It’s Hard Finding The Right Place To Start A Tuition Center

When I started my tuition business in 2012, my initial plan was to rent a center and build my student base there, before hiring more tutors. However, getting the right classroom was harder than I imagined. The classrooms I saw were either too big, too small, or were at poor locations. In this article, I’ll talk about my considerations, and will offer a better solution.



As a newbie tutor, I first aimed only to have a space to teach a class. If I could fill my schedule with classes of 4, I would have been quite successful for a start. Most of the centers I was shown had two to three classrooms. 

Large centers were inspiring. I remember the feeling of imagining the classrooms being filled with tutors and students, with state-of-the-art furniture and lighting, as I was shown around the premises by my property agent. While they were great for expansion – which was what I had in mind – but the flip side was that I had to pay for the additional rent. Also, bigger spaces meant I had to sink in more money to renovate the space.

As a newbie, I had zero visibility of how things might turn out for my business, so committing to a long term lease was a big risk. I also did not have a team of tutors, so much of the space was just wasted. 

Big spaces were nice but a waste and an unnecessary expense.


Some of the units I was shown were very small. Typically they were a sublet unit from another owner. Half the shop would be used for something else like foot massage service or bubble tea. Such units typically had enough for a small passageway and a classroom for 4-6 students. There was no space for a reception area.

Such a small cozy space would keep my cost as low as possible, so I could focus on what really mattered, which was to fill up my slots with students, and to deliver a great learning experience.

The downside was that it would limit my branding and my expansion. It would be harder to charge a premium rate if my center was a narrow unit beside a foot massage shop or a bubble tea store. Also, I would have to look for another space when I decided to expand my team. 


As I viewed unit after unit, time was ticking, and I had to settle down on a unit before the season of enrolment was over.

Eventually I found a student care center owned by a friend, and they happened to have a spare classroom. The rent was just above $1000 per month, they would take care of the maintenance, and it was also fully furnished so I could save on renovation. I might also benefit from the students spilled over from the student care business.

Furthermore, that place was near Republic Polytechnic, where I worked during the day as an adjunct lecturer. I could just do a quick run to that place after my classes in polytechnic ended. It could not be more convenient than that. So I decided to take up the unit.

What I did not consider was that the place was very inaccessible. Well, to be fair, it was not like an industrial area, but it was a 30 minutes walking distance from Woodlands MRT, and about 15 minutes by bus. That was enough to deter most students who did not live around the neighborhood.

Another factor I did not consider was the demographics of that place. I was charging $240 per month for a group lesson of 4 in 2012, which was a rate that worked in a tuition center in a buzzy Bukit Batok neighborhood. But it did not work well in a quieter neighborhood in Woodlands. Even the parents from the student care service found me expensive, as they were used to paying around half my rate.


As it turned out, I only lasted a few months in that premise before my money ran out. It was a humbling experience to have to call my friend to tell him that I had no more money to pay rent.

As I have gone through the pain of searching for the right unit to start a small group tuition, I hope for a better solution for tutors in that phase of their journey. In March 2023, a few friends of mine came together to start Tutor Storey to address this need.


Our purpose is to provide a space that is scalable according to the stage of your tuition business. As a tutor who is just starting your tuition business, you can pay for a fully renovated small classroom, at an accessible location, without coughing up a 5-figure sum for renovation and a few thousand dollars for rent each month. Simply book the teaching slots and pay as you use the classrooms. The cost of renting for each class is a fraction of the fees you can earn.

Invest your funds into more important areas, like marketing, sustaining yourself, and attending courses to learn business skills.

This, to me, makes more business sense.

I also recall the sense of loneliness and helplessness when I started my business. There was no one to turn to, no industry people to offer any advice. Every other center owner and tutors were my imagined competitors. It doesn’t have to be like that. The journey of starting your tuition business can be exhilarating and inspiring, but you need to be in the company of the right people. That is why we want to offer more than the hardware of the well-maintained classrooms, amenities, accessible location, but also a nurturing and supportive environment. 

As a co-founder of a vibrant online community for tutors, the COT (, I can help to accelerate the growth of your business with my network and my experience. We are also bringing in training courses to support tutors to grow in their business and professional skills and knowledge.

If you like the idea behind Tutor Storey, and you think that what we provide – the Scalable Space Solutions – works for you or any of your friends, simply visit to drop an enquiry and we will get in touch.

To your success!


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