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Opening my own language school... Free Classes and Nursery Class

Viewed 953 times 2012-7-31 15:22 |Personal category:Opening my own language school...| Free Classes, Language School, GuangXi, Nanning, Business

From when we first opened the door, it was important to give students and parents an opportunity to see how we teach, so every weekend we have had free classes for students of different levels.


The first free classes were productive; many students of all ages came and we had a chance to talk to their parents, this made us feel confident, but there was one problem, each student’s requirements seemed to be different.


We told the parents we would start classes a soon as we had 3 students with the same requirements, we said we would contact the parents again as soon as the class is ready to start, and all seemed fine, but it was not.


The days started to tick by, Monday came and went, then Tuesday, then Wednesday and we still had not enough students to start a complete class, very annoying.


A friend suggested that we start classes even if the number of students is not enough to break even, but here is the main problem, the company’s capital level is very low so any loss on a class would have to be paid by additional investment. Additional investment would have to come from me as we want Barry out so wont ask him for more capital and Raymond has invested 20,000RMB in a short period of time so is unable to invest more at this point in time.


If I teach a class, this is different, I just wouldn’t take a salary, but if we have to hire another teacher, I would have to pay 60-80rmb an hour for a class with 1 student who is paying less then 20rmb an hour, so I would personally lose over 100rmb a class. Ok, that doesn’t sound like much, but I too am running low on cash, so for now, I can’t start classes which don’t break even.


As the days continued to pass by, we gave more and more free classes, but the attendance to those classes were less and less, some free classes had no students at all. The only class that seemed to have any short term potential was the nursery class.


When we opened our doors, we aimed to teach student between 7-17 years old, we had not considered teaching nursery or preschool English, but parents kept coming in and asking if we had a preschool English class and so we thought about it and decided to try and start a preschool class.


We bought protective flooring, child’s seats, a new TV and sound system and teaching material, with a total cost of about 4,000rmb. This was cost we didn’t really want to have, but the parents kept asking and asking, so we made the investment.


We gave a free nursery class and the parents where positive and said they would pay the fee before the next class, great!


The next class came and 1 student turned up, didn’t pay and left. Annoying!


We decided to give another free class to attract more interest for the nursery class, many students turned up, they all had a great time, the parents were enthusiastic and many agreed to come back and pay the course fees, but like the previous week, when it came to the paid class, no one turned up, no one paid. Maria said it was due to the bad weather, it had been raining for a few days, but as most of the students live in the same building, I didn’t believe this excuse.


I was frustrated and asked the receptionist to contact the parents and ask what was going on, some said they were on holiday, others said they were busy and some said they were waiting to see other student’s progress before paying any fees.


Throughout the two weeks, every day 1 or 2 parents would just bring there kids into the school to play in the classroom, they would make a mess, break things and leave, but out of politeness, we let the students enjoy themselves, a little mess and damage is nothing if they end up paying course fees.


As no student turned up for the second time, we decided to have another free class for nursery students, 3 students turned up (3 students is the break even point for the nursery class). We played, learned and talked, everything again seemed good, but so far, no one has paid any student fee!


I wouldn’t mind too much, but, it was the parents who pestered us, the parents who asked us every day to have a class, the parents who said we needed to prepare the classroom so they knew what it would be like and the parents who agreed the class time, but when it came down to them paying the fee, they just don’t!


Tonight is meant to be another paid class, if no students turn up, I am seriously considering not offering a nursery class, too much trouble!

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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My name is Daniel, I am 27 and I come from The UK. I have been in China since September 2009.


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