Inspirica Reviews | Glassdoor

Inspirica Reviews

Updated May 31, 2019

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Found 28 reviews

4.2
StarStarStarStarStar
Rating TrendsRating Trends
84%
Recommend to a Friend
66%
Approve of CEO
Inspirica CEO Lisa Jacobson (no image)
Lisa Jacobson
15 Ratings
  1. "Great place for a side hustle"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Pro Tutor in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Inspirica part-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Flexible hours, tons of testing resources, lots of guidance without any micromanaging, and a personal mentor you get paid to meet with weekly

    Cons

    Work is seasonal and depends on demand, so you are not guaranteed a minimum number of hours or programs.

    Advice to Management

    Create a system where tutors can rely on a minimum number of hours per week to maintain availability.

    Inspirica2019-05-31
  2. "Nice way to supplement income -- but do not expect this job to support you"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Tutor in New York, NY
    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Inspirica part-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    - Friendly office staff who really support their tutors. When I had an issue they helped me resolve it immediately in a supportive manner - Flexible hours so you can create your schedule

    Cons

    - You make 1/5th of what the company charges families (ie I was paid $40/hr when the families were billed $250/hr). While this is obnoxious in and of itself, it was especially unpleasant when the parents would complain to me about cost which brings me to... - At times I had to deal with difficult parents, although the students themselves were fine - The company calculates compensation for tutor travel time based... on their office FROM Manhattan to places like Westchester and Long Island. However I was not commuting from Manhattan (and frankly I doubt most tutors live in Manhattan), I was traveling from the far-reaches of Queens. This meant that when traveling to students in Manhattan, I had a commute 1 hr each way that was not compensated (So factoring in travel time, for a 1 hr session with a kid I was really only making about $13/hr) - Not enough work to actually make much of a living. I used the income from Inspirica to supplement my full-time job - You must sign a non-complete that states that you will not tutor AT ALL for another company/independently. Other test prep companies allow you to tutor with other companies or on your own provided that you do not use their testing materials.

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    Advice to Management

    - Please be sensitive to the fact that most tutors realistically cannot afford to live in Manhattan and are traveling from other parts of the NYC metro area to come to students in Manhattan. Travel compensation should reflect the reality of tutors' lives, and the time and financial burdens they shoulder - Update your non-compete to allow tutors to tutor outside of Inspirica, provided they do not use your materials.... I did not receive enough work to support myself with the number of students from Inspirica alone - Consider raising your base pay. I strongly recommend that you make it easier for tutors to receive raises and adjust for yearly cost of living increases. In all the years I worked for the company, my salary remained the same

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    Inspirica2019-01-20

    Inspirica Response

    January 21, 2019Founder

    We appreciate your honest review. First of all, I'm happy you felt supported and cared about during your three year tenure with us. As far as the rest we have already made the three changes you've suggested so I'm guessing you may have left the company awhile ago. We changed the non-compete; we compensate the tutors for travel each step of the way, and we have raised our base pay for new tutors. Thanks again for taking the time to give us your feedback. Lisa Jacobson, CEO

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  3. Helpful (1)

    "A Company in Open Beta"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Head of Recruitment in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Inspirica full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    NOTE: Working at Inspirica as a tutor is a vastly different experience from working as a member of the office staff. Tutor Pros: + Revised non-compete agreement is SUPER fair. + Solid pay and excellent office support. + First-year tutors are actively mentored and get weekly paid training with the Head Mentor. + Shockingly little pettiness in terms of who gets work and who doesn't; if you're hired as a... starter, you really will be given first crack at programs. If you ask for more work and there isn't any to offer you, management will be super upfront about that so as not to lead you on. Staff Pros: + RIDICULOUS opportunities for both personal and professional growth. I cannot imagine a company being more earnestly invested in the development of its employees (and that also provides the structure for that to happen). + Flexible hours with ample work-from-home opportunities. + No "garbage" middle-management, Dilbert-esque bureaucracy. Staff members are unambiguously treated like competent adults and have tons of autonomy.

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    Cons

    Tutor Cons: - Workload is overwhelmingly unpredictable. Management does the best they can to hire correctly and keep people full, but there's no real "busy season" anymore. - Not a ton of tutor camaraderie, especially with the admin staff all having moved to WeWorks. Tutors are mostly left to their own devices unless something goes wrong. Staff Cons: - Very little role clarity, and it's easy to feel as... though there's no authority figure to turn to when you need help; management regularly (albeit unintentionally) flirts with the line between "hands-off" and "absent." Autonomy is great, but the staff is routinely expected to solve complex problems that they really should be able to pass off to a dedicated manager/director-type. - Similarly, there's nobody to intercede when staff members of equal stature have a disagreement, at least not in a timely fashion. Everyone is expected to "work it out" on their own, which...doesn't feel great. - Management is always looking for ways to innovate and improve existing processes (hence my review title), but it can lead to a feeling of "nothing will ever settle down, everything is negotiable, and my cabbage cart could get turned over at any minute."

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    Advice to Management

    Hire a director for the At-Home division. Please just...hire a director. Someone whose sole job it is to keep the trains running on time, actively monitoring sales and tutor capacity, settling disputes between staff members in real time, and speaking with exceptionally angry parents. Most importantly, someone who can be effortlessly and reliably accessed during regular business hours. You don't need three directors... (just like you don't need three program coordinators, or three tutor managers, or three office assistants), but, like, you need one.

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    Inspirica2018-11-10

    Inspirica Response

    November 12, 2018Founder

    This is one of the most helpful reviews of us on Glassdoor for prospective employees and for management as well. I agree with most of your points, and I thank you for taking the time to lay it out so beautifully. I think the positives that you outline are definitely our current strengths. As far as the advice you lay out, I am addressing the management side and in the process of figuring out exactly what and who we need to provide more support and coverage for all of our employees. As you point out we are an entrepreneurial company and by definition that means the targets for quality, results, structure, etc are always going to be a moving target. As we move toward improvement in one, then the new challenges to address pop up. I would add to your review that for prospective non-tutor applicants the need to be flexible about change is really important. It's just the nature of the company, and it's good to know in advance that that is what we do and who we are so prospective employees can decide if Inspirica is the right fit for them. Thanks again for your thoughtful analysis of your time with us. Much appreciated!

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  4. "Review"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 

    I have been working at Inspirica part-time

    Pros

    Good pay. Flexible hours. Office support is helpful.

    Cons

    Materials and office can be a bit disorganized.

    Inspirica2018-06-04

    Inspirica Response

    October 6, 2018Founder

    I'm glad to learn that you were happy with your job as a tutor at Inspirica and that you were satisfied with the pay, hours and our wonderful office staff! One of the things we've done over the last year is streamline and digitize our curriculum. In addition tutors now all have laptops with our materials preloaded. We also have a team of tutors who are experts on the curriculum and can steer tutors in the right direction depending on the specific student. It's important to me that everything be simple and relevant. Thanks for taking the time to review us! -- Lisa (Founder/CEO)

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  5. "Seasonal work with supportive staff"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Expert Tutor in Boston, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Inspirica part-time for more than a year

    Pros

    The staff really cares about you, your schedule to work and helping you succeed

    Cons

    The flow of work changes seasonally such that there's a high demand in the fall and less in the spring, making it difficult to have this as a dependable, consistent source of income

    Inspirica2018-05-09

    Inspirica Response

    May 23, 2018Tutor Group Manager

    Thanks for the thoughtful review. We're glad to be creating the culture you observed. For the first time, we're actively seeking a seasonal work force with an eye on resolving the drawback listed above. By having more staff available in the busiest months and fewer during the slower periods, our goal is to have each of our tutors as active as they wish to be throughout the entire year.

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  6. Helpful (1)

    "Great Culture, Decent Income, Minor Flaws"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Tutor 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Inspirica part-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Everyone I have worked with directly at Inspirica is kind and engaged, so the overall work environment is very positive. As long as you are attentive and doing your job, the office team is very much on your side when it comes to students or families being strange sometimes. Most management does a great job actively telling you what you are doing well, and any criticisms are phrased diplomatically and... non-threateningly, with the result that you feel valued and like you can communicate properly with the people in charge of what you are doing. Their starting rate is much higher than some tutoring companies, and reasonable for the viciously competitive entry-level in major cities like Philadelphia, Boston, and New York. They do a good job being transparent about what is going on. Every administrative change they have made in the time I have been here seems like it has streamlined things and made my life simpler as a tutor. The training they provide is pretty good–a mix of useful published materials (practice books, textbooks) and practical advice from more experienced tutors. I have no idea what a previous review was talking about in terms of Inspirica paying for reviews. Management sent out a suggestion saying they'd be grateful if we wrote reviews, but they are not keeping track of who does or doesn't, the reviews are anonymous, and we are very much not getting paid for them.

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    Cons

    There is a little bit of a sprawling and disorganized feeling to some of the "proprietary materials," and getting a handle on the normal administrative processes of tutoring was a bit more of a learning curve at the beginning than it needed to be. This could be pretty easily solved with a more clear-cut (and up to date) manual for all the basic processes of tutoring–the basic issue now is that you have to ask... overworked office staff to clarify things rather than being able to look them up yourself. (To be fair, said office staff does a great job answering.) And all of that being said about the faint disorganization, once you spend some time figuring it all out early on, it all becomes very simple and stays figured out. The proprietary materials should continue to be revised, though. They are only helpful about 50% of the time, and tutors end up falling back on online resources. You don't get paid for prep time for standardized test tutoring and don't get reimbursed at all for anything commuting-related (i.e. a metro card). Not sure how standard that is, but there is definitely a medium-small but very real gap between the amount of prep time they officially say you need to do ("none"?) and the prep time you actually end up doing in order to be a tutor of the standard they ask for–including keeping careful records, writing reviews of sessions with students, tracking student progress on all fronts, fielding occasional sticky parent emails, etc. And the lack of reimbursement for commuting is especially irritating in that their setup of visiting students' homes is what requires you to commute–it is essentially a $100+ fee each month, paid out of your own money just to be able to work for them. The biggest con, though, might be unpredictable student volume. They only keep your schedule saturated with as many students as you'd like about 60% of the time, in my experience. Of course, that is to be expected to a certain extent with a part-time gig. One inconsistency that I've noticed, that other people seem to have picked up on as well, is that the CEO does not seem to match the warmth, efficacy, and humility of most everybody else working there. On the brief occasions when she is present at the office when tutors are there, she doesn't seem to get to know them at all. She is also the only management person that I have noticed automatically taking the parent's side over the tutor's without bothering to investigate the details of a situation or ask for any evidence from either side. There will always be situations in which a parent (typically feeling anxious about their kid and wanting someone to direct their frustration at) will raise concerns about something a tutor or office staff is doing; the very reasonable response from everybody else at Inspirica is always to privately ask for the tutor's view of the situation, and then to mediate diplomatically from there so that everybody feels listened to. I was honestly very surprised that the CEO just readily assumes that her own employees are the ones who have done something wrong (rather than a parent having misunderstood, or, most frequently, a student having miscommunicated). It undid a lot of the trust that other management had built up with me, and I think it may go some way towards explaining the exodus of more experienced employees that other reviews have mentioned.

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    Advice to Management

    The company laptops are really unhelpful. They freeze constantly, to the point that I have had to stop using mine to open files during session (I have to open them all beforehand) in order not to be embarrassed in front of students and parents. Either get better laptops, or put materials on an online platform like Google Drive/Dropbox and let tutors use their own computers. Also: maybe send out an anonymous... survey about the different parts of the proprietary materials, so that people can offer feedback about what is useful and what is lacking without feeling like they'll be making a nuisance of themselves by speaking up. Similarly, an anonymous survey about what is working and not working in tutor training could be very useful, so that people can provide suggestions without directly criticizing a given trainer. Consider implementing higher salaries or higher raises. Or paying for commuting and/or prep time. While I can't speak to the administrative staff's end, my guess is that most tutors who are leaving are leaving because they just aren't making enough money to justify the time they are giving the company. The work environment is generally too nice for there to be any other obvious reason for people leaving. The CEO might also consider getting to know the tutors and fostering a warmer relationship with them. If she is going to criticize them, then building up some warmth and familiarity first might go a long way towards keeping them from feeling attacked and undermined.

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    Inspirica2018-02-27

    Inspirica Response

    May 23, 2018Tutor Group Manager

    Thanks for taking the time to compose such a thorough, detailed review. We're glad your overall experience has been a positive one, and you've noted several items above we take particular pride in. To address some of the cons: For the first time, we're actively seeking a seasonal work force with an eye on having more staff available in the busiest months and fewer during the slower periods so our most engaged tutors can remain engaged throughout the year. The goal of our new tech tools was to cut down on the time tutors are spending outside of sessions. We encourage tutors to use in-session time to jot notes so progress reports can be submitted with minimal effort and the online resources are designed to make checking homework simpler and more efficient. We realize our tutors have lives outside of tutoring, and our goal is to allow them to devote as much time and attention to them as they do to their students.

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  7. "Excellent part time opportunity"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Tutor 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Inspirica part-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Great compensation, extremely flexible hours, provides all materials and training,. I do this in addition to a full time job and it is a great supplement.

    Cons

    Materials are a little disorganized/confusing; constant administrative changes (to payroll system, scheduling system, materials, etc); requires some unpaid hours to review testing material

    Advice to Management

    All employees were encouraged to write Glass Door reviews, but were NOT offered compensation and reviews are anonymous.

    Inspirica2018-02-23

    Inspirica Response

    October 6, 2018Founder

    It's good to learn that you were happy with the pay and the flexibility, and that you found tutoring with us to be a great supplemental job! You are right that there have been constant changes to our systems over the last 12 months. My vision is to take this mature 35 year-old company I started and turn it into a start up. There is no roadmap for doing this smoothly. My overarching goal is to make the personal more personal and then to have everything else go away with technology. In this way we will hopefully end up having the best of both: the quality of employees and expertise 30 plus years in the making combined with the most up-to-date tools and techniques to use with our families. We are one month away from being completely finished and the results by now have been dramatic in positive way. As you know, because you are a current employee, my door is always open. If you have any other thoughts, just reach out to me. I took forward to discussing this further with you. There is a lot to learn from these reviews. Lisa (Founder/CEO)

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  8. Helpful (4)

    "Good tutors, failing business"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Inspirica full-time

    Pros

    Great team of part-time tutors. Motivated students.

    Cons

    I would not recommend Inspirica for career-oriented individuals looking for a job with career advancement opportunities. (It's a small organization with a shrinking staff; approximately 10 full-time employees across 3 nationwide offices.) The inexperienced and absentee CEO lacks a clear vision for the company/brand and has poor people management skills. The company has not kept up with industry changes. Materials... and curriculum are no longer proprietary. The competition can do a much better job for a significantly lower price point. A recent restructure, the downsizing of offices, and a decrease in student enrollment makes me question the health of the business. The most seasoned staff and tutors are no longer with the company. I would not be surprised if Inspirica closed in the next three years. Note: Overall Glassdoor rating should be taken with a grain of salt. The CEO asked part-time tutors to post positive reviews on this site and paid them for doing so.

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    Advice to Management

    Current Founder & CEO should take a backseat. Hire an experienced C-level team to restore the business.

    Inspirica2018-02-12

    Inspirica Response

    October 6, 2018Founder

    You had threatened to go online and post negative reviews about the company, although you knew you were let go for legitimate and very serious reasons. Ordinarily I would not respond to that type of review, but for those potential future employees, I need to clear up some of the disinformation here. Yes, our tutor corps has shrunk, and that was intentional. After 35 years, we had over 100 tutors, more than half of whom had only 1 or 2 students. The other 40 wanted to work full-time and had committed years of service to us and our students. I made an executive decision to shrink the tutoring staff to 40 and have all of those experienced and committed tutors full-time work so that I was sure they'd be able to make a living year round. I wanted to solve the issue of their compensation going up and down with the seasonality of the business. As far as the next three years and my vision, the plan is to open three divisions and we are moving into all three very quickly--adding staff, systems, technology, new offices and new businesses. The challenge is to take a mature 35 year old company and turn it back into a start up which is one of the most exciting things we've ever done, for everyone involved. It is an exciting period of rapid growth. Lisa (Founder/CEO)

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  9. Helpful (3)

    "Mixed bag"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Tutor in Bryn Mawr, PA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Inspirica part-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Pay starts at $40/hr, which is hard to beat, and there aren't too many administrative duties. You have a lot of flexibility as to when and how to tutor.

    Cons

    Prep and admin work aren't compensated, which is brazenly unlawful. Families are paying nearly $200/hr, which gives them the power. They may shift around schedules a lot, and any minor issue gets you reassigned. Office staff is kind and helpful, but clearly overworked, which leads to high turnover and strained relationships.

    Advice to Management

    Give office staff the resources they need. Pay for prep time. Develop more comprehensive study materials: no one uses the proprietary books.

    Inspirica2018-01-02

    Inspirica Response

    October 6, 2018Founder

    Thank you for the feedback. I'm glad to hear that you were happy with the pay (which has since increased too) and the flexibility you had with us. I'm not sure why you were not paid for some of the work you did because we do pay for prep time. I'm guessing it was a simple error on your paycheck. You know that I have an open door policy, and we would have been happy to simply fix it on ADP. As far as shifting schedules, yes, you are right about this. Sometimes the family shifts the schedule last minute and this can be annoying and frustrating to a busy tutor. What we have done since you worked with us is to set a very clear cancellation policy with no exceptions--tutors will get paid no matter what should a parent cancel within a certain timeframe, even if the student is sick. I think you would have liked this. Thanks again for taking the time to review us. Lisa (Founder/CEO)

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  10. "Great part-time job, Boston region"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommends

    I worked at Inspirica part-time

    Pros

    Full-time staff, lots of resources to draw upon, good staff culture.

    Cons

    The work tends to be feast or famine, lots of weekend hours.

    Inspirica2017-11-22

    Inspirica Response

    October 6, 2018Founder

    I'm glad to hear there were a lot of things you liked about your time with us: the support staff, resources and the culture. Those three are very important to me to provide, and I'm glad they were important to you. You are right that the work used to be seasonal which is very hard on a tutor who needs to make a stable living. What we have done is to shrink the tutor corps from 100 to 40 over the last 6 months. Those 60 wonderful tutors who ended up after 35 years having 1 or 2 tutors were great to have working here, but what would happen was the tutors who needed full-time work to support themselves were unable to maintain a set salary because so many students were going to the tutors who really didn't need the work as much. I made an executive decision to shrink the staff to only those who were committing their work lives exclusively to us, and then giving them all the work they need to be able to not worry about where their comp was coming from. It has worked out beautifully (although I personally miss many of the other super part-time tutors who I've known for so many years). Thanks so much for taking the time to review us. Lisa (Founder/CEO)

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Found 28 reviews