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I just got off the phone with someone who called asking what training costs. I find the price level here in Potsdam hard to gage. On the one hand, the prices I see are in fact very similar to Munich, and our rent here is actually higher than what we paid there (we were pretty lucky in Munich, frankly). In Munich I charged between 40 and 45 Euros for 45 to 60 minutes, providing clients who paid out of their own pocket with add-on free services like an online platform with media and their work to be checked, or ad-hoc email corrections to sweeten the p/bill. With long-standing, well-placed clients, it’s been years since I’ve been short of work. I have generally charged the same for one-to-one as for company courses, as one-to-one is just as challenging if you do it properly. I earn more for specialized skills training in remote locations, to make up for the travelling and the long scripts.

I’ve invested heavily in my training skills to make up for getting older (being young and pretty is undoubtedly the most attractive thing in a language trainer) without raising my rates for training or other services for 5 years. With my most important new client here I am in fact, for the first time, asking 50 Euros an hour. I prepare extensively for these sessions, and don’t teach unprepared conversation-style lessons at all anymore. A well-prepared lesson isn’t content heavy, by the way. On the contrary. Frankly, I’m happy to leave unprepared lessons to young people, just off the boat, who need a few Euros a month just to be able to stay for a while and who see “teaching English” as “open the book or let’s just talk”. They’ll learn fast, and they’ll be getting training (CELTA etc) if they decide to make it a profession, but how long will they work at the low rate of 15 Euros an hour once they have good skills? No, wait, that’s what the organization makes, and they take home even less. Clients, are you ok with your teacher getting that little pay?

Now, I’m business woman enough to respect price. But my caller’s somewhat shocked response is making me think that low budget, “off-the-boat-English” may be widespread here, and I must say: It’s not my scene, I’m not going there. I won’t charge people for simply speaking English to me, not in this globalized world. My clients get something else.