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Full Time Private Tuition

 
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Jmbf



Joined: 29 Jun 2014
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2014 6:48 am    Post subject: Full Time Private Tuition Reply with quote

I would be interested to hear from any teachers / tutors here who have successfully made the transition to full time private tuition (i.e. solely teaching private students, no education centres or schools).

I myself switched to teaching privately full time in 2011 and have found it very rewarding (both personally and financially) although managing the downsides of the job does require careful planning and management.

I have heard of other teachers / tutors also making this move but have not been able to contact any directly. Therefore I would be interested in hearing from others in a similar situation to myself and discussing the pros and cons of this type of work.


Last edited by Jmbf on Sun Aug 03, 2014 7:14 am; edited 3 times in total
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toko



Joined: 10 Oct 2011
Posts: 24
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 12:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are you already in HK with a work visa? I'd think getting a work visa without a company sponsor would be difficult.
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Jmbf



Joined: 29 Jun 2014
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 1:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes I should specify that I have been in Hong Kong for many years and have Permanent Residency. I am assuming anyone in this position would also be a PR or on a dependant visa which would allow them to work freely.
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Jmbf



Joined: 29 Jun 2014
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2014 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Received a few PM requests for information so will add some further details here about my experience with private tutoring:

Pros:

Great salary (equal to the top tier of ESF / EBD schemes or even more)
Working from the comfort of home (for the majority of the time)
No travel time (linked to above)
Flexible schedule (arranging your schedule as you see fit)
Be your own boss (no dealing with school politics / difficult colleagues / random or annoying rules and regulations)
Choose your own students

Cons:

No paid leave / sick pay (if you don't work, you don't earn)
Lesson cancellations resulting in some fluctuation in income
Long hours
Lack of career progression
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Perilla



Joined: 09 Jul 2010
Posts: 783
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 1:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know a few long-term private tutors here but none of them make nearly as much as ESF or EdB NET teachers, though they do quite nicely. Otherwise I agree with your pros list. If I were to return to teaching in HK, privates is the way I'd go.
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Jmbf



Joined: 29 Jun 2014
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 3:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's interesting that other full timers are not making as much. I'm able to fill up my schedule with a wide range of students so I average at least 50 teaching hours per week (and sometimes up to 60 hours). Working from home facilitates this as well I'm sure. If I was travelling between students all the time I would never manage the hours I do now.

I regularly earn over 80K per month (Christmas and CNY being exceptions) and with some optimization I reckon closer to 100K would be possible.
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Perilla



Joined: 09 Jul 2010
Posts: 783
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 4:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ahem yes well I don't think any of them put your hours in! Probably more like half as many, so half as much pay. When you say working from home, do you mean they come to your place for lessons? Most of those I know travel to meet their students - mind you they live on Lamma, so I guess they don't have much choice.
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Jmbf



Joined: 29 Jun 2014
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 4:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perilla, yes I do teach at home, the vast majority of my students come to me for lessons.

I'm lucky to live in an area of Kowloon with a LOT of students nearby (and with parents that are willing to pay the fees).

In the early years I used to advertise and market myself quite aggressively in order to build up my student base. Recently not so much, in fact all of my recent new students were referrals from within my current student base.

I've worked in a lot of different jobs and I just love the comfort and flexibility of working from home. A lot of other tutors may baulk at hearing the number of hours I work but honestly how much more is it than a normal 'busy' teaching job once you factor in travel time? I also find it so much less stressful and draining than a normal job.

At my income level I can afford to take pretty much whatever time off I need for holidays or downtime and this goes some way to alleviating the downsides of no paid holidays and sick leave.
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Jmbf



Joined: 29 Jun 2014
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 5:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the reasons I opened this discussion thread was to see if there were other full time tutors who had managed to build up the same level of business as I have.

I know a lot of tutors who split their time between a teaching centre / school and do part time private tutoring on the side. Other tutors travel out to all their students. Both options limit their potential income in my opinion (apart from those who have managed to make it to the top tier of the EDB / ESF scheme).
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oxi



Joined: 16 Apr 2007
Posts: 334
Location: elsewhere

PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jmbf wrote:
I'm lucky to live in an area of Kowloon with a LOT of students nearby


Is that near the guy combining EFL with agony uncle advice lessons? This from his Q&A page:-

Q: I am a 25 years old traditional Chinese girl. I want to make love only after I get married. I have had a boyfriend for 8 years and he met a new girl and they had sex. He says he loves me and regret what he did. What can I do?
A: If you do not give your man what he wants, he will go and get it from others.

I thought of doing privates, but I can't compete with that wisdom.
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Perilla



Joined: 09 Jul 2010
Posts: 783
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting diversion. Jmbf, are your students mostly kids?
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Jmbf



Joined: 29 Jun 2014
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oxi - haha! No idea but that's an interesting concept Razz

Perilla - the majority of my students are in kindergarten and primary school although I do also have some secondary students and some adults.

Its important to have a big enough range of students otherwise you can't fill up the day properly. For me, mornings are usually taken up with kindergarten students who go to PM session schools and adults who work shifts. Then afternoons are super peak (typically 2 - 7pm is all full) and then older students / adults for the evening time.
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giovanni



Joined: 16 Oct 2006
Posts: 41
Location: Texas USA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm interested in learning more Jmbf, can you give more details please? How much do you charge (although I think I would be willing to travel to students for more $) , how do you find students etc?

I'm a 28 year old white woman who is a certified teacher in 2 US states (ESL, English, biology) I have a degree in education and a master's in TESL. 4 years experience teaching ESL in US public schools (high school/jr high level)

I want to teach private lessons. Is there a market for English babysitting? I think with my appearance and credentials I'd be good with kids and business men. I'd want to charge higher than the average rate

I was just in HK for a couple of days and I googled to see the market and I found some white dude trying to charge $550HK for a 55 min session but he can't use accept/except correctly on his website. He's old so he has more years experience than I do but my credentials are much better. I think I can do way better than him.
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Jmbf



Joined: 29 Jun 2014
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 2:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Giovanni - I mostly charge between $350 - $600 depending on a couple of factors. I've charged higher in the past but I've found that my high charge students never turned out to be long term. Perhaps it's a perception of value for the local parents, above a certain amount and they seem to shy away. Therefore I deliberately undercharge in order to develop a base of loyal and longer term students. To compensate for this, every year I increase my rates and this seems to be working well so far.

Finding students is a case of advertising yourself well. Some advice I would give you:

Think carefully about the design of your promotional materials - they should be distinctive yet clear (simple) designs (preferably in both English and Chinese)
Carefully choose an area to work in and target that area heavily
Promote yourself via all mediums (physical flyers, online ads, talking to people)
Be prepared to give it time (it won't happen quickly, it takes a long time to build up a decent student base)

I do think there is a market for English babysitting (I've had to turn away students that were too young) but I haven't investigated it further.

One other important note, qualifications and educational background matter to get your foot in the door, BUT it is local experience and building up a good reputation that will really help you take on more students. Be aware that the tutoring market is getting more competitive and there are already plenty of very highly qualified English teachers with years of local experience working here.
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