Tuesday, September 15, 2009

How to Become Self-employed in Spain - Dar la alta como autónomo - as a TEFL Teacher

After a couple of years and a couple of posts as a TEFL teacher in Spain you quickly realise that the conditions of employment in Language Academies and Agencies frequently leave a lot to be desired. As a teacher you often have very little to do with your boss but have a very direct relationship with your students. If you start wondering how the sharks can take a 50% cut (or more!) and are confident with your teaching skills and ability to build a good rapport with students, then it´s time to become self-employed. Many teachers do classes off the books, in my case I prefer to give classes to adults, specialising in Business English, so I wanted to give it a go to see if I could become professional and then take on in-company classes which nowadays largely prefer above-board status.

The beauty of setting up in teaching is that apart from books, YOU are the resource, so it´s relatively inexpensive to get going. The services of a Gestor are worth it in the long run, especially when it comes to completing the annual IRPF tax return. The Gestor is a legal financial advisor who takes care of taxes and accounts making it easier to keep on top of things.

The advice I got before becoming self-employed from another teacher was to make sure that you are ready to be able to declare yourself - if business is slow, you could pay through the nose in taxes. I decided to build up a sufficient client base, become self-employed for a trial period and then when I was confident it was working employ the services of a Gestor (approx 45€/month). Gleaning information about being self-employed from the internet has obviously been important, as well as improving my Spanish and using the internet as a promotional tool.

A Gestor will charge a good 70€ for doing the leg-work to register you as autónomo - you can do it yourself. Trial and error - I always get there in the end! This is what I found out... these are only guidelines, don´t take it as bible as things change and you should always ask along the way to make sure it fits you and your circumstances!

In the next blog I´ll show you how to survive!

1 comment:

Leigh said...


Great post. My name's Leigh an I'm an 'autonomos' teacher in the Girona area. I was wondering if you'd be interested in completing a questionaire about your experience teaching in Spain. I'm writing a book and would like to add in REAL experience. If you're interested you could drop me a line at: insideenglish@live.com and I'll email the questionaire to you.

Regards, Leigh