1. Where do you tutor? Find out if a tutor prefers to work at his/her home, your home, or a neutral location like a library. Many tutors like to work at their own home. First of all, it is more efficient for them. They can line up clients back-to-back and not lose any time on the road or be caught out if their tutoring student cancels on them. Tutors also find it easier to have all their supplies and materials on hand without having to tote them around and possibly forget something they will need to effectively teach the student. If tutors use their own home, make sure that they are working at a well lit place conducive to studying with no distractions. Also, make sure you feel comfortable leaving your son or daughter alone with them. If not, ask the tutor to let you stay in a nearby room during the tutoring session. Other tutors will travel to your home. Expect to pay an additional fee for this service, since the tutor will be out additional time and gas money to travel to you. For tutors who feel their home is not suitable for tutoring (because they have young children or live in a small apartment), they prefer to travel to their clients’ homes, and some of them will not charge any additional fee. Other tutors prefer a neutral location for tutoring like a library because they think it more conducive to studying, and it ensures the safety of both the tutor and the student.
2. What is your cancellation policy? Don’t be surprised if your tutor requires you to sign a paper that says if you cancel a tutoring session without at least 24 hours notice, then you will be charged for that session. Tutors make their schedules based on an agreed upon time with their clients. Often they will have other clients who would like to tutor at the same time your student is scheduled, but they have to turn away this business because you are already taking up that time slot. If you cancel and the tutor is unable to fill that slot, the tutor has lost some of his/her anticipated income for that day. In the case of illness or an unexpected emergency, most tutors will allow you to make up that tutoring session at another time. Also, you should know what the tutor’s policy is if he/she has to cancel on you. You should receive a make-up lesson or a refund for that session. If a tutor cancels on you more than 3 times in a semester, then you should consider looking for another tutor.
3. Do you require me to sign a contract? Don’t worry if a Tutor asks you to sign a paper that confirms the hourly rate, documents how often he/she will get paid, and outlines the cancellation policy. This contract will benefit both you and the tutor. After all, this is a business relationship, and it is good for both parties to have in writing the details about payment and cancellations. However, if a Tutor wants you to sign a contract that commits you to paying for a specified number of sessions in advance, then you should beware. What if your son tells you after the second session that the tutor is not being helpful, and he hates her? You don’t want to have to keep taking him to her just because you signed a contract that says they will have 10 sessions together. And you don’t want to lose all the money you spent and get no help at all. Then you are stuck. Just read the contract carefully, and if there are parts of it you don’t agree with, discuss them with the tutor and see if you can modify the contract. If you can’t, don’t sign the contract and look for another tutor.