This is not a VIPKID review.
I’ve been a VIPKID teacher for over a year, taught over 1100 ESL classes to eager kids in China with them at the time of this post, and I have no plans of leaving.
If you work for them too, you’ll agree VIPKID is a legitimate way of earning money online. (And if you don’t but would like to, apply here, and I’d be happy to help you through your VIPKID application process!)
But making more money with them is hard when your base pay is locked in!
Or is it?
In this post, I’ll show you the easy 3-step method you can use to increase your VIPKID pay by as much as 20% right now.
Let’s dive right in.
What Are Typical VIPKID Salaries Like?
Teaching English with VIPKID can be done for extra income or as a full-time job, so salaries vary.
Three disqualifying factors ensure a salary of $0:
- You’re not American (or Canadien with a “neutral accent”),
- You don’t have a Bachelor’s Degree, and
- You don’t have a quick and stable internet connection. Traveling teachers, grab a Teppy.
Aside from these, a few factors can affect your pay rate and earnings:
1. Teaching Experience and Demo Class Performance
Your base pay is partially determined by your teaching experience and your demo class performance. You may be asked to suggest a base rate from between $7-10/25-minute class.
Quick tips: Reframe any time you’ve ever taught someone something as teaching experience and use the suggested reward system in the demo lesson. Grab my FREE 5-Star Teacher Checklist PDF for more tips on how I keep my job as an ESL teacher.
2. Show Up.
Participation incentives are earned when you show up on time and complete the lesson (each $1) for an average hourly pay rate of about $18-24.
Teacher no shows=no payment and lower booking rates. Student no-shows=full pay for a normal class and half for a trial class. If you can’t show up for class, the plan I’m about to share won’t work.
3. The Time Difference is Real
If you’re based in the United States, there’s a good chance the time difference will limit your classes and, as a result, your earnings.
It’s tough to teach English online to Chinese kids in Beijing beyond your normal waking hours when you’re a stay at home mom in good ol’ Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
Now, on to the steps.
3 Steps to Increase Your VIPKID Pay
1. Open More Slots
No, this isn’t some sarcastic way to earn more money (though you will by teaching more, of course.)
Open up as many as you can! Teach strange hours, do what you need to. This will increase availability (supply) and demand for you as a teacher will grow provided you deliver them well.
But don’t do this if it’s your first week of classes.
Give yourself a few classes to get the hang of it, smooth out the process, and add your flair to it.
On the other hand:
Don’t give yourself too long to get the hang of it!
There’s a story about the pottery class the professor split in half:
He told one half they’d be graded only on the quality of the pots they produced, while the other half only had to produce one pot of perfect quality to get an ‘A’. When it came time to grade them, all the best pots were produced by the ‘quantity’ group who had learned from countless mistakes and perfected their craft. The ‘quality’ group had sat about reading and theorizing how to make the perfect pot but had nothing to show for it.
The idea is by opening up more slots, you’ll be exposed to more students to perfect your craft. Teach as much as you can, iron out the kinks, and pick up some consistent regular students.
Our FREE 5-Star Teacher Checklist PDF will help you give the best class each time-
Sign Up and grab it!
You’ll also increase your followers (next to the little flower thing in the app.)
No one really knows what this does. Parents follow teachers they are interested in having their kids taking class with, but often clear them or never sign up.
In my experience, my ability to get fully booked has increased along with my follower count.
2. Get a Regular Schedule Going
Start to cut back your lessons. You’ll be able to identify your ‘super fans’.
These are the students who sign off with a giant grin as they yell Mama! followed by an exclamation containing the word lăoshī (that’s you!).
At this point, I can tell when I’ve crushed a first class with a new student and when I’ve come up short. You’ll be able to do the same.
These super fans will boost your reviews-I receive random bursts of 5-star ratings from my regulars.
Make no mistake:
This doesn’t mean you should slack off, and it’s not some ‘hack’.
Much like with ranking in Google, you can’t rely on the newest trick to maintain your position. Your page will rank high if it contains quality content, much like your VIPKID rating will stay high if you deliver quality classes.
But it will help you build the backbone of your schedule going forward.
Restrict your classes to your core group of regulars if you have priority booking, or try to allow for them to continue booking by opening their usual time slots at the same time you always do.
3. Fill in Spaces with 24-Hour Bookings
You’ve built up the following, increased demand for your classes, and cut back to restrict supply while demand is high.
You’ve positioned yourself as a rare commodity!
You control your schedule, so you can restrict supply much like the De Beers diamond producers who make us think diamonds are rare by holding on to the stockpile.
Now, start to open classes around your regular slots, fitting them into your desired schedule hours within 24 hours to receive the $2 bonus. Let’s say you make the average rate of $10/slot ($8+$1 teaching+$1 finished class). That’s about $20/hour (50 minutes class plus feedback).
But with the bonus, you’re getting $12 per slot, or $24/hour! This is a 20% increase!
Remember you’ll get an additional $5 for trial classes when the student signs up, meaning you’ll earn $17/slot and increase your earnings by 70%!
Why does this work?
One of the most common remarks I get after a great class with a student is along the lines of:
The student likes the teacher very much but he’s never available consistently during the same time slot.
Yet my list of following families continues to grow.
I attribute this to something like Intermittent Reinforcement (random reinforcement used to describe why we gamble) and the psychological experience of a ‘near miss’:
The parent was able to book the class once and received the reward of a good class. They can see I open ‘random’ 24-hour slots, so they continue to follow my schedule (i.e. ‘gamble’) in the hopes they’ll get to book my class (i.e.’win’) again.
Plus, when you’ve built up a bunch of solid reviews, the parents can see them. You’ll get new students filling those last-minute slots, which means exposure to more students to show off your awesomeness. Blow them away, and they’ll jump on the list and push the demand higher.
Conclusion: Make More Money Online With VIPKID
You might be worried you won’t be able to fill up all the slots if you leave them until the last minute, but I’ve never had a problem due to the demand you’ve increased.
I even know some VIPKID teachers who only open last-minute slots. You can probably get away with this after building up a strong following, but I’d still recommend keeping some regulars to balance your risk.
I’d also recommend making sure you file your VIPKID 1099 taxes correctly!
Last month, I made $70 extra income using this method while teaching part-time.
Doesn’t seem like much, but check out what this money covers:
- 12 tasty beers
- 1 or 2 dinners out
- 2 months of my location independent community membership
- 2 months of a plugin which helps this site function
- 2 months of a medicine which helps me function
- gas for my car
The list goes on. What could extra cash do for you and your family?
I’m sure you can think of a bunch of things you’d do with the money. Try this strategy out and let us know how it goes in the comments!
I’m an independent contractor with VIPKID, and my views do not necessarily reflect the views of the company.
Thanks for this excellent review! I’m a new VIPKID teacher (66 days) and sfter my first 1 or 2 5-apple ratings, my bookings have skyrocketed! I now have 16 regular students and new ones coming on daily. Your strategy on last minute bookings and supply and demand is something I’ve been considering. Now I know this strategy can work. Thanks again so much!
Awesome to hear, Staci! Feel free to reach out if you have any questions about teaching for VIPKID or online in general, and keep up the awesome work :).
i keep toying with the idea, but i can only work weekends so the risk of not filling slots is higher for me.
i decided to open just 4 slots SN only this weekend and they did not fill. I’m sticking with regular booking where I get 100% booked
Thanks for sharing!
We’ll all definitely have our own situations to consider when opening slots :).
For whatever reason, I’ve never had an issue with bookings on weekdays or weekends. A large percentage of the comments I receive are from parents saying that it’s very difficult to book my classes, and they wish I had more open slots. Sometimes, I’ve replied to them suggesting they look out for last-minute slots I’ll be opening on weekends.
One thing that does seem more common with weekend classes are cancellations, and then those slots don’t always get filled.
But if something is working for you, don’t change it! 🙂
My situation is that I have such a strong following of regulars that they always try to priority book me. By the time Sunday rolls sound to open up slots, I only have about 15 out of the 45 that I usually open. What do you suggest that I do?
I’d be in the same situation if I accepted priority bookings. I love my regulars, but I’ve informed all of them that my schedule with my other work is too uncertain (which it usually is), and I’ll accept their priority requests when I’m able to. 99% of the time, I’m unable to. I continue to receive the requests, as well as comments in the feedback about how they’d love to book future classes if only it weren’t so difficult. Demand is high, supply (availability) is low, so my last-minute bookings always fill.
Is it at the expense of building deeper relationships with some of my regular students? Probably. But it’s what I’ve got going on at the moment.
You could always balance it to cater to both:
Accept all priority bookings so you’ll know the minimum you’ll earn, and keep them happy. Then open last-minute for whatever’s left to earn a bit extra.
Hope that helps :)!
Hello! Thanks for your blog. I need some useuful tips to increase bookings and followers. I just started last April 2019. Thank you!
I’m not sure what time zone you’re in, but try to open as many slots as you can (especially in the PPT slots of course). Feel free to open them up for 24-hour bookings as well. A friend just started, struggled to fill slots for maybe the first week or two, and then it started picking up quickly. She delivered energetic and fun lessons, the parents requested future bookings, and she was on her way. Just remember to check so you don’t get caught with a no-show if you open the 24-hour slots.
My followers have just steadily increased with the # of classes I’ve given and my positive feedback-to-classes ratio. The comments from parents also help other parents make their choice, so give it your all :).
If it still doesn’t pick up, you can submit a ticket to support with that as the chosen category for the issue :).
Hope that helps a bit and happy teaching!
Dude, I love this! I’m rocking the nomad teaching, and it seems like you and I think alike. Let’s chat. Have you heard of Outschool? I just did. Seems like a step up for those of us who are rocking Vip. Cheers
Definitely seems like we have some things in common with online teaching :)!
I hadn’t heard of Outschool, but after looking it up, I can see what you mean. Always open to talk man, shoot me an email whenever!
I am new. I received 4 bookings and prepped and practiced so very, very hard for my first teach.
I was happy that the children smiled, answered all correct and “high fived” me the entire time.
Then of all the 4 classes only 1 gave feedback. She did not like my background and gave me a 4.0. Now all my bookings stopped. How do I fix this?
Any idea would be greatly appreciated.
that’s great to hear you started getting bookings already, and nice job preparing yourself beforehand :).
As for the ratio of Feedbacks received to classes taught, that’s pretty normal. But the fact that they withheld a point for your background is a bit strange.
Out of curiosity:
What do you use for a background? Was this a trial student, a student new to the program, or a veteran student?
If you feel your background meets the standards described by your company, submit a ticket to their support team explaining the situation and asking if you can have it changed or removed.
If it’s VIPKid, you’ll be able to select the specific topic you’re writing in for.
Other than that, keep practicing and stay positive (and open as many slots as you can to build up more positive reviews)! You can also make sure your intro video is fun and appealing to parents and potential students. It can feel very slow at first, but it’ll pick up the more high-energy classes you give :).
Best of luck!
Hey!! This is great information! Just thought I would point out that it is “Canadian”, not “Canadien” 🙂 Thanks for the post. Love the 24 HR short notice option, it has been a life saver!
Awesome Anna, glad you enjoyed it!
My name is Agnes from Kenya….new in vipkid though hoping for the best
Great post indeed