Tag Archives: Freelance language wages

What do Freelance Language Trainers Charge?

This post aims to give you a bit more insight into the spread of the hourly rates of freelance language trainers in Germany. Before reading, please not that I have limited my search to direct contracts, which means a learner or group of learners you have directly with companies rather than through a language school or any type of ‘middle man’.

After publishing the first round of results from the Germany Pay Survey 2014, there’s been a lot of positive feedback and in particular some really interesting observations:

Frances commented that:

I’m also wondering about the highest and lowest figures for hourly rates for direct work…was there a big difference? I find the results interesting because the Stuttgart average figure seems quite low to me.  Most people I know won’t accept less than 35 Euros from direct clients (more or less a guideline) and usually get about 45 Euros. By the way, I have the impression that the rates  have been stagnant for the last 10 years and people are hesitant to ask for more

Mura Nova also commented that

When you say you averaged did you take the mean?

If so did you try say try taking the middle or median score as well as you say for example that Stuttgart may be an outlier and so mean can be distorted by extreme scores?

Thanks for your questions. Your input and curiosity has given me the motivation to kick-start another foray into the data.I hope to provide an introductory answer below in this video.

What about the other areas surveyed?

I reran the same calculations for the remaining areas surveyed (Frankfurt, Berlin and the Rhine Area*). This is what was thrown out:

Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 15.05.21

What you might notice is that firstly, Berlin hourly freelance rates for direct contracts lag behind every other area surveyed. As we saw before, the distribution throughout the percentiles for Stuttgart doesn’t vary as much as it does in other areas of Germany, which could explain the ‘stagnant’ comment. Here’s the same information in a pretty graph format (excluding the top 10 percentiles)


What is extremely evident from this graph is that the 80th-90th percentiles in Frankfurt earn more per 45 mins than any other region surveyed. What’s also interesting to note is that, although not hitting the same highs as Frankfurt, the Rhine Area has a more even distribution of hourly remunerations than any other area surveyed. Quite simply, trainers surveyed in this region are more likely to earn between €35-55 per hour than in any other region.

What about if we include percentiles from 90-100? 

Funny you should ask, because here’s another pretty graph to show just that:


So we can see from this graph that only the 99th percentile in the Rhine Area earns €75,5 (70+), while the 96th-99th in Stuttgart, the 90th-99th in Frankfurt and the 96th-99th in Berlin. What’s more, we can see that from the 80th percentile downwards, the increase in hourly remunerations is gradual and steady, changing to sharp and sudden increase when the 90 percentile is reached.

So what does it all mean?

That’s up to you, dear reader. My conclusion here is that it’s less common to earn above €50 per 45mins and the top 10% of trainers are able to charge over 26% more than the rest of the pack.

Again, comments and suggestions are welcomed. To get hold of me directly, just send me a message below:

*Rhine Area is a wishy washy category – I know, there are lots of cities this could include. The reason for this categorisation is that I grouped all responses from trainers that are members of ELTA Rhine or a city around the region this association serves. In the next edition of the survey, the categories will be altered to remove this grouping.