Feb 2, 2024

How to build a website like Preply

Preply is an online marketplace that connects students with qualified tutors for personalized learning. Learn how to create your own marketplace similar to Preply with this guide.

Introduction: Why build a website like Preply

With over 35,000 tutors teaching 50 languages and counting in 180 countries, Preply is one of the largest online language learning marketplaces today.

What's neat about Preply is they use a special machine-learning algorithm to recommend the most suitable tutors for each learner.

Preply was founded in 2012 by three Ukrainian founders, and since then, it has grown from just three people to a company that employs over 500 staff from 60 different countries. The marketplace has offices in Barcelona, New York, and Kyiv, and their employees work remotely in 30 countries across Europe, the USA, Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Online marketplaces are great for sellers: they offer a venue to reach a broader audience, boost sales, and decrease marketing costs. Buyers gain from the convenience of shopping from any location, accessing a vast array of products or services, and relishing competitive prices. Marketplace operators also profit from transaction charges, increased visibility and traffic, and a varied product selection, ensuring that all parties mutually benefit from the platform.

The success of the online marketplace Preply can be attributed to several key factors. Firstly, Preply offers a unique and convenient platform connecting students with qualified tutors worldwide, allowing for personalized and flexible learning experiences. This has resonated with a global audience, providing access to various subjects and languages catering to diverse learning needs.

Additionally, Preply's thorough tutor vetting process ensures high-quality instruction, building user trust and credibility. The platform's user-friendly interface and seamless payment system further enhance the overall user experience. These factors combined have contributed to Preply's success as a leading online marketplace for learning and teaching.

How does a website like Preply work?

If you want to build a marketplace like Preply, it's crucial to understand how their platform works.

Through their machine-learning algorithm, they match learners with the most suitable tutors based on their specific needs. Therefore, to compete with Preply, you'll need to create a user-friendly platform that offers a wide range of qualified tutors in as many fields as possible and ensures a seamless learning experience for your users.

It's essential to prioritize the quality of tutors, efficient matching algorithms, and excellent user support to stand out in the market.

For buyers, Preply is a convenient marketplace that connects them with qualified tutors worldwide. They can browse through a wide range of subjects and languages, read tutor profiles, and select the one that best fits their needs.

Buyers can schedule lessons, communicate with tutors, and track their progress all in one platform.

For sellers, a marketplace like Preply offers a platform to showcase their expertise and connect with potential students worldwide. Sellers can create profiles highlighting their qualifications, set their own rates, and provide personalized lessons in various subjects.

So they can easily manage their schedule, receive payments securely, and benefit from Preply's marketing efforts to attract a more extensive student base. Additionally, sellers can receive feedback and ratings, enhancing their reputation and credibility in the marketplace.

What is Preply's business model?

Preply generates revenue through a commission-based model. Tutors set their own rates and availability, and Preply takes a commission from each lesson booked through the platform.

This business model allows Preply to offer a diverse range of tutors and subjects while also providing a convenient and flexible learning experience for students.

When a student books a lesson with a tutor on the platform, Preply takes a percentage of the tutor's earnings as a service fee. This fee is typically around 18-33%, depending on the tutor's experience and the number of completed lessons.

Preply also offers various subscription plans to tutors, providing them with additional benefits and visibility on the platform. These revenue streams allow Preply to sustain its operations, invest in platform development, and support students and tutors.

Key features of Preply

The most critical functionality to create a marketplace like Preply is developing the ability to connect students with qualified tutors. This gives us an idea of what its core features are and what your key features would look like, including:

  1. Search and discovery: A robust search functionality allows students to find tutors based on their specific requirements, such as subject, language, availability, and pricing.

  2. Profile creation: Tutors should be able to create detailed profiles that showcase their qualifications, experience, teaching style, and reviews from previous students. This helps students make informed decisions when choosing a tutor.

  3. Scheduling and booking: The marketplace should provide a seamless scheduling system that allows students to book lessons with tutors based on their availability. This may include features like calendar integration, reminders, and rescheduling options.

  4. Communication tools: A marketplace like Preply should offer tools like messaging or video chat to facilitate direct communication between students and tutors. This allows them to discuss lesson plans, clarify doubts, and provide feedback.

  5. Payment processing: A secure and reliable payment system is crucial for any marketplace. It should support various payment methods and ensure that transactions between students and tutors are processed smoothly.

  6. Review and rating system: A feedback system that allows students to rate and review tutors is essential for maintaining quality and transparency. This helps future students make informed decisions and encourages tutors to provide excellent teaching services.

  7. Progress tracking: The marketplace should provide tools for tracking student progress, such as lesson history, performance metrics, and assessments. This helps students and tutors monitor their learning journey and make necessary adjustments.

  8. Customer support: A responsive customer support team that can address any issues or concerns from students or tutors is vital for maintaining a positive user experience.

In essence, to develop a platform like Preply, what’s important is creating a seamless and efficient platform that connects the buyer and supplier side of your marketplace, facilitates communication and scheduling, ensures secure payments, and promotes a positive learning experience.

Building functionality like Preply from scratch would require significant time, effort, and financial investment. The cost would depend on various factors, such as the complexity of the platform, the number of features, the technology stack used, and the development team's rates.

It would also involve expenses for designing the user interface, developing the web and mobile applications, and implementing features like user profiles, search functionality, scheduling, video conferencing, payment integration, and more.

Additionally, your platform would require ongoing costs for server infrastructure, maintenance, and marketing.

Considering these factors, the cost to build such functionality from scratch could range from tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

How to create a successful alternative to Preply

The focus when building a marketplace like Preply should be on providing value and problem-solving.

Finding a simple niche where you can accomplish that while building slowly, forming relationships, and cementing your reputation is the time-tested way.

Success comes when entrepreneurs follow correct principles, and while you don’t have to build the next Preply, you can adopt some guiding principles to help you execute your own marketplace vision.

The following can be a great guide to helping you develop and run a growing marketplace:

  • Identify a unique selling proposition: Determine what sets your alternative apart from Preply. It could be a specific focus on a particular subject or language, a different pricing model, or innovative features that enhance the learning experience.
  • Build a user-friendly platform: Develop a website or app that is intuitive, visually appealing, and easy to navigate. Ensure that students and tutors can easily connect, schedule lessons, and access learning materials.
  • Curate a diverse pool of qualified tutors: Recruit tutors who are experienced, knowledgeable, and passionate about teaching. Offer a rigorous vetting process to ensure the quality of tutors and provide students with a wide range of options to choose from.
  • Implement a flexible pricing structure: Consider offering different pricing plans to cater to various budgets and learning needs. This could include options for one-on-one lessons, group sessions, or subscription-based models.
  • Provide interactive learning tools: Integrate interactive features such as virtual whiteboards, video conferencing, and chat functionalities to facilitate effective communication and engagement during lessons.
  • Offer personalized learning experiences: Develop algorithms or systems that match students with tutors based on their specific learning goals, preferences, and proficiency levels. This customization can enhance the learning experience and improve student outcomes.
  • Incorporate feedback and reviews: Allow students to rate and review tutors after each lesson, providing valuable feedback for both tutors and potential students. This transparency can help build trust and ensure the quality of the tutoring service.
  • Implement a robust support system: Establish a responsive customer support team that can address any technical issues, answer inquiries, and provide assistance to both students and tutors promptly.
  • Leverage marketing and partnerships: Develop a comprehensive marketing strategy to raise awareness about your alternative platform. Collaborate with educational institutions, language schools, or influencers to expand your reach and attract a larger user base.
  • Continuously improve and innovate: Regularly gather feedback from students and tutors to identify areas for improvement. Stay updated with the latest trends in online education and incorporate new features or technologies to stay ahead of the competition.

Successful Preply competitors

The following businesses can be considered competitors to Preply:

  1. Italki: Italki is a strong competitor to Preply as it offers a similar platform for language learning, connecting students with language tutors from around the world. However, Italki has a larger user base and offers a wider range of languages to learn, giving it an advantage in terms of variety and availability of tutors.

  2. Verbling: Verbling is another notable competitor to Preply, providing an online marketplace for language learning. While both platforms offer one-on-one lessons with qualified tutors, Verbling focuses more on live group classes, which can be a preferred learning style for some students. Additionally, Verbling has a user-friendly interface and offers a built-in video chat feature, making it convenient for learners.

  3. Cambly: Cambly differentiates itself from Preply by offering on-demand English tutoring. Unlike Preply, which focuses on various languages, Cambly specifically targets English learners. Cambly provides instant access to native English speakers for conversation practice, making it a popular choice for those seeking to improve their spoken English skills quickly.

  4. Wyzant: Wyzant is a competitor that offers a broader range of subjects beyond just language learning. While Preply specializes in language tutoring, Wyzant provides a marketplace for various academic subjects, including math, science, and music. This diversification allows Wyzant to attract a wider range of students and tutors, giving it an advantage in terms of overall market reach.

  5. Tandem: Tandem is a language exchange app that connects language learners with native speakers for conversation practice. Unlike Preply, Tandem focuses on fostering language learning through informal conversations rather than structured lessons. Tandem's emphasis on language exchange and cultural immersion sets it apart from Preply, appealing to those who prefer a more casual and interactive approach to language learning.

What these Preply alternatives show us is that by differentiating your marketplace product from what’s already in the market, you can claim a share of the users in that market without directly competing with other similar platforms.

Options to develop a website similar to Preply

Creating a Preply-style online marketplace is a significant, costly endeavor. However, numerous ways exist to construct a marketplace without a large budget.

The option you select depends on:

  • The desired features of your marketplace
  • Your technical abilities (or those of your team)
  • Your budget
  • The available time.

The various methods for building a marketplace include:

  • Utilizing WordPress and plugins
  • Constructing on open-source software
  • Employing a combination of no-code tools
  • Using a dedicated no-code marketplace SaaS tool
  • Developing on an API-based marketplace SaaS tool

In addition to considering your skills and budget, it is crucial to prioritize the speed of learning.

Launching your Preply-style platform quickly enables rapid audience understanding.

These insights aid in creating a platform that users prefer over existing solutions.

Sharetribe's marketplace software is designed with this iterative learning process in mind.

Initially, we assist you in launching a Preply-like platform in just one day, without any coding. Use the 14-day free trial of Sharetribe's Build plan to get your marketplace ready fast. After the trial, you can subscribe to either continue building or launch your marketplace and go live.

Once launched, you can determine the additional features and functionality required to serve your audience. This may involve a complete design and workflow overhaul, integration of third-party services, or the development of a mobile app. Sharetribe allows for easy customization of these changes and more, either independently or with assistance from our Expert partners.

At Sharetribe, we have been constructing marketplaces for over ten years. Our experience and expertise are available through our content resources, regardless of your chosen platform-building approach.

We wish you the best of luck with your Preply-style business!

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