How to Hire the Best Receptionist for Your Tutoring Business

Samir Sampat

A lot of tutors work independently or take on contract jobs. There are some, however, who have full-scale tutoring businesses that offer various services to students and others who are looking for a little assistance. In either case, having an assistant or receptionist could be a huge help when it comes to keeping things organized and making sure communications are answered promptly. 

When you hire a receptionist, virtually or physically, they are the face of your business. They need to reflect your mission and values and they need to deliver the level of service that you have committed to providing all of your visitors. When it comes to tutoring and education, people expect a higher level of professionalism, so it’s more important for you to hire the right people for this role than you think. Fortunately, it’s also not difficult to do if you know where to look and how to go about finding the right talent. 

Hopefully, by the end of this guide, you’ll feel more confident in going out and getting the ideal receptionist solution for your business. For now, let’s start by talking about how today’s consumers require a higher level of service than ever before. 


The Internet created an instant society


People today want everything instantly, and thanks to the Internet, they think it should be possible to get it. They want fast answers, readily available support, and solutions that deliver a personalized experience that is curated to the exact needs of each visitor. That’s a tall order, even for the biggest businesses out there. SMBs and mid-size businesses struggle even more.

Fortunately, everyone can alleviate the stress by hiring a receptionist that can field all the calls, messages, and other communications coming your way. People have a lot of expectations of modern businesses, and that includes things like:

  • Available online customer service and support, including live chat service
  • Social media profiles and communication options
  • Standard business directory listings
  • Answers to all of their questions, as quickly and effortlessly as possible
  • Someone who genuinely wants to help with whatever they need 
  • A business or brand with which they can establish a close relationship for the long-term

These might seem like big tasks to undertake when you’re just getting into improving your customer service. However, it’s something that you’ll be able to deliver on when you partner with the right people to develop a communications and admin strategy to handle it all. That starts with choosing the right receptionist for your tutoring business. 

Once you have that in place, it will be easier to revamp your customer service and admin services so that they’re efficient, accessible, and readily available to anyone who needs them. Now, let’s get back to talking about how to go about getting the right person for the receptionist role in your tutoring business. 


Should you hire a receptionist or is outsourcing better?


This is a question that you’ll have to ask yourself, not someone else. Your tutoring business might just need some assistance in the form of a virtual receptionist that works remotely and makes sure that certain tasks get handled when you can’t do the work. Perhaps you need someone available full-time and in person. Maybe still you’re the kind of business that could benefit more from a dynamic solution like a team of virtual receptionists to handle your every need and manage it all for you. 

Think about things like:

  • Whether you can afford an employee. Sometimes, your budget is tight, and it might be a better choice to outsource or hire virtual receptionists that work for a fraction of what an hourly salary would cost over the years. 
  • Whether you really need an employee. What if you’re running a one-man tutoring operation and you don’t have room for a physical employee? That doesn’t mean you can’t get help. You’ll just probably be better suited to outsourcing. 
  • What kind of services or help you need. As we mentioned, you might want (or need) a more dynamic solution than what’s available locally or by hiring someone as an employee. In that case, consider virtual receptionist services that can customize a solution just for you. 
  • Whether you have the time and energy to manage and oversee an employee. To be frank, you just might not have the time or wherewithal to keep track of another person, and that’s fine. At least you know it and you can now look to hire someone that is self-managed so that there’s less on your plate. 


Tutoring businesses are often smaller, operated by an individual person, or even run out of a home office. Therefore, there may simply not be room or need for an employee that’s part of the payroll to handle receptionist duties. In that case, outsourcing to a third-party service can deliver the professional solution that your business needs without breaking the bank. 


Qualities to look for in a tutoring receptionist


We can’t tell you exactly which receptionist will be right for your business (although we’ve got a sneaking suspicion we’re near the top of the list, but more about our virtual receptionists later). What we can do is help you figure out what will be best. Part of that comes in knowing which qualities to look for when you’re hiring or outsourcing help. 

You may already have some skills or qualifications in mind, which is fine. It’s good, actually, because the more specific you can be, the better help you will find. Along with your own list, consider qualities like:

  • A friendly, personable demeanor. You need someone who is approachable and puts clients and others at ease. When people are calling for tutoring services, they are often timid, and sometimes embarrassed or uncertain about their decision. A personable voice on the other end can help calm them and reassure them that they made the right decision. 
  • Professional and organized. A receptionist should be able to keep your business streamlined and efficient and offer a professional attitude in all that they do. 
  • Patience and critical thinking skills. You shouldn’t hire someone who acts like a robot and only does as they’re told. Hire someone who thinks outside the box, has problem-solving skills, and genuinely wants to help people and the company. 
  • Multitasking skills and the ability to switch gears with ease. A receptionist could be handling several tasks at once, and they need to be able to do it all without missing a beat. 
  • Communication skills. While some of these can be taught, there’s a certain type of person that’s just got built-in communication skills that make them perfect as a receptionist. 
  • Confidence and ability to take charge as needed. They must be able to show that they are capable of their role and not waver in front of visitors or clients. If one of your clients calls and asks how to handle a missed session, for example, your receptionist shouldn’t say “Um, let me check.” They should be prepared to respond with the plan to reschedule and anything else people need to know. 


Of course, you’ll also want to consider other qualities and hard skills that could be relevant, such as phone system experience, computer and software literacy, any special training or related certifications, and so forth. But mostly, you need someone that people can feel comfortable reaching out to while you’re busy tutoring clients because that’s where your skills shine brightest. 


How much should I spend on a receptionist?


Again, we can’t tell you the exact numbers here. You’ll have to look at your budget and compare that to the available solutions. We can tell you that outsourcing is generally going to cost significantly less than hiring an in-house employee, and you’ll generally get more services for your money. However, there’s a valid case for hiring someone to staff your front desk if you need them, and it’s a worthy investment for many. 

Speaking of the investment, remember that this is one. It’s not an expense—you’ll get an impressive return on this investment when you do it correctly. Currently, receptionists in the U.S. earn approximately $10 to $18 per hour for their skills, with those in professional services or with more experience earning at the top of this range. Don’t forget sourcing, training, and onboarding costs, too, along with any benefits, overhead, equipment, supplies, and so forth. 

The numbers add up quickly, and it can be a lot to take in when you’re just getting started. However, if you can compare the options and know what to expect, it will be easier to find the right solution for your needs. When looking at outsourcing, you’ll find lower hourly rates or some contractors and services that might charge on an a la carte basis. Others might offer monthly rates for services based on the ones that you need. 

In any case, familiarize yourself with the costs involved in this investment so that you can be prepared for your own. You might realize that outsourcing is a great choice because you get more for your money, or you might decide that your physical office needs a face and it’s worth investing in a salary and other costs. 




Hiring FAQs


To wrap things up, let’s cover some frequently asked questions about hiring a receptionist, both specific to tutoring and online education, as well as some general Q&A that you’ll want to keep in mind. Take the time to take notes so that you can make the right choice in your tutoring receptionist. 


Where can I find a good receptionist?

There are several places to look when you are going to hire a receptionist. You will want to make sure that you first consider what type of receptionist you’re hiring. You wouldn’t look on job boards for a third-party receptionist service, for example. You can search the Internet, ask for referrals from your colleagues and peers, and even do a search for the “best receptionists for tutoring” or something along those lines. 


What types of receptionists are there?

There are several different types of receptionists, and they all have different roles. Some general receptionists will do just about any task required of them and handle phone calls and messages primarily. Others may be called office coordinators or managers, and they may be in charge of a lot of administrative duties in addition to communications. Then, there are also administrative assistants, which is usually the person responsible for things like, scheduling, travel arrangements, staff support, and other needs. You can pick and choose the type of receptionist that you need based on the services you seek. 


Should I hire full-time or freelance receptionists?

This is something only you can answer. Do you need full-time help? Is your need only temporary or do you have a smaller business, so you don’t need full-time support? Think about what’s going to be best for your tutoring business because that’s what matters. You might start with a part-time service and upgrade later, too, if you’re just starting and want to make sure it’s the right fit. 


Does my receptionist need experience in the education industry?

Experience is always going to be helpful, but it’s not absolutely necessary. In this case, the soft skills mentioned above, along with basic receptionist and administrative abilities, will be far more valuable to your tutoring business than actual education or tutoring experience. The latter, you can generally train people on, while you can’t train someone to be organized, diligent, a self-starter, and so forth. 


Get more for your money when you leave the receptionist work to Smith.ai 


Your tutoring is your top priority, but your clients still need attention. When you partner with the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai, you’ll be able to deliver both and do so without missing a beat. Our team of 24/7 agents will be available to assist with things like after-hours calls, live chat, Facebook message and SMS message answering, scheduling and payment collection, and even lead intake, and so much more. 

Plus, we’ll take all those tasks and admin duties and wrap them into a perfectly-crafted strategy to ensure that your communications are managed effectively so that you can focus on the rest of your business. Let us teach you how to do more with a receptionist than you ever imagined, and all while giving you more time to spend teaching. 

To learn more, schedule a consultation to discuss what the 24/7 virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can do for your tutoring business. You will also be able to reach us at (650) 727-6484 or hello@smith.ai


Samir Sampat

Samir Sampat is a Marketing and Events Associate with Smith.ai. He has experience working with businesses of all sizes focusing on marketing, communications, and business development.

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