The Beatles may have told us that all you need is love, but if we’re honest, we need money too!
No matter how much we love teaching, the bottom line is that teaching English as a Foreign language is a job. It’s our way of earning money.
If you’re working for an EFL school, then the issue of rates is not likely to come up as your rates would be decided by your employer. Your employer decides how much students pay to attend your classes, as well as how much you earn as the teacher. Similarly if you work for a private or government school it is likely that you’ll be paid a monthly salary.
But if you teach English online as an independent teacher or if you have private students you have the freedom to set your own rates.
The question then is, how much can I charge for an EFL lesson?
How much can I charge as a new teacher?
Obviously, if you are a new teacher with little to no experience you can’t expect to charge as much as a teacher with a lot of classroom hours under their belt. But that doesn’t mean you should undersell yourself.
This is why your TEFL qualification is so important. If you can show that you have done a TEFL course through an internationally-recognised and reputable company, even if you have no experience you will be given the benefit of the doubt by your students, even if they are your very first student.
Generally speaking, teachers with no experience can charge approximately £10 – £15 a lesson, which would be 45 minutes to an hour.
As a new teacher, you might want to consider offering a trial lesson which is either free or at a very low rate. This will give your students a chance to get to know you and for you to prove your teaching capabilities. It will also give you that much-needed experience, so even if your students decide not to come back for a second lesson you are still getting something out of the situation.
Just remember to let them know you’re giving them a discount, so they’ll be prepared to pay more for future lessons!
How much can I charge for online lessons?
Knowing how much to charge for your online classes can be tricky. On the one hand you don’t want to set your rates too high because then your students won’t be inclined to book with you. There is so much competition for online lessons that your rate needs to be competitive. At the same time, you don’t want to charge too little because then the lesson won’t be worth your time.
With online lessons it is a good idea to see how much students are paying for lessons with online companies. Teachers can earn from £10 – £20 an hour through online companies. However, bear in mind this is what the teachers earn, not what the students pay. Generally speaking, the online company will take a percentage commission from each lesson, so you can add a bit more onto that for your own lessons.
How much can I charge for private lessons?
With private lessons, you can charge as much as you want.
Teachers who teach private lessons can charge up to £30 an hour, depending on their qualifications and experience. The amount you charge is totally dependent on who you are teaching and what you are teaching.
In other words, for general conversational English classes your rate would be considerably less than a more specialised lesson like English for Exams or English for Specific Purposes. Generally speaking, Business English teachers charge more for their lessons than General English teachers.
How much can I charge for group lessons?
Group lessons are great in the sense that you are only making one plan for the lesson. However, when you think about it, teaching a group class can be more complicated than teaching 1-to-1. In group classes you have the benefit of group activities which can take time and involve more student talking time. On the other hand, you need to deal with the dynamics that come with teaching more than one student. This can mean catering to the different levels and personalities of your learners, as well as preparing more materials than you would for one learner.
At the same time, students prefer group classes as they are more cost-effective than 1-to-1 lessons. This means that you cannot charge a student the same for a group class as you would for a private lesson.
A good rule of thumb is to charge the students in your group classes two/thirds of your usual 1-to-1 rate. So if your usual 1-to-1 rate is £25 an hour, then your rate per student for a group class would be approximately £15.
A few tips for setting your rates
- Offer bundles. If a student signs up for, say, ten lessons they are eligible for a certain discount.
- Be currency-specific. Set your rates in more than one currency, for examples pounds, euros and dollars.
- Ask for reviews. Once you have done a few lessons, ask your students to leave reviews on your online platforms. This is a great way to market yourself.
- Don’t forget to factor in any hidden costs you may incur, such as buying materials and stationery, and commuting to and from your lessons.
- Be upfront with your students about your terms and conditions, especially when it comes to your cancellation policy.
- Don’t forget to review your rates every year to keep in line with your experience and inflation.
Of course, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to setting your rates as an EFL teacher. Rates depend on a number of factors, so use these numbers as guidelines rather than being set in stone. It’s always a good idea to do some market research and see how you fit into the market by comparing your rates and services with other EFL teachers.
But if there’s one piece of advice we’d like to leave you with, it’s have confidence in yourself, and your students will too!