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Is starting a language school doable in Poland

3 Feb 2020 #1
I am a French and English native speaker, my partner is Polish and is a teacher here in the UK. I cannot speak Polish at the moment but we would like to move to Poland as her family is over in Tuchola and we feel the kids will benefit from being closer to the family/cousins etc..

Is there a demand for native speakers in the north of Poland? I imagine the big cities have got enough teachers but would smaller places benefit from our teaching services? Also could we make a decent living out of this?
pawian 222 | 24,365
3 Feb 2020 #2
Not at the very beginning. You will need to become known in the area and this may take years. Don`t expect droves of eager students besieging your newly opened school. The competition is hard, even in small places coz major language schools from big cities have their branches in smaller towns. You will need to offer attractive rates to get students. It means low earnings for some time. How long - it depends on your teaching skills, personality, attitude to people etc etc.

Besides, the area where you intend to reside is known for financially underpriviliged inhabitants. I don`t think many of them will be able to afford your services.
Lyzko 45 | 9,409
3 Feb 2020 #3
As far as I've read, Poland has a surfeit of language schools, not even talking here about the Berlitz variety.
What former students who are now studying in New York tell me, most are fly-by-night holes in the wall, not worth their salt.

I agree that you really should scope out the area first, before deciding to open such a school. Decide too which languages. If it's English....GOOD LUCK!! You'll likely be drowning in competitors, probably many from the UK, now that Brexit is a reality:-)

Perhaps a school offering Asian or other "exotic" languages might have a chance to succeed, and a pretty good one, I'd wager.
DominicB - | 2,707
3 Feb 2020 #4
Also could we make a decent living out of this?

If you had done so 25 years ago, yes. But any need of this sort has long been met, even in places like Tuchola. A lot more native Poles have learned English to the point where they can teach it at all but the most advanced levels. This reduces the need for native English speakers. And in a community that size, the market for French will be a niche one that is also probably satisfied at the moment, as well.

I would say that it is unrealistic to expect that you will be able to support yourself and your family by teaching English or opening a school nowadays. You'd have to operate quite a successful operation, and that would take years to establish. And it might be impossible to do so in a town as small as Tuchola. Until then, you would have to live on savings, hoping that one day, your investment would pay off. And probably hoping against hope.

Frankly, I think your wife's idea of moving you all to Poland is totally unworkable. It would be far more feasible to continue living and working in the UK and taking extended vacations in Poland. There is just no way that you will be able to avoid a drastic cut in earnings and savings potential if you move to Poland. And, like I said, you'd probably have to live off of savings for an indeterminate number of years. Basic math is your enemy here.
Atch 22 | 4,120
4 Feb 2020 #5
we feel the kids will benefit from being closer to the family/cousins etc..

How old are your children? In what way do you think they'll benefit? I can understand that it's nice for them to see grandparents but cousins??? That's a bit of a stretch. I never saw my cousins when I was a kid as they lived in another country and I can't say it made any difference to my life :D Children make their friends within their peer group rather than having their friendships set up for them by parents. Your kids might well want to be bosom buddies with their cousins but perhaps not.

If you think ahead, your children will lose out on many advantages that they currently enjoy in the UK as you will be moving to a small town where you will have limited earning potential, in a country that despite the improvements, still faces many social and economic challenges. Your childrens' opportunities will be significantly limited by that.

With respect, it sounds like the thing that frequently happens with Polish women abroad.Once they have children they want to raise them in Poland with the support of grandparents and extended family, even if it means returning to a small town or village. You don't speak Polish and will have to learn. It's not an easy language in which to gain fluency and until you do, you will be in the position of a child yourself when it comes to dealing with anything other than the most basic shopping and everyday communication. You will have to learn to navigate your way around bureaucracy such as you have never encountered in the UK and will no longer be an independent man. You will have the pressure of finding work and trying to build some meaningful career for yourself. It won't be easy to do in a small town. Is it really the best thing for your children? I'm not so sure.
Richthecat 8 | 69
5 Feb 2020 #6
Hey I Teach English as a native about 30km from Tuchola. So let me give you the lay of the land, Tuchola is a bit small for a school, I think so you would be looking at Chojnice there are 5 or 6 schools there, but no Natives. There used to be 3 including me, but now only me. I looked into starting a school myself but for any kind of decent school you will be looking at over 2500 per month in rent of a business location, on top of that Zus Bills etc and I found that when I did the sums, the numbers of students I would need would be very challenging to achieve. The real money "sort of" is in Business English which has ups, i.e higher per hour rate and downs i.e this has to be fully legal so look forward to that wonderfull 1200 pln per month ZUS payment. You can survive but to give you and indication of income for the first two years I struggled to hit 3500 per month which is almost starvation, but now can just about hit the 4500k mark but you will never be rich trust me if you need more info PM me.
pawian 222 | 24,365
6 Feb 2020 #7
but you will never be rich trust me

It depends what role he is going to assume in his newly opened language school He might be an owner and a teacher at the same time - then, yes, earnings are average and that`s what we were talking about here.

Or, he might be the boss who employs other people. It is quite possible for a foreigner in Poland to run a business with workers successfully and who knows if he isn`t such a natural born tycoon. Anything is possible. If he remembers the golden principle that one needs to steal the first million, he will be fine. :):)
Richthecat 8 | 69
9 Feb 2020 #8
The real problem is the maths here let me walk you through my calculations, I am happy to be corrected here. Minimum cost: Rental of a school e.g

Rent 2000
Bills 1000 (heat light insurance Property tax etc I think this is on the low end)
Zus 1500 (I know you start lower but lets take the figure after the discount period)

Total outlay 4500

Ok so now look at possible earnings

The major money is always from Kids but kids have restricted hours I know there are Adults that don't conform to these hours but they will be supplementary income not the core of your business.

Teaching hours 15:30- 18:30. These seem to be the hours you can teach, due to the fact that the kids need drivers as Polish children don't walk anywhere especially not alone. Standard office hours are 7:00- 15:00 and later than 18:30 they can't focus. Also the School year is not 52 week and children will not come in school holiday times. They have 2 weeks for Christmas, 2 weeks for winter holiday, 1 week at Easter and 9 weeks in the summer plus various national holidays etc etc so lets say 15 weeks.

So 37 operating weeks. Cost per week = 4500 x 12 dived by 37 weeks which equals 1459 pln weekly. This business premises has 3 rooms so 1459 divided by 3 equals 486pln per room per week. Possible teaching hours 15 per week so the room has to generate you 32 pln per hour to make it worth it. This is at 100 percent capacity. So lets look at earnings per hour


Going rate for 121 English (polish teacher) Native will earn more but you are talking about a business so you will not be able to teach more.

Market rate is 75 pln per hour
Cost of teacher 50 pln

Plus you will have to pay tax or zus etc so 121's are a waste of time


Group of 5

Going rate 25 pln per member 125 payment per hour minus 50 for teacher minus 32 room cost 43 pln for a group

Ok so worth it
Lets say you focus on groups. To hit this 4500 payment

You would need 104 hours per week of groups which means attracting over 500 students in your first year not unachievable but very very challenging.

Bear in mind I am using here best case. There are loads more costs receptionist materials IT equipment etc. I am happy to be corrected but this is how I see the situation.
pawian 222 | 24,365
9 Feb 2020 #9
Yes, I think it is a correct assessment. So it means running such a business in a small Polish town right now requires great skills and a lot of work within a few years.

This thread should stay sticky for all potential language school owners.

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