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Opening an English school in Brisbane - Advice?

 
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Freestyle T



Joined: 15 Jul 2005
Posts: 494
Location: Charming Chengdu

PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 9:25 am    Post subject: Opening an English school in Brisbane - Advice? Reply with quote

Hi all,

I'm looking at opening a private English school in Brisbane next year, when I return home. I've been researching and furiously considering it from all angles, and the initial conclusion I've arrived at is that it could be worth doing.

So I'm asking all of you for advice. What's the market like? What are the regulatory obstacles? Is it worth even considering? How is competition? What initial start-up costs am I looking at (aiming for enrolment of about 300+ students in the first year)?

I've already begun work on developing a curriculum and doing a lot of the leg-work that comes with running a school, but I'm sure I will need more help.

I've found 21 (non-TAFE or university) NEAS-accredited private English schools listed in Brisbane, so the market does not seem terribly crowded. But am I being hopelessly optimistic? Will I be committing business suicide even trying to enter the market?

Many places I went in Brisbane last year, particularly the CBD, were crowded with Asian students, though I've heard that there are a number of European students too. I'm guessing the customer base is there, it's just a matter of delivering a quality product and having motivated, well looked-after teachers on board.

Any advice, positive or not, would be appreciated. Flamers will be prosecuted.
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ls650



Joined: 10 May 2003
Posts: 3484
Location: British Columbia

PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think my first repsonse would be to ask what your experience is in language school administration. Do you have a lot of experience as a school manager, director, or other position? Do you know what you're getting yourself into? Wink

Having acted as a DOS for about 6 months, I learned a fair bit about the admin side of running a school - and I'd never want to try to run one of my own! Ugh!
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rickit



Joined: 21 Jul 2005
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2005 9:15 am    Post subject: Worth it? Reply with quote

Just one question, meant in all seriousness: Why did you decide that it would be worth it?

Rickit Shocked
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lozwich



Joined: 25 May 2003
Posts: 1536

PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, I'd rather stick pins in my eyes!

Yeah, there are 21 NEAS accredited schools, but there are a whole bunch of non-accredited schools too, all fighting for the immersion dollar. I worked at a school that was going through NEAS accreditation last year, and the stress that this put on the administrative staff, in combination with the continual need for marketing both in Brisbane and overseas, made the administration side of working there not very pleasant at all.

How many contacts do you have in different countries? I think a big part of the market comes from people who book their courses and accommodation in their home country before travelling. This is usually done by agents, and you would need to set up relationships with them, and with home stay companies.

Of course, you would get students in off the street as well, but this could make your business very uncertain from week to week.

Sorry to rain on your parade, and maybe you've thought of all this stuff before, but it is my humble opinion.

Good luck, whatever happens,
Lozwich.
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Freestyle T



Joined: 15 Jul 2005
Posts: 494
Location: Charming Chengdu

PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2005 4:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do have some contacts in China and Japan, and in fact am working for a school that also boasts an agency for placement abroad. I've already noticed that most Asian students DO book everything before leaving and that walk-in business is rare. So the need is for continual, aggressive overseas marketing. That, and location seems to be important too. The busiest schools seem to be located in the CBD area. There is definitely image awareness among many Asian kids, and downtown is a popular place to hang out.

I decided it would be worth it due to the large market and possibilities for growth, especially China. Study abroad is becoming a serious option for more and more young Chinese, even if it is just to waste time.

I trialled as an assistant head teacher at a private school in China, and got to see some of what goes on. Perhaps some of you can fill me in on more of the requirements on the admin side?

Why the pins in the eyes comment? Is it that bad?
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lozwich



Joined: 25 May 2003
Posts: 1536

PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2005 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Freestyle T wrote:
Why the pins in the eyes comment? Is it that bad?


I don't mind teaching in Australia, I might even consider taking some kind of admin role if I decide to go back there to live, but starting my own school? I simply don't want that amount of stress in my life. Hence the pins in the eyes thing. I think there are so many hoops to jump through for accreditation (to get it in the first place, and then to maintain it) and to need to get students in regularly and look after teachers' needs, occupational health and safety, superannuation and all the other work regulations in Australia as well seems a whole lot of work for one person.

Take a look at the NEAS website for more info on accreditation.

Lozwich.
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Freestyle T



Joined: 15 Jul 2005
Posts: 494
Location: Charming Chengdu

PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2005 6:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I read some of the NEAS website. Do they do reviews and everything? You have to maintain certain teaching standards, right?

Yeah, I've been researching the amount of work needed - taxes, health and safety, advertising, super, rent, etc. etc. etc!!!! It sounds like a lot, my friends have already advised me to get someone else on board. We'll see. What I really need is a good P.A.!!! I want to be responsible for curriculum, teachers and marketing, and have someone else handle the mundane day-to-day stuff - wages, accounting, super, government regs, etc. Of course, that'll be later, once things are up and running, I guess.

Well, back to it. Any more advice, any other things I should be aware of?
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Chester



Joined: 15 May 2004
Posts: 383
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2005 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

perhaps you should ask experienced business owner / managers for advice.
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