If you want to tutor online, there are many different paths and options. From using a simple application like Skype to using a full featured tutoring platform and marketplace, tutors have a wide range of choices. This article will look at some of the top online tutoring platforms available today.
Tutor Universe is a marketplace and online platform for tutors and students. It's an 'all in one' platform and marketplace which means you can use it to find new students as well as host your lessons.
Marketplace: students and tutors can search or browse to connect to each other based on subjects. In the screenshot below you can see that we searched for 'Biology' and found 941 tutors, 245 students and 53 answers to questions related to biology. Many other tutor directories only list tutors, so having the ability to search for students by subject is a big benefit. As a tutor you are able to send messages to potential students, but the way we recommend attracting students is to get involved in the Q&A section.
Questions and Answers: Tutor Universe includes a Q&A section similar to Quora or Yahoo Answers. The basic idea is that students can ask questions they need help with and tutors can answer those questions. Whether you get involved in answering questions or not depends on how you want to grow your reputation. Answering questions from potential students is a great way to promote yourself and establish your credibility which could lead to gaining an ongoing paid student.
Virtual Study Room: this is the online tutoring platform aspect of Tutor Universe. The big benefit here is that everything runs in your browser without needing to download extra software or extensions. You simply load up the VSR in your browser and you're good to go. In addition to webcam and microphone, you are given an interactive whiteboard along with a range of tools. For example if you're a Math tutor you can access a range of graphing, symbol and calculator tools.
File Locker: students and tutors can upload files to the 'File Locker'. This allows you to share files back and forth with your students within the platform.
Offline Work Request: The main way you get paid is from any online sessions with the student. But you can also get paid for offline work. Let's say a student wants you to do some proofreading or essay editing, they can submit an offline work request and upload any relevant files. This feature means you have flexibility in what type of work you can offer students and ensures you are paid for appropriate work.
Payment: There are no fees to join and tutors pay a 15-25% commission on all earnings. You are able to set your own rates in the marketplace (researching what other tutors charge is crucial in setting your rate. Read our article on setting your rate here). Tutor Universe handles payment processing so all you need to do is select your payout method to collect your funds.
This is a great option for somebody looking for an 'all in one' online tutoring platform. Having a platform and a marketplace together means you could potentially pick up new students by simply creating a profile (free) and answering some questions. If you do use Tutor Universe, we highly recommend you fill out your profile in full, answer as many questions as possible to build your reputation and make sure you price yourself competitively.
Keep in mind that all of this does come at a cost of 15-25% of all your earnings. So if you charge $50 per hour, you would receive between $37.50 - 42.50 after Tutor Universe take their commission. For many tutors this cost will be more than worth it so you can have everything in one place. As you will see later, the big benefit here is that you can set your own rate. That's something that isn't available with other platforms.
Chegg Tutors (previously called InstaEDU)
InstaEDU has been an extremely popular online tutoring platform for many years. As of 2015, they are now called Chegg Tutors. As they are currently in the process of moving from InstaEDU to Chegg Tutors, a lot of information is spread across the two websites. We will update this in the future after they have completed their move.
Lesson workspace: Chegg's lesson workspace includes three main sections: whiteboard, text editor and code editor. This gives you flexibility in how you conduct your lessons. In addition you have webcam/audio as well as screensharing which is a great way to show your student other applications or documents on your computer. You can upload files directly into the workspace (only PDF, JPG, PNG or GIF are accepted) or send files in the instant chat section (eg: if you need to send other type of files to the student). You can have a play around with the lesson space here to see how it works. Just like Tutor Universe, Chegg's online lesson space runs completely in your browser without needing any extra software.
Pricing: this is where Chegg differs to other platforms. Students pay a subscription based on how much tutoring they need. It was hard for us to find the pricing details as it's buried in the website. The screenshot below shows the current pricing for students. Students pay a set price based on how many minutes of tutoring they use per week/month. This means tutors are paid a set rate. The Chegg website currently has no information for tutors to register as it's still only on the old InstaEDU website. The page on how to become a tutor states that tutors make $20/hour.
Unlike Tutor Universe where you can set up a profile and set your own rate, with Chegg, you need to go through an application process and you cannot set your own rate.
Marketplace: the marketplace on Chegg is far larger than Tutor Universe in terms of tutors listed. Earlier with Tutor Universe we searched for Biology tutors and found 941 listed tutors. When we searched Chegg's marketplace for Biology tutors, we found 4427 listed tutors. That's a significant difference in terms of competition as well as potential students. While students aren't listed on Chegg, it's safe to say there are far more here compared to Tutor Universe.
While we love Chegg's lesson space, the fact that tutors cannot set their own rates is a disappointment. If you register at Chegg, you will earn $20 per hour. Depending on what you earn now for your lessons, this could be an improvement or a significant cut in your income. Chegg is a far larger marketplace compared to Tutor Universe, however that also means here is far more competition between tutors. Chegg Tutors is a great option for students due to the low cost, but at the moment we feel it's not the best deal for tutors.
At the moment we're waiting until Chegg completely move across from InstaEDU before we make any recommendations on whether to use them or not. At the moment the information is in a bit of a mess as it's split across two websites.
WyzAnt is an in-person and online tutor marketplace and also includes an online tutoring platform. This means you can use it for both in-person lessons and online lessons if you want. Check out our interview with WyzAnt here for more insights into what they have to offer.
Marketplace: as mentioned, the marketplace does include both local and online tutors - but you can set on your profile if you're online only and potential students can easily search for online tutors. When we searched for online Biology tutors, we found 1596 tutors. So the marketplace is larger than Tutor Universe but smaller than Chegg Tutors.
Pricing: as you can see from the screenshot above, tutors can set their own rate. This differs to Chegg where tutors are paid a set rate. So it is possible to earn far more from WyzAnt per hour than Chegg. There are no fees to set up a profile and you are only charged a fee based on the hours you teach. The fee is a percentage of the amount you charge students (same approach as Tutor Universe). The difference with WyzAnt is their service fee decreases as you build up the number of hours you tutor. As you can see below, when you start out, you are charged a 40% fee. This gradually decreases until you reach 400 hours where the fee remains at 20%.
Online tutoring platform: just like the other previous options, WyzAnt have a full featured online lessons area. It includes all the features you would expect along with symbols, calculator tools and file attachments.
Being able to set your own rate is a massive benefit. The marketplace is larger than Tutor Universe and not as crowded as Chegg. If you choose to tutor online as well as locally, this would be an ideal place as one profile can promote both services. The only disadvantage WyzAnt has compared to Tutor Universe is the higher cost. If you manage to tutor over 400 hours, the cost does come down to a similar level however.
We recommend you search for tutors who cover your subjects to compare what competition you would be up against. From what we could see, WyzAnt tutors do seem to charge higher amounts compared to tutors on Tutor Universe. But of course this depends on the subjects you tutor.
Also check out our interview here for more insights into best practices from tutors using WyzAnt.
Tutorsbox is different to all of the above options as it isn't a platform + marketplace. Tutorsbox offers a web based online tutoring platform without the marketplace or payment processing. While at first it might seem like that means Tutorsbox isn't worth considering, for many tutors it will be a better option.
Standalone service: unlike the other options where you're joining a marketplace and competing for students, with Tutorsbox you are basing buying the tutoring platform to use as you like. This means you can use it straight away with your current students and any new students without having to go through a marketplace. So if you have an existing website set up to attract students, you can use that to promote your lessons, then use Tutorsbox to host your lessons.
Pricing: Tutorsbox costs $29 per month for unlimited usage. While at first it might seem like this is a more expensive option compared to the above alternatives, it isn't. With this option you keep 100% of your student's fees less any costs involved with whatever payment processor you use (eg: PayPal). In other words, because Tutorsbox don't handle payment processing, they don't take a commission from you.
To see how important this difference is, let's say you tutor 20 students per week and charge $50 per hour. That's $1000 per week.
With Tutorsbox, your expenses would be $29 per month to run your lessons and whatever your payment fees are from your payment processor (normally around 2-3%). So you will keep around $950 per week out of the $1000. With Tutor Universe, you would pay a 25% commission so you would receive $750. With WyzAnt you would start off paying 40% commission so you would receive $600 (the commission decreases as you increase the total time you tutor). With Chegg you would only be able to charge $20 per lesson so you would only earn $400.
So in summary, when comparing the above options with a scenario of 20 students per week at $50 per hour, you would end up with:
- Tutorsbox: $950
- Tutor Universe: $750
- WyzAnt: $600
- Chegg: $400
It should be clear how cheap Tutorsbox can be compared to the above alternatives. Losing $250-400 every week in commissions is a massive cost compared to $29 per month with Tutorsbox.
Lesson area: the online lesson area has all the features you would expect: webcam, audio, chat, attachments, symbols, calculators, etc. In the screenshot below you can see that you can create different tabs for your workspace and you can save your work or take screenshots along the way. You can even run group sessions which is something not available on other options.
Keep in mind that Tutorsbox only gives you the online platform, you still need to handle payments separately. As this is not a marketplace, you are also responsible for finding and scheduling students. If you want an 'all in one' option, Tutorsbox won't be suitable. But as we have explained, the alternatives come at a significant cost. We highly recommend Tutorsbox or similar web based online tutoring platforms because it gives you control. You're not paying a massive commission on every lesson and you have freedom in how you schedule and run your lessons.
We'll be adding more online tutoring platforms to this article over time as we find suitable options for tutors. We researched many more than what is shown above, but many did not impress us. Stay up to date on any new resources we find by becoming a free subscriber here.