This is a version of a question that we get asked very often and that most people who are considering a tutor will ask themselves. Unfortunately, there is no easy all-encompassing answer as it depends on the person asking. For some people, it is easier to just contact an agency and wait for them to do the selecting, while others prefer to be the ones who seek out a tutor on their own. In an attempt to answer this complex question, we’ve created a list of the pros and cons for both Agencies and Individual Tutors:

Service Pros:


  • Have access to tutors for a wide variety of subjects

    • Can be a “One-Stop-Shop” if you need help in more than one subject

    • The Agency will coordinate tutors to fit within your schedule

  • Have screened the tutors

  • Some tutoring services ask their tutors to complete a Police check prior to working with students

  • If a tutor is no longer available, they can match you with another one

  • Have methods to match students with compatible tutors

     Individual Tutors Pros:


    • Flexibility in terms of pricing

      • Can haggle for a better price

    • Often have lower prices than Agencies for increased exposure

    • Are often more understanding when it comes to last-minute cancellations

    • Not all tutors want to work for an Agency, so you can find these highly qualified tutors that Agencies cannot

    • Payment is made after the lesson has concluded


    When choosing a tutor or service, ask questions like: “What are the tutor’s qualifications?”, “Do I think my child/I will be comfortable asking this tutor questions?”, “How experienced is this tutor?”, etc. do not only select them based on price.

    Service Cons:


    • Have set prices and will not negotiate
      • Which can be more than individual tutors’ prices
    • A lot of competition, which can make it difficult to separate different tutoring service styles
    • Not all tutors want to work for an Agency, so Agencies do not have access to these people
    • Can be very strict in terms of cancellations/payment methods
    • Payment is often required in advance of lesson
    • Some large Services have many administrators, which can make it difficult to talk to the same one

    Individual Tutors Cons:


    • Might take longer to find a tutor you or your child is comfortable with
    • Can be hard to separate the qualified tutors from those that pretend to be qualified
    • You will need to assess the tutor’s knowledge of the subject
      • This can be difficult if the desired subject is not one you are familiar with
    • If the tutor is no longer available, you will need to start the whole process again
    • Can be difficult to find
      • Often individual tutors do not the same exposure that Services do

    As we’ve mentioned, the answer to this question is different for different people. Whether you decide to go with an Agency or with individual tutors, you are thinking about an important part in your child’s or your academic development. This is a long-term goal, and whichever method of tutor selection you choose, once you find a tutor that works for you/your child, it can be a very productive relationship.