Should Freelance Teachers Advertise Their Prices? (Part 2)
Who are your customers?
What arguments can you give, for or against, for putting prices on your website or in your advertising brochures? Who are your customers and what type of teaching are you involved in?
Are you a freelance teacher…
- With business and private students?
For example: small business owners, directors, managers and employees of companies, private people, senior citizens, students, children, apprentices, to name a few.
- Who only gives seminars, workshops and training programmes in commercial and industrial sectors?
For example: corporations and manufacturing industries
- Who works only for educational institutes?
For example: universities, colleges, further education evening programmes
Are you a freelance teacher who…
- Is a generalist within a teaching field? (all skills and all types of students)
- Has a generalised skills area within a narrow teaching field? (all skills; selected range of students)
- Has a narrow specialist area within a teaching field, i.e. is a specialist or expert?
(selected skills; all types of students)
- Has a narrow specialist area within a narrow teaching field (selected skills; selected range of students)
Of course, as it so often is the case in a freelance teacher’s life, a mixture of any or all can occur — which naturally complicates the issue further.
Considerations would depend upon the financial abilities of the learner. Students are first and foremost interested in knowing the price. They cannot afford extra tuition and would only do so when they fear failing an exam. If you prefer to teach young students, the price must be made visible on your website or advertising material.
If you prefer to teach children, your direct paying customer is the parent — not the child. Whether or not the price should be made visible depends on the teaching field, the ‘prestige’ status of the tuition, the level of your specialisation, and how well the tuition can be broken down into modules and extra services offered. This is a grey zone because no one student has exactly the same tuition requirements.
For example, lending out special equipment can raise the price of the tuition. However, it could mislead potential customers if the cost of lending out the equipment was added to the overall published price:
- What if the child already has the equipment?
- What if you published only the basic tuition price and the customer baulks at paying additional money for you lending the equipment before they decide to buy one themselves?
- And then… prices for physical products fluctuate on the market and when published on your website will soon go out of date.
In situations like this, I believe it’s preferable not to publish prices. More important is the first direct contact to determine their needs and requirements for your lessons. Once the details have been established, you can name a suitable price.
Business students and companies requesting seminars, workshops and training programmes
Generally, business customers are better paying customers. However, they live with an annual financial budget and this budget will affect how much a company or small business owner is prepared to pay. You should know your price range and your resentment figure. The argument goes against placing your prices on the website, but for customers requesting, workshops, seminars and training programmes, it may be applicable to show typical or historical price range examples.
In all cases, the preferable situation is to use the first contact to explore a customer’s needs — and to establish their training budget range. Once you have these details, you can prepare a suitable offer.
- Educational institutes work on very tight budgets.
- A freelance teacher working with educational institutes will know the prices being charged.
Again, depending whether you are a generalist or specialist in your field, you have the freedom of choice and can decide whether to advertise your prices on your website or not. A specialist usually charges more for tuition. However, most educational institutes and their students will share the same philosophy — they ignore websites not showing a teacher’s prices.
For specialists in a teaching field, however, institutes may be prepared to ask your price! The question is up to you: do you or don’t you make your prices public? This is my opinion:
- If you are a (generalist) freelance teacher — make your prices public.
- If you are a recognised expert within your teaching field, the choice is yours.
Source of this series is a chapter taken out of my new book: Pricing Matters
In the coming months:
- Part 3 – Should You Publish Your Prices In A Teaching Partnership?
- Part 4 – Once Your Prices Are Made Public…