The name you choose for your tutoring business will have a big impact on your results. It's an important choice to make so in this guide we will look at how to choose a good name for your tutoring business.
We will also look at why a lot of the advice you hear about business names can hurt your results.
Update: the fact that this article is the most popular article on this site is deeply concerning. Choosing a name for your tutoring business is significantly less important than other things you could be doing, yet it appears a lot of tutors are spending a significant amount of time trying to pick the 'best' name.
If you have been thinking about a business name for more than one day, you're spending too much time on it. Read through this guide to choose a name, then move on to more important areas such as setting up a website to attract students and creating a business plan.
AAA+ Success Cliché Tutors
If you have been searching for tutoring business name ideas or creative tutoring business names, you would have seen how many lists and ideas are floating around online. There are even business name generators that can give you 'creative' name ideas for your business.
Here are some random business name ideas we found after a quick search:
- ABC Tutoring
- Straight A Tutors
- Precision Academy
- AAA Success Tutoring
- Academic Advantage Tutoring
- Brilliant Minds Tutoring
- Ace Tutoring
- Acceler8 Tutors
What do you think about these names? Are they creative? Do they communicate success?
At first glance they may appear like good ideas, but in reality these type of business names are terrible.
Let's look at why these names are so bad to make sure you can avoid the bad names for your tutoring business:
The Yellow Pages Effect
You might have noticed that a lot of tutors start their business name with something like 'ABC', 'AAA', 'A+', etc. The reason a lot of tutors named their businesses that way was due to print advertising. In the past when the Yellow Pages or newspaper classifieds were the most common form of advertising (tip: they don't work anymore), listings were sorted alphabetically. That means any listing starting with A would show up first. Showing up first in a listing meant you had a far higher chance of winning business as many people would only look at the first few listings. So people would name their tutoring businesses 'ABC Tutors' or similar. Then other tutors would one-up them by naming their business 'AA Tutors', then 'AAA Tutors', and so on.
The problem is that it's no longer an advantage to start your business name with an A because online search listings (the most important source of referrals) aren't alphabetically sorted. So 'AAA Tutors' suddenly loses it's advantage and 'XYZ Tutors' would be just as effective. Don't name your business starting with an 'A' because it's an outdated practice. The only time it's relevant is if your name starts with an A (eg: Angela), you teach a subject starting with A (eg: Algebra) or your live in a town starting with an A (eg: Abbeville).
Some of the business names are obviously cliché such as 'ABC Tutors' or 'Straight A Tutoring'. The problem with a cliché business name is it doesn't set you apart from the crowd. When every tutor tries to out-do each other with their creative names, nobody stands out. The extra risk with a cliché business name is that people may avoid choosing you simply because the name is too cliché.
Success words don't add to your credibility
You will read a lot of advice from people suggesting that you should add 'success' words to your business name such as 'Advantage', 'Precision', 'A+'. The basic idea is that if you have a name that communicates success, students or parents are more likely to choose you. While that sounds great in theory, what about the real world? We've run tests and experiments over the years and success words don't add to a tutors credibility. For reasons we will cover later on, 'Sally Smith Math Tutoring' is actually far more likely to be effective than 'A+ Advantage Tutoring'.
This advice goes against what you will read on other websites. They will encourage you to add in success words and will give you a theory on why it's a good idea. The difference here is that we test our theories out in the real world. Don't add success words to your tutoring business name - it doesn't work.
If you haven't heard of SEO before, it stands for Search Engine Optimization. It's a technical term for how optimized your website is and how easily people can find you in search engines. To learn about SEO and why it's important for your success as a tutor, read our SEO Basics for Tutors article. The reality is that creative tutoring names are terrible for SEO purposes. That means if you use a creative business name, you're far less likely to show up in search engines when potential students look for tutors.
Having a creative tutoring business name will actually hurt your chances of potential students finding you online. This isn't an opinion, it's a measurable fact - whenever we compare tutors with 'creative' business names and tutors with effective business names (explained later), we can measure where each website sits in search results. The websites with creative business names sit further back in search results which leads to less students seeing the website.
Only Results Matters
Some tutors name their businesses as if they were entering a competition for creative names. While you might enjoy saying your business name is 'Quest for Success Tutoring', it's not going to help you gain students. The only thing that really matters when it comes to business names is whether it gets results. As you will see later on in our case study, creative names don't generate results. A 'boring' business name that ticks all the right boxes will always win over the witty business name. Focus on a name that will bring you results and you will succeed.
We know this advice goes against the majority of the advice online, but the difference is that we've actually run experiments and tests on business names. We have data to back up the advice we give. Read the case study later on for more insights on our tests.
What Makes an Effective Tutoring Business Name
Now that you have a basic understanding of why creative business names are cliché and ineffective, let's look at what really makes an effective name for your tutoring business.
We recommend you structure your name with a maximum of two parts:
Brand Identifier + Student Identifier
The idea is simple: you want your business name to communicate who you are as a tutor (brand identifier) and what type of students are relevant to you (student identifier). If you have both of those components, your business name will be effective. It is possible to be effective with only one of these parts, but it will depend on your situation.
Let's look at each component before brainstorming some ideas for your tutoring business name.
Creating a Brand Identifier
The first part of your business name is what we call your 'Brand Identifier'. This is the part of your business name that will let potential students know who you are. Your brand plays a big part of your success so it's important we sort it out now. The reason names like 'Precision Academy' or 'Ace Tutoring' isn't effective is because those names don't identify the brand. Your brand can't be 'Ace Tutoring' because it's a meaningless phrase.
Let's look at two options for Brand Identifiers and which one will be right for you:
The best brand identifier possible is your name. 'Sarah Wilson' is an excellent brand identifier because it immediately tells the potential student who you are. You're not hiding behind some anonymous brand name such as 'ABC Tutoring' - you're a real person. It also sets you apart from other tutors unless you're incredibly unlucky and another tutor in your area has the same name as you. Anybody can create a more creative name than 'Success Academy', but nobody can be more authentic or real as 'Sarah Wilson Tutoring'.
The reason your name is so powerful is because you are your product. When a potential student signs up for lessons, they're buying into you and what you can do for them. It also makes it far easier for people to spread the word and recommend you. Instead of spreading a generic brand name around, people will share your name which makes you far more real and authentic.
The case study later on will show how big a difference using your own name can have on your success.
The only time where your own name won't work is when you run a tutoring business with multiple tutors. In that case a personal name may or may work and another identifier would be needed. Our recommendation is to use a identifier based on location. That could be your town/suburb name or it could be some other well known name such as something related to a local attraction, natural feature or road. 'Forest Hill Tutors' is effective because it implies that your tutoring business is the one to go to in Forest Hill.
The reason a location based identifier is important for multiple-tutor businesses is because it helps you rank higher in search engines for your area and attract more potential students. When comparing 'Forest Hill Tutors' and 'ABC Tutors', the location based name will win every time.
But if you're the only tutor in your business, your own name will be far more effective than a location based name. So 'Sarah Wilson Tutoring' will always win over 'Forest Hill Tutoring'.
Creating a Student Identifier
A Student Identifier is a part of your business name that helps potential students know whether you're the right tutor for them or not. You have a few choices when it comes to Student Identifiers:
If you are a Math tutor and don't tutor any other subjects, you are at a great advantage because you can set your name to something like 'Melissa Jones Math Tutoring'. The advantage with a subject specific business name is that it stands out for students looking for subject specific tutors. If a student wanted to find a math tutor, do you think they would search online for 'local math tutors' or 'local tutors'? Then when they find a few tutors, who do you think they would choose between 'Melissa Jones Math Tutoring' or 'Tom Smith Tutoring'? People will naturally choose the tutor who focuses on their needs.
If you focus on one subject or a closely related range of subjects, we highly recommend you use that subject in your business name because it gives you a massive advantage.
Year Level Specific
If you teach a wide range of subjects, unfortunately you won't be able to use a subject specific identifier. But what about year level specific? Do you teach kids within a certain age range? Or do you focus on one specific year level? If so, that's another great advantage. That way if a parent is looking for a tutor for a specific year level, your tutoring name will stand out.
Another option is to take what's unique about you as a tutor and use it in your business name. For example if you travel to student's homes and travel to a few different local areas, then that's a great benefit that would work well in your business name. 'Sam Smith Travelling Tutor' will stand out for potential students wanting to find a tutor who will visit them at home. If you only teach online via Skype, then 'Alex Hill Skype Tutoring' is an easy choice and instantly tells potential students that you're an online tutor.
It should be clear why a Student Identifier is so important. It creates a connection between you as the tutor and your potential students. They will instantly know whether you're the right tutor for them or not. There's no way a potential student will mix up 'Sam Smith Math Tutoring' and 'Sam Smith Piano Tutoring' and they will instantly know which Sam Smith is relevant for them.
Why Are 'Identifiers' Important
Why should you include your town name, specific subject or some other identifier in your business name? A big reason is SEO - when a potential student searches for a tutor, they don't search for any of the terms used in creative business names. They don't search for 'local A+ tutors' or 'nearby academic advantage success tutors'. Instead, they search for terms like 'local science tutors', 'English tutors in Forest Hill' or 'year 7 tutors'. 'Identifiers' are what students search for - that's why they're important.
Want a real life example of how a brand identifier helps you attract more students? This article originally mentioned (before this revision) the made up town name 'Forest Hill' six times as an example of a good brand identifier. Well it turns out Forest Hill is an actual neighborhood in Toronto, Canada. We found this out because this article started to rank high in Google for the search term 'Forest Hill Tutoring'. The reason that made-up tutoring business name ranked high but none of the creative business names ranked for any phrases is because people in or nearby Forest Hill actually search for phrases such as 'Forest Hill tutoring'. Now if you search in Google for that phrase, you will see that there is a tutoring business in that neighborhood called Forest Hill Tutoring. Notice that their website is the very first website in the results. That's a real life example of why a business name that uses a brand identifier is so important. If that tutoring business chose a creative name instead, they would not show up at the top of search results for that phrase.
That tutoring business will be attracting a lot of potential students simply being at the top of search results. They won't need to worry as much about other marketing methods because potential students can easily find them with a simple search. That's the power of having a relevant business name.
Key lesson: potential students don't search for creative business names so don't use one. Business names that use relevant brand and/or student identifiers have a massive advantage.
Example Business Names
Now that you know what important elements make up an effective business name, let's look through a few examples so you can set your own name.
Alex Kendall is a tutor who teaches a wide range of year levels but only focuses on math. 'Alex Kendall Math Tutoring' should be obvious as the best choice for her because it focuses on the subject she specializes in. While it might not be as clever or creative as 'Total Algebra Tutoring' or 'Back to Basics Math Tutoring', it will be far more effective. It will help Alex build her local reputation as a math tutor and it will help potential students instantly know that she tutors math.
In Alex's example, she has used her name as her Brand Identifier and her subject as her Student Identifier. As she has both identifiers in her business name, it has the best chance of success.
Steven Willis is starting a tutoring business and will be hiring five tutors to work for him in a building he will lease. His tutors will teach a wide range of subjects and year levels. He is also thinking about adding music tutors in the future. For this reason, a personal name won't be appropriate for his business, nor will a subject specific identifier. If Steven used a subject or year level specific identifier, it would create problems later on when he plans on expanding to other subjects or year levels.
So Steven decides to use a location specific identifier as his brand identifier and not use a student identifier. 'Northwood Tutoring' is suitable for his business because it focuses on his location while not being limited by subjects or year levels. It might not sound very fancy, but when it comes to rankings in the search engines, Steven will find it much easier to attract local students.
John Adams wants to start teaching piano from home. He also plays other instruments and may consider teaching those instruments later on in the future. He only teaches online via Skype. For John, the best brand identifier he could use is his own name. Because he teaches online via Skype, it's important he include that in his business name to let people know he isn't available for in-person lessons. It's also important that John doesn't set a subject specific identifier because he may expand from piano in the future.
So John sets his name to 'John Adams Skype Music Lessons'. This name has a brand identifier: 'John Adams' and two student identifiers: 'Skype' and 'Music'. This is a powerful brand name because it let's potential students know who he is, where he teaches and what he teaches. It also leaves him plenty of room to expand to other instruments in the future.
It should be crystal clear why 'John Adams Skype Music Lessons' is far more effective than any creative name. While that name isn't catchy or stand out in any way, it counts in the way that matters: it will get results.
It might sound odd to say that 'Sam Smith Math Tutoring' is a better name than any creative name such as 'Wizardry Math Tuition'. If fact, ask people which business name you should use out of the two and people will almost automatically say to use the creative name. People tend to suggest creative names because they sound catchy and witty. But what really matters is results.
When a close friend decided to start tutoring and had come up with a creative name for her business, we decided to run some real-life tests and find out how that creative name would perform compared to what we have recommended in this guide.
We ran tests on Google AdWords, which is a paid form of online advertising and we spent $100 on each ad.
You can see the two Google Ads we ran below:
The ad on the left is the simple name we suggested Jenny should use: Jenny Stinson Math Tuition. The ad on the right was the name Jenny came up with and felt it did a good job: ThinkPlus Math Tuition.
Now it's important to note that we do feel 'ThinkPlus' was creative and nothing wrong with it as a brand name. That type of name could easily be used by a large corporation. But for a local tutor, it isn't suitable as you will see.
Both ads contained the same basic message and lead to two separate webpages what matches the brand name used in the ad. So whenever a potential student clicked on the 'ThinkPlus' ad, they would see a website with 'ThinkPlus' branding. When somebody clicked the 'Jenny Stinson' ad, they would see the exact same website with 'Jenny Stinson' as the heading. This is called an A/B split test as it helps us identify which of the two names lead to better results.
So the only difference between the two ads were the brand name. Everything else was identical.
If you had to guess, how do you think the ads performed?
The 'ThinkPlus' ad attracted 36 clicks and resulted in 6 student inquiries which lead to Jenny gaining 2 new students.
The 'Jenny Stinson' ad attracted 92 clicks and resulted in 17 student inquiries which lead to Jenny gaining 11 new students.
This means the 'Jenny Stinson' ad had 2.5x more clicks and 2.8x more inquiries. But more importantly, it resulted in Jenny gaining 5.5x more new students compared to the 'ThinkPlus' ad.
Just by changing the business name on the ad and website, Jenny was able to gain over five times the number of new students. When we say that your business name matters, now you know why.
If you're just starting out as a tutor and are looking at setting your business name, think carefully. While it's tempting to come up with a witty and creative name, the results don't lie. One of the many reasons why we recommend you use your own name as part of your brand name is because it comes across as authentic. You're not hiding behind some anonymous name - you're out there to let people know you're a real person. The case study shows just how powerful the right business name can be for your results.
We know it's tempting to come up with a flashy name that would look good on a business card, but avoid that temptation! Would you prefer a creative name or a name that effectively attracts new students?
While it's important to choose a suitable name, it's one of the least important things you should be focusing on if you're getting started as a tutor. Your business name won't bring you students, so don't waste time trying to choose the 'perfect' name. Choose a suitable name then move on to more important areas such as setting up a website to attract students and creating a business plan.
Download PDF Checklist
We've created a handy checklist you can use to quickly go through the steps explained above and choose the right name for your tutoring business.
Have a Question?
If you're having trouble coming up with an appropriate name for your tutoring business or you want to run your idea by us, we can help. Head over to the Q&A section to see if somebody else has already asked your question and if not, ask us and we'll help you out.