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Whether you're a parent struggling to find the perfect physics tutor for your ninth grader, or an out-of-work physics PhD stuck pasting flyers to the local telephone pole, one fact is evident: the tutoring marketplace could use a hand.
Tutorspree, a new website helping parents find tutors and tutors find students, aims to straighten up the clutter of the tutoring landscape so that everyone gets what they want without the unnecessary hassle.
What it is: Tutorspree collects local tutors who have education credentials and puts them in a searchable database. Parents can find and sort tutors by price and expertise before contacting and paying for the tutor right on the site. Afterwards, they leave feedback about how the session went.
Aaron Harris, CEO of Tutorspree, said that hunting offline was just as frustrating for parents and students as it was for tutors. "We started talking to dozens and dozens of parents and teachers and students, and everyone was unhappy with the way it worked," Harris said. "Tutors were posting themselves through Craisglist and putting up flyers, all sorts of crazy messy stuff. We looked at it and said, 'We can solve this.'"
How it works: For parents, the process starts when you visit the site, where you first enter your zip code to find the tutors nearest you. At that point, you can sort by price, distance, and subject area. Once you encounter a tutor that seems right, you get in touch through the site and pay with a credit card. Afterwards, Tutorspree asks for feedback so that each tutor can build up his/her reputation through actual human input.
"We attacked it from the perspective of, 'What we have here is a marketplace problem, a problem of discovery and transparency,'" said Harris. "What we wanted was a marketplace built around the feedback."
Prospective tutors must apply to the site and have the appropriate credentials in the classroom to be accepted. If they qualify, tutors can set their own rates. Harris estimates that forty to fifty percent of applicants are turned away.
Why you’d use it: Parents' goals in seeking a tutor are very clear: to find the person best equipped to help teach their kids. For Harris, that meant that Tutorspree would put the greatest emphasis on ensuring that everyone in the marketplace was qualified, not just in the subject area, but as a teacher. While on Craigslist, or on a community message board, it can be impossible to judge a tutor's quality before it's too late. But Tutorspree gives parents the security of pre-screening, as well as the ability to read testimonials, before they agree to a tutor.
"Every parent I've talked to has been dissatisfied by the process of looking for a tutor," said Harris. "We're getting so good at creating socially driven, feedback propped marketplaces. It has to happen here as well."
And for tutors, it's a big relief to skip the ceaseless process of self-marketing perpetuated through message boards (both real and virtua)l and instead enter directly into a trusted database. What's more, Tutorspree receives only 50 percent of the first commission and five dollars for each follow-up lesson, while tutoring agencies can take 50 to 80 percent of earnings.
"Tutors are paid more and parents pay less," said Harris. "We want everyone matched up with better tutors and better clients."
How to get it: Just visit Tutorspree's website to get started.
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