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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Oct 2nd, 2008, 10:19 am
puu_sawn's Avatar
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Question Does anyone have experience starting language school?

I wasn't to sure where to put this thread.

I've been toying with the idea for some time of starting a small language school here in the USA. I tutor English and also teach some very basic Lao classes. (Very very basic) I really love teaching English and would like to make it more of a career than it is now. Something a little more formal.

To date I've been doing the library / bookstore cafe shuffle meeting students here and there but I'd like to possibly rent out a small office space set up as a learning center. I'd also like to have another tutor or two on hand to refer to when I am out of the country myself or already booked. I live in a very academic city with many international students so there isn't a real shortage of students. (For example, this week I've turned down 2 new students because I just don't have the time) Having one location would save me time driving place to place. I'd also like to have a network of other language teachers who could do classes. I have contacts who teach Russian, Japanese, Chinese, Korean etc. The center would be a hub. Mind you, this is all on a very small scale. I'm not looking to be Berlitz.


I've been self employed for almost 8 years now so running a business isn't the issue. I just am not sure were to start with this idea.

Does anyone else do anything similar in the USA? I'd love to bounce ideas off someone.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Unread Oct 2nd, 2008, 11:46 am
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Default Re: Does anyone have experience starting language school?

Start one online first, get popular and then let the students push you to settle at a location. That's what I am doing right now.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Unread Oct 3rd, 2008, 06:13 am
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Default Re: Does anyone have experience starting language school?

Thanks Denis. For me personally, I prefer tutoring face to face. I do offer online tutoring but have only really used it with students I have already worked with. I will also utilize it when I am in Asia next year.

Having a set location for me is also a matter of practicality. I do so much driving, I'd rather have students come to me.


I did some research online yesterday and found: ESL School Administration: How To Set Up a Language School | TEFL.net but it's really just the basics. I guess I'm more interested in practicalities..books, supplies, questions about paying tutors etc. etc..
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  #4 (permalink)  
Unread Oct 3rd, 2008, 10:40 am
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Default Re: Does anyone have experience starting language school?

Starting at a location is good if you have good starting capital.
Good luck!
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  #5 (permalink)  
Unread Oct 9th, 2008, 01:36 am
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Default Re: Does anyone have experience starting language school?

Why don't you just teach from your home? I know that you are in the US and I don't know what the regulations are, if you start a business in education. It sounds like you are doing OK but hate the travel. I so understand this. Tonight I have to travel one hour for a 2 hour class and one hour to get back home. This sucks big time. So I am going to advertise my service in the neighborhood and have classes at home.
You have to take into account rent, if you don't enroll enough students to make it financially viable. If I don't get enough students I won't have the class.
Keep us posted
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  #6 (permalink)  
Unread Oct 10th, 2008, 11:39 am
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Default Re: Does anyone have experience starting language school?

Thanks Rabble. Good luck with that! I wish I could do something like that but right now it's not feasible to have students to my home.

This week I've been looking into subletting office space instead of getting my own rental place. It seems you can rent a room in an office around here for about 150.00 per month. I think that might be an option. Right now I spend that just in fuel. : /
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  #7 (permalink)  
Unread Oct 19th, 2008, 08:11 pm
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Default Re: Does anyone have experience starting language school?

Hi Puu Sawn,

It sounds like you're in a good position to start up a school, with your contacts and all. You need to have good businesse sense, too, and anything is possible.
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  #8 (permalink)  
Unread Oct 27th, 2008, 10:24 am
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Default Re: Does anyone have experience starting language school?

The irony of all this is I am now headed to Northern Thailand in May so all my research into starting something is for naught. I'll have to put the idea on hold.

But... I wouldn't trade this opportunity to go abroad!
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  #9 (permalink)  
Unread Mar 15th, 2009, 02:58 am
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Default Re: Does anyone have experience starting language school?

Life has a way of "turning on a dime"

Good luck in Thai!!
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  #10 (permalink)  
Unread Mar 20th, 2009, 12:04 am
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Default Re: Does anyone have experience starting language school?

An update on classes at my home. Going great, more than I can handle. Word of mouth, teaching in the garden, parents walk past and enquire about enrolling their children. I love it. No commuting. more resources to use at home in a natural setting.
I plan to get get a landscape designer into fix up the garden and create another seating area. My friends say I should not put this money into a rented property but I think it's an investment in a business premises without all the overheads being my place of residence.
I am seeing a lot of training centres closing down or just breaking even. The big ones like EF, Metro who pay peanuts to the teachers and spend a lot on marketing, charge the students a lot seem to be hanging in there.
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  #11 (permalink)  
Unread Mar 20th, 2009, 03:03 am
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Default Re: Does anyone have experience starting language school?

My friends say I should not

My "friends" had lots of advice too...100 students ago.

Invest.... enjoy......

My favorite book ever

"Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"
had a quote that went something like this:

..and what is good? and what is bad ?
and who are others to tell us which is which?...

Good luck with the garden
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  #12 (permalink)  
Unread Mar 22nd, 2009, 01:34 pm
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Talking Re: Does anyone have experience starting language school?

I just did start a school. I'm from Hawaii, too! There was a real shortage of language schools in my current USA city. I rented a 2-room office of 340 sq. ft. and I have a few students so far and am building on that. Rents are reasonable right now, but they are going to require me to pay $850.00 to appear before the City Council to have my business license request approved. This is on top of the license fee, which is generally around $200 or $250. They won't tell me how much the fee is going to be until the request is approved... It's a little difficult to plan expenses when the bureaucracy is tough to pin down.

I am having fun, though! I don't think I'll ever make much money, and am not sure I'll ever hire anyone besides myself, but we'll see...
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  #13 (permalink)  
Unread Mar 23rd, 2009, 08:56 am
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Default Re: Does anyone have experience starting language school?

I'm not sure if I would want to start a physical business with the economy the way it is. I would stick to building an online buisness. On the other hand I totally understand your preference with teaching in person and face to face. I am more of a people person so sitting at home alone all day is kind of lonely somtimes. But this way I get to help hundreds of people a day so it makes up for it's self.

Best of luck. Keep us posted!
Diana
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  #14 (permalink)  
Unread Mar 23rd, 2009, 04:47 pm
yamwhatIyam
 
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Default Re: Does anyone have experience starting language school?

Hey, if you can bring in reasonable money without ever renting a space, then you are ahead, financially.
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  #15 (permalink)  
Unread Jul 8th, 2009, 07:04 am
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Default Re: Does anyone have experience starting language school?

Yes I know 2 sites

How to start your own language school in Italy or Spain

And also

How to start your own teaching business anywhere.
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  #16 (permalink)  
Unread Jul 8th, 2009, 11:43 am
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Thumbs up Re: Does anyone have experience starting language school?

I managed to avoid paying anything over 200 dollars by getting the business operation permit under the title of another kind of permit. The voters in this district don't want foreigners around and so City Hall makes it difficult and expensive for foreigner-oriented businesses to get permission to operate.

This is the USA and starting your own business is not supposed to be difficult, but in this particular area...I am running this thing, however, and since there is no enforcement worth worrying about -- once you have a business permit -- I have no problems. I will move down the street to another district however, when my lease runs out. The neighboring districts know how to appreciate business owners.
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  #17 (permalink)  
Unread Jan 21st, 2013, 09:04 pm
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Smile Re: Does anyone have experience starting language school?

Hello, I'm looking to start an online ESL school, would truly appreciate if you share your experience/ knowledge, thank you!
Claudia
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  #18 (permalink)  
Unread Feb 8th, 2013, 10:34 pm
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Default Re: Does anyone have experience starting language school?

It takes a lot of publicity and competition to run an online school. I do succeed a little bit because most of my students are students I teach face-to-face during the day. They get online for extra hours and individual language problems solving.
Have you started your online school yet?
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  #19 (permalink)  
Unread Apr 17th, 2013, 07:49 am
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Default Re: Does anyone have experience starting language school?

Doing things online would definitely be the best way to start it.
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  #20 (permalink)  
Unread Jun 14th, 2013, 06:19 pm
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Default Re: Does anyone have experience starting language school?

This idea is being in my mind for a while. I am Colombian and my country is becoming a very popular destination for retired Americans and Europeans. My idea: start with Spanish lessons and then provide language exchange opportunities so that foreigners can practice Spanish, help locals with their English and make friends in the process.

What do you think of this idea?
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