While the uncertain economic conditions of the past year have changed things for all organizations, the impact on small businesses has been disproportionate. For many online or web-based businesses among this group, however, the new challenges have been responding to greater demand.

The online education and tutoring segment has seen such an uptrend. Globally, the market  size of online tutoring services jumped from $4.81 billion in 2019 to $5.61 billion in 2020, and is expected to balloon to $15.99 billion by 2027.1 Other factors are contributing to the growth of private tutoring in general, not just for online tutoring. The global market size of private tutoring, including in-person services, is estimated to reach $269.3 million by 2020 from $190.2 million in 2019.2  

In 2009, Sean Alexander, Founder and CEO of California-based Alexander Tutoring (AT), saw opportunity in starting a math and physics tutoring company focused on the student perspective. A former teacher with advanced graduate training in physics, his idea for AT was to provide contextual learning: the “story behind the equation” approach. Sean expanded his company’s services, which offer both in-person and online tutoring, from California to New York around 2018.

In response to organic and planned growth during 2020, AT was seeking a way to make onboarding of students easier, faster, and ultimately cheaper. During onboarding, AT customers sign a contract with payment, scheduling, and other terms. They used a Google Form to ask customers for credit card details which had to be manually processed by AT staff. It decided to look into switching to ACH to move away from high credit card transaction fees and to use DocuSign eSignature to streamline the contracting process.

This is where Clause came in. With our pre-built integrations with DocuSign, Plaid, and Stripe, AT was able to set up smart agreements in a few short days. Now, DocuSign envelopes that are made smart by Clause technology verify customer’s ACH details in real time—during signing—and automatically sync that data with Stripe for immediate and recurring payments.

Smart agreements have resulted in zero transaction declines for AT in over 6 months—a first for its business. The same investment that cuts costs prepares the business for scale. Life is easier for AT office staff who no longer have to manually verify payment data, copy data from contracts into payment software, or re-send contract forms to customers to correct bad data—a more streamlined process that is more pleasant for students as well.

Clause has been a game-changer for our growing business. Switching to smart agreements from simple forms is saving us millions of dollars over the life of the business—and this is just in transaction costs.

— Sean Alexander, Founder and CEO, Alexander Tutoring

It’s clearer now, over the past year, that smart agreements can bring immediate benefit to small businesses, alongside larger enterprises. The pandemic has surfaced growing support for small business survival and success, particularly among technology companies, and we’re ecstatic to play our part.

Read the case study for more detail.