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This is a niche recruitment business for teachers of English as a foreign language. London is the global centre of this business with many private language schools located in central London. It is also a regulated business with schools needing to abide by the requirements of the British Council.
The business offers teacher cover to schools in the London area. The cover bookings range from a 2-hour minimum to a couple of weeks. Teachers come and go and must be regularly recruited. All are on zero hours PAYE contracts.
By the standards of the major recruitment companies the business would be defined as "one seat" based on what a fee-earner could expect from the market. This means that the existing entrenched business which has strong relationships with its client schools will never be attacked by a major firm. It simply would not be worth their effort and they could not compete on price or service.
The business also operates in Dublin offering the same daily cover service which after five years is established and makes a modest profit. This is run from the London office.
The business also has a successful line placing teachers on long-term contracts in Italy.
Last but not least, the business also works with partners in Saudi Arabia to supply EFL teachers from the UK, and periodically engineers and other positions outside the main line of business.
In recent years, this has been handled by the highly experienced owner with one full-time staff member in support, capable of standing in for the owner when away on holiday etc. There is also part-time (home-based) support for the social media activities.
The total owner take (including retained profit) is around £50K pa.
In recent years the amount of pro-active marketing has not been great, and although most schools are aware of the agency, there is scope to market much more actively. However the day-to-day work of managing teacher placements, payroll and billing etc is significant, so the issue of best use of time and resources undoubtedly applies. The business can be run as a reliable cash cow (as now), or some investment could be made to expand it.
1 month notice.
£5,145 per annum
The business is currently based in a small managed office on 'easy in, easy out' terms. The business could be run from home except for one thing: it is essential to interview teachers face to face and it is also necessary to copy and store a great deal of documentation. That does not prevent the business being run from home, but there might be issues of convenience and brand image to consider.
There is a great deal of scope to expand. We have considered for instance running our own courses; running a daily cover business in places such as Brighton; developing our presence in areas such as FE, pre-sessional or corporate clients; or doing more in our Irish or Italian markets.
There has never been serious direct competition in our niche. There are allied sectors which we have not entered where more competition exists, for instance, in course provision, corporate tuition or FE/ESOL.
The owner feels like a change!
Normal hours 9 to 6. Outside hours, phones are switched through and email is regularly checked, so there is a high degree of availability. Clients take advantage of this and appreciate it.
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