Module 1, Lesson 3
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PalFish: How much can I earn? Promotions and pay rises

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PalFish advertises a salary of $14-$22/ hour, but how realistic is this and how do you achieve the higher pay rates (or more)?

Firstly, it is important to be aware that PalFish has a highly transparent pay scale system, which is designed to be as fair as possible for teachers while rewarding those who teach more hours, are consistently reliable and convert more trial students. They therefore use a points-based system to determine your pay rate, with your pay scale allocated according to the total number of points achieved in the previous month.

Note: PalFish actually defines your pay in Chinese RMB, and pays you in USD according to the exchange rate at the end of the month. Therefore, your pay may fluctuate depending on the exchange rate – and if you are not a US teacher, you will also incur fees transferring into your own currency. We provide some suggestions on how to reduce these fees AND even benefit from fluctuating exchange rates in a later lesson. Using these approaches, I have been able to earn up to 20% more than the $14-$22/ hour rate advertised.

Everyone starts at level 1, earning 55 RMB per class ($14/ hour). Even once you are promoted to a higher pay level, do be aware that trial classes (for students new to PalFish) are still paid at 55 RMB per class.

If you achieve 300 points, the following month you will be promoted to earning 60 RMB per class ($16/ hour). This points scale continues, such that if you are a particularly committed and successful teacher, you can earn up to 75 RMB per class ($22/ hour).

For me personally, PalFish is very much a part time job – I teach around eight hours per week and comfortably reach level two each month. I could easily teach more hours and achieve level three or four simply through increasing the number of classes I teach, however I balance PalFish alongside other jobs too and like to keep more variety in my day!

How do you earn points?

Points are awarded according to simple criteria. PalFish emphasises that the best way to score more points is to teach more hours, be always on time, avoid cancelling classes and give a positive teaching experience.

Below you can see further details (correct as of March 2021) on the PalFish scoring system:

I generally find that the majority of my points come from teaching classes (4 points per class plus a bonus 4 points per “double points class” at peak times). You can also win points by “selling a package” – this is when one of the trial students you have taught then signs up for the paid program.

Additionally, there are some further easy points you can achieve:

  • 40 points for not being late or absent from any classes the previous month
  • 2 points per week for having at least eight peak time slots (four hours) open on your calendar (even if no one books them!)
  • 2 points per “lesson preparation” completed (the training courses accessible from your homepage)

Finally, you can also gain points for factors outside of your control which affect you, for example a student cancelling a class last minute (10 points if it is a peak time slot). There are also bonus points available for referring teachers or students.

As a guide, by teaching just eight hours per week I typically score around 400 points per month – primarily from teaching classes. This comfortably puts me at level two, and if you wanted to take PalFish full time and teach 20-30 hours per week you could easily reach those higher pay levels.

Can you lose points?

It is important to be aware that it is also possible to lose points on PalFish.

In particular, the major points deductions come from receiving official complaints (-50 points) and being absent without notice (-20 points). There are also smaller deductions for class cancellations, although if you cancel more than 24 hours in advance the deductions are very small, as well as for arriving late or ending classes early.

This is actually is a very fair way of encouraging teachers to be reliable and committed compared to the hefty fines other companies may charge. My best advice to avoid fines is to set yourself a regular schedule, stick to it and plan in advance to close holiday dates on your schedule before they are released for students to book.

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