Step by step
Setting up a teaching practice it's important to know exactly what you want to do and with whom, before you go into practical arrangements. Below the steps to go through. These steps could could also be used when writing a bussinesplan.
Setting up a teaching practice
You can aim to teach subsequent target groups; beginners or advanced, adults or children or a combination of both. You can set up courses and lessons in various styles and areas of expertise which are part of your field. You can teach one-on-one or in groups, weekly or fortnightly. Jam sessions, organize dance performances or exhibitions, or act as a band coach.
- a. Choose target groups
Decide which specific groups you will target: children, adolescents, adults, seniors, advanced or novices, etc.
- b. Consider what kind of lessons
What kind of lessons do you offer and in which genre; private lessons or in groups and determine the duration of the lesson.
- c. Determine the time and place of your lessons
When will you teach: which part of the day, weekdays or weekends. Do you only teach in your own space or elsewhere as well? For example at your student’s homes.
- d. Think about time and money
Consider how much time you want to invest in your school and what you would like to earn. This influences the fees and your offer of classes: teaching groups means more preparation time.
- a: Decide which type of enterprise you want to set up
Think about how you would like to shape your business. Are you going to be a sole operator or are you teaming up with others and do you start a business or an institution. Either way you have to register yourself at the Chamber of commerce (Kamer van Koophandel).
- b: Set up an excellent administration.
In any case you need to set up sound administration and accounting. Make sure you know who to charge VAT and who are exempt.
Research what kind of space suits your lessons. If it is not at home you’ll have to rent or buy elsewhere. It is important that the teaching space can be reached easily and safely, also in the evenings and in winter. Consider the criteria the space needs to conform to in the areas of sound insulation, size, or lighting. Carefully assess the noise pollution to surrounding neighbors. Also organize a separate change- or waiting room.
Research for potential students; Judge how large the region is where your students would come from. See if there are any schools or neighborhood centers in the vicinity; also check if there are already other teachers or music schools offering similar courses. Who knows whether there is a target group which has very little offered to them? Or do you have a program which compliments what is currently on offer?
Your starting point is that you make money from teaching. When you calculate your fees remember that you also spend time preparing, studying, perhaps doing sample lessons and interacting with parents. Teaching means spending. To begin with, make a clear budget of all your expected costs. Take into account the costs of materials, classroom rent, gas and electricity, insurances: Medical, Public Liability for business or professionals, perhaps Loss of Income insurance. Think of depreciation of: instruments, equipment and furniture like tables and painting easels.
Model to calculate hourly rate
With a course of 20 hours a week, you want to clear € 300 net
Net hourly wage: € 300: 20 = € 15. Assume that this is € 20 gross.
Add the following costs:
- Rent, depreciation, gas, electricity, per month: € 500 = € 120 a week (€ 6 Per hour);
- Insurances monthly: € 500 = € 120 a week (€ 6 Per hour);
- Preparation time, accounting per week; 5 hours at € 20 = € 100 (€ 5 per hour).
The gross hourly rate (excluding VAT) comes to € 20 + € 6 +€ 6 + € 5 = € 37
For a one hour lesson to two pupils, or a half hour lesson to one student, the fees per student are around €18.50; in a group lesson to four students € 9.25. You can also offer yearly contracts, ten sessions’ vouchers or other special deals.
Make a rules and regulations form in which all your terms and agreements are plainly stated. Be clear about the lesson fees and what it includes. Specify how you organize holidays and what happens in case of illness or impediment. Also mention the terms of giving notice. Be prepared how you handle complaints and injuries and how to avoid or reduce liability.
Music teachers can ask for standard rates and teaching agreements from KNTVand the NTB.
When all preparations are done, start a targeted advertising campaign. Where to find your potential students depends on your target group. Definitely use your own network: friends, relatives and acquaintances. An announcement in a local paper, neighborhood newspaper or student periodical is usually affordable and can generate students. An advertisement in a daily newspaper is often expensive and doesn’t produce many students. Hanging an advertisement at the local supermarket, in (music) shops, homes for the elderly, libraries, community centers or at schools is effective as well. Schools and organizations for after school care are also interested in your offer.
Distribute flyers and also consider the Internet: always refer to your organized and up to date website. The best (and cheapest) advertisement is always word of mouth advertising. That network grows automatically when you do your job well.
You may want to offer special (free) introductory lessons; this way your students have the opportunity to get a taste of the atmosphere before they commit themselves. Business to business acquisition: don’t be afraid to walk into a place or make a phone call. This is the first step. Personal contact is important and effective and you make an assertive and motivated impression. Tell people around you what you do and that you are looking for students.