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Start your own school!
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bluetortilla



Joined: 18 Apr 2006
Posts: 651
Location: Guangzhou, China

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:26 pm    Post subject: Start your own school! Reply with quote

I hope this is 'job related.'

Actually, it's not me that's interested in starting a small English conversation school (in Guangzhou) but a Chinese friend. But since I have ten years of experience of running a school in Japan, I thought it would be interesting to help her out.

Does anyone know rough figures as to tuition (monthly), rent (I know- subject to location but a ballpark figure), and legal issues of hiring foreigners?

I thought you could probably start easily at 60,000 RMB. I wonder if that could be much lower? Answer if you're curious too! Personally, I've had enough of mills.
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Denim-Maniac



Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1238

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can only comment with regards to tuition fees. My training centre employer charge around 4200 RMB per month as the maximum. Thats for 6 x 45 min lessons per day in a purpose built building with support staff and social facilities. Adult classes with a contracted maximum of 12 students (rarely acheived).

The longer students stay the less they pay. 25000 RMB would be about right for a years classes.
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Javelin of Radiance



Joined: 01 Jul 2009
Posts: 1187
Location: The West

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

60,000 to start a school or charging tuition of 60,000?

If you ran a school yourself then you know what's involved in keeping a place up and running. The only way 60,000 might be enough is if your friend wants to run the school out of her own home. I know people who've ran small operations from home so it's doable, but you need a bigger place with a room or two that can convert to a classroom to do it professionally (running classes out of her bedroom might not be suitable for everyone). If this isn't the case, and your friend wants to run a school out of a separate location then I don't think 60,000 will be anywhere near enough to get started. But I'm no expert.
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bluetortilla



Joined: 18 Apr 2006
Posts: 651
Location: Guangzhou, China

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Javelin of Radiance wrote:
60,000 to start a school or charging tuition of 60,000?


To start, thanks.

I started with $30,000 in Japan with room to spare (street front two classrooms and an office). Just thought it might be about a third of that here. Of course, I was the teacher and my ex was the receptionist so that helped!

It was not downtown obviously.
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Javelin of Radiance



Joined: 01 Jul 2009
Posts: 1187
Location: The West

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

60,000 could be enough provided everything goes to plan, but that seldom happens in business. A good cash reserve is usually needed for unexpected costs that always seem to pop up, especially in the early days.
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bluetortilla



Joined: 18 Apr 2006
Posts: 651
Location: Guangzhou, China

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Javelin of Radiance wrote:
60,000 could be enough provided everything goes to plan, but that seldom happens in business. A good cash reserve is usually needed for unexpected costs that always seem to pop up, especially in the early days.


Yes, a third of my investment went to coasting those first three months. Kinda scary time.
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choudoufu



Joined: 25 May 2010
Posts: 3325
Location: Mao-berry, PRC

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i'm thinking it's something like 100,000 (or that might be for a fully foreign-
owned enterprise) deposited as company assets, plus about the same in
permits and tea money before you even get started. then you've got
the rent and other expenses....

send a pm to great wall of whiner. he was running his own school until
just recently.
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bluetortilla



Joined: 18 Apr 2006
Posts: 651
Location: Guangzhou, China

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

choudoufu wrote:
i'm thinking it's something like 100,000 (or that might be for a fully foreign-
owned enterprise) deposited as company assets, plus about the same in
permits and tea money before you even get started. then you've got
the rent and other expenses....


Thanks. But it will be a Chinese person doing it, not me. She's just a friend. But I'm curious about it for reference. Tea money? Aha, backsheesh… None of that business in Japan.
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SH_Panda



Joined: 31 May 2011
Posts: 131

PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bluetortilla wrote:
choudoufu wrote:
i'm thinking it's something like 100,000 (or that might be for a fully foreign-
owned enterprise) deposited as company assets, plus about the same in
permits and tea money before you even get started. then you've got
the rent and other expenses....


Thanks. But it will be a Chinese person doing it, not me. She's just a friend. But I'm curious about it for reference. Tea money? Aha, backsheesh… None of that business in Japan.


Make sure she's a very trusted friend if you are investing money.

It will all have to be in her name, regardless of how much you put in.

I'm doing something similar this summer and I'm really excited about it. Lots of money to be had out a successful language mill!
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chinatimes



Joined: 27 May 2012
Posts: 478

PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I thought you could probably start easily at 60,000 RMB. I wonder if that could be much lower? Answer if you're curious too! Personally, I've had enough of mills.


Japan figures in China? 60,000 yen?

Salary at 8,000 equals 96,000 daddy-o. Rent for an apartment would be 1,000 and up/month.

Now we are talking 108,000 and you haven't included the extras. Airfare? 120,000 easily.
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bluetortilla



Joined: 18 Apr 2006
Posts: 651
Location: Guangzhou, China

PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SH_Panda wrote:

Make sure she's a very trusted friend if you are investing money.

It will all have to be in her name, regardless of how much you put in.

I'm doing something similar this summer and I'm really excited about it. Lots of money to be had out a successful language mill!


No, I'm not interested at all. Ten years of that was enough for me. I like my cushiony university work now and related pursuits. But I am cheering her on if she wants to give it a try. Good luck to you!
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bluetortilla



Joined: 18 Apr 2006
Posts: 651
Location: Guangzhou, China

PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

chinatimes wrote:

Japan figures in China? 60,000 yen?

Salary at 8,000 equals 96,000 daddy-o. Rent for an apartment would be 1,000 and up/month.

Now we are talking 108,000 and you haven't included the extras. Airfare? 120,000 easily.


Say what? Daddy who? 60,000 yen? No- 60,000 **RMB** Roughly 9500 USD or 860,000 JPY. The consensus has been she needs more, but maybe not that much. She's not hiring someone full-time from overseas, she just wants to start up a place, get some lessons going, and hire part-timers to start.

What's the problem?
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chinatimes



Joined: 27 May 2012
Posts: 478

PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bluetortilla wrote:
What's the problem?


You had, "Does anyone know rough figures as to tuition (monthly), rent (I know- subject to location but a ballpark figure), and legal issues of hiring foreigners?" in the original post.

It said nothing about part-time. So, I was going on the premise you would be hiring full-time. Now that you have clarified the situation, good luck.

With part-time, you don't need us then. Start hourly wages without housing. Go from there.

1 hour
2 hours
3 hours
etc...

By the way, it's salary not tuition. Are you a native English speaker? Tuition is what the students would pay. Salary is what the teacher earns/makes (gets from the employer/school).
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bluetortilla



Joined: 18 Apr 2006
Posts: 651
Location: Guangzhou, China

PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

chinatimes wrote:

You had, "Does anyone know rough figures as to tuition (monthly), rent (I know- subject to location but a ballpark figure), and legal issues of hiring foreigners?" in the original post.


Oh, I see. Thanks. No, I didn't mean to conflate those questions. I was wondering what the average students are paying in these small, private schools (tuition), and if she could get into trouble hiring part-timers (I don't work outside my contract but I know lots of people do- seems easy). And as for rent, I meant classroom space.

I know some people also run a small business out of their own apartment.
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GreatApe



Joined: 11 Apr 2012
Posts: 422
Location: South of Heaven and East of Nowhere

PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@ bluetortilla ... one of the best things for your friend (and/or you) to do is to get some native Chinese help (depending on you and your friend's Mandarin skills) and go around to schools in the area of Guangzhou where you are planning to set-up the school and check on tuition fees at different schools. You can gain a ton of useful information this way if you ask the right questions and if you surf the websites of each school. Tuition scales, class fees, hourly fees, range of courses, possible discounts for signing up for more classes, etc. This is one of the first things a business partner and I did when we set up a Business English section for a school in Guangxi.

If she's serious about starting the school, then she wants to be as competitive in pricing as possible, and she wants to eliminate the guess-work as to how much schools are charging. If you have someone good, you can also get a great idea of how each school goes about admitting students (testing, evaluating, assessing for grade level/class level).

As per tuition? ... I started out teaching in a small city near Shenzhen and the Training Center where I worked charged roughly 6,000 RMB (per month) for Adult Business English classes and for EAP classes (Cambridge based) these were small classes guaranteed to be taught by a Native-English Speaker/Teacher ... the tuition costs got cheaper as you went down the scale to the point where mothers were dropping off their precious kindergartners for Saturday and Sunday English classes, so that they could go to play Mahjong and have the Language Mill babysit (and try to teach junior some English on top of it). The cost for something like that was around 800 RMB per month for 8 classes total. Fairly dirt-cheap (and nerve-wracking if you're the teacher)!

Regardless, I probably wouldn't venture into starting my own school without 200,000 to 300,000 RMB to "play with" (depending on location) and I know several reliable people in the Shenzhen area who have assured me that it takes about 400,000 to 500,000 to "do it right." But again, it all depends on what you're trying to accomplish at the start ... certainly you can do it for less, but I'm not at all sure about 60,000 total.

It really depends a lot upon what type of format and school your friend wants to set-up, how large and how quickly and how much advertisement, etc. ... there are many, many options and formats ... but, as many here have already said, she needs to be VERY CAREFUL of who she trusts if she needs an "investor." I teach at an International School now and we are in the process of branching out and my boss from Hong Kong -- who's a very, very smart man and a highly successful businessman -- is EXTREMELY careful who he trusts, even among his own Hong Kong business colleagues. He's native Chinese and very particular about who he trusts.

Good Luck to you and your friend!

--GA
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