Recently, there's been some brouhaha over Facebook and its business model. There is now intense scrutiny over the type of content the platform promotes, how FB promotes it and its effects on its audience and members.

And in the wider world. Facebook fallout is not limited to its billion-or-so subscribers...

One of the most striking observations to come out of the whole debacle is "If you get to use a service at no cost, you're not a customer. You are the product." That assertion gained prominence in 2018 after the Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed how the social media platform was harvesting and reselling users' data.

Those explosive revelations led to several data privacy reforms, most notably in the European Union.

Today, we have more goods and services available to us than we could possibly consume. A situation which forces companies to be ultra-competitive. They have to find an edge, a hook to make their product/service appear more desirable than that of their competitors so that consumers will choose them over everyone else.

At Superprof, we've tried to find a way of doing business that benefits everyone involved.

So, let's explain what Superprof charges - how and why payments are structured the way they are and how you can get the most for your money with Superprof.

The best tutors available
Pretty
5
5 (5 review/s)
Pretty
R130
/h
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1st lesson free!
Edah
5
5 (2 review/s)
Edah
R100
/h
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1st lesson free!
Firdous
5
5 (2 review/s)
Firdous
R250
/h
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1st lesson free!
Schalk
5
5 (6 review/s)
Schalk
R120
/h
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Jana
5
5 (6 review/s)
Jana
R300
/h
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1st lesson free!
Marga
5
5 (1 review/s)
Marga
R340
/h
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1st lesson free!
Lorato mmama
5
5 (6 review/s)
Lorato mmama
R200
/h
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1st lesson free!
Nimeshka
5
5 (2 review/s)
Nimeshka
R150
/h
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1st lesson free!
Zein
5
5 (2 review/s)
Zein
R200
/h
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1st lesson free!
Lusanda
5
5 (2 review/s)
Lusanda
R172
/h
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1st lesson free!
Lee-mari
5
5 (6 review/s)
Lee-mari
R200
/h
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1st lesson free!
Anja
5
5 (5 review/s)
Anja
R150
/h
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1st lesson free!
Nozibusiso
5
5 (10 review/s)
Nozibusiso
R290
/h
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1st lesson free!
Abongile
5
5 (7 review/s)
Abongile
R150
/h
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1st lesson free!
Shimei
5
5 (3 review/s)
Shimei
R170
/h
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1st lesson free!
Patience
5
5 (5 review/s)
Patience
R200
/h
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1st lesson free!
Joseph
5
5 (1 review/s)
Joseph
R300
/h
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1st lesson free!
Pretty
5
5 (5 review/s)
Pretty
R130
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Edah
5
5 (2 review/s)
Edah
R100
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Firdous
5
5 (2 review/s)
Firdous
R250
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Schalk
5
5 (6 review/s)
Schalk
R120
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Jana
5
5 (6 review/s)
Jana
R300
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Marga
5
5 (1 review/s)
Marga
R340
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Lorato mmama
5
5 (6 review/s)
Lorato mmama
R200
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Nimeshka
5
5 (2 review/s)
Nimeshka
R150
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Zein
5
5 (2 review/s)
Zein
R200
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Lusanda
5
5 (2 review/s)
Lusanda
R172
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Lee-mari
5
5 (6 review/s)
Lee-mari
R200
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Anja
5
5 (5 review/s)
Anja
R150
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Nozibusiso
5
5 (10 review/s)
Nozibusiso
R290
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Abongile
5
5 (7 review/s)
Abongile
R150
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Shimei
5
5 (3 review/s)
Shimei
R170
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Patience
5
5 (5 review/s)
Patience
R200
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Joseph
5
5 (1 review/s)
Joseph
R300
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Let's go!

The Superprof Backstory

In 2013, the year Superprof launched, mainstream internet was a teenager. Barely 18 years had passed since society's broad embrace of the home computer and the most popular websites were social media pages, such as MySpace, WeChat, Whatsapp and, even Facebook. Music sites also enjoyed regular, high-volume traffic.

2013 was the year of the Internet of Things. Exponential advances in technology made new and improved methods of communication possible. Connecting disparate devices to the internet, from refrigerators to robotic vacuum cleaners was the next big wave.

Anything was possible and the internet had nowhere to go but up.

With all of the entertainment and information available on the internet in 2013, there was nevertheless a gap in the market.

At the time, education was still mostly thought of as something to be delivered face to face, despite a long history of correspondence courses and distance learning; educational formats that had been going on for centuries.

In 2013, thanks to advances in Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and better webcams, online education – especially one-to-one learning surged, and Superprof was ideally positioned to ride that wave.

online tutoring using laptop and webcam
Webcams have come a long way since their low-resolution days, making online tutoring better than ever. - Source: Pexels

In just one year, Superprof welcomed their 100 000th tutor to the platform. Two years after that, Superprof went worldwide. We'd already built a strong presence in France, having become the number 1 tutoring service just a year after launching the platform, and other European countries keenly awaited their chance to debut the Superprof model for their students.

The Superprof model isn't just a beneficial learning community; it's an example of an innovative business model. When you realise what Superprof does for students and tutors, you'll see that we're much more than just a tutoring platform ...

A New Business Model

The Superprof team motto includes words like 'caring', 'involved' and 'utopic'. Indeed, those concepts and qualities drive our service aims. Still, despite our altruistic spirit, we are a business; we have to generate income to sustain what we do.

In the relatively uncharted waters that Superprof began its operations in, there were many ways to generate revenue:

  • partnering with outside firms who would pay us to post ads on our sites
  • collecting a commission from tutors' lesson fees
  • charging students a percentage of each lesson's fee
  • setting up a subscription service to allow students the maximum availability and access to tutors.

The first idea was a non-starter. We seek to assist students in finding the help they need and to assist tutors in exercising their passion for teaching, an we therefore did not wish to promote other companies' products on our platform.

Collecting a commission from tutors' fees was likewise unfeasible. To give our tutors maximum flexibility, we insist on their right to set their own rates. Why should we take anything away from tutors, who sign up to our platform to pass on their knowledge and skills to eager students?

The same logic applies to fees from students except, for them, it's a need to learn, not to earn.

The fourth option therefore became our solution. Just as some retailers invite you to become a member, and others promote the use of rewards cards (lower prices in exchange for your permission to track your shopping habits and profit from that data), we concluded that charging an access fee yielded the best possible value for your money.

So, the student buys a Student Pass which gives them access to our platform and which allows them to enter into direct contact with any of our millions of tutors around the world.

When platforms do not charge direct access fess, you will most likely be paying for access in other ways: such as data harvesting, higher tutor prices and/or the tutors having to pay a fee to use the platform. You may also be subjected to advertisements of other brands and businesses.

You could even be required to sign a contract that could extend far beyond the time you need your tutor, obliging you to pay more in fees.

Superprof for tutors is an efficient way for passionate mentors to launch themselves into a tutoring business, while at the same time protecting students' interests and parents' wallets.

guitar teacher and student
Lessons with Superprof tutors can be held face-to-face on online. - Source: Pexels

Superprof Reviews

Does the Superprof business model work? Besides the explosive growth the company has enjoyed over the past eight years, reviews and testimonials on sites such as Glassdoor, Indeed and Trustpilot prove that, overwhelmingly, both tutors and learners are satisfied with the way things work at Superprof.

Of course, there are negative reviews; it would be suspicious if there were none.

For the most part, students' negative reviews address the Student Pass or access fee. These critiques all point in the same direction: students were unaware that the access fee was separate to the tutor's fee for giving them a lesson.

On the site, you will find the terms of service which specify that students are required to sign up for a Student Pass to be able to enter into contact with  Superprof tutors. The validity of the Student Pass, along with the terms under which the student is entitled to a refund are also set out here.

We encourage all students to carefully read the terms and conditions of the Superprof platform and any other service available online in order to be fully informed before making a decision.

Once you feel comfortable that your privacy will be protected and you understand what you're signing up for,  and what protections are afforded to you, only then should you hand over any payment details.

Superprof's Charges and Fees

As a student, your relationship with the Superprof platform is separate from the relationship you have with any tutor you work with.

Our business connects tutors with students, and it might help to think of three separate entities; you, your tutor and the platform that brought you together.

To gain access to Superprof's tutors around the world, the fee you pay will depend on the country you live in. In South Africa, it costs R59 for one month's access. This fee activates a Student Pass, which allows the student to message as many tutors as they wish via the Superprof platform. At present, the Student Pass does not automatically renew, meaning that a student using the Superprof South Africa website will make one upfront payment, and will not automatically be charged again after 30 days when their Student Pass expires.

You can pay for the Student Pass using a credit card, debit card, or via bank transfer/EFT.

It is important to note that the Student Pass fee is separate from the per-hour lesson fee your tutor advertises on their profile page.

Most tutors will give you a free upfront session, so you'll have the opportunity to get to know them a bit and to establish whether they can offer they type of lessons you're really looking for before committing to a long-term arrangement with them.

If you continue to take lessons with a Superprof tutor, you will need to pay the hourly lesson fee that is stated on their advert, but you won't be charged anything else by Superprof. If the tutor is not right for you, you can continue to contact other tutors, for as long as your Student Pass is active.

Superprof is not involved in the payment process between tutors and students: you and your tutor will decide on how payment for lessons will take place, whether this is in cash, by bank transfer, or using another payment mechanism.

Tutors are not charged a fee for setting up their profiles; nor do they pay Superprof to maintain their profile page.

Tutors are free to set their per-hour rates based on criteria such as their level of education, teaching experience, the type of subject they teach, or even location – some places are more expensive to live than others.

There is a wide variety of tutors specialising in a host of different subjects on Superprof; some academic, others more esoteric ... and everything in between.

We're honoured to be the bridge between students and the subjects they want to learn more about. That's really what drives the Superprof model.

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Shana

A South African in France who loves to travel and discover new cultures, is passionate about photography, and who is happiest near the ocean.