Introduction
If you're a motivated teacher who wants to work extra part time classes independently and autonomously; here's some advice from my own experience.
My classes are mostly adult classes with individuals and groups, and company training. It's not the same as freelancing where you work for different schools, but more like a business where you deal directly with students as customers.
Partner up with a Chinese teacher
The first reason to have a Chinese partner is simply local power, getting students require using Chinese social media, or your partner's own connections.
Some students will be at a beginner level, and you might need a Chinese teacher to help you to teach this level. We arranged our classes with the first sessions by a Chinese teacher and second sessions are with me.
Dealing with payments from students or companies will be tricky so you'll need a local partner to help you manage this.
Finding a classroom
A common practice for doing one-to-one teaching is either your own apartment or even the student's apartment. If either apartments aren't easy to get to by you or your students, and if you're doing group classes your apartment may not be suitable.
Renting another apartment; this goes back to having a Chinese partner for all of the obvious reasons. We did this for a short time, my Chinese teacher used her name on the lease, the landlord had no idea I was involved so they wouldn't try to increase the rent. The government doesn't want foreigners to rent apartments on their own because they might get screwed by landlords. This works out if you have many classes, and depends on the cost of the rent and bills.
Renting a classroom within a training center; the advantage of this is getting students through them, looks more professional than an apartment, and is usually in a good location. Another advantage was paying rent for the room per class and you won't have to worry about overheads.
We worked with a training center that was for graphic design, art and computer classes. We were their English department and in complete control of how we ran our classes.
Company training
If you plan to do this you'll need a third party to accept payments as companies need an invoice from another company. As an individual you can't give invoices, you need a "red stamp" and you'll need to pay tax. We use the same training center we use for individual classes as our third party. We had to get all sorts of paperwork from their accountants in order to do training for them.
You might be thinking just getting a business registered would be a better option, but it isn't about having a Chinese partner that most people believe. To register a business in China you need an office, not a home office but a whole office floor. Having meetings with companies, we go to them, and all classes are on site, so it is pointless to rent an office. Also the invoice needs to be an educational company, which means you need to be basically a school.
Demand and supply
With all the big franchises of Mc English schools you would think it'd be hard to compete, but it so easy. Individual students complain about those big training centers; first they're really expensive, not just do they have to lease out the whole office floor, but they have a manager for everything. If I were to start my own school I would model it like a doctor's clinic, where the teacher is the boss and a receptionist consults the students. Students complain that they don't learn anything, so obviously something is wrong with their lessons. They also complain about the actual teachers, some teachers come to class with hangovers and you can smell the alcohol on their breath, some will only focus on the pretty girls, and then some just don't care about teaching at all.
What adult learners really want is to know what they're doing wrong and how to correct it. Many of the students work with foreigners so it's not just a chance to see a foreign face, but how to communicate more effectively.
With companies; training centers may seem more professional but at the end of the day they're provided with a lousy teacher who might not care about quality, or lacks experience. I build lessons just for the company's needs, such as describing their actual products, and for a French company, made lessons to help students understand their colleagues' French accents. Most training centers just teach straight from course books and don't provide any customized lessons.
Payment and pricing
How much you should charge is up to your costs, demand and experience, just like any other business. You will want to work this out with your Chinese teacher, there are rich students who are willing to pay a lot for a one-to-one class, and some who'd prefer a larger group to be more affordable.
Individual students like to pay through Wechat wallet, or direct pay through Alipay, and consider this as an invoice. Whereas companies will pay through the third party, and with my Chinese teacher we split the payment as the third party takes out the tax.
Negotiating with companies can be difficult when you're first starting out, if you don't have much experience you might have to offer a lower price at first. Then if they wish to renew your contract for a new course, then increase the payment. Use the first company course to help you prove to another company you have experience so you can negotiate a higher fee. You can do this by showing the class work you made for the previous company.
With individual students, we charge a monthly fee, whereas the large franchises make them pay for an entire year and even for two years. The reason is because of poor customer satisfaction, the student has made a commitment and has to do their classes. We charge monthly, and they always sign up for the next month because we work really hard.
Is it legal?
As I work for a vocational college I have a working visa, my classes are mornings so I work extra classes in the evenings. As the company training pays taxes, and individual students are personal payments, there shouldn't be any problems.
Overall
This is from my own experience, and if you're seeking extra work independently you might experience different issues.
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