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First Tutors Review Summary

First Tutors offers 1v1 online and in-person tuition for multiple subjects and levels in the UK, South Africa, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. No specific qualifications or experience are required, and tutors have almost total freedom over how they teach and are paid, though bookings can be hard to come by.

Pay (per hour):Decided by tutor, varies by subject/country (see ranges below)
Location requirements?UK, South Africa, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland
Degree / diploma required?No
Teaching certificate required?No
Teaching experience required?No
Student age (Adults/Children)?Any age
Class size:1-on-1 tutoring 
Minimum hours (per week):No minimum hours

First Tutors Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Quick and simple registration process with no interview or demo
  • Tutors set their own pay rates and schedules
  • The company does not charge commission fees
  • Options for both online and in-person tutoring
  • Tutors can choose their own video chat/conferencing software

Cons:

  • Competitive tutor marketplace makes it difficult to stand out (charges a premium membership to appear in the top-3 of searches)
  • Students are charged a finders fee, disincentivizing some from booking
  • Tutors must arrange their own method of payment
  • In-person tutoring dependent on local area demand

Is First Tutors Legit?

First Tutors is a legitimate company that has been operating since 2005, and provides both in-person and online private tuition. It has been recommended by The Good Schools Guide, featured in major media outlets such as the BBC, Times Educational Supplement, and The Guardian, and has a First Tutors Trustpilot score of 4.7 out of 5. On their UK site alone, they list over 60,000 tutors.

How Does First Tutors Work?

First Tutors works as a teacher marketplace for tutors and students to find one another. Students contact tutors through a profile that tutors set up on the First Tutors database. The students will send a message outlining how many hours a week they require and how many weeks they would like the tutor for. 

If they agree to tuition, students will pay a finders fee to access the tutor’s contact information, allowing them to work together outside of the platform. Students can also provide feedback which is displayed on the tutor’s profile for others interested in booking them.

Teachers and students will set up appointments for home-based/in-person tutoring unless the tutor specifically markets themselves as a remote/online tutor. If the tutor provides remote tutoring, the tutor needs to provide some way for the student to meet virtually through a video chat platform. It is the responsibility of the tutor to guide the student on these matters. There is nothing provided within the First Tutors’ platform that provides for live-streaming tutors. 

This video provides a brief introduction as to how the system operates:

First Tutors Online Platform

The First Tutors online platform is straightforward and easy to use. Students are able to view tutor profiles and search for specific subjects or languages they are looking to learn. Tutors are able to customize their profiles by sharing information about their certifications, degrees, subjects, languages and tutoring style. 

Tutors are also able to organize their appointments and schedule through the platform. Students and Tutors have the ability to discuss any initial tutoring requirements on the platform before the student purchases the tutor’s full contact information. Some dislike this aspect of the platform because it makes it challenging to get students because of this finders fee. 

Overall, students and tutors praise the platform for being simple, straightforward, and safe. The First Tutors database has branches in several countries. There is First Tutors Australia, First Tutors Canada, First Tutors New Zealand, First Tutors Ireland, First Tutors South Africa, and First Tutors United Kingdom, where the First Tutors program started. 

First Tutors Subjects and Levels

The First Tutors platform provides academic tutoring as its primary purpose, though there are First Tutors languages too for students wishing to learn that. Tuition is available for middle school, high school, and university levels.

The subjects that can be tutored will differ depending upon the school system of that country, but a full list can be found in the footer of the relevant website (UK, South Africa, Canada, Ireland, Australia or New Zealand).

How Much Does First Tutors Pay?

Tutors decide what pay rate they wish to charge on their profiles, with typical ranges varying depending on the subject, level, country and type of tuition (online or in-person) being offered. Comparing online primary English as an example, this is what tutors currently charge on the platform:

  • UK = £6.30-$100 p/h
  • South Africa = ZAR120-350 p/h
  • Ireland = €10-€50 p/h
  • Australia = $30-$120 p/h
  • New Zealand = $9-$55 p/h
  • Canada = Not publicized at present

Is there a First Tutors Commission Fee?

First Tutors does not charge a commission fee to its tutors. Instead, students must pay a finders fee for each tutor they wish to work with.

First Tutors does offer an optional ‘Premium Membership’ at a cost of £29.99 for 3 months (less if you sign up for longer), which puts your profile into the top-3 of search results, along with other supposed benefits such as the ability to include a video and access to additional data.

First Tutors Payment Method

First Tutors does not facilitate a method of payment, this is decided on between the tutor and student, and could be cash for in-person tuition or PayPal if online.

First Tutors Hours

There are no set hours by the company, tutors’ schedules are determined by themselves and their students.

Tutoring sessions usually last an hour.

Bear in mind to factor in travel time should you wish to pursue any in-person tutoring.

First Tutors Requirements

No minimum qualifications are required to create a profile on First Tutors. You will need to have a physical address in either the UK, South Africa, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or Canada to register.

You will be asked for two references and to undergo an identity check before your profile is published.

First Tutors Sign Up Process

To begin the First Tutors application process, visit the specific sign-up page for your country, i.e. UK, South Africa, Ireland, Australia or New Zealand (the Canada branch does not appear to be recruiting currently).

You will be asked to register with your name and email address, accept the terms and conditions, create a username, and provide the following information:

  • Physical address and phone number
  • Subjects, levels and price per lesson
  • Qualifications, level and institution
  • Profile:
    • About you
    • Experience
    • Approach
    • Tuition location
    • Language

Once you have submitted this and clicked on the emailed activation link, you can log in to provide two references and undergo identity checks, which must be completed before your profile will appear on the website.

First Tutors Reviews

The First Tutors Glassdoor page provides an overall rating of 3.6 out of 5, with 46% willing to recommend them (at the time of writing). Here is a collation of all the positive and negative comments that have been left there by current and past teachers:

  • Advantages:
    • First Tutors does not charge commission on your lessons, a rare pro in the tutoring world
    • You are your own boss
    • Flexible, on my own terms
    • It is a great website for finding students
    • Good contacts and interface for clients
    • great work and life balance
    • can find lots of students
    • It helped find new tutees
    • Flexibility in work hours and pay
    • Flexible and respectful work as a tutor
    • Great to meet new students and aid in their learning
    • the platform has a clean layout – it’s a safe and professional site
    • Flexible working, good rates per hour, work-from-home options (online tuition)
    • It is a great platform for private tutors
    • Good for finding clients for tutoring
  • Disadvantages:
    • Matching with clients is sometimes fidgety due to FirstTutor’s restriction on messages
    • Very little work and protracted process
    • Hard to find pupils sometimes
    • There are no cons really. It is a good platform
    • Strict rules and sometimes unclear
    • low salary, minimum welfare given
    • can often be hard to be contacted
    • Their online teaching platform was not great for maths
    • Dependant [sic] on the local demand
    • Not enough work as a workaholic I need more work
    • Not always a steady income, odd job here and there
    • impossible to attract any students – company monitors all your messages – students have to pay $10 to access your details
    • Interface sometimes counterintuitive, sometimes low number of opportunities
    • Bad for sending contact details

It is clear that opinion is divided regarding the amount of work available on the platform, and no doubt this varies depending on the level of competition for a particular subject and level. It is interesting that Varsity Tutors, a rival online tutoring company, has created a profile within the First Tutors database so as to siphon students across to its own platform.

Conclusion – Is First Tutors Good?

If you come from one of the countries they operate in, there is very little to lose in creating a First Tutors profile, as the process is relatively quick and easy and costs nothing. Just don’t expect to attract a huge number of booking requests, as teacher marketplaces are often difficult to stand out in, and there are already a number of reports from tutors who have struggled to find work here. If you do succeed, there are advantages over rival platforms in that no commission fee is charged, and you have the freedom to decide the software you teach through and how you are paid.

You can apply to First Tutors through your country’s portal: UK, South Africa, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand.

A list of other companies can be found here.

Contact us to help update this article, share your experiences, or suggest other companies to review.


Dr Daniel Spence

Daniel Spence is the founder of Online Teaching Review. He has been an international teacher since 2008, an award-winning academic, author of two books, and holds a PhD, MA, BA (Hons), and TESOL.

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