclaimer: These tips are only applicable to the United States. You should always consult with local government and/or an attorney before making any hiring decisions.
There are a few steps you need to take when hiring another tutor to work for you. I really want you to take your time researching these steps before you make the commitment to hire.
Step 1: Independent Contractor or Employee
Do you know you the difference between an independent contractor or an employee? There is a lot of gray area on distinguishing between a contractor and an employee. When you choose to hire an employee, it becomes your responsibility to withhold and pay taxes for this employee. Whereas an independent contractor takes care of taxes all by themselves.
Sounds like a simple choice right? Not so fast. The government can review your taxes and decide that the person you've claimed as an independent contractor is actually more like an employee and require you to pay back taxes. I do not want this to happen to you!
This is why studying the differences is a really important step when hiring another tutor. In the video, Jim mentioned that in the past there was a document called the Factor-20 Test that helped you decide if you were hiring an independent contractor or an employee. I also found a really helpful quiz that takes less than two minutes to help you decide which is best via Intuit.
In the video, Jim mentions that the 20-Factor Test is the old way the government handled assisting business owners with deciding whether to hire an independent contractor or employee. Now, they’ve created two books to make it more simplified. You'll want to read both of these documents to get clear on hiring:
According to these books, you need to consider these questions when hiring:
An employee is generally subject to the business' instructions about when, where, and how to work. All of the following are examples of types of instructions about how to do work.
- When and where to do the work.
- What tools or equipment to use.
- What workers to hire or to assist with the work.
- Where to purchase supplies and services.
- What work must be performed by a specified individual.
- What order or sequence to follow.
Tutor Ware also had some great tips to offer up about their experience with an audit back in 2007 for their contract tutors. Read their story here.
Hiring Takeaway Tip:
Do yourself a favor and take the time to read Publication 15 and 15-A
This is where is can get real messy. Let’s look at a possible scenario, if you are a dyslexia tutor and wanted to expand, you would need to hire an employee because you would be requiring them to use your curriculum (OG Method or Barton) to perform the work.
Step 2: Create Systems to Lower the Hassle Factor
As you think more about having another tutor working for you, it becomes apparent that you’ll need a system of some sort to help you and your help work together in harmony, otherwise things can get messy fast! This system is called onboarding.
Onboarding is all the steps taken from initial contact to the first tutor session. Let’s look at an example for a dyslexia tutor to help us grasp how an onboarding system can help us communicate better and instill trust in both the tutor working for you and your clients.
Notice in the graphic how I list an action, a frequency, and method of delivery. This helps me see where I can use a human touch and where technology can assist.
Some of the tasks are repeated, which would lend itself well to using software whereas initial contact is best done over the phone.
As you can see, having a good blend of human contact and software can make for a great onboarding system. You’ll be able to lower your hassle factor and increase trust with your hired tutor and clients. Here are some suggested software for helping you build your onboarding system:
- Contact forms
- Phone number
- Google Voice: Use if you’d like to keep your phone number private
- Business Number: Get a separate line for business only
Gather Student Information
- Paper and Pencil
- Good old fashion communication. Grab a pencil and paper. Write down info as you talk during the initial phone call
Policies help you communicate how you would like to be treated. If you already have policies, make sure to update them to include the expectations for your newly hired tutor. Need help with policies? Be sure to explore the Profitable Tutor Framework.
- Send an email with an attachment
- Send a link to a Google Doc with policies
- Page with policies listed
- Adobe DC
- Gather info and sign for agreement to policies with DC
I suggest you being the designated person to receive funds for tutoring. Also, it helps if you collect multiple tutor sessions in advance to help build a cushion for you to pay your hired tutor.
- Printable form to mail check if needed
- Check with your bank to see if they have an online payment system you can use
Does this step require you to schedule a visit? How will you take care of this? Refer to scheduling sections for options.
- Your own methods
- Let’s Go Learn
Call the tutor and schedule a time to go over results then, schedule or assign the tutor in a system
- Tutor Panel (tutor management system)
- TutorCruncher (tutor management system)
- Google Sheets
- Paper planner
Review Results with Client
Schedule a time to talk via the phone or video chat about the results. Email any necessary reports to the potential client. Share with them the next steps for working with your hired tutor
Schedule Tutor Sessions
After you discuss those results, point your client to where they can consistently make appointments with their tutor.
Where are tutor session’s occurring? In your office? At the library or school? Be careful about dictating where tutoring occurs if you have an independent contractor. You cannot tell them where they need to work. They must decide a location on their own.
Pay the Hired Tutor
How much do you decide to pay a hired tutor? What additional expenses do you have because you have hired someone? Lucky for you, I found a great payroll calculator. This will help you play with the numbers until you find a rate that seems doable for you.
How often will you pay your hired tutor? Twice a month? Monthly? If you decided that you are hiring an employee, you’ll need to hold back some money to file taxes in behalf of your employee. There are services that can help you with this.
Gusto.com (that's what I use at MFM)
- Local payroll
- Search for a local payroll service to help you. They handle taxes and paychecks for a fee
- Online service that provides tax and paycheck support
- Business Banking
- Write the check yourself
Hiring Takeaway Tip:
Embrace that Owning a Business Means WORK!
I am thrilled that you are busy enough to warrant hiring other tutors to work for you. But if you're going down this path, you've got to embrace the extra work this will bring to your life. Being a business owner does require you to put in a lot of hours, but as you put systems in place you'll be able to step back and enjoy your business more.
Step 3: Write a Job Description and Find a Candidate Tutor
You’re a busy tutor, you want to hire someone that takes things off your plate and doesn’t create more hassle for you. How can this tutor help you? What kind of relationship do you envision having? Brainstorm all the ways this tutor can help you. Using this storm of ideas, write a job description.
- Job Description
- What jobs do I want them to take on? (make a list)
Get some other friends or family to read your job description. Is everything clear? Next, work on finding that perfect candidate.
- Find the Candidate
- Hire page on website
- Write a blog post with your job description in it. Tell interested tutors how to get in touch with you
- Have a hiring page and an always open way to apply
- Temp Agency
- These types of companies can help take some of the risk of hiring and the hassle out of your life. For a fee, they handle payroll and paperwork while you try out working with this new tutor hire
- How do they apply?
- Hire page on website
Step 4: Interview and Background Check
Keep your job posting open for no longer than a month and then review the candidates. Select your top five favorite and then set up interviews. Look for tutors that have a love for learning, the qualifications you are looking for, and the ability to be quick on their feet. Pay attention to your gut feeling. If something doesn’t feel right…it isn’t! Don’t hire them.
Next do a background check on the tutors you are most interested in hiring. There are plenty of services out there willing to help with this. Contact your local Department of Labor for suggestions and other tips for hiring.
Hiring Takeaway Tip:
Contact your local Department of Labor for details about hiring in your state.
They'll be able to guide you in current laws that are specific to your city and state. As well as help you get all the paperwork completed correctly. Choosing if you are hiring an independent contractor or an employee will help simplify all decisions from here on out.
Step 5: Hire and Sign Contract
You’ll need a W2 or a 1099 form when hiring your tutors. These help you file the appropriate taxes. Refer to those books, Publication 15 and 15-A to make sure you’ve got it all. Make a packet of items you need to help things go smoothly. Does this include setting them up in a schedule system? A calendar?
In this packet of paperwork, you’ll want to include a contract. The contract will look different depending on if you decide to hire an independent contractor or an employee. I really like to use Rocket Lawyer for forms such as this because they have state specific forms! I typically purchase the forms rather than setting up an account. I’ve bought contract forms for as little as $5.
After all the paperwork is done. You’ll want to give your tutor a brief orientation about your business. Provide them with an employee handbook that gives them details about how to handle different situations in your business. Specify in this handbook how often they’ll get paid and also what kind of notice you’ll need if they decide to quit.
Step 6: Keep Them Happy
Now, this step may seem obvious. But hiring employees can cost you money. If you can manage to keep them happy, they’ll be a great asset to your business. How can you convey that they are an integral part of your business? What actions can you take to make them feel involved?
Perhaps you could do some of these actions:
- Have a monthly meal out together to discuss students
- Call or email them weekly to check in on their progress
- Give them incentives for bringing in new clients
- Involve them in marketing efforts
- Pay for additional training for them
- Celebrate their birthdays
As if this post didn’t have enough, I found even more items for you to reference in your quest to hire another tutor.
- Why it Pays to Hire
- W2 or 1099 (the different between contractor and employees)
- Make Payroll Easy
- All That Government Stuff
- Free Hiring Guide
Does all of this overwhelm you? Don’t worry. I saved my best hiring takeaway tip for last.
Hiring Takeaway Tip:
Reach out to Score.org counselors and other business owners
You are not alone in this adventure of business. By looking for help on a local level, you'll be able to get a better sense of what hiring an employee looks like in your hometown. Don't be shy to ask other owners in similar industries like yours how they handle these issues. Reach out to other service oriented business owners.
Have you hired a tutor to work with you? I'd love to hear about it. Leave me a comment below and tell me more about your system.