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Private Classes

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Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2003 7:38 pm    Post subject: Private Classes Reply with quote

I'm thinking about doing private classes to supplement my income. Once I build my client base I would like to "hire" other teachers to teach the new classes while I make a profit. For example, say I charge $20 for a class. I could hire other teachers and pay them $12 dollars an hour/per class, and they would still be making good money and I would have a good profit. Is this possible? How would I go about doing this? Is it legal? I don't plan on opening an actual business or corporation out of this in the beginning stages. Would it be illegal if I didn't? I would be doing this in Guadalajara. Any advice about this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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some waygug-in

Joined: 07 Feb 2003
Posts: 339

PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2003 11:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hate to be the one to break this to you, but who do you think is going to pay $20 DOLLARS an hour for English classes? (American dollars I assume) You would be lucky to get half that, and that is assuming you can manage to procure some quite wealthy business clients. Just ordinary citizens, well try 30 - 50 pesos an hour and then wait and see if any of them show up.

I know this sounds a bit harsh, but the reality is that Mexico is not a rich country. You can't expect to earn American wages.

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Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2003 3:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

$20 was used just as an example. I know teachers who have done private classes and charged anywhere between 80-120 pesos. Even in the US I've done private Spanish classes and charged $15 (which is not much) and have had people not show up, so I started charging A LOT more and in the end it worked out because the people who paid that amount were serious about learning Spanish and I could always guarantee them that they would raise their grades, and usually they raise them two whole letter grades if not more and actually learned Spanish and enjoyed it.

I realize Mexico is not a rich country, but I plan on charging more because I want serious students only and I can guarantee their success. Also, during the first meeting, we will discuss what happens if they miss a class and I'm going to accept payments at the beginning of every month for the whole month. If they don't show up without a notice, then I'm at least not screwed on my payment, and they will know this because I'll tell them and give it to them in writing. You have to teach people how to treat you. One of my friends told her students that she was going to call them an hour before the class. She had their home number and cell number or any other alternate number. She said if they didn't answer their phone or leave a message saying whether they were actually going to show up, that she wasn't going to show up for the class. I guess she got fed up with people not showing up.

The tactics I have used worked well for me before so I'm going to continue to use them. I'm sure out of the 5 million people in GDL, that there are some who are willing to pay a little more for quality classes.
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Ben Round de Bloc

Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1946

PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2003 2:39 pm    Post subject: Good luck! Reply with quote

Your plan might work in Guadalajara. I don't know. I've never been there. However, it most likely wouldn't fly in Merida.

First of all, why would teachers pay you to line up private students for them, when they can do it themselves? A guy here in Merida tried it. Basically, he set himself up as a private language school, but in reality he was lining up teachers to give private classes either in his house or in other locations. It didn't take the teachers or the students long to figure out they could all come out ahead money-wise by eliminating the middle person.

Also, don't confuse what works in the U.S. with what works in Mexico. They are two different countries and cultures. At the risk of generalizing, one big difference is that Mexicans put a much greater value on quantity than they do on quality. Why would students pay you 100 pesos/hour for English lessons, when another native English speaker gives lessons for 50 pesos/hour?

Another difference is that putting something in writing doesn't mean diddly to most Mexicans from their point of view. Unless it's something officially signed, sealed, and notarized, a written "document" is usually nothing more than a piece of paper, especially if it involves a foreigner.

I could see a possible danger in this written agreement, however. Let's say you and your clients sign this agreement/contract. You're running a business, but you as a foreigner haven't registered with the government as a foreign corporation. A student of yours, who just might be a lawyer, has paid good money for the classes. You feel you've met your end of the obligation, but the student feels differently and wants his/her money back. You refuse to reimburse him/her. That piece of paper with your signature on it for services rendered ends up at the local immigration office. ¡Adios, muchacha!

As for "guaranteeing success," a typical American would understand that to mean If I work hard and the teacher does a good job of teaching me, I'll raise my grade and learn a foreign language. A typical Mexican would understand that to mean I've paid my money, so the teacher will do all the work, and the teacher probably has connections with someone at my school or university who'll raise my test grades from Ds to As.

I realize this all comes across as very negative. However, you did ask for advice. My advice is that if you want to take on some private students, go for it. As you mentioned, it's important to set the "rules" beforehand: how and when the payments will be handled, where and when you'll meet, what happens if the student arrives very late or doesn't show up, who pays for materials and supplies, etc. From the tone of your posts, I suspect that until you've had the experience of working with a few private students in this country, nobody is going to change your mind about your plans.

Best wishes!
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Guy Courchesne

Joined: 10 Mar 2003
Posts: 9646
Location: Guadalajara

PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2003 3:39 pm    Post subject: Nice idea...wrong town Reply with quote

It's a decent idea you have, though it's been done to death out there. $20 usd is too high for Guadlajara...try $10. That eliminates your profit, but oh well.

Guad is also known for its active gobernacion. You would have to advertise yourself right? Guess where the people in charge look? While the free flight home is nice, the accompanying fine is a little more expensive than the plane ticket.
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some waygug-in

Joined: 07 Feb 2003
Posts: 339

PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2003 2:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I apologize for sounding so negative in my previous post, but I've seen this too many times. People come to Mexico with big dreams and expectations, only to find that things just don't work like in America.

Yes, it may be possible (in theory) to line up some group classes for executives and charge up to $200 pesos/ hour. But do you have any idea how difficult that is in Mexico? You have to have connections, and the trust of your client before they are going to give you their business. Usually it takes years to establish relationships like this. And as a poster above has noted, Mexicans tend to choose the cheapest option more often than not.

Another thing worth mentioning is that if a company is going to pay for a group class, they are going to want you to be legal and registered with the government. (not an easy thing to do, and a bit expensive)

You will have to go through a lot of trying to set up clients, and then having them back out at the last minute, no matter how certain they seemed about taking classes.

One-on-one privates? Well, you may be able to charge 80- 120 pesos per hr.(only well-to-do business clients) but certainly not more than that. You will find it hard to find students who actually show up. But in any case, mucha suerte a ti.

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