There are several simple ideas to help get good ratings. At least around me, I've heard some horror stories of bad tutors, so I've decided to start up a new blog series about some of the things I do that I think set me apart from others.
The 15 - 30 Rule:
This is a very simple rule that I implemented early on in tutoring and has helped me enormously throughout my career thus far. For every 15 minutes of driving time between students, I give myself 30 minutes to do the drive. That's it.
There are many reasons for this:
1. Sometimes students have almost grasped a concept, and it gives me a few minutes to wrap up a concept.
2. Very often, parents don't realize that you are on a schedule and wish to chat about their child and their progress; this allows you at least a few minutes to spare with them (although some parents take even longer than 15 minutes to talk ... so you have to politely excuse yourself).
3. In some cases, you will be asked to provide homework problems for the student, so this gives a bit of time to make problems at the end instead of cutting into tutoring time.
4. In the winter, routes can take longer due to snow, so this gives some lee-way.
5. Of course, there's constant construction, so delays can come up unexpectedly.
6. If you get into a situation where you are tutoring non-stop, back-to-back, you can try to wedge in some time for a quick bite to eat or to go to the bathroom.
7. If none of the above, can always give a bit of extra free time to students. Free time to students makes it so their money goes further, so more value to them, which helps improve one's image.
While you might lose 15 minutes of potential earnings, the benefits far outweigh the possible loss of earnings (and yes, I give myself a full hour or at least 45 minutes for students a half hour away). As a tutor, a lot of students will come from word-of-mouth, and being on-time to students' homes and not being tied down to time goes a long way to helping spread good reviews.