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Advice Needed- Running an English School from home in Europe
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willamangiro



Joined: 14 Feb 2013
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 2:32 am    Post subject: Advice Needed- Running an English School from home in Europe Reply with quote

I'm hoping that some of the resident experts on this forum can help me out with a couple of questions I have.

I'm currently teaching in Korea (I have been for the last few years), but would ideally like to start working a bit closer to home. I'm married to a Korean woman (also an English teacher, for about 9 years), who also fancies moving to Europe.

What I'd like to try and do is rather than work for a school, try and work for ourselves - not some large scale business (I wish I had the money for that!), more like filling your day with private classes in your own home. I'm guessing that if you market that properly, you could teach a variety of age groups, some individual classes, and some group classes as well. I know its a risk, but I suspect that (considering the relatively low wages in Europe), there's potential to be making more money in the long term. If not, I can always find a regular job to supplement our income I suspect.

So, heres what I'd like to know. Firstly, what countries would this idea have the most mileage? My understanding is that Spain seems to have the biggest English market in Western Europe, and that that would be the obvious place to try and start teaching in this way. Is that correct?

I'm also interested in the countries where the English market is just beginning and growing more rapidly. I've heard that Macedonia is one such country - does anyone know anything about this?


Many thanks in advance, any advice is much appreciated.

Will
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11493
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 6:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know a couple of people who have done this long term in Western Europe, but their spouses have solid incomes. Basically, it takes quite a long time to build up a clientele in most cases, and privates are notorious for attending classes (and paying for them) inconsistently.
Not saying it can't be done, but in most cases there's a good reason privates are traditionally seen as a way to top up a regular language school salary.
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willamangiro



Joined: 14 Feb 2013
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the feedback spiral; my concern with just doing a normal job is that my wife isn't a native speaker, so can't really find proper teaching work. Ironically she probably knows more about English than I do! That obviously reduces our income somewhat.

Perhaps if I taught at a regular job (topped up by privates), and she attempted to teach from home at the same time, this might be the best way to go?
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11493
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Possibly yes, a combination of privates and regular schools is a commonly-applied solution.

Here is another thread that pertains to your situation - it might be useful. It veers off track somewhere in the middle, but comes back into line quite quickly and there is useful input towards the end as well.
It can be helpful to be aware of the common differences between teaching Asian students and European ones, and also to be aware of how employers on the continent might perceive your experience.
Not to say that any of this can't be overcome; the first step is just to be aware.

http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?t=95456&start=0
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Kofola



Joined: 20 Feb 2009
Posts: 159
Location: Slovakia

PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would second what Spiral has said about it taking a while to build up a client group. I think it would be very risky for both of you to try it unless you can get decent hours working for an agency or school at the same time or you have some other back up source of income. Contacts are crucial and privates are not a stable source of income. You would need to factor in about a third extra hours per week for both of you to cover cancellations, holidays etc.

You might also want to consider asking about specific countries. Are you going to set yourself up as freelancers or as a company? Is it possible to teach groups in your own home? Some countries have quite strict health and safety laws that might affect your application (more start up costs). Plus if you freelance in some countries you have to pay monthly taxes/insurance contributions regardless of whether you make any money or not and these can be quite hefty.

You also have to consider how your wife will fare - some communities will be more open to a Korean teacher of English than others. Plus she may well be able to find work within a Korean community. It could be worth checking out major Korean companies in Europe and building up a base from there.
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 15316

PostPosted: Sun Aug 04, 2013 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stay in Korea. The situation in Europe is catastrophic at the moment. Astronomical unemployment amongst the age-groups who might be your main customers.
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jonniboy



Joined: 18 Jun 2006
Posts: 751
Location: Panama City, Panama

PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 4:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Advice Needed- Running an English School from home in Eu Reply with quote

willamangiro wrote:
Firstly, what countries would this idea have the most mileage? My understanding is that Spain seems to have the biggest English market in Western Europe, and that that would be the obvious place to try and start teaching in this way. Is that correct?


No, it's not. Spain might have a big English market, but it also has a huge supply of teachers, possibly the largest in Europe. Every man and his dog goes to Spain for nice weather, culture and food. It also has 27% unemployment (the second highest in the EU) , rising to 50% among the under 25s. There are jobs aplenty if you don't mind working for language schools but well paying privates are getting increasingly thin on the ground, so it doesn't strike me as a place where you can make a living in the short term only doing privates. I'm speaking from recent experience in this having worked there 2011-2012. Some people did ask me about doing private classes, but they were quoting silly prices (8-10 euro an hour) and balked when I said that 20 would be the minimum I'd do it for.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 11061
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

20 yoyo an hour?!

COME TO RUSSIA!!!!
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 15316

PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The road proposed by the OP is a guaranteed route to bankruptcy.
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teacheratlarge



Joined: 17 Nov 2011
Posts: 192
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2013 5:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder about that. It certainly would be a risky approach, because as noted it takes time to build up a regular number of private students. One way to avoid payment issues is to have students pay a month in advance (or longer) so that cancellations cause less problems.

Also make sure there are clear rules in your written contract as to when students should cancel (amount of advance notice) and under what situations (emergency, etc.). Private students in Japan are usually quite good about paying for missed classes due to them not giving the teacher sufficient advance notice of a cancellation; I don't know about European students.
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 15316

PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2013 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You could spare yourself heartache and grief by taking all your assets in cash, adding petrol and igniting on a bonfire.

Last edited by scot47 on Fri Oct 11, 2013 8:26 am; edited 1 time in total
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11493
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2013 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Private students in Japan are usually quite good about paying for missed classes due to them not giving the teacher sufficient advance notice of a cancellation; I don't know about European students



As established in numerous earlier threads, apples and oranges.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 11061
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2013 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

teacheratlarge wrote:
I wonder about that. It certainly would be a risky approach, because as noted it takes time to build up a regular number of private students. One way to avoid payment issues is to have students pay a month in advance (or longer) so that cancellations cause less problems.

Also make sure there are clear rules in your written contract as to when students should cancel (amount of advance notice) and under what situations (emergency, etc.). Private students in Japan are usually quite good about paying for missed classes due to them not giving the teacher sufficient advance notice of a cancellation; I don't know about European students.


Asking students to pay a month upfront has its attractions, of course. But unless the OP sets up an official school, not just an informal network of private lessons, then I cannot see many students stumping up the dosh. Why would they take that risk without a proper receipt issued by a legal school? And depending on whatever country the OP wants to settle in, the process of starting up a company could be a long and costly one. So, don't think that is an option at the moment.

So, setting up a school is not realistic. Charging a month in advance isn't either. Potential clients would just go to the next EFLer who charged by the lesson.
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jaffa



Joined: 25 Oct 2012
Posts: 401

PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

About 15 years ago when I was in Prague I put an ad in a Czech classifieds paper annonce.cz for just this type of work and the telephone didn't stop ringing. Within a month I'd organised a full schedule. It wasn't always in my home but I'd go to the students homes and a few business guys in their offices. No problem with payment either.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11493
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, things have changed over 15 years, I can assure you. For example, Praguers in the age range of 'need English for work/travel' have come a long way as a group (partly thanks to their assiduous study over the past 15 years). There is still work out there for privates, but it's not the full-on tap it used to be. There is also a LOT more competition for what's out there.
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