If you’ve ever looked into teaching English online then you’ve probably heard of Preply or come across Preply reviews.
Preply is an online learning marketplace founded in 2012 by three Ukranian entrepreneurs.
You can teach subjects other than languages on preply, but languages, and especially English have by far the most tutors on the site.
You may have seen mixed Preply reviews. Some tutors appreciate the flexibility the site offers, but many are unhappy with the unpaid trial lessons, high commission and resulting low earnings.
In this Preply review, I’ll dig into those issues, while also offering an alternative perspective from a tutor who has managed to make the platform work for her.
If you want to become a qualified online language teacher and earn a living from home, I recommend checking out CeOLT (Certificate of Online Language Teaching).
Preply Review: A Summary
Preply reviews from teachers are mixed, with some tutors enjoying working there and others criticising the company and its practices.
Certainly, the unpaid trials and high commission rate can mean working a lot for little pay.
Other teaching platforms, such as LanguaTalk, offer lower commission and limit the number of tutors on the site.
However, if you don't have teaching credentials or a lot of experience, Preply can be a good place to get your feet wet, as you can start teaching without qualifications or experience.
Also, if you ignore preply’s advice to price your lessons at $12 initially, you can earn more, but this will only work if you specialise in a particular aspect of English teaching. More on that later.
- Even if you have no experience, credentials or no degree you can start teaching on Preply. Non-native speakers of English can also apply.
- Preply provides materials so that you don’t have to create lesson plans from scratch
- Preply's videoconferencing software, Preply Classroom, means that students can log into lessons in the app and you don’t have to use an alternative like Zoom or Skype (although you can). Be aware that the lessons are occasionally recorded!
- Preply has a big marketing budget meaning it’s everywhere on the web, but on the actual site, potential students may have trouble finding your profile
- Set your own hours and cancel lessons with up to four hours’ notice
- Tutors don’t get paid for trial lessons which last 60 minutes
- Preply takes an initial lesson commission of 33% which is reduced to 18% after 400 hours of completed lessons on the platform (including trial lessons)
- Students have complained about the new subscription pricing model
- If you miss trial lessons, Preply will hide your profile
- The quality of the materials Preply provides may be lacking
- Whilst Preply claims it will offer you “a steady stream of students” it will take time to build up your profile and full-time hours are not guaranteed
- The platform has a lot of English tutors (over 12,000 at the time of writing) so it can be hard to stand out
According to Preply, online English tutors typically charge $15 – $25 per hour, before commission. But you can command significantly higher rates if you offer more specialised lessons.
Later on in this post, you’ll hear from a tutor who ignored Preply’s advice to charge $12 initially and started off at $40. As you can imagine, she doesn’t teach general English or conversation lessons.
Preply Review: The Verdict
You can make Preply work for you if you have teaching credentials and a teaching niche that allows you to charge more for your lessons. If you have little experience and can only offer general English, your earning potential will likely be capped at $25.
If you want to teach on a platform with lower commission rates, then you can apply to become an English tutor at LanguaTalk, but it has a much more stringent selection process.
Similarly, you could become a professional tutor on iTalki, but again, you’d need to have credentials and experience.
If you’re looking for a way to get certified and obtain teaching experience while also learning how to build your online tutoring business, I recommend CeOLT.
What Is Preply And Is Preply Legit ?
Preply is a learning platform based in the US, but it was originally co-founded by three Ukrainian entrepreneurs: Kirill Bigai, Dmytro Voloshyn, and Serge Lukyanov. The company now operates in 30 countries with over 400 staff.
The platform connects tutors with students looking to learn languages as well as other skills such as maths, university preparation or art. In fact, Preply offers online tutoring in 100 subjects.
If you’ve seen Preply all over the internet, it may be because the company has benefited from $100 million in funding from investors.
Preply claims to offer the “world's largest selection of language tutors”. And with over 32,000 tutors that sounds about right.
Preply offers 1-to-1 tutoring, group classes (for English only at the time of writing) and also offers corporate language training.
So it’s certainly a “legit” platform, even if some of its practices have been called into question.
Preply Review: What’s Included In Preply For Teachers
Preply offers many tools inside the platform to support tutors such as Preply Classroom, lesson materials and professional development.
Although you can teach on that platform without experience or qualifications, Preply offers some professional development tools.
In the Preply Tutors Academy (hosted on Thinkific) you’ll find the following courses for tutors:
- How to create a profile that gets students
- 8 steps to an awesome first lesson
- Preply Classroom for your lessons
- Preply Methodology for English subject tutors
Preply Classroom is a video conferencing platform built directly into Preply’s website and app. You can share your screen, chat with your student using the chat function as well as share documents.
There’s a vocab flashcard tool that you can use in the lesson and your students can continue to use it outside lessons.
You’ll also find a library of courses to cover needs such as exam preparation, business English, grammar, speaking practice and more. Courses include activities to use within the lesson as well as self-study activities.
Be aware that when you agree to the Preply terms of service, you’re also agreeing to your lessons in the Preply Classroom being recorded occasionally!
How Much Can You Earn On Preply?
As I mentioned above, according to Preply, English teachers typically charge $15 to $25 before commission. The company suggests that you start at $12 to attract students and build your profile.
But not everyone follows their advice. Here’s what my colleague Rachel Williams, a medical English teacher, did instead. Bear in mind that Rachel has extensive teaching experience and used to be a nurse.
She also prepares medical professionals for the Occupational English Test, a qualification that allows healthcare professionals to prove their English language abilities so they can work in English-speaking countries.
I totally ignored Preply’s suggestion of setting a rate of $12 and initially started at $40 and then increased it to $55. I have also had students at $80. This means I probably don't get as many students as other people. But I don't want to teach 30 + students a week at £10 an hour.
Because I teach a speciality, I benefit from 100% conversion from trial to paid lessons. But I know that is not the case for lots of teachers. I definitely wouldn't teach general English on Preply. I also teach 30 minute lessons and suggest this to all my students.
My profile picture and heading clearly says Medical English and OET. I get some really interesting students – I have a psychiatrist at the moment preparing for her Royal College of Psychiatrists exams.
When I started, Preply didn't have a search function – which I complained about because no one could find me. Now they do and I come up on the first page.Rachel Williams, Medical English Teacher, fluentmedicalenglish.com
On a platform where you can become a teacher with no experience or certificate, Rachel clearly stands out because she has both qualifications and expertise. Her students are prepared to pay more as a result.
Preply’s Commission Structure
Bear in mind that no matter how much you charge you’ll need to factor in Preply's commission structure.
Here’s what that looks like:
|Number of completed hours (includes trials)||Commission|
|0 – 20||33%|
If you start off teaching at 10 USD per hour, after commission you’ll get 6.70 USD (excluding trials), which is not great. After 400 hours this amount will go up to $8.20. Still not great!
You can withdraw your earnings from Preply whenever you want into your Wise, PayPal, Payonner or Skrill account.
Be aware that these withdrawal methods will incur additional fees, along with any currency conversion from USD to your local currency. Only Wise enables you to receive money in your local currency.
Can You Work Full-Time On Preply?
On its website, Preply promises you a “steady stream of students”. Unfortunately, like many teaching platforms, the flexibility offered means that full-time hours are not guaranteed.
According to Preply, 92% of its online English tutors work up to 20 hours per week, with only 6% working 20-30 hours per week. Unfortunately, they don’t break the statistics down further so it’s hard to know the proportion of teachers doing only a handful of hours, as opposed to 10, 15 or 20.
Also, while it can be great to teach as much or as little as you like, it takes time to build up your profile and reputation. You won’t have full-time hours out of the gate.
As a teacher, you also need to leave room in your schedule to plan lessons and do admin. So teaching 40 hours a week is both unlikely on Preply as well as unrealistic.
And in fact, demand for tutoring on Preply fluctuates throughout the year, with a dip in the summer and more demand in the autumn.
It’s probably best not to rely on Preply as your only source of income. You can either diversify by offering lessons on multiple teaching platforms, or by finding your own students online.
The variation in demand is another reason why it’s so important to charge appropriate rates for your lessons. When you have your own tutoring business, your rates need to cover many aspects of being self-employed, including periods where you have less work.
Preply Review: Is It Worth It For Online English Teachers?
Time to conclude this Preply review and ask “is Preply worth is for online teachers”? If you’re new to online teaching, you’ll probably be able to make more money on other online teaching platforms or working for online teaching companies.
But if you know how to teach a specialised area of the English language, then you may be able to earn more money on Preply.
At the $12 end of the market, there’s a lot of competition, but at the higher end in more specialised niches, competition is actually less fierce.
It’s worth being aware though that students often share negative Preply reviews about poor customer support or money not refunded. So there may be ethical decisions to consider before joining the platform.
By the way, no matter the teaching marketplace you want to advertise on, getting qualified to teach and learning to teach specialised English will help you stand out.
If you want to learn how to do that, the check out CeOLT.