How Much Do Guitar Teachers Earn
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Could teaching guitar provide you with a stable income, and become your full-time job or part-time job?

To answer this question you need to consider a few things:

– Are you able to save some money before trying to make teaching guitar go from part-time to full-time? (I will tell you why this massively affects the success rate of start-up guitar tuition businesses). Do you have a tried and tested simple method like the one I commonly teach from. This is massively important as many children are impatient and just want to get playing quickly.

– Can you break into the daytime market?

– Is there a market in your area for a guitar teaching service? (We will look into how to find out if your service has a place in your local area and how competition is not necessarily a bad thing).

– Do you live in an affluent area? The local people are the people who you need to consider. If you want to understand how much to charge per an hour then you need to think about how much people would be willing to pay.

Saving money before taking on the challenge of expanding on your new guitar teaching business

If you are able to save money before attempting to scale up your business, then you are in a very advantageous position. Let me tell you why.

Guitar teachers usually take a very similar approach to growing their business, which consists of taking a part-time job whilst slowly accumulating a loyal base of guitar students which they teach in the evening. For most guitar teachers this is how it stays because it is hard work to get enough students to make a secure and stable income. As a guitar teacher you always need more students than you think you need to make the amount of money you feel comfortable with.

Unless you safeguard yourself from the unpredictable nature of guitar students canceling lessons, or taking a couple of lessons and leaving, then you will simply not have enough business to sustain the teaching service at this rate. So how do you minimize the number of unreliable students? It isn’t easy, your predicament is that you need to not scare your customers by coming across as overly formal. Unfortunately contracts are a big no in the world of private guitar tuition.  Most students like to pay on a weekly basis, yet you want to get students to pay for four lessons at once and if they don’t turn up to a lesson then it is still paid for. Essentially this is how it should be because you lost an hour of time that you couldn’t make up for, but not all of your customers will like this. You need to experiment with this and see how your students react. If you sense that one of your loyal students would be put off by this, then don’t mention it, but do try with new customers as it could safeguard you from a lot of lost hours.

So, by saving money whilst teaching guitar part-time and working in a second, stable™ job part-time you are able to have a cushion of money waiting for when you decide to fly your own kite, and make guitar teaching full-time. This money will be very important should you find that it is hard to make the same amount of money as you did whilst having the two separate income streams.

How much money can you earn teaching guitar

Most guitar teachers earn around £14,000 here in the UK, doing a very achievable 3 hours teaching a day, five days a week at a low rate of £20 per an hour. Although this may sound like a very easy life for the guitar tutor, you have to factor in planning time (more time for planning in the early days), travel time and the ‘popular hours’ for guitar lessons. Alongside teaching guitar my research has found that most guitar teachers have a daytime job, and that the most common second jobs have been bar work (day time barman), retail jobs (flexible hours) and cafe work/ waiting tables. So as you can see the overall income is not £14,000 but on average £22,000 when combining the two income streams.

It is achievable to break out of this bracket but it takes work and an understanding of growing business which is exactly what I am teaching you.

Your potential to earn more money comes from breaking into the daytime market, doing group teaching, hiring another tutor to work for you and taking a percentage of their earnings for getting them paid guitar teaching work.

The rate that you charge will determine how much you earn and varies massively across the UK from some inexperienced tutors charging as little as £15 per an hour to established tutors charging up to £60 per an hour.

Popular hours for guitar lessons and the potential for a daytime market.

I did not know this before starting my private guitar teaching business, but people wanting to learn guitar are generally all interested in taking lessons between 5-9pm. This poses a problem in terms of how much you can earn if you keep the business model simple. So if you want to keep the project as a one-man business then you need to break into a market that wants daytime guitar lessons. If you can give people an incentive to book lessons for the daytime then you can massively change the amount of money you earn teaching guitar. Your incentive could be lower daytime prices or a first lesson free, it could even be that you will come to their home and charge less. The point is you have to make it worth it for them.

Is there a market strong enough to make teaching guitar full-time an option?

I have written a post on finding your local competitors, which you can find here. This post uncovers finding your competitors and positioning yourself around them for success. In finding your competitors and studying their service, you can establish if there is a market for your service in the local area.

Do you live in an affluent area?

By looking into the post linked above and monitoring your local competitor’s pricing, you can find out how to suitably price the service you offer. Pricing is an experiment and the more you teach guitar, the more you realise that your potential customers make a direct link between the price you charge and the value of your service.

Look at your service like a chocolate bar. You have one chocolate bar that costs £0.29 and another that costs £1.50. Which one do you think the customer thinks is better? Of course they think that the more expensive one is better. My point is that by putting your prices really low is not the wisest move just to undercut competition. Remember that it is very hard to tell a customer 6 months down the line that you are going to be charging an extra £10 an hour.

Other things to consider:

– Would keeping guitar teaching part time be better for you? There are positive sides to this choice depending on your personality and circumstances.

– Think about your personal circumstances and have a clear goal of how many hours you need to teach a week to make the desired amount of money.

– How many hours feels like the right amount to teach per a week. Do not offer a poor service because you are not able to keep up with an overflow of students.

How is your business growing? Are you on the verge of quitting your daytime job and making teaching guitar your full-time job?

This is a post from my series on making money teaching guitar. I hope you have enjoyed it and please do not hesitate to ask me any questions at all.

Image credit to CJ Isherwood

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