In 2014 I moved to Madrid to work as an Au Pair in Majadahonda, for free room and board, and 50 euros pocket-money a week. Having held a paid job since I was 16, I had no idea just how insecure not earning money would make me feel. Not being able to save and seeing my savings dwindle away every time I fancied exploring my new home, was a total bummer. So when the opportunity to double my weekly wage came my way, I pounced on it.

Then I trebled it.

Quadrupled it.

And in the end, quintupled it.

Here are my nuggets of wisdom based on my experience as a native English speaker in Madrid…

Native English Speaker = Employable English Speaker.

Madrid NEEDS you. Cash in on what your country gave you.

September is prime time to find clases particulares, and they’re easy to find online. Freelancers in Madrid, Lingobongo.com, and TusClasesParticulares.com are popular sites, but you can also keep an eye out on the numerous Au Pair and Auxiliar facebook groups.

Post an advert that include the following information:

– That you’re a native English teacher/speaker, and where you’re from.
– What work experience you have (e.g. I work as an Au Pair, teaching children…).
– The barrio of Madrid you live in, and how far you’re willing to travel (e.g. I live in Sol and can travel within zones 0-B2).
– And if you have one, specify what age group you prefer (e.g. I offer adult classes…).
– And when you’re available (e.g.  I am available on weekdays from 9-2).

**If you are able to write this in Spanish, it’s a good idea to provide the translation.**

Alternatively, you could just write “Hi I’m a native speaker available for classes! PM me if you’re interested :)”, but if you want to come across as professional then you need to sell yourself as a professional. Personally I wouldn’t advise lying about your experience, but as with any job application you should big yourself up (e.g. Au Pair = Experience teaching children in an immersive play-centred environment).

Rates

What you charge should reflect the experience you have, but never go below 10 euros an hour as an Au Pair, as even that is a bargain. These are the rates I charged in my first year:

– Play Dates & External Au Pair work: 10€ ph.
– Traditional English & Adult conversation : 15€ ph.
– Business English & Cambridge Exam prep: 20€  ph.

You can offer discounts for group classes, and charge more if they live outside of your zone or want classes on the weekends. Some paid monthly, some weekly – I would recommend going for a mix so you always have cash on you, and also have a payday to look forward to!

If you’re out in the suburbs especially, try contacting local schools. Many state schools are going bi-lingual but do not have enough language assistants to teach their students, and some schools don’t even allow them to do so! I never did so myself, but I’ve also seen advertisements posted on bus stops… This might be a good option if you want to teach older students or adults.

Private Language Academies

If you’ve got a degree and/or TEFL certificate, then certainly start applying to the hundreds of Language schools dotted all over Madrid. If you’re an Au Pair who works late into the evening private classes during the week may not be an option for you, but if you’re free in the morning there are academies who have day or weekend classes you could work for.

Madridteachers.com and LingoBongo.com are a good place to start – the former has a jobs page and a list of Academias de IdiomasAlternatively walk around your local neighbourhood and look up – there are language schools all over the city so be brave, walk in and hand your CV directly, email them, or call them up. Late August/ early September is the best time to apply, but I got employed well into October.

External Au Pair work, odd teaching hours, and Holiday Camps.

Depending on your Au Pair schedule (which I can’t make assumptions of, as they vary so much) you may find a second external Au Pairing job you can do alongside. A friend of mine made breakfast and brought two girls to school for an extra 50 euros a week. You can easily turn your lazy Sunday or Saturday into 100 euros (I earnt 122€  just on Sundays). I met someone who is gets paid 50 euros a day just to do the Au Pair deal at lunch time, and another girl who does the same but only at Breakfast time. You’ll be surprised at what jobs are available if you’re willing to hunt them down. Most students have a 2 hour lunch break, and high school kids finish at 2:30 (in state schools). Given many families just want their kids to get regular conversation practice, there are plenty of odd hours in the day that someone, somewhere would like an English lesson in.

And if all the above fails, then go back to the Academies and look for some holiday camps to work for during your breaks. Christmas is OK, Easter there is more, and in summer they are plentiful. The more experience you get, even if it is just a week here and there, the more opportunities you will have throughout the year.


Aaaaand that’s it! I moved to au pair in the city centre, sent my CV to all corners of Madrid, and within two weeks I had quintupled my income from 200€ a month to 1000€. That said, I do have a First Class Honours Degree, TEFL Certificate, and have spent the past two years working in Summer Camps for Education First, so naturally the opportunities for me were a little more abundant. Regardless, I have met plenty of people with less qualifications than I, and they still managed to get hired. I honestly believe you could earn just as much money as myself, but it’s like I had a car filled with petrol, and you’ve got to make the journey on foot. I also think you could earn more than I did, but I prioritised learning Spanish so I had to put hours aside for class and language exchanges.

Finally, this post is heavily focused on teaching English because that is what I know. Generally speaking the Spanish are desperate to pick up second languages, just English is most common. If you speak German, Italian, or French, you can definitely find jobs taking this advice on board, but of course I have no direct experience in that.

If you have liked this post but would like more personal advice, I am happy to help – just leave a comment below 🙂

Good luck!

Madridteachers.com
Academias de Idiomas
LingoBongo.com
Freelancers in Madrid
TusClasesParticulares.com
Auxiliar FB Group
Au Pair

-MW.

10 thoughts on “Life as an Au Pair ~ How I quintupled my income.

  1. Hey, I’ve just left my job at a school and I’m looking to work very part time as an external au pair while teaching private lessons on the side. Where’s the best place to look for well-paying au pair jobs?

    1. What would you consider well-paid? I tend to find the au pair job is never ‘well paid’ for what you do, but I’d say for an external au pair you should look for something that offers atleast 7 euros an hour. You need to think, if they pay 50euros a week + board & food, that should amount to about 600 euro a month.

      These are some agencies I have used:

      http://www.aupairworld.com (usually for live-in au pairs, but you can find some!)
      http://www.aupairinspain.com/

      Neither of these charge the au pair for their service. I’ve actually come acorss most external au pair jobs on facebook; if you like and message https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007681905334&fref=ts AuPair Madrid they have lots of families contacting them. My friend found her external job through facebook, and they pay 600 euros per month for 20 hours a week (approx 7.50 euro per hour).

      You could also contact schools in your local area to ask if they could put up an advertisement for you?

      Hope that helps!

  2. hey! Just in case i will write here as well, because I don’t know if you received my email, since you mentioned that you don’t use it so often 🙂

  3. Great post and very inspirational! How does this work with the visa you were on? As an au pair from the USA in Germany I don’t think I’m allowed to “work”. How did you get around this?

    1. I am from England so when it came to getting a ‘real’ job I needed to get an NIE etc which was very easy for me. However, I did work with people who had managed to get visas. IF you search online for academies pior to your visit you might find one that could sponsor your visa application, but if not I would recommend teaching private classes for extra pocket money. You don’t need a visa to teach a few private classes on the side and no one asks for them 🙂

      1. Thank you for the advice 🙂 I’ll be in Germany on an au pair visa. The private lessons sound like they would work well.

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