The English language has practically taken the world by storm and became the lingua franca of the modern age. According to Lemon Grad, nearly 54% of internet content is in English, with it being spoken in 118 countries in some capacity.
This data makes teaching English an amazing way not only to make a living, but also to help others while doing so. But, it’s difficult to set proper rates for your lessons before putting your name out there. How can you set your rates adequately before teaching English online, so that you can attract students and make a decent wage doing so?
Consider your personal credentials
Before you start teaching English, it’s best to do some introspective thinking. Make sure that you take advantage of any previous experience you had with the English language to raise your initial pricing. Typically, English tutors have various diplomas and certificates which prove their familiarity with and ability to teach English. Some of the personal credentials questions you should consider include:
What kind of experience do you have with the English language?
Do you have formal education in English literature or perhaps American or British culture?
What kind of credentials do you have from formal English language teaching associations?
Do you have experience with teaching already, or are you a beginner?
Write down what makes you different?
Once you write down all of your professional credentials, you should turn to your personal traits.
The difference among five different English teachers isn’t whether or not they can teach English – it’s in their mindset and approach. If you are an avid fan of traveling and reading, let your students know that beforehand. You might be a big fan of English TV shows or like to cook – these are also personality traits worth pointing out.
Students who identify with your personality will be very likely to want to work with you long-term. Subsequently, you will make much more money given how unique and creative you are compared to other English teachers online.
Which additional perks you can offer
Teaching styles vary from teacher to teacher, and it’s up to you to define what it is that YOU can offer to potential students. For example, you may have access to a large library of PDFs with exercises and additional reading materials in English for students to use.
Or, you may be willing to organize group study sessions with multiple students and help them develop speaking comprehension skills that way. Make sure to consider whether you want to charge more for these materials or offer them as a bonus to every student. Similar to your credentials and personal traits, the additional value you can offer to students will significantly impact your teaching rates.
Explore your competition
A great way to determine where you fall in regard to English lesson rates is to explore your market’s competition. English teachers of various backgrounds and education will naturally set their rates to reflect the experience and perks they can offer to students.
It’s good practice to check out teacher resumes and see where you fit in as a beginner in the field.
You can get a lot of ideas on how to make your resume unique and attract potential students by checking out how others wrote theirs. Another way to explore the market is to check out English teaching jobs in whichever area you wish to establish yourself. Compare your credentials to what schools and companies ask for when they search for English teachers, and you will know how to set your rates.
Start lower and build a reputation
It’s sometimes a good tactic to consider starting with low rates and continue to build them up over time. This tactic can help you if the market you work in is oversaturated, and you lack any reviews or testimonials from students.
Starting with high prices can make you seem unattractive or suspicious to students, especially if you are teaching English as a non-native speaker.
Make sure that the students you start to work with are aware of the fact that your prices might go up later on. However, low rates will help you gain experience and work out any kinks or shortcomings you might have at the start. Don’t be afraid of starting lower and going up as your English teacher’s reputation improves.
Adjust pricing based on commitment
Another great idea is to adjust your pricing based on how much a student is willing to work with you over extended periods. For example, you can set your prices in 3-6-12 month packages and lower the price for longer contracts.
This will encourage students to commit to work with you, and it will give you a great way to improve your teaching skills over time.
These types of loyalty programs can work well in your favor since students who want short-time commitment can still get it – at a higher price. Likewise, you can also offer discounts to students who refer you to their friends and bring new students to you, increasing your income over time.
Take living expenses into consideration
Lastly, teaching English online should be able to sustain you offline. Teaching is a full-time investment, and you will spend countless hours in front of your computer. This means that you will likely not have the time to search for another job and commit to it to make a living.
Use your local living expenses such as rent and groceries per month into consideration when setting your rates. Make it so that your English lessons cover the minimum income for sustainable living to avoid financial issues.
You should also calculate how many lessons per month you need to hold in order to make that sum comfortably. While teaching is a noble endeavor, personal wellbeing and living comfort is equally important – don’t sacrifice yourself and be objective about setting your rates.
Don’t be afraid to adjust your pricing over time if you feel uncomfortable with how little you make from teaching. It can be difficult to adjust your rates properly at the start of an online teaching career, so take your time.
Make sure that whatever price you set is justified in the quality of teaching and the materials you offer to students.
Ask for feedback, reviews, and referrals from students over time to allow for higher rates and more study candidates. As your teaching skills develop, you will be able to raise your rates and make a very comfortable living by teaching English online.
Diana Adjadj is a professional writer and editor for Trust My Paper and Subjecto writing services with a keen interest in educational and online sales trends. Diana is passionate about writing and education, passions which she exhibits through related research, articles, and publications online. In her spare time, Diana continues to develop her skills in writing by going through self-improvement literature and teaching-related podcasts.