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Why It’s Possible To Charge A Fair And Reasonable Price For Your Private Teaching Lessons

When you stand at the top of cliffs, what do you feel? The pull to destruction. It’s uncanny, isn’t it? Most people feel the hypnotising suction of the abyss. It’s a nasty sensation drawing you forwards and down. Yet it is possible to get free from its hypnotising clutches and get out of its clasp.

It’s scary to imagine being caught up in this suction to despair; when your income is dwindling and you’re feeling yet another step closer to being an unemployed statistic. That’s when it happens – the undertow of despair raises its head and says: Should I drop the hourly rate to remain competitive on the market?

Why? Why must you drop your hourly rate?

Why the teaching market hourly rates are so low

Why must you drop your hourly rate to remain competitive? Is it because you looked into the Internet for new projects and read a search advertisement for a qualified teacher? I read such an advert for a qualified CELTA or TEFL business English teacher just the other day. Minimum qualification: CELTA or TEFL and a university degree. The lessons should take place on the Internet (Skype) because the person travels a lot. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Until you come to the hourly rate: 6 Euros for 60 minutes. And you know someone is going to accept the offer…

Who is at risk of price dumping?

It’s not just the qualified and trained English language teachers at risk. ALL educational teachers are at risk, because there is always someone who is going to accept a price way below market price. Worse still – these people are not even aware they are price dumping.

Price dumping is often done by students, or by unqualified native speakers looking for pocket money. For qualified and trained teachers – those who have spent money, invested time and effort in earning their professional qualifications, and keeping professionally up-to-date – price dumping is a catastrophe.

What can you do against price dumping?
Price Dumping2

Another Example of Price Dumping

Nothing. But you can work against price dumping – by setting up a structured marketing strategy to ensure your livelihood as a professional teacher and trainer. Most freelancers don’t realise their market exists; one which pays its teachers and trainers well and despite all so-called global crises. Your first step is to know how to establish (how to brand) yourself in your market and based on your successful branding, how much you can charge for your services to reach the standard of living you want.

Be honest. Why don’t you feel able to charge a reasonable price for your freelance teaching service? Are you thinking it is the economic crisis at fault? The economic crisis which is pushing down a decent earning wage and the number of your students and projects…

The economic crisis is one reason you can charge a decent hourly rate

Is the economic crisis really at fault for the dilemma?

No, it isn’t. It is not the reason you cannot charge a realistic hourly rate.

Let’s take my freelancing niche for example: English. The demand for English is higher than ever before. Employers and employees need English for work. Companies are only hiring employees with English.

What about your freelance teaching niche?

  • For sport: you cannot work if you are not fit or do not have endurance or creativity to carry out your job.
  • For art, culture, music, and computer technology: you cannot work without creativity; endurance or are unfit.
  • For logical work or languages: you cannot work without training in logical or creative processes, without some creativity or without being fit.

Which of these teaching professions are dependent upon an active or recessional global environment? You may spot other reasons. However, when you realise the global recession is the least problem a freelance teacher faces, you will also realise the market can and does pay good prices and rates for quality products and services.

A Supply and Demand market can and does pay good prices and rates for quality products and services

Still not convinced?

Whole commercial and marketing strategies are based on supply and demand. If there is a demand for a product or service, the price will rise. If the market demands fall, the prices will fall. A collector’s market mirrors the supply and demand market perfectly.

  • Ferraro’s chocolate eggs with a plastic figure or moving-parts toy to put together. Cost? Less than a cent. Value? Whatever a collector will pay to complete his collection. (I’ve heard of several hundred Euros being offered…)
  • Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Cost for paint and canvas. Probably only a few Euros. Value? Millions.

If your product or service has a reputation of excellence, a global recession will have no effect on the price – it will continue to pay top prices. What it won’t pay for is shoddy, sub-standard or inferior quality products and services – irrespective of a bull or bear market.

Can the market tell a qualified and trained professional apart from an unqualified and untrained teacher?

Low paying teaching services are not always (but often enough) sub-standard work. There are people looking to supplement their income, but where is the advantage to offer low paying teaching services? Let’s talk about my niche: the English Language Teacher and Trainer.

The general assumption is: the market won’t hire a well-qualified, experienced English teacher and trainer [put your niche here] because there are enough cheaper but untrained [put your niche here] English native speakers on the market.

Asking for an acceptable price for your freelance teaching services

Asking for an acceptable price for your freelance teaching services

This is wrong. A qualified and trained English language professional [put your niche here] can always find well-paid work. In fact, it’s a big advantage to have so many unqualified and untrained “English teachers” [put your niche here] on the market. Your higher rate automatically puts you into a higher class and category of teaching.

Why you CAN demand and receive an acceptable hourly rate

As a professional freelancer in your trade you’ve good arguments to support your more qualified teaching and hourly rates:

  • Your qualifications and training (your proof: certificates)
  • Your experience (your proof: the number of years you’ve been a practising teacher and trainer)
  • Your quality of work (your proof: written recommendations and telephone numbers of satisfied customers)

…and perhaps the most important of all

  • Your conviction about your worth as an English teacher and trainer
What are your next steps?

Armed with your qualifications, experience and proof, your next step is to make yourself visible and available to prospective clients. If you want to avoid the pull of the abyss to destruction, or suction of despair, you will have to look more closely at your visibility.

  • Visibility means analysing and understanding how you market yourself so your customers can find you.
  • Visibility also means analysing and understanding how to sell and how to attract your customers to your professional services by setting into motion your personal branding mark. Your customers will only pay your asking prices if you can satisfy their demands for quality, proof of quality and personal service.

The alternative is to remain invisible and continue the good fight against the pull of the precipice and the undertow of despair.

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