“How much do your services cost?” This is one of the FIRST questions we get from prospective clients and we completely understand…tutoring can be a costly investment! And with any big purchase comes research, competitor comparisons, and of course, price evaluation.

As a consumer, I appreciate the fact that I have options with almost everything these days when it comes to how and where to spend my money. I seek out reviews from other customers and take into consideration how many other people have purchased a particular item or have worked with a certain company/service (and why). It takes me a while going back and forth before I’m ready to finally hand over my credit card. All of the research and comparisons may seem like overkill to some, but being careful to make the right decision and feeling good about the value and quality of my purchase is important to me. Heck, I’ve spent more time than I’d like to admit simply deciding which cookie cutter set to buy!

For many folks, referrals from people you know and trust are considered gold, so it makes sense that platforms like Yelp are so popular -- and why consumers like me obsess over customer testimonials and ratings. It gives us confidence and takes the risk out of being unhappy or disappointed with a purchase. And because of these things, at the end of the day, price won’t always be the deciding factor for me. (No, I’m NOT part of the one percent, and I do not have an unlimited budget!)

So allow me to make it easy for you. After working with hundreds of families, here are some important factors they’ve considered when looking for a test prep company or independent tutor:

  1. 1. Quality
    • What are the qualifications and educational backgrounds of the tutor(s)?
    • How long have they been tutoring and what is the average score improvement?
    • Is there a training program that the tutors must undergo in order to work with students? (And continued education/development?)
    • Is there a specific curriculum that has been carefully developed and created and proven to work?
    • Are the tutors pre-screened and must they successfully pass a background check?
  2. 2. Service
    • In addition to the tutor(s), is there a dedicated person/team to help answer your questions in a timely manner?
    • Are staff members friendly, professional, polite, knowledgeable, and respectful?
    • Do you feel like they genuinely care about your needs and want to help?
  3. 3. Dependability
    • How long has the company (or the independent tutor) been in business?
    • If your tutor gets sick or becomes unable to continue tutoring due to some unforeseen incident, is there someone else who can step in right away?
    • Do they have a good reputation and care about maintaining it?
  4. 4. A Perfect Fit
    • How is your child paired with a tutor?
    • Does your child respond best with a particular personality or teaching style? Male or female?
    • If the tutor is not a good match, what is the company's policy when it comes to switching tutors?
  5. 5. Personalization
    • Is the curriculum designed in a way that allows for the tutor to focus on a particular area of weakness specific to each student?
    • What happens when a student "plateaus"?
    • What types of services beyond test prep does the company provide?
    • Will you need to seek out multiple organizations in order to have all of your child's needs met?