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Spires Tutoring Review Summary
Spires Tutoring is a teacher marketplace supporting students of all ages in 100+ subjects. They hire 1v1 online tutors with degrees and 2+ years of experience from dozens of countries. Hours and pay are decided by tutors, though platform fees of up to 35% are deducted, and students are bid for through blind auction.
|Pay (per hour):||Decided by tutor (average £40/$53/€45*)|
|Location requirements?||Countries where Stripe is supported|
(not including India, Brazil and anywhere in preview status)
|Teaching certificate required?||No|
|Teaching experience required?||2+ years|
|Student age?||All ages/levels|
|Class type:||1v1 online|
Spires Tutoring Pros and Cons
- Open to dozens of countries
- Tutors set their own pay rates
- Weekly payments
- Simple application and interview process
- All ages/levels of student in over 100 subjects
- Platform (commission) fees of up to 35%
- Bidding system encourages underselling to beat competition
- Must have 2+ years of experience
- More supply than demand for some subjects, e.g. Humanities, Language, Music, Drama
Is Spires Tutoring Legit?
Spires Tutoring is a legitimate online tutoring company that was founded in 2015 and launched in 2016. Based in London but operating globally, it has hundreds of tutors working with thousands of students across 30 counties. The company’s legitimacy is supported by being a corporate member of The Tutors’ Association, and its Trustpilot score of 4.7 out of 5.
Below is a video introduction to Spires:
How Does Spires Tutoring Work?
Spires is an online teacher marketplace, where tutors can list their profile to attract bookings. However, it also operates a reserve auction bidding system, where the student posts a tuition request on the jobs board for tutors to then submit their best price. A job is withdrawn once 3 bids have been received for it, unless your tutor score is higher than an existing bidder. The student will then hire the tutor they like best, usually following a free trial class.
This video demonstrates how the bidding process works:
Spires Payment Information
You decide your own pay rate, listed on your profile and for any Spires online tutoring jobs you bid on. You will not be able to see what other tutors are bidding during a live auction, though a suggested price is presented (in the client’s currency), and the average Spires Tutoring pay rate is £40/$53/€45 per hour (according to the company).
There is a referral bonus of up to $/£/€100 for each student you bring to Spires that completes 1-5 hours on the platform.
Spires payments are sent every Friday for classes confirmed as completed, and can take 3-5 working days to reach a tutor’s bank account. PayPal is no longer accepted, only banking systems supported by Stripe (omitting India, Brazil and anywhere in preview status).
Spires Tutoring Commission Rate
Spires charges a platform fee which, from January 2023, starts at 35% (up from 25% previously). You should factor this in when setting the client price for any jobs you bid on, which will show in the adjacent box the amount you earn once commission is deducted:
The plaform fee drops by 1% (to a minimum of 20%) for every 5 hours of tutoring delivered on the same job.
External partners typically carry fees of 30%, while any students you bring to Spires will be fixed at 5%, for now.
Spires Hours and Schedule
Spires tutors are free to set their own availability.
Students are located in multiple time zones, while technical and administrative support is available 24/7.
24 hours notice must be given to cancel or reschedule any classes. Less than this and tutors have the right to charge 0%, 50%, or 100% of the arranged fee, after waiting 15 minutes for any late students to show up.
Spires Tutoring requirements include:
- A relevant degree – broadly in the area you wish to tutor.
- 2+ years of relevant teaching experience – ideally online as a teacher, lecturer or private tutor. Spires rarely accepts undergraduates and recent graduates without previous teaching experience.
- Sufficient demand in your academic subject – mostly physical sciences, computing, engineering, mathematics, economics, social sciences, languages, humanities, professional qualifications, entrance tests and aptitude tests.
- Emotional intelligence – to interactively build rapport and gain the respect and attention of your students.
- Quality and integrity – to represent the Spires brand and not enter into private arrangements to avoid platform fees.
- Being professional – i.e. knowledgeable, positive, proactive, likable, approachable and competent.
- Background check – to tutor students under 18, i.e. possession of an enhanced DBS (for the UK) or your country’s equivalent.
- Bank account – from a country supported by Stripe, not including India, Brazil or anywhere in preview status
A teaching qualification is not mandatory but is advantageous.
Spires Tutoring Technical Requirements
- A ‘decent’ computer (not tablet), with sufficient CPU and RAM for screen sharing
- Stable internet connection
- Google Chrome or Firefox browser installed
- ‘Good’ microphone, preferably a headset with built-in mic
- Quiet, ambient environment free from background noise
- Technically capable and literate, e.g. know how to reset a router and guide students with technical problems
How Do I Become a Tutor on Spires?
Begin your Spires application by signing up with your name, email address and password.
You will then be asked the following questions and to upload a recent CV or resume:
- How did you hear about Spires?
- Which country will you be tutoring from?
- What is your phone number?
- What is your typical hourly rate of pay?
- Can you commit to tutoring for at least one academic year?
- How many hours can you commit to tutoring each week approximately?
- How much experience do you have with online tutoring?
- Do you have the right to be self-employed in the country you reside in?
- Do you understand that you will be responsible for your own tax affairs and subject to your local tax jurisdiction?
- Do you give consent to Spires’ data processing policies for the purposes of GDPR?
Next, fill out your profile, including your:
- Professional Picture
- Education and Tagline
- About Me Section
- Teaching and Tutoring Experience
- Areas of Expertise
- Tutoring Subjects
- Main Subject
- Background Check
For suggestions on completing this, you should consult existing Spires tutor profiles and watch this video guide:
Spires Tutoring Interview Process
If there is demand for your subject and the company feels you might be a good fit, you will be invited to conduct a short online interview. This consists of a 10-15 minute mock tutorial on a subject of your choosing, delivered to a Spires team member.
You will be assessed on your:
- Punctuality and reliability
- Tutoring ability
- Professionalism and dedication to the profession
- Student interaction, i.e. not just a PowerPoint lecture
- Use of an online whiteboard such as Bitpaper and digital pen for equations and diagrams (for quantitative subjects)
- Screensharing of Google docs and other collaborative resources (for qualitative subjects)
Spires Tutoring Reviews – What Is It Like Working for Spires?
The Spires Glassdoor page gives the company an overall rating of 4.4 out of 5, with 81% willing to recommend them. However, this comes from just 24 Spires online tutoring reviews (at the time of writing), with only 1 left in the last year. This tutor talks positively about the variety of clients and jobs on the platform, the freedom to set your own prices and policies, regular timely payments, and the quality of the tech department, though there are complaints regarding the increased platform fee, volume of short-term over long-term jobs, tutor ranking system, and the point of contact:
Other Spires tutor reviews can be found on Trustpilot (amidst those from clients). Here are the most recent examples, which concur about the supportive team, prompt payments, and variety of jobs (in countries and syllabi), but again criticize the platform fee, while there are mixed opinions about the level of competition for jobs (at least at the start):
Conclusion – Is Spires Tutoring Good for Online Tutors?
Spires attracts more positive than negative comments from existing online tutors, providing a decent number of students by most accounts though competition and demand varies by subject. The bidding system gives tutors more agency than other teacher marketplaces where you have to wait for students to click on your profile, though the platform fee is one of the steeper rates around. With no up-front costs and a simple application/interview process, there is little harm in trying the platform out.