Ajarn Street

Freelance teaching

Ever thought about going it alone?

Teaching Thai students at your own house or apartment can be a very lucrative business if you manage to hit it right.

I've found from experience that many Thais are willing to pay anything from 500 baht to 1000 baht an hour for a teacher to give them lessons and guidance in conversational English, grammar, business writing, TOEFL preparation, etc, etc. (simple conversation practice is still the choice of the vast majority however). 

Illegal work?

Many teachers are understandably nervous about going down the freelance route because technically it is illegal work. You are teaching without a teaching licence or work permit. You're not paying taxes either.

But we're not talking about someone teaching from a 'bricks and mortar' language school with a clearly visible shopfront. This is you, the teacher, offering a few hours of your time to an individual or a bunch of willing students in the privacy of your own room or perhaps a fast-food restaurant or wherever.

No one is going to bat an eyelid provided that you keep a relatively low profile. Back in my freelance teaching days, I even had a chief police officer as one of my private students. He would come to the house twice a week for a couple of hours of conversation practice and he loved studying with me!

We actually became great friends and I used to love to listen to his stories of tracking down credit card fraudsters and con-men. The lessons were as much fun for me as they were for him. 

Your house as a classroom  

If you are looking to rent a house in order to set up a private teaching business (as I did in the 90s) then you seriously need to pay attention to location.

Your house needs to be easy to find because you'll need to give directions over the telephone once potential students start hearing your name and getting recommendations that there is a 'good teacher' living in the neighborhood and offering English lessons. Word can spread very quickly.

If your Thai language skills are not up to scratch, you'll need to ‘recruit' a willing Thai friend or Thai partner to deal with the enquiries.

Nothing will lose you customers faster than insisting your prospects have to speak English on the phone. Many Thais will struggle through a few sentences and then eventually hang up out of frustration and embarrassment.

Personally, I always taught private lessons from a house. With a house, you can easily convert a spare bedroom into quite a nice learning environment by furnishing it with a whiteboard, a table, a few office chairs and one or two tasteful prints on the wall.

I also used to put photographs of my family and snapshots of life back in England on a nice big cork-board. Thais love looking at photographs - especially ones of you and your family. Photos were not only a great way to initiate conversation practice during lessons but they were also a good marketing tool.

When you have a potential customer sitting down in your office / classroom and you're talking prices and schedules and suitability, etc, they feel more comfortable dealing with someone who clearly has a very human side and loves his family and friends, etc. 

I've always felt that teachers who try to teach from their tiny, studio apartments never seem to do as well as the teacher with a small house and room to spare. There's something tacky about conducting a lesson in full view of your bed and dirty laundry basket, but perhaps that's just me.

With a house you can keep your living and working areas totally separate.

Location is key

Going back to the importance of location, it's generally the middle-classes and above who are going to form your client base (in other words, those who can afford your fees) so you want to be on top of them or at least near them.

No one is going to travel miles and miles every week for a two-hour lesson - it doesn't matter how good a teacher you are.

Mobile freelancers

I've known several teachers specialize in becoming a ‘mobile teacher' - very often with a motorcycle to improve their mobility.

'Mobile freelance teachers' will target a specific area or large housing estate giving private lessons to housewives during the day and often their children after school. 

This kind of approach to freelance teaching can be very successful, but considerable time can be wasted zipping from lesson to lesson.

When you teach from home, the onus is on the student to be there at the agreed time and it's always going to be possible for you, the teacher, to squeeze more students into a working day.

So teaching from home, a typical daily schedule with five ‘blocks' might look something like this.

9-11am, 11.30-1.30pm, 2.00-4.00pm, 4.30-6.30pm, 7.00-9.00pm.

Peak vs off-peak

Once word gets around and you earn the reputation as a decent and reliable teacher, you'll have little problem filling these blocks at the weekend - but during the week, it will be a very different story. Kids are at school during the day and parents are out either working or shopping.

You might want to consider reducing your prices a little for ‘off-peak' study. Off-peak customers are like gold.

The pricing headache

Teachers always have difficulty in deciding on and fixing a price for an hourly lesson. We all figure we know what we are worth, but it's sometimes difficult to look your prospects in the eye and tell them how much you want for your services.

You have to become ruthless. It's as simple as that. Bear in mind I am going back a few years, but I used to charge 500 baht an hour for a one-on-one lesson, 700 baht an hour for two students and 900 baht an hour for three. I would probably charge considerably more than those rates if I ever started the business up again.

For me, time is the most valuable commodity. There is never enough of it. And if someone is going to take up an hour of my time, then I need to be reimbursed.

Study with a friend

Keeping the above student rates in mind, it makes sound business sense to encourage individual students to find a friend - better still find two friends. The teacher ends up with more income, the students get a cheaper price per head, and it's far easier to teach a group than it is to teach one student alone. Everybody's happy. It's a win-win situation!

When it comes to pricing, you ALWAYS want money up-front. Insist that students pay for at least ten hours in advance.

Thai private students are notorious for canceling lessons at the last minute and you need to give yourself some kind of security.

Tell students you will allow them one cancellation per ten hours provided they give you 24 hours notice. In reality this is easier said than done because very often a bond does develop between the teacher and student and the students become 'friends' as well as customers.

I once had one student - a lovely girl - cancel at the last minute on four successive Saturday mornings, with her excuses becoming more and more pathetic each time. She must have cremated her grandmother at least three times! 

In the end, I decided to refund her money and basically told her to find another teacher. And I swore it would be the last time that students viewed me as a ‘soft touch'. Keep your freelance teaching as a business. Don't earn a reputation as a teacher who can be manipulated and taken advantage of. But do it in a nice way of course.

Why money in advance?

I used to have students pay for ten hours in advance (rather than 20 or 30) because it gave me time to evaluate them.

Are they serious about learning or are they forced to study by well-intentioned parents?

Did the student start the lessons with the best intentions but they are now becoming bored and fidgety?

Do you literally dread the moment when your private student rings the doorbell?

After ten hours, you can always come up with an excuse not to teach them anymore. "Sorry, I have to work at the office on Saturdays from now on" was always my time-honored favorite.

All students are different

I once did a 30-hour course with a middle-aged businesswoman who wanted to hone her business writing skills. She was a joy to teach. She was full of questions from the moment she arrived and sat down. And it was a topic I was only too happy to offer guidance with. The lessons used to fly by.

Disappointingly, this kind of student is often in the minority. Most of your requests to teach will be from adults who are false or rank beginners, or parents wanting you to teach their very young children or their teenage sons and daughters.

You're a better man than I am if you want to take on teaching children from home. Children need room to run around and make a nuisance of themselves. You just won't be able to keep kiddies entertained in the average-sized townhouse.

The terrible teens

Teenagers, especially males, can be the worst students of all. I've had parents knock on my door and beg me to take on their little teenage Somchai, who hasn't spoken to anyone in over two years ever since he started sprouting facial hair.

Why on earth do they think he's going to talk to me? "Sorry but I'm fully booked right now"

Take it from me - when you're facing two hours in the company of a bored, self-conscious teenager swiveling around in his chair and looking at everything in the room except you - five hundred baht an hour suddenly seems nowhere near enough.

I don't want to tar all teenagers with the same brush though. I had many teenagers who made great students. 

Get your marketing head on

So you've got your house or your apartment, and you've got your classroom set up and you are all ready to go. OK, so where are your students going to come from?

In the beginning, the marketing of your freelance teaching business is always the most difficult part. You will certainly need some business acumen to survive.

The most effective way I found to find students was to put a simple notice on the garden gate. Something like 'English teacher - reasonable hourly rates' Even though I lived on a quiet soi, with probably ten cars an hour driving past, I would often see drivers slow down or double-back to read my notice on the garden gate and jot down the contact details.  

When you've found your first half a dozen customers, word of mouth will often carry you the rest of the way - unless you're a hopeless teacher of course. It's finding those first half a dozen students that's probably your biggest challenge.

Handing out flyers in the street or door-to-door leaflet delivery never or rarely works. Statistics show that the feedback is often less than 1%. In addition, you'll have to pay someone to do the leaflet distribution for you.

Unfortunately, leaflet distributors and reliability are not entirely synonymous and it's a fair bet that most of your two thousand flyers will end up in a ditch somewhere, and you'll be left sitting at home wondering why the phone never rings.

This actually happened to me. I paid a bunch of local layabouts a few hundred baht each to deliver a couple of thousand flyers door-to-door. The following day, a neigbor rang my doorbell to tell me the flyers had all been dumped in her front garden.

One very effective form of advertising I came up with was to have large stickers made up advertising my teaching services. I then paid the local songthaew drivers 200 baht each to put the stickers where their passengers could see them. I got a lot of phone calls and enquiries as a result.

Target small businesses

Don't underestimate the potential of small businesses in your neighborhood to become clients. You might want to target small office firms and companies with say fewer than 10 employees for your leaflet distribution (it you go down that route).

It can be quite appealing for smaller companies to put together a group of 4-5 people if a) your home is relatively near their office and b) you can gear lessons towards their particular line of work.

But again, be ruthless! If the boss of the company rings you up one week and says "sorry we don't have time to study because we are preparing for an overseas exhibition" and the next week it's another excuse - you are better off knocking it on the head and looking for other customers.

Companies - even small companies - can be notorious time-wasters.

The work is out there!

Good luck with your freelance teaching business. Some teachers make a great success of it and others fail miserably.

You will need to be smart, professional and friendly and as I said earlier, you will certainly need to have some business acumen.

Negotiation skills will also come in handy for those times when you want to charge a thousand baht an hour and your customer had budgeted for a couple of hundred baht at most.

Case scenarios

I know a guy and gave up a well-paying teaching job in Japan and came to Bangkok with the sole aim of targeting the rich Japanese housewives (and their kids) in the Sukhumwit 33 / Thonglor areas.

Not only was he a very good English teacher, but he could also speak fluent Japanese and knew Japanese culture inside out. Within six weeks he was creaming 70,000 baht a month from students gained purely by word of mouth. And he always seemed to have plenty of time for himself. It can be done!

At the other end of the spectrum, I worked with a Canadian lady who tried freelance teaching as a way to supplement her full-time salary. She set herself up with a couple of private Thai students - both female business-owners - but made fatal errors of judgment.

The students didn't have a clear objective of what they wanted out of the lessons (beware of the student who says "just give me conversation") - and business owners are always busy. They will often do a couple of sessions to lead you into a false sense of security and then those horrible last-minute cancellations start creeping in.

Before long, the teacher finds that their heart just isn't in it. Your heart needs to be in it if you want to be a successful freelance teacher.

Reciprocal arrangements

When I made the decision to improve my spoken Thai, I found a charming middle-aged lady who owned a small shop and seemed to have plenty of free time on her hands. We would meet twice a week. I taught her English for an hour and she taught me Thai for an hour in a reciprocal arrangement where no money actually changed hands.

The arrangement worked very, very well and I mention this because it might be something to consider if your objective is to study Thai and you don't much care about making extra money. 

Work smart, not hard

I would always describe freelance teaching as the 'icing on the cake'. It's the chance to boost your main teaching salary by say 10,000 baht a month (as I used to do)

If you take a look at our cost of living section, you will see that anyone who teaches private students on the side treats it as a seperate, additional income to their main day job.

I would never suggest you gave up your day job to become a full-time freelance teacher because I don't believe there is enough work around in the Monday to Friday daytime slots. Most students want to study at the weekend.

I'm also a great believer in working smart and not working hard. I used to teach private students for a couple of hours, two evenings a week and I might sometimes do a group class on Sunday mornings for a couple of hours. That was enough. I placed too much value on my free time to want to take on any more teaching work that that.

And those few hours a week were enough to bring in another 10,000 baht a month. That extra money made a big difference to my lifestyle and spending power.  



I want to become a English tutor myself.
Now, I see some people in the comments say: "Just start a company, get a work permit and pay taxes"
But that is NOT how it works.
If you have a company, you MUST first hire 4 Thai, full time, before you can apply for a work permit. So, that is why many people teach illegal. Because it can't be done legal.

By Maarten, Thailand (21st June 2024)

I have been told that if one has less 13 students a school license is not required. Is this true?

By Ray, Chiang Rai (18th March 2020)

Thanks to the writer of the original article and to everyone who has posted comments. I found this thread accidentally when doing a search for another subject. But it was a great find.

My wife has been approached by several people in our small town asking if I would start tutoring English. She thinks I should go for it. I think I would have to get some background in methods for teaching English, rather than using the approach I've taken in the past when simply helping peers and subordinates improve their English as I often did in jobs I previously had in Thailand. This article and the comments all of you have made give me some real insight into what is likely to be involved. Thank you.

By Richard, Phetchabun (24th March 2018)

I have a Thai wife. I have a degree from a very good university in the UK. I also have a PGCE. I have taught English for nearly 25 years both in England and overseas to children with English as a second language. I am thinking of setting up a small freelance operation with a maximum of 6 students at any one time. I would probably rent a room although I do have a house which is completely new and modern. Do people think this is a viable idea. Many thanks

By Brian Corlett, Nakhon Sri Thammarat (16th January 2018)

Well .. I have been teaching English in China for the last 4 years. I love Bangkok but are completely lost on what to do first. I am older 63 year old man who wishes to tutor English. I just need a place to begin, thought about going to schools and offer my services, especially International schools.
What are the best websites ?
Any Help would be great, also would like to meet someone to talk with or work with if they need help. Russell from Canada

By Russell Ganong, Bangkok Thailand (18th October 2017)

Hi Lee, No problem. Like I said, from my experience, teaching English in Thailand, with a reasonable ability yourself in spoken Thai should cost YOU between 200 and 500 Baht per session. Mainly in Lady drinks. If you are living very cheaply, you can get by on around £18,000 per year in Thailand. In the Phillipines by comparison, I typically spend around £ 300 per month, all inclusive. In Indonesia or Cambodia, around £650 per month, all inclusive.

By John, Currently Phillipines (6th February 2017)

Hi, great post, very informative.
Basically im strongly considering moving to chaing mai from the UK in the summer and would like to know roughly what i could earn teaching at a language school as i have no degree, i will have access to £400pcm from investmests in the UK but will i be able to earn enough to top up and still live a decent life?
Thanks, lee

By Lee Butler, United Kingdom (2nd February 2017)

John, that is very funny indeed. I have not had better luck. It takes me so long to decide on a fair fee for tutoring and the kid would be here every day and by the time I've decided on a low to fair amount per lesson, the kid never comes back.

By Mati, Thailand (10th June 2016)

I think your skill in business acumen must far exceed that of the average person. Having learned conversational Thai to a reasonable extent, I decided to impart my knowledge of English to a Thai girl by first explaining words/ phrases in Thai, then providing translations into English. Three hours later and it cost me 500 Baht between two lady drinks and a new dress from a motorbike cart for providing the three hour lesson. It may sound cynical, but I find it extremely difficult to envisage a Thai person handing money over to a western person for imparting such knowledge.

By John, Indonesia (10th June 2016)

thank you for all the information in details!

By hawa ashna, Toronto, Canada (8th April 2015)

A very silly comment from Snowman space.
Tutoring privately can be done perfectly legally and this person is scaremongering and is in no position to judge what other people do. Clearly on something he knows nothing about.
You can easily set up a business in Thailand if you have Thai contacts or are married to a Thai. This means you will pay tax yearly which I do I. If you are on a tourist visa or do not have a work permit then you should not do this. I would like to know what immigration laws are being broken if you have a valid marriage or work visa have a registered business with a Thai partner which you pay tax on and have a work permit. Please can you clarify your statement Snowman as you should not make a comment like that without specifying which law is being broken.

By Tim, Nonthaburi (16th January 2015)

One day immigration will come knocking on your door, could be tomorrow. With the law finally being enforced, I would opt for a different plan for your life.

By Snowman, Space (15th January 2015)

I would agree with a lot of what has been said here. I have been teaching privately for almost 3 years now. It has been steady and reliable. The comment about making it a business is essential if you do it full time. Getting students to start with is always the hardest.

There are many benefits to teaching freelance. For me the biggest is having more free time and also earning more money. There are some things I consider very important to making this successful. You need to have a base to work from I think travelling to see people takes up too much time and there is also the travel cost.

I also think teaching from an apartment would not work and you need a house. Your house should be clean and welcoming with a dedicated area for teaching. My house has 2 dedicated teaching areas as I am so busy now I have a friend come round and teach on weekends also this is a great way to make extra money.

One factor not really mentioned is to have web presence. I have a face book business page and a 1 page website this is great for existing customers to recommend you to their friends. I don't know the type of customer Mark has been teaching but everyone of my customers pays for a 30 hour course upfront and are much happier knowing it is a course where you will not stop teaching them after a few lessons.

Many of my customers I have been teaching for more than 2 years and repeat business is essential. I allow 2 cancellations per 30 hour course more than that and they will be charged again I have never lost a customer or ever had a complaint over this policy.

I charge 600 bht for private 500 bht per person for 2 and 400 bht per person for 3 or 4 people per hour. There is always a variance in what you earn every month but I never earn less than 70k with the max being just under 100k and I do not work in the day Just evenings and weekends. You can also do this legally by just setting up a business but do not teach anymore than 6 students at a time as 7 is classified as running a school.

By Tim, Nonthaburi (15th January 2015)

Thanks for your reply...

There are many variables in this line of endeavor, but the biggest difference between your situation and mine is location.

Yes, the more sophisticated Bangkok clients will tend to be more accepting, familiar and easier to get started with. They are much more likely to stump up a cash deposit on a set of lessons, too!

In my location (which is quite remote) then the advice and assistance of my partner was absolutely essential for all the reasons listed in my previous post... and yes if I was in Bangkok doing the same thing, then I'd have been better able to make a go of it working alone.

Also, bear in mind that you and I have been here for a long time and are very familiar with the way Thais think and react. Almost every person reading this will have much less experience and confidence to set things up the way you have advised.

If you insist on being 'serious and hard nosed' about teaching privately then be prepared to have a smaller pool of customers to choose from.

If a 30% cancellation rate and tardiness would annoy you or affect your income to the detriment of your lifestyle then think hard before you decide to do this.

We have both seen and heard about 'hot shots' with an abundance of over confidence who have found private English teaching to be a lot less glamorous and lucrative as it may look like it would be on paper!

An example of my situation would be the private students I travel into Bangkok to visit every Saturday. I've been visiting this family for three years now. They pay me at the start of each four hour lesson. (I teach three rich kids.) They also order in pizza or KFC while I'm there. On my drive home I stop off at Foodland and spend the lot on food that we don't have in my little city! It's 3,000 baht for the day but I love it when they cancel. For me it's a day off and the loss of income doesn't hurt me.

Your advice is great and generally spot on for the experienced go-getter surrounded by eager clients with money to set aside for further education.

It's a little harder to put that advice into action the further away from Bangkok you live!
It's also a bit more of a struggle if you don't have transportation, a good place to teach, a wealth of content you can draw from and the experience and knowledge of the area that you are working.

In the end, even in the best scenario that Thailand has to offer, teaching privately remains hard work with many frustrations.

By Mark Newman, Thailand (7th January 2015)

Hi Mark. I hate to say this but I disagree with much, if not all of what you've written below. Maybe I haven't taught as many private student hours as you, but believe me - I've done my share!

I think you misunderstood my 'treat your freelance teaching as a business' line. What I meant was don't be a soft touch and let students cancel and mess you around. Develop a ruthless streak if you like. Adopt the business attitude regardless of how many hours you teach and whether it's a full-time job or just a bit of income on the side.

I never had a problem doing business with Thais on the phone and arranging an appointment for them to come and see me. And my Thai wasn't that great back then.

I never had a problem with Thais paying money for 10 hours or more in advance.

I never once needed my wife to step in and help me out because of communication problems. I'm not saying it was all plain sailing - but I always got the job done.

My wife was rarely around when students came for lessons. I had created a nice environment to study in and I could be very friendly and welcoming whenever I needed to be. In fact I would say the opposite, my students always looked slightly awkward and uneasy whenever my wife was there.

Never needed a Thai person to help me find better students. I did perfectly OK on my own.

By Philip, Samut Prakarn (7th January 2015)

"Keep your freelance teaching as a business. "

That's a tough one. I would suggest the opposite: Treat it as occasional pin money in addition to your main job. This kind of work is just too unreliable, unpredictable and just plain difficult to do full time, especially if you have bills to pay.

If you are determined, though, you will need a Thai person to help you for many reasons.

1 - They will find you clients much faster and of much higher quality that you can. (They understand the Thai websites that you probably don't even know about.)

2 - Thais won't do business on the phone with a farang. If you can speak perfect Thai then you won't be much use to them, anyway! But a friendly Thai voice can put potential clients at ease, especially parents looking for somewhere for their children to study.

3 - The money up front issue makes sense, but rarely will you get students to do this. I've been here for a long time teaching private students and I always just get them to pay on the day. Again, your Thai partner will easily be able to weed through the clients and determine who is likely to pay and who isn't. If they even try to haggle, drop them immediately.

4 - Have your Thai partner with you during the first lesson. Most of your clients will be nervous on their first appearance at your house and having a fellow Thai hovering about somewhere in the vicinity will set them at ease.

If you decide to 'go it alone' and make a full time job out of this you are headed for a lot of disappointment, frustration and headaches.

By Mark Newman, Thailand (7th January 2015)

I agree with you.......... it is a challenge and takes some time to set up especially if you are unfamiliar with Thai culture. They say yes, even make an arrangement and never get in touch with you again or they agree and you make the mistake of letting them pay after every lesson taught; never do this sometimes they don't come back so upfront payments for 10 classes a time is a good idea with some incentives to continue studying.
I went from working in high schools, universities to now being a business language teacher at a language school and in my free time teach private lessons. Basically, that means I work less and earn more than public school teachers. It was quite easy as I set my standards higher every year and I saw what other people were doing around me. I was lucky that I socialized with locals who happened to be well off. So keep your eyes pealed and don't be greedy....... don't just go after those with money, but help locals that can't at lower rates. They treat you well and you get free meals and fruit all the time so reduces some shopping :-) I didn't come here to make money to begin with it was all for helping local people learn English to achieve a better life in the future. However, now it has become a real job which I never believed would be possible. Going completely freelance takes a lot of time and patience and personally I am not sure I'd ever do it. Thai people can change their ways very suddenly and you never know what you did or why they have stopped. They can also become very reliant on you and therefore demanding. Remember it's a very personal business.

By Sel, (18th October 2013)

Interesting information...on the case as we speak. More as it unfolds.

By Andrew, Visitor to Thailand (23rd July 2013)

If a teacher is a male and I have to send my daughter to learn English in his place, I would choose an English school instead. Safety is a big issue for me.

Remark: A father of two children.

By TJ, Bangkok (2nd April 2013)

i dont care for this picking of new or old up dating , i though it was good info and liked what i read ,tired of working in thai schools with all the rubbish that goes with it, this may be away forward for me ,so i can stay here . thankyou for your time writting this artcle philip. mark get a live .

By stephen, Thailand (13th January 2013)

"Are there criminal penalties for teaching/running a business without a work permit? How hard is it to set up a business with a Thai partner and do it legally? Is this worth starting a thread about or is there already one started?"

There are no 'threads' on ajarn.com because ajarn.com doesn't have a forum. There are Thailand teaching forums around though so there maybe one on there but I really don't know.

By philip, (21st December 2012)

Are there criminal penalties for teaching/running a business without a work permit? How hard is it to set up a business with a Thai partner and do it legally? Is this worth starting a thread about or is there already one started?

By william thornton, korat (21st December 2012)

Thank you, Phil, for the practical advice.
I like your writing style.

By Mati, South Africa (10th December 2012)

"This is not really an update when all you do is add on a couple of sentences about language exchange it is hardly an earth shattering revelation…."

That's correct Mark. Had I just added a couple of sentences at the end about a student exchange, it might not be classed as an update.

Except that's not all I did.

The part about putting stickers in local 'songthaews' to advertise your services wasn't there before

In fact I rewrote many of the sentences to clarify certain points and added quite a lot of new information.

I'm guessing that you do not have the benefit of seeing the article before it was changed so you're just relying on what you think you may have read. Right?

By philip, (6th November 2012)

this is not really an update when all you do is add on a couple of sentences about language exchange it is hardly an earth shattering revelation....

By Mark Rodgers, Bangkok (6th November 2012)

You can also add, working through BS language agencies that pay no money, don't pay by the hour, expect you to do lots of travel, lots of extra work, won't give you/help you get a work permit and threaten you with being blacklisted if try to leave them for a better job.

By dukeboxer, Bangkok (18th March 2012)

Oh a good post love to read it..I know some people who are teaching here that didn’t want tutoring because obviously, they are earning enough and they have work permit.

By Outsourcing Solutions, USA (5th April 2011)

Chris, Pattaya has always been a law unto itself. I wouldn't be worrying about what happens in Pattaya if I didn't live there. Just because something applies to Pattaya, doesn't mean it applies to the rest of the country.

Technically I suppose it is illegal to teach without a licence, but no one bats an eyelid if you are just doing a few hours teaching in the privacy of your own home and keeping a low profile.

By philip, (30th March 2011)

Immigration in Pattaya are now phoning the free ads of people advertising language courses, Then charging them 30,000 baht when they turn up for a lesson.
It is Illegal to teach without a licence, and if you have a work permit it is for teaching in the school that issued the work permit

By Chris, pattaya (30th March 2011)

Hi! A very good post. I have taught from my home before and did it as a full-time venture. In the end I had to stop because of cash flow problems. Thai people are extremely unreliable and in the end I had to find a job again. My advice for people freelancing is never make this your full-time occupation unless you have a lot of money to back it up and serve as your cash-flow rolling account.

By Edmond Leblanc, Pathumthani (23rd March 2011)

Thanks a lot for this. I am a CELTA certified teacher with about 1 year of teaching experience but failed to complete my BA. I was told there are many teaching jobs available in Thailand but nobody told me a BA was a requirement. As a result I'm here now and really struggling to find a job. For some jobs only a degree is necessary, CELTA or not, experience or not... it just doesn't matter and it makes no sense at all. It's a legal thing, I know but still.. Anyway, this might be my way out, legal or not... This Is Thailand right? :)

By Jurgen Van Der Haegen, Bangkok (30th November 2010)

It may sound as it is, but to some people it would be a great help specially those who are unemployed and has low income as you know that the salaries here are NOT really that high or not fair enough for some, although they're giving work permits but even you're qualified to teach... there are situations that the WP is not available to work legally, as I may say.

I know some people who are teaching here that didn't want tutoring because obviously, they are earning enough and they have work permit.

If the students are asking you to teach them (I mean, without offering them), I guess this is not an issue.

Thanks for this post. It'll be a good option for those who are in need.

By Elisse, Bangkok (17th November 2010)

The stories seem to promote working illegally. Cashing in 70,000 a month without a work permit I always thought was illegal. Or can we all of a sudden work without one as long as we keep it quiet?

By Joey, roi et (29th August 2010)

Nice article. Hits all the main points but seems to ignore the giant elephant in the room. No mention is made of work permit in this context.
I imagine that if you have a full time teaching job and a work permit for that, you can work something out for free-lance. But what about the full-time free-lance business the article is emphasizing?

By John Crawford, Jomtien (7th July 2010)

Hi Vinij,
Yes, I would say being fluent in Thai and English would be a fairly big advantage for the freelance teacher inasmuch as you can explain 'rules' to your students regarding advance payment, cancellations, etc and avoid any misunderstandings. I think that speaking Thai would be a big plus on the 'marketing' side.

By philip, (29th April 2010)

Thanks for your article. I am new at this since I've been in sales in the U.S. for over 20 years. Thanks for putting things down in an easy and straight forward manner. I am a native Thai but left Thailand at age 7 so my English is much better than my Thai although my spoken Thai is close to perfect. If there is a question in there somewhere it would probably be; does being able to communicate fluently in Thai and English be of any advantage in this type of work? It seems that at least the schools seem to prefer a caucasian face although I would imagine that in certain situations, not knowing how to explain things in the native language can pose some problems. Don't know if I'll hear from you so if I do, that'll be great. Thanks again for the article. Vinny

By vinij khureya, Laksi (29th April 2010)

My wife is Thai and I'm Canadian. I've got my TESOL cert and I am getting nurses and 10 to 16 year old students. I think your ideas are good and I thank you. My ideas are quite similar and I'll let you know how it's going.

By Dan, Bangkok, Thailand (26th January 2010)

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