Do agents make 40% on every student?!

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Starling
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Do agents make 40% on every student?!

Unread post by Starling »

Hello all,

I have a nagging curiosity.

I work for a big school in London that currently gets most of its students from Agents operating out of a number of different countries around the world. I recently discovered that these agencies charge up to 40% commission for each student. Can anyone confirm that this is accurate?

Do London schools have agreements with language schools abroad whereby the latter send students who enquire about courses abroad to the London school with which they have an agreement? This seems a win for all involved and a far better solution than using agents who seem to exist solely as a middleman between student and school?
If these relationships do exist, how much are the schools making from each student?

Just a thought!

Thanks
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Firefox
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Re: Do agents make 40% on every student?!

Unread post by Firefox »

I used to work in this area but I forget the exact figures. However, I can confirm that both your scenarios exist:

- Agents find and send students to schools in UK (and elsewhere). 40% sounds like what I remember. Certainly doesn't surprise me.

- Language schools do the same, for similar commissions.

As to how much the schools (by which I presume you mean the London schools, in your case) make, you can do the maths. They advertise their rates somewhere, maybe on their website, Facebook, whatever. Deduct 40% or whatever.

But don't forget they are businesses in it to make a profit. They have to pay overheads, whether they have students or not. They have to pay teachers. It's a business. Go figure. :roll:
Starling
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Re: Do agents make 40% on every student?!

Unread post by Starling »

Thanks for the reply Firefox

40% seems very high to me even considering overheads but I suppose the agencies are completely in control. I imagine if a London school were to challenge them, the logical conclusion would be that they would direct all their enquiries to rival schools.

I think there might have been some confusion (I think because of my original wording) re student referrals between schools although you went on to answer my question anyway. Just to confirm, the commission charged by schools in other countries for recommending a particular school in London is more or less the same rate as the agencies charge (40%). Is that right?
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Joe
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Re: Do agents make 40% on every student?!

Unread post by Joe »

Starling wrote: 27 May 2019, 10:35I think there might have been some confusion (I think because of my original wording) re student referrals between schools although you went on to answer my question anyway. Just to confirm, the commission charged by schools in other countries for recommending a particular school in London is more or less the same rate as the agencies charge (40%). Is that right?
Probably, yes, though the details vary between the parties and whatever they agree.

I'm not sure it's right to separate "agents" and "schools who send students to London schools". Those schools are effectively acting as agents and therefore take a similar cut. They could be seen as agents themselves.

(Of course, it's not only London. The business happens all over the world and in the teaching of various languages.)
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Starling
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Re: Do agents make 40% on every student?!

Unread post by Starling »

Thanks Joe.

I was using London schools as an example but yes clearly these relationships aren't restricted to London alone.

I think you answered a key question I was searching for but didn't manage to put into words. My questions partly stem from my not knowing what an 'Agent' might actually look like. Are they usually an established language school taking a cut when referring students or are they more often stand alone businesses? It seems that agencies might be able to demand a larger commission as their sole purpose is to find students if this is the case.
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Firefox
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Re: Do agents make 40% on every student?!

Unread post by Firefox »

I agree Starling. Agents seem to be a mysterious bunch operating in stealth mode. I don't think I've ever knowingly met an agent, though I've worked for a school in France that sent students to UK and was thus effectively an agent myself—in my own very modest way. But really I think "agents" can be almost anyone, from schools, private teachers even, travel agents, retired school owners, whoever...

I found a few links that might interest you:

Agent's Page (IH Bangkok)
https://www.ihbangkok.com/studying-in-b ... ents-page/

How to become a foreign agent
https://www.theguardian.com/education/2002/jun/27/tefl1

Tips for finding ESL educational agents
https://drsaraheaton.wordpress.com/2010 ... al-agents/

How to find a good ESL agent: Tips from the trenches
https://drsaraheaton.wordpress.com/2010 ... -trenches/
Starling
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Re: Do agents make 40% on every student?!

Unread post by Starling »

This is great, thanks Firefox. I'll investigate and if I find anything of particular interest I'll post it!
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Vagabond
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Re: Do agents make 40% on every student?!

Unread post by Vagabond »

Image

I am glad you brought this topic out into the sunshine. This is exactly WHY almost 70% of TEFL teachers and 30% of newbies are going the DIY route. What most of us never realized is that MOST EVERY COUNTRY has labor laws that forbid HR Companies and job agents and recruiters alike to charge more than one month's salary as a total fee - which equates to 8% of your total salary - NOT 40%.

HOWEVER, most new teachers sign the first contract they are given, often in a foreign language, and if you are dumb enough to sign it without reading it in English, you are waiving your employee rights and authorizing all sorts of fees to be deducted from your pay, in the case of Rebecca/Rosie Tang and here Foreign HR (and 14 other alias companies) she will take 50% or in one famous case, even 60%! As a rule you should never sign the first contract handed to you and you should always be looking for key clauses and modify your contract to make sure it is fair and equitable for everyone. Never believe the bullshit they will tell you that "this is the standard contract that everyone signs". There is no standard contract and if you are a native speaker and quality teacher, they will bend to accommodate you. If you are a fake teacher who never taught before do not expect any negotiations. Here is what a good contract should include: https://chinaforeignteachersunion.wordp ... contracts/

Those who want to keep 100% of their pay can do so easily if you are not lazy or brain dead. Just read up here and follow the instructions and pick your own white-listed schools, and all for free! https://www.reddit.com/r/CFTU/comments/ ... t_hire_ap/
Before taking any teaching job in China make a quick visit over to https://reddit.com/r/ChinaScamCentral and https://reddit.com/r/TEFLreviews so your dream job does not become a nightmare.
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John V55
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Re: Do agents make 40% on every student?!

Unread post by John V55 »

It shouldn’t really matter what anybody else is making as long as you get what you’re happy with. The recruiters will have people who are Chinese and know their way around the system. Unless you have those abilities you’ll come unstuck at the first hurdle and the school isn’t going to do the running around for you for nothing. It’s why they pay recruiters to do both the legwork and paperwork for them, from the bureaucracy to the back-handers and short cuts.

A good recruiter will have someone you can turn to if you have a problem and they’ll stick with you and check up regularly to see you’re OK. It all costs money.
Before following CFTU click baits take a quick look at https://www.opnlttr.com/letter/china-fo ... scammed-me
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