With many school districts turning to virtual learning this year due to COVID-19, parents might be thinking about their children’s tutoring needs.

Your child’s academic needs are paramount, but many different options can meet those needs. Consider the frequency of the tutoring, the type of tutor, the subject matter, the cost and more.

Better Business Bureau (BBB) received 144 complaints and nearly 62,000 inquiries about tutoring services in 2019. Common complaints involve paying for sessions that tutors didn’t attend, quality of lessons, and difficulty obtaining a refund.

A St. Charles, Missouri, woman told BBB she paid a tutoring service to help her child with a variety of subjects. The woman said the tutors provided for two courses were not satisfactory and she had to find her child help from a different source. She said she had trouble getting a refund for the tutoring hours she did not use.

Tips on selecting a tutoring service:

• Do your research. Before you sign a contract or pay any money, check out the company’s BBB Business Profile at bbb.org. These Profiles include BBB customer reviews, complaints, BBB rating from A+ to F, the business’ BBB Accreditation status and more. You can also call 888-996-3887 to get information about the business. Ask the tutor about his/her educational qualifications and past experience.

• Know your options. Tutoring services can include in-home one-on-one sessions, small group lessons, online instruction, and tutoring centers. Services may be available through tutoring companies, individual freelance tutors, or even your child’s school.

• Ask for referrals. Friends, family, teachers, other school employees and other families at your child’s school can all offer insight into the tutoring available in your area.

• Understand your child’s needs. Does your child need homework help? Long-term lessons? Test prep? Make sure the tutor is knowledgeable in the specific area your child needs help in and has experience working with students your child’s age.

• Check references. You should ask the individual tutor or tutoring service for references, and contact them. It’s best to speak to at least three references. Ask about their experience with the tutor and what sort of results they saw. Is the tutor dependable? Friendly? Knowledgeable?

• Discuss the details. Make sure to cover availability, cost, frequency of tutoring sessions, and the overall length of time you’ll need the tutor.

• Include your child in the hiring process. Make sure your child is comfortable with the tutor you hire, and check in frequently while your child is being tutored. Keep tabs on the tutor’s effectiveness and how your child’s needs are being met.