What is the etiquette on negotiating prices with a tutor?

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Karen Berlin Ishii, One-to-One Test Prep for the SAT and ACT - in NYC and via Skype

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Someone once said that everything in life is negotiable, so why not tutoring? Depending on whether your prospective tutor is an individual working for him or herself or an employee or independent contractor for a tutoring company, you'll need to do your negotiating with a different person or entity. Sometimes, companies are more negotiable because they can adjust fees without affecting what your tutor gets paid. The difference between what you pay for tutoring and what their tutor receives can be so large that the tutor's pay is only a small fraction of the cost. In the case of individual tutors, however, any discount will be coming out of your tutor's pocket directly, so it will depend entirely on that tutor's need for your business versus his or her need to earn a particular amount per student or teaching hour. Some may be amenable to offering a discount for a package of 10 hours or more, or a discount for a semi-private or small group lesson, for example. Just ask respectfully and directly, with a specific discount in mind, knowing ahead of time what your choice will be if the discount is not offered.

Matthew Clemens, Physics and Math Teacher, Parent, and Tutor

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Be up front and ask their rates if they aren't mentioned on a web site. There might be a different rate for meeting at the tutor's house or somewhere that requires less tutoring. You could also do a group session if you know a few kids that might want to meet with the tutor at one time. If you know that the rate is too much, you can negotiate, though most tutors have already figured out a rate that makes their time worth the work. Also, a specialized subject such as AP Physics may fetch a higher rate than SAT tutoring, so you should be up front about what type of tutoring you are seeking.

Robyn Scott, Educational Consultant, TutorNerds LLC

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Hi,

Most tutors and tutoring companies have a set price or price range and will give you a quote. Some tutors will offer a package such that if you buy X number of hours in advance there might be a discount. I would recommend asking the tutor upfront what they charge for different services and doing a price comparison. Although a few tutors might be willing to negotiate their price, most have a set price that they charge all of their clients. That being said, many tutors will charge more for specialty subjects such as AP (Advanced Placement) or college subjects.

I hope that helps!

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