Teach Online with Guaranteed Bookings
TL; DR Work for First Future, Cambly, or Hujiang if you want guaranteed bookings.
Only a few online ESL companies guarantee bookings. Even worse, the ones that used to offer set schedules (SayABC, Whales English, etc.) closed after new Chinese regulations. Luckily, there are still a few decent platforms left.
Here are the ESL companies I think you should work for if you want guaranteed, good bookings in 2023.
ESL Companies with Full Bookings
First, I suggest Cambly. I know, I know…I always recommend Cambly1 That’s because it’s really easy to get hired for Cambly and, overall, it’s just the most flexible yet consistent platform.
Even though Cambly doesn’t give you a set schedule, I never had a problem filling up my bookings week after week. As long as your rating is high enough, you’ll never have empty slots in your schedule. Students can always reserve Priority Hours and be mostly guaranteed student talk time (as long as your rating is high enough).
The major drawback of Cambly is its relatively low pay.
Next, apply to First Future. They advertise that they guarantee students and pay, for example.
Lastly, I suggest applying to Hujiang. They also have consistent classes and bookings. In fact, their class booking rate is usually 75%-90%.
Work for Multiple Companies
Another way to ensure good consistent bookings is to work for multiple companies. If you work for two or even three companies, you can plug in gaps in bookings. Juggling two companies with staggered, different peak hours is a great way to maximize your bookings.
Tips to Get Good Consistent Bookings
The top tips to guarantee to teach online for a company that has good bookings actually have more to do with your actions than the company you choose:
- Keep consistent hours
- Open your schedule far in advance
- Work the holidays
- Teach peak hours in your students’ country
- Be persistent
Keep Consistent Hours to Increase Bookings
Students and parents like consistency. No one wants to change the day they have an online English class day today. They want it to be the same day each week, into eternity if possible. Parents and students like to open a teacher’s schedule and see that you are available for months on the same day and time. So, open your schedule far in advance and keep consistent hours.
Open your Schedule Far in Advance to Increase Bookings
This relates to the former point. Parents have enough stress in their lives. Adult students who want to improve their English likewise have their own career and family obligations. If they invest time in meeting a new teacher and feel comfortable with this teacher, they want to know if they can book this teacher at the same time and date for the foreseeable future. So, open your schedule as far as possible in advance. If students see you are available at the same time and date for the next year, they will choose you over a teacher who has their schedule open for only a week in advance.
Work the Holidays to Increase Bookings
A great way to poach other teachers’ students is to work during the holidays. Often, companies are desperate for teachers to work on Christmas day or Easter. Show up and wow a student who usually has a different teacher, and you might have just got yourself a new regular student!
Teach Peak Hours in your students’ country to Increase Bookings
Be sure to know the peak hours (most popular hours) of your student base. If you teach for companies that cater to Chinese students, your peak hours with likely be Being Peak Hours, which is Beijing Time evening times. If you work with students in Brazil, your peak hours will be quite different. Juggling two companies with staggered, different peak hours is a great way to maximize your bookings.
Be Persistent to Increase Bookings
Don’t give up. Just keep slogging at it. The best way to get good consistent bookings while teaching online is just not to stop. Palfish, for example, needs a lot of marketing if you want to have a full schedule quickly. I never did that. I just kept the same hours and just continued showing up. Eventually, I built up a full schedule too. Unfortunately, they basically closed down a few years ago.
Some online English teaching companies do a better job guaranteeing students and pay, but all companies have ebbs and flow in their student base. Unfortunately, many companies hire constantly even though some teachers are not getting many students or classes. This is a perennial complaint of many online English teachers.
Bottom Line: First Future, Cambly, or Hujiang will give you good bookings. Out of the many ESL companies, only a few online ESL companies will keep your schedule totally full. So, work for two or three companies to ensure a student base and consistent classes.
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