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So I received an offer from a Poland language school - what's your take on this?


Foreigner4 12 | 1,769
4 Nov 2011  #1
A language school contacted me. They want a native speaker for a business where I live. They are only offering 1 class a week in which I travel to the client. They don't want to go higher than 65/hour (before taxes). In my experience, language schools charge businesses nothing less than 90/hour. My wife wants me to take it but I kind of feel like telling them it's too low. My other thought is that I have a school so why should I help out a competitor.

What's your opinion (based on experience)?
Richfilth 6 | 415
4 Nov 2011  #2
The general rule for teaching is, don't tie yourself to one school, because they will have no qualms about cutting your hours to zero if they need to.

In any situation, if the school is charging 90 you won't get better than 65 gross; if you want more, cut out the school and get the client directly.

But for this situation, we'd need more details. At what time of day is the class? How far are you travelling? Group or 1-to-1? These factors affect the decision as much as raw price.
OP Foreigner4 12 | 1,769
4 Nov 2011  #3
1-1, Friday mornings.
They don't have a school in the city where I live so it's more the strategy behind my dilemma. I don't believe in taking classes with a school and then "stealing" the client later- it's dishonest and it's slimy and I look down on that sh*t.

So the big question I have for myself is whether or not I decide to help the competition gain better standing for the sake of 65/week. I don't think they can get another N.S. here for cheaper who can do a good job. Anyone who's willing to come from farther away for less is obviously desperate and likely not going to give a good lesson...but large schools don't really care about quality do they? That being said, I'm not real busy on Friday mornings.

I'm not saying they charge 90/hour, I'm saying there's no way they charge less than that. I'd be surprised if it were <110.
Richfilth 6 | 415
4 Nov 2011  #4
I don't believe in taking classes with a school and then "stealing" the client later- it's dishonest and it's slimy and I look down on that sh*t.

That's not quite what I meant; I'm comparing the situation to having yourself established as a business (self-employed) and finding your own clients, not stealing them.

I wouldn't consider this "helping the competition"; it's business, and you get paid. Having said that, you're in a strong position to negotiate a higher wage, especially if, as you say, you're the only NS in town.

If no-one else wants that time, then it's only worth whatever you can get for it. But if it means getting up at 6am, then being free at 8:30 and having nothing to do until 3pm, I wouldn't waste my time with it, regardless of price.
OP Foreigner4 12 | 1,769
4 Nov 2011  #5
I wouldn't consider this "helping the competition"; it's business, and you get paid. Having said that, you're in a strong position to negotiate a higher wage, especially if, as you say, you're the only NS in town.

oh i'm not there are 3 others who have had their own businesses longer they won't take the classes. The other native speakers here are entertainers, they can't run 1-1 classes with directors and such- they're clowns.
aphrodisiac 11 | 2,444
4 Nov 2011  #6
ask for more and do it.If they refuse, they will have to hire a clown or somebody desperate ( you will get a well deserved sleep in the morning), but that it not your problem,or is it?

My school tried to lower my wages from time to time and I always bargain. They know that I am not happy with the lowest, so perhaps one day they will stop. I am like a broken record:). That resulted in loosing some hours but I was working many lat year and now I have more free time and make less, but also my taxes are lower. There needs to be a balance.
OP Foreigner4 12 | 1,769
4 Nov 2011  #7
I think I'll take it on the condition their methodology director doesn't say or do anything to p*ss me off. 9 am is not early imo and it IS a Friday morning so that's usually the day cancelled classes are made up...still debating though:/
aphrodisiac 11 | 2,444
4 Nov 2011  #8
I think I'll take it on the condition their methodology director doesn't say or do anything to p*ss me off.

she or he would not be one if he /she didn't do that;). It is their job for the sake of Pete lol. Often they have to say something so it looks like they are working lol. Unless yours is different, which I really doubt.

isn't that a Polish skill to fake work all day long?

My take on it is: take it or leave it. It might be that the student is great to work with and THAT always helps:)
OP Foreigner4 12 | 1,769
4 Nov 2011  #9
That's my hope too. They're trying to contract the work to me so the way I see it, they have most likely promised something which they are having problems delivering on. I finally am legally allowed to operate my own school, which I am doing, so I am not terribly keen on answering to anyone other than the client. We'll see what happens.

I think the faking work thing is due to the bureaucracy here. They look like they aren't doing much but really they're hurrying up and waiting to do things... that being said, in my experience, your description perfectly fits Polish methodology directors for esl schools in Poland
delphiandomine 83 | 17,626
4 Nov 2011  #10
What's your opinion (based on experience)?

There's no harm in taking it (as long as you can be bothered with it) - language schools do tend to build up networks of trusted partners, and I managed to get quite a lot of work last year on the basis of simply being known to one school in Warsaw - whenever they needed a native, they always checked with me first. They had absolutely no presence in Poznan, but they were getting companies signing up for classes in Warsaw - and they'd often want classes in Poznan, too.

It can't hurt you really - many big companies will only deal with big schools. I know one example where a company was forced (by their foreign bosses) to have classes with Profi-Lingua, not because they were good, but because they were nationally known. Utter idiocy to pay well over 100zl an hour (the factory was nowhere near the school) for a teacher, but so be it.

And while you might not steal the client, there's no harm in using it to promote yourself if they want extra classes. I always lived by the philosophy that the more contacts you make, the more work you can find.

I think I'll take it on the condition their methodology director doesn't say or do anything to p*ss me off.

Seems to be an almost universal trait - never have I met more self-important people than methodology directors. I think I've only worked with one who actually understood her job - to be available if needs be, to run training sessions and to keep up to date with things. She also understood the meaning of "light touch".

I really should get round to posting a thread about schools (and people) to avoid in Poland. One amusing story involves a certain school director paying his teachers in deserted car parks late at night in cash!

The only thing I'd be wary of is the contract - don't be afraid to tell them to remove chunks of it.
LwowskaKrakow 28 | 431
4 Nov 2011  #11
Foreigner4 , in my opinion what this language school charges is none of your business (without any playing on words)they could charge their clients 600zl an hour if they can because you would act as a subcontractor/consultant for another business client.What you should look at is :

Is this rate advantageous for me? Do I need this work?Or money or an extra contract? Do i want to act as a subcontractor/freelance consultants for schools or a regular or from time to time basis ?

Nowadays 65zl an hour is not bad at all but it is just my personal opinion which i appear to share with your wife.
aphrodisiac 11 | 2,444
4 Nov 2011  #12
They're trying to contract the work to me so the way I see it, they have most likely promised something which they are having problems delivering on.

aha. Got yah. From my experience that seems to happen very often in order to keep the client. We will serve you as long as you are our client, but we will figure out how to do it later;). That is where you come into picture.

I finally am legally allowed to operate my own school, which I am doing, so I am not terribly keen on answering to anyone other than the client.

congratulations and good luck.

And while you might not steal the client, there's no harm in using it to promote yourself if they want extra classes. I always lived by the philosophy that the more contacts you make, the more work you can find.

that I agree with, but that pertains to all business.

Seems to be an almost universal trait - never have I met more self-important people than methodology directors.

ha. It is a milking job for them most of the time.

I really should get round to posting a thread about schools (and people) to avoid in Poland.

good idea.
OP Foreigner4 12 | 1,769
4 Nov 2011  #13
in my opinion what this language school charges is none of your business

we'll agree to disagree on that: )

I always lived by the philosophy that the more contacts you make, the more work you can find.

we'll agree to agree on that: )

Thanks everyone. I gave them a tentative agreement which highlighted a few things that cannot be changed down the road. They're hesitating- no skin off my back either way: )
LwowskaKrakow 28 | 431
4 Nov 2011  #14
Be sure that if both parties think it worth it ,the Business collaboration between you and this language school will take place, if not then no regrets .
Seanus 15 | 19,706
4 Nov 2011  #15
1 class a week, is this a joke?? That's my comment so far!
delphiandomine 83 | 17,626
4 Nov 2011  #16
What's so unusual about it?

At one point last year, I was doing quite a few of one-class-a-week for different schools - meant I had no dependence on them and could (and did) cut ties with them very quickly for non-payment for instance.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
4 Nov 2011  #17
I didn't say it was unusual. It's just a limitation in some ways. One-off deliveries should be paid 200PLN and not 65PLN. Sorry, it just doesn't pay IMHO. Fine if you one to develop new contacts but it depends on what the contract with them stipulates.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,388
4 Nov 2011  #18
I don't believe in taking classes with a school and then "stealing" the client later- it's dishonest and it's slimy and I look down on that sh*t.

then don't steal the client. use him to get other clients from the same building. that way your honour is secure.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
4 Nov 2011  #19
I second that!
dtaylor5632 18 | 2,007
4 Nov 2011  #20
I didn't say it was unusual. It's just a limitation in some ways. One-off deliveries should be paid 200PLN and not 65PLN. Sorry, it just doesn't pay IMHO. Fine if you one to develop new contacts but it depends on what the contract with them stipulates.

You would have private students who would only have lessons once a week, why not do the same with schools. Less classes you do for the schools the higher you can charge ;)
OP Foreigner4 12 | 1,769
4 Nov 2011  #21
I wouldn't even charge a company 200 pln if there were no middle man. They don't charge the client any more than 120 so I don't see how in the world I could justify asking for over 60% more than the total cost:/
Seanus 15 | 19,706
4 Nov 2011  #22
Well, if you are happy with that.....
OP Foreigner4 12 | 1,769
4 Nov 2011  #23
...unless you can explain your mathematical reasoning then I'll have to be. But, I am all ears.
dtaylor5632 18 | 2,007
4 Nov 2011  #24
I don't see how in the world I could justify asking for over 60% more than the total cost:/

You charge whatever the company is willing to pay, if you can guarantee results. The company should always be making the profits ;)
Seanus 15 | 19,706
4 Nov 2011  #25
If you can comfortably slot it into your schedule, then why not?
OP Foreigner4 12 | 1,769
4 Nov 2011  #26
and a middleman isn't going to pay the contractor more than they themselves earn on the client contract.
dtaylor5632 18 | 2,007
4 Nov 2011  #27
I don't get why you would use a middle-man if you could secure the contracts yourself.

Edit: Ok so I've came in at the back end of a discussion. Read the original post. Maybe what you should do is find out who is the client and offer your services directly?
OP Foreigner4 12 | 1,769
4 Nov 2011  #28
Did you read the third post?
dtaylor5632 18 | 2,007
4 Nov 2011  #29
Hehe, just did.

You shouldn't feel that it is slimy to contact clients personally. At the end of the day you are the teacher and the client is the student. As the student it is up to him to decide. Put it this way, most schools spend their summer months attempting to steal clients from each other. It's a dog eat dog world and to survive you must rise above it all. In the beginning I was like you, but I soon learnt that I wasn't getting what I could potentially earn and my students weren't getting what they should be. I'm now in a position where after 2 years away from the game I'm having a holiday in Krk next week, reputations count and I have 7 job offers already. I'm not moving there though.
OP Foreigner4 12 | 1,769
4 Nov 2011  #30
dude I've been doing this for 10 years. Just because others are dishonest doesn't mean sh*t to me. Sorry we're not going to see eye to eye on this one.


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