Published on June 7th, 2016 | by tefl


Starting up your own TEFL business

English is still the world’s most valuable language, spoken all over the globe and a common language for those not born in the United Kingdom. Many foreign students see being able to write and speak English as a valuable tool in their arsenal when seeking out careers, so starting up a TEFL business could be both a rewarding and profitable enterprise.


Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) is often viewed as a great entry point for embarking on a career in teaching. This career can be as an employee of an educational institution or it can be as a go-it-alone teaching entrepreneur. Obviously, the latter offers freedom and the chance for personal and business development.

The first step to starting a TEFL business school is to decide upon the type. Schools used to be housed within purpose-built properties, but thanks to modern technology, schools can be virtual spaces where teachers interact with their students via internet calls, such as Skype. A TEFL teacher can choose to become a private tutor, teaching just a handful of students, or can function as a teacher to a class of students. Being a private tutor is perhaps the simplest form of TEFL business, as a person only has themselves to worry about in business terms. For example, their finances can be outsourced to a company such as, that will handle invoicing and tax returns, or they can perform these functions themselves as sole trader.

Once the above has been decided upon, the next step is to research the market. Is there a gap in the local TEFL market, does one have to be created, or does a person need to relocate to find a gap? Once this has been established, the next step is to look into the legal situation surrounding opening a TEFL school. If considering opening a bricks-and-mortar school, such legal issues will include the use of the building by the public, which incurs health and safety obligations, as well as insurance. If the intention is to hire staff, country rules about minimum pay, maternity leave and contract termination must be looked into. Help will be needed to draw up work contracts that abide by local laws, and may have to include the provision of pension schemes and health benefits. Legal concerns such as these vary by country, so never assume that one set of laws and regulations will do for all scenarios, and all issues should be addressed prior to the setting up of a TEFL business.

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