As online business owners and educators, there is a constant internal battle between providing the best services for your learners and making enough money to continue doing so. You work hard to develop your curriculum, offer high-quality lessons, and spend hours outside the classroom creating an unforgettable experience. But what about pricing?
Then that nagging voice gets in your head, influenced by outside opinions, suggesting that if you lower your price you’ll get more enrollments or beat the competition. Sadly, that’s not always the case.
Don’t get caught up in the race to the bottom. Your classes, time, and expertise are worth so much more. That’s why families come looking for you on Outschool! By reducing your prices, you may be causing a loss for your business or selling yourself short when doing a lot of work for a small return.
Before we talk strategy, let’s look at market conditions and how understanding them can help you as a business owner.
Finding the sweet spot
A common marketing strategy is offering reduced class prices to attract new learners. While this may work in the short term, continually offering extremely cheap or super-discounted classes causes a negative perception. Families may wonder why your costs are so low when other educators sell classes at a higher price point.
One study conducted by the Outschool team found that for 1-on-1 tutoring in May 2023, most enrollments occurred for classes priced between $45 – $70 per hour. Tutoring classes priced below $45 per hour had a significant decrease in enrollments as did those over $70 per hour.
As you can see, there is a fine line between underpricing your classes and making them just out of reach for some families. We call the prices between $45 – $70 per hour the “sweet spot.” So, how can you price your classes so that you’re hitting your business goals while attending to the financial needs of your learners?
We’re diving into 5 strategies you can use to find that sweet spot for setting your pricing on Outschool.
Strategy #1: Do your research
Don’t throw a number out there without learning what the going rate is for the subject you teach. Instead, open up your internet browser and use these suggestions to get started:
- Find out how much other educators are listing their classes for if you have a shared topic, but don’t be a copycat.
- Look online and see how much families spend in your local area for the same services.
- If you’re a tutor, look at the tutoring companies in your town to see how much their tutors earn hourly.
- Ask friends and family how much they would be willing to pay for your services to get an idea of how much people are willing to spend.
Keep in mind that timing matters! According to Paddle.com, you should increase your prices roughly every 6 months or so. Use your educator insights to find out which months have the most demand and adjust accordingly.
Strategy #2: Determine your worth
Even after you’ve researched the going rate for your area of expertise, you’ll want to ensure that you’re also determining your personal worth. If you have a specialized certification, training, or degree specific to your classes, does that make a difference?
You also want to consider how much time and effort goes into your classes outside the classroom. For example, if you’re writing all of the curriculum, making the slide presentations, and grading each week, you may want to keep track of those hours. Roll that time into your class listing price and break down the information in the Class Experience section so that families know why your price is the way it is.
Strategy #3: Change the time to reduce the cost
If you have a class that is doing well or offers tutoring services, you may want to think about creating classes with multiple time lengths of what is already working for you.
Not only can you create a one-time, multi-day, or no-end-date class using the same subject and lesson materials, but you can make multiple listings with classes that meet for different meeting time amounts.
Let’s look at an example. Say you have a class that meets for an hour twice a week. Could you condense the material to 30 minutes twice a week and offer two sections instead of one?
Another example would be to break up longer-running classes into smaller meeting amounts. For example, if you offer 16-week semester-long courses, you could break them into four 4-week courses.
Run your classes for several months to see which price point works best. You may find that a shorter class for a lower cost is psychologically easier to swallow than a longer class that costs more.
Strategy #4: Make a demo class
If you’re feeling nervous about increasing your pricing, don’t be!
List your prices with what you think they are worth, using Outschool’s pricing guidelines, and create a separate one-time trial course for potential learners. Doing so may eliminate a parent’s concern about the material and how well their learner meshes with you.
One-time classes are also an excellent way for new educators to test out material to see what works and what doesn’t. If you create a variety of subjects, you can adjust pricing by increasing the price for more popular classes and creating more sections. Then, you can remove the classes that are not working to start focusing on the ones that are.
Strategy #5: Highlight class improvements
Finally, be sure to let families know what you’ve done to make your classes better. Make it known if you have received additional training or education since your class was first published.
Maybe you’ve added more interactive elements, new reading materials, or revised your teaching style to be more inclusive. Again, let families know!
Bonus Strategy: Offer tutoring
As you saw earlier in this article, tutoring is a popular category at Outschool. If you have experience in a subject, you can add tutoring to your schedule. This can be in addition to your group classes or you can offer 1-on-1 classes exclusively. (Check out an educator doing just that successfully.)
Don’t forget that you can offer 1-on-1 tutoring to your current students if they need additional help or a customized learning plan. 60% of all tutoring experiences are with teachers and learners who already have a relationship. Families are looking for tutors in all subjects, especially test prep and core academics. Read more about how to attract new learners as an online tutor.
At the end of the day, teaching is an incredibly fulfilling career, but as an educator at Outschool, this is also your business. Balancing out the need to increase enrollments but not sell yourself or your classes short can feel like a challenge.
As someone who owns an online education business, it’s important to understand the value of your classes. Although there are instances when using coupon codes, sibling discounts, or other deals makes sense, the goal is not to keep lowering your prices to get more enrollments.
Take the time to figure out how often you need to teach and what price point you need to set your classes to feel successful. Once you have a number in mind, play around with different class durations and even create a one-time class to let families see what they would get with you as their learner’s educator. And don’t forget to share all of the amazing new improvements you’ve made.
Good luck and happy teaching!
For more insights on growing your online business on Outschool, be sure to check out the Educator Handbook.