Private tutoring suggestions: standard rates, auto entrepreneur and more

Hello,

I’m starting to give private tutoring in Paris, but I’ve taught in classrooms in the US before and also tutored privately for quite some time. I’m tutoring mostly in math, stats and sometimes also in English as a second language (ESL), and I wonder how much I should charge them to begin with? I understand once you established a solid student base in a city and people know you a bit, you can go for a higher rate, but what if you don’t have that kind of base? I often tend to think that 20€ per hour is the minimum, but it seems a lot of people in or around Paris are willing to go upto 15€ per hour only, which seems a bit too low. BTW: I’m mostly talking here about not taking the fee via an organization, but rather privately, but I’ve also opened an account in a company that hires such professional tutors. So your suggestions regarding both of these options (private payment and regular employee as a “soutien scolaire”) would be welcome!

Next, I tend to think that if I’ve to travel to the student, then I should be charged for the total time including the lesson time as well as the commute time, because to and fro often would take an hour or even more. So it makes sense to add to the actual lesson time, the time to commute at least one way as well as the public transport costs both ways (which is 1,90€ x 2=3,80€). Do you think it’s justified or am I asking for too much?

Secondly, when they say “cours d’essai”, is it always meant to be free?! I normally give upto 30 minutes free for them to decide, when I tutor online.

Next, on a different topic, do you think having an auto entrepreneur status might help if I want to tutor more students, specially with the different academies that hire “soutien scolaire”?

Thanks and looking forward to your input!

I think €15 is too low, particularly when you pay your cotisations you end up with closer to €10. Plus there is prep time / printing etc.

Could you get your students to come to you? Or do it online? That would take out the travel time issue. I’m pondering the same thing for a family that lives outside the village, about 15 minutes each way.

I’m setting up a ME for any private students. If I do manage to get work with the academy that would be paid as an employee.

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Thank you for your input. I’m seriously thinking about setting up AE, but you mentioned ME - do you think they’d work equally well for private tutions?

So the jobs I mentioned in my post above was still mostly not using any system like AE/ME/CESU etc., bit rather getting connected by a site like AlloVoisins, exchanging contacts and go from there - so I’d not have to pay taxes for it. I’ll add this bit in my OP. With that give, is 20€/hour too high and 15€/hour too low?

I’m really writing explicitly about online tutoring in all the suggestions I send to potential students, but I get a feeling that the parents or the students aren’t really comfortable with this online trend - despite Covid. Another option, as you said, is to get the students come to me, but if I’ve almost always seen on AlloVoisins that the students or their parents want private tutoring at their places - but yes, in come cases, I did get the students (most of them 20+ years of age) to come to me.

I charge a lot compared to the 10€ an hour brigade because A) it’s my livelihood and I have to earn a living B) it’s almost impossible to bill 35 hours a week plus as a tutor C) I don’t want kids or beginners and company owners / professionals are happy to pay more D) if you charge peanuts people generally assume you are providing a bog standard service.

So my advice is whilst it can seem a bit scary, aim high and set your rates accordingly.

Good luck!

Ps I now only do online / or the students come to me / and only if it is absolutely convenient and not going to impact on my earning schedule will I go to them.

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Thanks for your reply Catherine! Yes I agree that aiming high and setting my rate high are good ideas as you mentioned. But then I’d like to ask a few follow-up questions:

  1. What subjects do you teach? I’m guessing you’ve teaching certifications in them; I don’t have certification in math or English, although I’ve advanced degree in math with five years of classroom teaching in the US and also a C2 proficiency certificate in English. Obtaining teaching certificates seem quite time consuming and also expensive (the good ones sell at hundreds or thousands of $/€) - so that might defeat the purpose of private tutoring unless one has a lot of students.

  2. I did see you mention company owners / professionals, whom I’d be happy to teach, but it seems you’re talking about teaching business English to them - are there other topics that these grown up professionals might want to learn? I can surely teach/tutor math and selected part of stats all the way to graduate courses, but it seems no takers.

  3. I also noted your point of online tutoring - that’d be fantastic, but how do you do it? I know that it’s pretty easy to set up a website with e.g. wordpress etc. and add lectures to it, but the question is how to get it noticed? Facebook of Google ads etc. are not for common people unless one has mastered how to optimize search engine appearances of their site or their youtube channels. So I’d be grateful to know a bit more detail on how you set up your online tutoring sites, and more importantly, get people to notice that site.

  4. I’m using all the standard channels like SuperProf., PrePly, AlloVoisins, and starting to apply as soutien scolaire to several companies, but the progress is very slow. Do you’ve any recommendations for sites where I don’t have to pay a ton of money (so, unlike Star of Service - costing 95€/month) to get premium, in order to get students? Or perhaps any other ideas?

Thanks again!!

A lot of people who provide personal services define a zone where there is no additional charge, and then add a modest per km fee above that which allows for time and travel costs. Or perhaps if you are in a city like paris then do it by metro zones. If you do it by real travel costs and time you could end up with endless arguments with your clients who tell you they could have done the journey quicker/cheaper.

And you ask about AE status. What are you doing at present about paying cotisations and tax? Have you set up a business with SIRET/SIREN number? If you are essentially working under the table be very careful, especially if you are advertising your services.

That of course is the advantage of working through other who organise that for you.

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Good advice.

AE (autoentrepreunueur) is the old word - it is now called a Micro-Entreprise (ME) so it is the same thing.

Thanks Cat, really good advice. I just need to start getting some feet through the door first!

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I’m initializing my process of setting up a business - I’ll ask a question regarding this later. Thanks!

Hiya and apologies for the delayed reply but I’ve been away and am now away again! Anyway for the sake of clarity, I’ve replied to your points below.

  • What subjects do you teach? I’m guessing you’ve teaching certifications in them; I don’t have certification in math or English, although I’ve advanced degree in math with five years of classroom teaching in the US and also a C2 proficiency certificate in English. Obtaining teaching certificates seem quite time consuming and also expensive (the good ones sell at hundreds or thousands of $/€) - so that might defeat the purpose of private tutoring unless one has a lot of students.

I teach academic English / business English and general conversational English, with some additional specialist stuff, plus Toeic preparation. I don’t have a TEFL or CELTA - I was going to do something but halfway through doing the TEFL I was already getting inundated with work and never finished it. I do however have a fairly ok academic background which has probably carried me through in terms of qualifications.

  • I did see you mention company owners / professionals , whom I’d be happy to teach, but it seems you’re talking about teaching business English to them - are there other topics that these grown up professionals might want to learn? I can surely teach/tutor math and selected part of stats all the way to graduate courses, but it seems no takers.
    Presentation skills / negotiation skills / etc? Think about what you know about and what you would feel comfortable tutoring in?

  • I also noted your point of online tutoring - that’d be fantastic, but how do you do it? I know that it’s pretty easy to set up a website with e.g. wordpress etc. and add lectures to it, but the question is how to get it noticed? Facebook of Google ads etc. are not for common people unless one has mastered how to optimize search engine appearances of their site or their youtube channels. So I’d be grateful to know a bit more detail on how you set up your online tutoring sites, and more importantly, get people to notice that site.

I do online stuff for the CCI and various other ‘centres de formation’ and the rest has come about through word of mouth.

  • I’m using all the standard channels like SuperProf., PrePly, AlloVoisins, and starting to apply as soutien scolaire to several companies, but the progress is very slow. Do you’ve any recommendations for sites where I don’t have to pay a ton of money (so, unlike Star of Service - costing 95€/month) to get premium, in order to get students? Or perhaps any other ideas?

I started with Superprof . Le bon coin is another option. I wouldn’t dismiss a FB page and advert either as it’s fairly simple to do and very targeted.

Hope this helps and if you have any more questions , just shout. Good luck!

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Most “soutien scolaire” has a going rate of about 15€/h around here (Auvergne), which is pretty low, especially if you have to travel to the homes of the school age students. It seems difficult to get more than that, as parents often have an underrated evaluation of the commercial value of teaching in general (ask any state registered teacher whether they feel valued…)

CCI rates seem to be being dragged downwards as well. Currently, the going rate for working for the local CCI language department seems to have been dragged down to about 11-12€/h for blended learning courses, which is in line with other online teaching platforms. Physical presence teaching gets paid at about 18-20€/h.

Private business schools and universities pay a higher hourly rate (38-46€/h), usually aligned to some national higher education pay grid scale for different types of teaching (cours magistral, travaux dirigés, travaux pratique, tutorat, etc). However, the general trend is downwards, as the online teaching market through larg(er) organisations negotiate and snaffle contracts from each other at cut-throat prices.

With your specialisation in maths and stats, you might be better off financially looking at teaching in unis or business schools.

As an aside, many universities, and quite a few business schools, employ teachers on an ad hoc basis, as “vacataires”. These are contracts that are deemed seasonal, even though, they are not, as they are usually repeated year on year, from September to May, and often even through the summer period (summer schools, tutoring, internships, etc), and many of the employers using such vacataire contracts are exploiting a somewhat dubious “oversight” in employment law to allow them to maintain people in precarious employment over decades, with no possibility for the employee to evolve, or even obtain a pay rise, no paid holiday (or an insufficient payment), no sick pay, no access to staff benefits (meal tickets, union representation), etc. As a vacataire, you can also be dismissed on the spot, with no notice (this has happened to someone I know teaching at a university).
Having sussed that these employers are borderline with the French Employment Code, and some of them having been sued at the employment tribunal and lost, quite a few are now “requiring” these vacataires to become autoentrepreneurs, or employees of an umbrella organisation such as a SCOP (who then becomes their principal employer), with a non-negotiable billable hourly rate that shifts all of the financial burden onto the teacher.
As an employer in the private sector, subject to stringent employment laws, I find the whole outsourced language teaching organisation of universities and affiliated business schools quite shocking. Their practices would be severely frowned upon in any normally run business subject to private law, and have employment lawyers banging their heads against the wall in dread, or rubbing their hands in glee, depending on which side they represented. The only reason there are not more cases brought before the employment tribunal is because these employers hold sway over the precarity of employment that they wield with regard to their “employees”. If you sue such an employer, then you might as well be prepared to not find similar work in that region again (and that is a threat they will level at you, should you dare stick your head above the parapet.)

Apologies for the slightly veering off-topic rant, but I felt it important to point out the wider, and oft ignored picture, of teaching as a non-state registered teacher in France.

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Not at all, was very interesting as this is the area I’m hoping to get into.

I’m reading with interest your replies as well Cat - thanks! Out of interest I’m looking at what code I need to use, would 8559B Autres Enseignements be correct? I also want to have the flexibility of doing document checking / bi-lingual websites etc so thought of also using 9003B Autres créations artistiques to cover any other bits. What are your thoughts on this? Do you know what code you are under?

Sorry - another question that will also apply to the OP. Can anyone recommend a good insurance for tutoring (preferably the cheapest as currently only have about 4 students!). @Alex_Thurgood @cat @fabien

Sorry @toryroo can’t help you with that, really not my area !

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When I first set up I was advised by the NUJ to be a ‘conseil en communication’ - not sure what the code is but I can check when I get home (in the UK at the moment) but this basically covers a multitude of sins,

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Hi, for the moment, I don’t have regular students but I’ve been with the basic plan of MGEN for nearly two years now and I pay roughly 35€/month, if that answers your question at all. I’ve been on and off jobs in these two years.

Thanks for sharing this information - honestly I didn’t even know anything about it. I read it, and might ask a few questions in the future. But for now, just to check - when you say “non-state registered teacher” do you mean someone who didn’t pass the CAPES or CAFEP yet and hence haven’t obtained the formal license?

Thanks for the suggestion in teaching in universities or business schools, but do you mean in their postes vacataires or as a regular/permanent teacher/lecturer? I’m guessing you didn’t mean the position “enseignant chercheur/maître des conférences”, which is a mixed teaching-research position? Honestly, I’m still getting to know the French academia for teaching, so what’re the options for getting a permanent teaching job (say in math) in a university? The rectorat is there for teaching in schools, right? I’ll ask a detailed question about this later, in a separate post - I’m being a bit confused between the roles of recorat, and educational nationale - I know they’re all related to teaching, but I’m confused who recruits which groups.

Yes, but see also this website, which explains how you can become a replacement teacher, for example in a lycée, without having had to sit any of the state concours.
With regard to teaching in universities, I meant only as a vacataire, not any of the other positions, which are hard to come by and have a separate selection/recruitment process (as far as I know), and according to this website.
The “académie”, when talking about the national education system, is a public (civil service) regional organisation that is headed up by a “recteur” - here is a link to an organigram for the Académie of Clermont Ferrand, which covers 4 départements (03, 63, 43, 15), with an explanation here. The rector is essentially the representation/delegation of the Ministry for Education at a regional level, one might loosely equate that to the Préfet de Police and his/her relation to the Ministry of Justice.

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Hi, is this is for public tutoring or can it be private? Basically are you employed (CDI or CDD) or working as a micro entreprise for various employers?

If employed you’re covered but your contract already, no need for insurance, if ME then we have flat rates policies that are usually 199e per year for ME.

Let me know if you need more information?

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Hi Fabien, I’ve a follow up (perhaps elementary) question on what you wrote. So if I create an ME for myself, I’d have to pay 199€/year, but for what mutuelle? Currently I’m paying 35€/month so the option you mentioned is definitely cheaper, but my question is: whom do I pay that 199€/year to? I’m guessing not to the mutuelle directly but to a third party who’ll organize the mutuelle for me…?