Opening a Language Centre In Vietnam

Hello all,

I searched the forum and found some information about starting a business, but nothing specifically about foreigners opening a language centre.

Does anyone have any experience or information about this or can direct me to the right topic?

We are two qualified teachers who wish to open our own school. We are tired of working for those who don't know how to run a business and don't care about the education and well-being of the students.

Thanks

First thing you will need is VN partner, without one you wont be going too far.

Where are you looking to open the center Jahan?

Rom.Em :

Where are you looking to open the center Jahan?

Most probably in or near Saigon. Just guessing, seeing as it's posted on the Saigon forum.

Yes. In Saigon. I'm not sure in which district yet as I'm collecting some information at this stage.

Thanks

if u need a vnese partner....... better to invest in bitcon

I had a friend who tried this and the authorities were all over him. And the odd thing too is they will shut down a school that tried to teach Vietnamese to foreigner. But the friend did the English route. They have regular neighborhood snitch get meeting here just like in the old days. They know everything about you. I would be surprised if you could succeed. And no matter what business your in they all operate with envelopes

Vagabondone :

I had a friend who tried this and the authorities were all over him. And the odd thing too is they will shut down a school that tried to teach Vietnamese to foreigner. But the friend did the English route. They have regular neighborhood snitch get meeting here just like in the old days. They know everything about you. I would be surprised if you could succeed. And no matter what business your in they all operate with envelopes

Thanks for you comment. Do you mind giving me a bit more information? I didn't quite understand what the issue was.

Did you friend open a Vietnamese school or an English centre?

Was he trying to open a school or just teach in his living room? I didn't quite understand the "They know everything about you" part :)

u r not gonna start a school unless its controlled by the govt.

***

look at Sheldon, would u wanna be that guy?

If you are looking to setup a 100% foreign owned company (i.e., no vn partner) you must seek appropriate counsel before you proceed.  Don't fall for I heard this and that, you need professional advice.  For example,

https://www.companyregistrationvietnam. … n-vietnam/

So you might get there, but this is not the West and you are going to have to pay coffee money to get what you want.  I don't even want to venture into what you might run into if you actually do well and take customers away from others, just be prepared and have friends who are in the know.

FYI - even if you can setup a 100% foreign owned entity, there may be restrictions on the industry or fields that you can actually operate.  Which means you have to use a local partner and thus, you end up in the same boat as having a fgn owner because they know you can't operate without them.

To the OP, Vn dreamer gave you good advice. Legal counsel is the best place to start. Business here is not like it is in most countries. My friend opened an English teaching school for the record. There are people operating behind the scenes that will have the authorities close you down.
What I meant when I said they know all about you was vague for a purpose as we are guest here. So I do not want to be terribly frank. But there is a file on every person who lives here. There are neighborhood block parties that provide the goods on everyone. You would have to know how the old communist system worked in all communist countries to full understand this. But to give you a bit of a taste for it...there have been groups of people from other countries that get together in a private persons home to teach Vietnamese. All "Friends", but in no time at all the authorizes know about this private wine and cheeses Vietnamese language time and shut it down. Someone in the group attended the neighborhood snitch session and spilled the goods.
I recently got a divorce and the courts could not proceed until the police provided the snitch notes held by the police on her as to how she treated the child and whatever else they could provide. No one ever suggested that she was a bad mom. The point is you can not hide much here. Everyone  tries to gain favor with the authorities by giving the goods on everyone else. In the old days this is how you got more potatoes or a pair of shoes for your child. It is akin to the trading stamps we once had in America. The more stamps you collect the bigger item you could get when you exchanged them.
Hope that explains it better for you. And make sure you understand the envelope concept of business here and try to factor it into your budget as best you can.

All true

my boss, who i worked for at ALC in QN for 3 years heard i was teachign privates so he said immigrations wanted to talk to me. it was a lie. he wanted me to bring the students to his place, pay more, give him money.


ANYHOW, the friend's house i was teaching at was super connected to cops and govt and he was VERY unpleased to have cops turn up at his house asking about ilegal english lessons.

cops threatened to shut him (ALC) down if he ever pulled a stunt like that again. still hate him.

be careful who someone is/ who u r f****** with in VN. there is no law.

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any biz u start in VN, the first question is

Do u want me to hold my ankles or touch my toes?

If you can find any information about it, you may want to do a case study of ILA. As far as I know, it was similarly started by a group of teachers.

If I am not mistaken, they were eventually bought out.

Another school in a provincial city was started by a foreign teacher but he sold his share after becoming disillusioned with the local partners.

For some reason, foreigners seem to achieve more success with opening and operating restaurants in VN.

Many have tried and many have failed. It's a very difficult business environment in VN, contrary to what the govt says.

Jahan, what you and your friend want to to do is quite honorable, but alas not achievable, at least in Vietnam. You might be more successful in pursuing what I have accomplished in doing here in VN and that is  in operating my private tutoring service and as someone has already noted - an "envelope" type activity. Best of luck, just the same.

Johnross23

'For some reason, foreigners seem to achieve more success with opening and operating restaurants in VN.'

spot on -

because restaurants can be wholly owned by foreigners, not many locals can make a Chicken Parmigiana, Yorkshire pudding or Ravioli, so you are not competing with them.

Hi - I am British, with a lot of experience teaching EFL, the last time in Colombia. I have a British Council CELTA and many years ago I ran my own language school in Lyon (France).

I live semi-permanently in Vietnam, and although I do not know about the business setup side of the challenge, I would be interested to meet you if you get things going.

Regards
Francis Hughes

Thank you all for your comments.

I have a much better understanding of the challenges now.

I think I will take the private tutoring path for now.

Do I need to have a licence or register my business,...?

Or just find a Vietnamese agent who can handle the envelope!

You can get oodles of business just by word of mouth. The less people who know your personal life here the better. I have never seen such a grapevine of news travel so fast. And it all ends up at the Peoples Committee very quickly. They know by 9 am just what you had for breakfast by the flatulence in the air. And it seems so quite and serne.

Search Youtube for Ninja Teachers. They are foreigners with a teaching school for foreign teachers in VN and I don't think they have a Vietnamese partner.

qnbui :

Search Youtube for Ninja Teachers. They are foreigners with a teaching school for foreign teachers in VN and I don't think they have a Vietnamese partner.

I think you will find that their license will have a VN name on it. With that comes the money each year to keep the licensee happy.

I think I will take the private tutoring path for now.

This could work out if you can tap into the expat market (Japanese, Koreans, Taiwanese, etc.). Locals don't usually want to study alone,  can't afford a decent rate and often lack commitment.

In general, having private tutoring as a supplement to teaching in schools is more realistic than relying on it as your sole source of income.

I have heard that some teachers offer a fixed schedule of classes at different levels for locals and then who ever wants to join a class pays by the month in advance, then either attends or doesn't. As far as I know though, this too requires permission but from the district/municipal authorities if you are doing it on a large enough scale to be noticed. Of course, these guys are usually married to a local.

I tried to help locals out by teaching English to them. But like johnross23 said they have little to no commitment. I just never had any luck with them. They would have a scheduled class on Monday. I would end my trip to say Nha Trang to make sure I was there to teach them. And they never showed up. No call no nothing. This type of behavior is normal. Nothing is very important to them. You want a wall painted  light blue and they run out of paint and finish it off with pink. They can not understand why it is not acceptable. The function of the paint is the same....it covered. There is a lot of pressure put on some to take English classes. But it is only the parents that want it. Holds true for every university student I thought also. Mom wanted them to take English.
At any rate, good luck with it.

Always get paid for the month in advance, their attendance rate is very low.

For another example of a successful language school that was started by a foreign teacher, do a search for "Mc IELTS HCMC".

Be sure to set your search results language to English. Otherwise, you'll mostly see Vietnamese.

Not that I am racist or similar but its reality! Are you both white Westerners, otherwise you can forget it!

???????? Very strange., bizarre comment

Dr G ,
Not at all, if you understand the Vietnamese mentality that only such species can teach 'proper English.'
Especially in the case of parents of young children..
You may be American but if you look Asian ,,,then ,!,

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