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Commission Complaints

The complaints against WyzAnt’s 40% commission demands a response.

Suppose a tutor with 15 hours of work time through WyzAnt charges $40 an hour. Of that amount, WyzAnt will automatically deduct $16. This deduction is based on WyzAnt’s commission rate, which is 40% for the first 20 hours of work time. So the tutor is not earning $40 an hour; rather, the tutor is earning $24 an hour. According to a number of individuals, WyzAnt’s 40% commission rate is too high, way above average. Some folks, oddly enough, have even posted complaints on other websites. Why?

Here's some food for thought.

1. Twenty-four dollars an hour is higher than any state’s hourly minimum wage.

2. You can create your website for tutors and charge a lower commission.

3. If you tutor for an hour you will be paid $24.

4. If you don’t tutor for an hour you will not be paid $24.

5. Twenty-four dollars is more than zero dollars.

6. You don’t have to stay with WyzAnt, but before you leave the colony see numbers 3, 4, and 5.

7. You can easily increase your hourly rate (Would you rather earn 60% of $50 or 60% of $40?)

8. How did you find that WyzAnt student?

9. How did that WyzAnt student find you?

10. The unemployment rate is still 9.1%. Many of them would love the opportunity to earn $24 an hour.

11. The commission rate is not a hidden fee. It's easily found and clearly stated: Just click on Help and then go to Payment Policies.

12. After 20 hours of tutoring, Wyzant’s commission rate decreases, and it continues to do so as the tutor accumulates hours in tutoring.

13. Joining WyzAnt cost zero dollars. So how many hours will it take to make a profit? Amazing! One hour.

The question has been asked: How much money do people want? A million? Ten million? Nope. A person always wants one more dollar than what they have.

Strange that a person would agree to work for an hourly rate and then as an employee complain about that same hourly rate a month later. (I think I will post this article at sites that have the commission rate complaints posted.)


This post comes across as extremely defensive and doesn't give reasons for Wyzant's percentage other than, "At least you've got a job, buddy." 40% for a middleman is an extremely high amount. Especially for something that isn't advertised to potential tutors ahead of time - the only way I learned this was reading an email from Wyzant after having scheduled a tutoring time. Something should be done about this percentage. I see that this was written in 2011 and three years later, nothing has been done. 
Just some background, I'm a student on Wyzant, and am considering start tutoring on my own. I have a day job as a software engineer. 
My 2 cents on this matter is that it doesn't matter what they charge, as a business, you should charge as much as you can. Wyzant has built a decent platform, and there is nothing to stop a person to move away from them other than their established reputation and network of students. It makes perfect sense for them to leverage what they have and reap profit from it. 
The whole mechanism is self-balancing since if they charge too high, then the tutors will have to set a higher price to compensate for the fee, resulting in fewer students being able to afford tutoring, hurting Wyzant's profit, and in turn, they will lower the fee. 
It looks like it has been this way for 3 years and the fact that they seem to be doing pretty well suggests that their price strategy is probably working. 
What this post does is, it is defending worker exploitation. Remember that exploitation is only possible if workers (tutors in this case) don't have many other options. So, saying "this is better than zero hourly rate" or "go somewhere else" is preposterous and certainly does not justify the hefty commission rate.
Remember also that tutors often have to travel long distances for one hour of work, which can mean they work effectively for way below minimum wage.
I also think the 40% commission is ridiculous and a disincentive to using their service.   #1.   What value does Wyzant create beyond the basic matchmaker function between student and tutor? how does it justify an additional charge for any subsequent meetings between student and tutor.   #2 it artificially increases the cost of the service.   As either a student or a tutor I have a hard time knowing that the price of a service is just arbitrarily inflated over what it needs to be because someone is getting paid for doing nothing.   #3.   Increasing the cost shifts the demand curve.   Quite frankly I have a hard time charging students more than $20 an hour because I can't justify paying more than that to have someone sit and talk me through my homework.   That means I as a tutor am making less than $15 and quite honestly I'd rather stay home.
Companies are in business to make money.  The current commission rate is really high and remains high eternally.  In time, other options will open up with other companies and drive the commission rates down or cause the business concept to be made more reasonable.  Current options would be to advertise for your own students through the schools, libraries, and local business.  Soon you will be in a better position.  Wyzant is a tool for locating students.  No one is obligated to use their platform.  Get established in your community, establish your own clientele, then they will refer you to others. 
What about the taxes that will also be paid come tax season? Federal taxes are going to be 20% and depending on your state up to about 6-7%. So, altogether that is 66% taken out of your $40/hr rate. That leaves you with 13.60$ per hour, so if your commuting there and back for each hour, say 15 min each way you're really earning about 9$/hr after all of the applicable deducations - so hopefully you aren't spending a lot of time planning for your sessions outside of your actual meeting time because that would then even further reduce the amount you're earning per hour. 
This article sounds really smug.
Agreed with most of the complaints about this article. It's incredibly pointless to attack people for demanding fair payment for their work. $40% commission (especially considering that Wyzant ALSO charges our students a service fee) does no one any good. All it does is serve to inflate the hourly rates for tutoring overall (thus reducing the number of potential paying customers due to inability to pay our higher rates), encourage tutors to seek business on other websites or by cash, and deter tutors from paying taxes on their wages. If the original poster is going to refer to random economics statistics, he should also consider that the 40% commission may also be bad for the economy overall.
This post is extremely defensive and comes across in very poor taste. I would like to address this point specifically:

1. Twenty-four dollars an hour is higher than any state’s hourly minimum wage.
When I interact with a student I spend a fair amount of time communicating with them ahead of a tutoring session, reviewing relevant material when necessary and possibly preparing a lesson plan, travelling to and from the session (costing time and gas) and then following up with the student afterwards. Typically most students only want a 1 hour session, and then add in all of the above and this easily becomes 3+ hours of total time.

If I were able to reliably drive to one location every day of the week and work for 8 hours straight, then the author's #1 point would have merit. Alas, this is not the case since the author is seemingly incapable of critical thinking. In case the author is also poor at arithmetic, I should also point out that 24 / 3 = 8.
Will H. Why should anything be done about the commission if the company is profitable. Please start a company instead of complaining. Complaining is a waste of time. If you can compete with WyzAnt and offer a lower commission go ahead and do so. No one is forcing any of these tutors to work at these commission waits. The way I see it: 1. WyzAnt states up front what the commission rate is and also provides the opportunity to decrease this commission rate through the accumulation of hours, 2. A potential tutor signs up after they, hopefully, read the contract, and thus, agrees to it, 3. The tutor gets tutoring clients and makes money. 
If you don't like it you can go somewhere else. 
Good day, sir.
Juan Weaver
Agreed, this article is overtly defensive and does a poor job in giving a definite answer as to why the high rate. Indeed, all it is saying is "you still get money, other people want to make money so be thankful or leave." What kind of mentality is that? Ah, yes, that of monopolies and those who exploit workers.
Sure, Wyzant is a platform where students can give out money more trustingly than a random dude's website (as has been suggested by some above), and we find students easier than going around posting on random forums.
Sure, Wyzant had (and has) to pay developers to develop the platform, advertising, maintenance, hosting, etc., but still.
But in the end, who is really doing the hard work? Who is really doing the teaching? Who is really driving students to come to look for tutors! Besides, there is a 7% extra fee for the students. If the commission was lower, we could actually lower our rates, and more students would come.
Get this: no tutors, no students. No students, no Wyzant.
Oh, and notice that this argument by the OP and the other Juan above me would be the same even if the comission was 90%... "he tutor gets tutoring clients and makes money" or "4 dollars is better than 0 dollars".. I mean, that's true, 4 dollars is better than 0, or even 10 dollars! But look that the argument remains the same even with a 90% commission.
Also, why is $40 the example in the OP but yet he charges $50? He realized something, didn't he?
The 40% rate is only for the first 20 hours. If you're serious about developing a tutoring business, even part time, it might apply to your first couple of weeks of work.  It's high, but it no doubt covers some fixed costs of setting up your account and reviewing your certifications.
As defensive and smug as this post may seem, anyone who has done years of freelance and contract work knows that rates are different for different scenarios. Most of your placement agencies (Aquent, Randstad, Creative Circle, Boss Group, etc) have similar commission rates. Some are at 50%. After time, the more you do and the more you represent the agency in a positive way they often lower the commission because they know they can easily place you and rely on you to make them look good. 

As a freelancer, I may charge $65 - $120/h because I have to cover all the marketing costs, contract writing, payment tracking, personal overhead and self-employment tax, healthcare etc. After all that is done I probably only earn 1/3 - 1/2 of that money. When I work through an agency they may take the same cut, but they handle all payments, marketing, legal and tax issues, and will often ensure payment even if the client doesn't pay right on time. When freelancing,  I've had clients not pay a dime of their invoice, and I just don't have the resources to sue them, and so lost hundreds of dollars.

I assume, based on what I've read so far, Wyzant's commission for the initial 20 hours sounds on par with industry standards. The original poster could probably have articulated/tutored his point more effectively if he clarified that the commission covers a lot of administrative costs and overhead you would have to pay anyway, if you did all the work on your own: resourcing the students, providing a functioning website, providing legal and technical support, handling payment processing, arbitration, taxes and deductions, and on and on. 

There are some tutor sites that ask tutors to pay in order to access potential students and then bid on that project, and they may or may not get the tutoring gig as someone else underbid them, but it still cost them an access fee. I'd rather not worry if I had the money on hand to pay an access fee and just let them have their commission, do a good job, continue getting tutoring gigs, prove myself a good representative of the company and find that in time I get a higher percentage of the rate. 

Anyway, I do hope that Wyzant does not make you pay an access fee, so far I've not seen anything that says they do.Anyway, hope that helps.


Ron R.

Fullerton, Home of the Most Patient, Caring, Knowledgeable Ant!

20+ hours
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