Welcome to HagwonStart.com

This website was created to help anyone who is interested in starting their very own English hagwon in Korea one day. If this is your first time here, you may not know where to start. So I will take it that you don’t know anything about starting a hagwon business. So, what is a hagwon?

Basically, a hagwon is an English academy, which is a cram school or after school business that teaches kids English in Korea. It isn’t a school, but an education business that receives payment for students of all ages to attend and learn English. Since it is a business, it must be registered as a business with the Tax Office and the Ministry of Education of the specific district it is located in.

Now let’s see what kinds of businesses you can actually start in the Hagwon Industry.

There are basically 3/4 main hagwon like businesses you can start in Korea. Take a look below to learn more about what they are.

A Gong Bu Bang (공부방) is basically a tutoring business that is registered with classes being held in a residential space. It’s basically a small hagwon that is operated in an apartment space. A Gong Bu Bang is legally allowed to have one teacher and can legally hire someone to do administrative duties. A Gong Bu Bang owner can legally teach and have up to 9 students at a time in the business space. And the Gong Bu Bang must have enough space to accommodate the maximum amount of students that the Ministry of Education approves for the business. Your business is required to have 1 pyeong of space per person, so if you want to teach the maximum of 9 students at once, you must have a room that is 9 pyeong big.

A Gyo Soop So (교숩소) is basically a small hagwon that is operated in a commercial space. Just like a Gong Bu Bang, a Gyo Soop So is legally allowed to have one teacher and can legally hire someone to do administrative duties. A Gyo Soop So owner can legally teach and have up to 9 students at a time in the business space. And it must have enough space to accommodate the maximum amount of students that the Ministry of Education approves for the business. Your business is required to have 1 pyeong of space per person, so if you want to teach the maximum of 9 students at once, you must have a room that is 9 pyeong big.

A Bo Sup So (보숩소) & Bo Sup Hag Won (보숩학원) are either similar to a Gyo Soop So or are a mix of a Gyo Soop So and an Oh Hagwon, which depends on the Ministry of Education of a specific district. Some times a Bo Soop So is exactly the same as a Gyo Soop So. However, a Bo Soop Hagwon is just a smaller version of an Oh Hag Won. Depending on your district, you can start a Bo Sup Hagwon with space that is 30 Pyeong and under, whereas Oh Hagwons are usually required to be close to 50 pyeong in size. Also, Bo Sup Hagwons in certain areas are meant to act as hagwons that can teach English as well as another subject. However, the laws and regulations differ district to district.

An Oh Hag Won (어학원) is basically a language hagwon. The very large franchises fall under this category. An Oh Hagwon is a business that can charge more than the other hagwon types mentioned, can have more students per class, and can charge for other services depending on the district. You need a space that is at least 40pyeong-50pyeong depending on your district. And Oh Hagwons can legally hire E2 visa holders whereas the other hagwon types aren’t legally allowed to hire E2 visa teachers.

*1 Pyeong = about 3.3 Square Meters 
*1 Square Meter = about 0.3 Pyeong

As mentioned on the homepage, there are three main components to become familiar with in the hagwon industry. Take a look at the graph below to get a better idea of how important each component is.

Hagwon Business Components

  • Business Component (Blue)
  • Teaching Component (Pink)
  • Customer Service Component (Orange)

Even though I label the “Business Component” as the most significant part of a hagwon business, technically, all 3 components should be at 100% each, since they all intertwine in various ways and are all equally important.


First and foremost, you must understand that a hagwon is a business. It is a school in some ways, but there are expenses that you may not be aware of, bills to pay, payments that might come in late, and students that might leave at any moment.

A hagwon is a business that requires you to provide a great product that people want to pay you money for.


Even though a hagwon is a business, it won’t be a great business if it lacks good teachers that are teaching a good curriculum. You are probably pretty good in this section, but you still need to understand the market.

I wish I knew the market better before I started. Then I would have been much more successful.

Customer Service

Like it or not, if you are a business owner, customer service is probably the most important part of your business. If the customers are not happy, then they aren’t going to stay. I believe this is probably the most stressful part.

Learn what it takes to make your customers happy. And learn about some possible situations that might arise.

Now that you have an idea of what a hagwon is, what kinds of “hagwons” exist, and the main components of a hagwon, you need to learn as much information as possible about the industry if you decide to start your own English Hagwon business in Korea one day.

I just want to stress that a hagwon is a business first, school second. And as I said before, I believe that almost any great business person with enough knowledge and enough money to invest can start, build, and grow a successful English hagwon, but not any great teacher with enough knowledge and enough money to invest can start, build, and grow a successful hagwon. However, any great teacher can start, build, and grow a successful gongbubang or a gyosoopso, with enough knowledge, teaching experience, and some money to invest.

So, let me share a little bit about myself.

My name is Tony Choi AKA Tony Teacher. I have hosted the MarketinginKorea.com podcast and the Hagwonstart.com podcast for a few years now. And now currently blog and podcast at EntrepreneurKorea.com With the help of my wife, I founded and operated a successful English Gyosoopso in the Seocho area for about 4 years. My small hagwon was located near Gangnam Station and I was able to go into an area where I was relatively unknown and make enough money to visit Canada 3 times in 3 years and purchase a home in the Yangjae Seoul area. I don’t share this to boast, but to prove to you that you can trust what I have to say and that I speak all from 100% experience.

We went from 0 students to 20 students within a year, and by the end of our second year, we were at about 30+ students, which we maintained throughout the time our Gyosoopso was running.

*Each student was paying over 300,000won per 4 weeks. And we made more during summer and winter vacation when we held vacation classes.

Take a look at my earnings in my first few years to give you an idea of what you might or might not be able to make. Some people make way more than me, but I was able to keep my mornings and weekends pretty much free and worked a few side jobs at times to earn money that isn’t accounted for in the graph below.

Monthly Average Income

  • Approximate Monthly Income (1 = 1 Million Won)

The big news is that My Gyosoopso has closed. The decision to close was based on two reasons: We (My wife and I) believed that we had a better opportunity by focusing our time and energy on our Flower business, FlowerGiftKorea.com. And also, our school evolved into a school/business that would have been difficult for me to continue to enjoy teaching for the long run. It would have continued to have made good money, and we could have made great money if we wanted to. But I personally value the quality of my life than being rich.

*Side Note: I do plan on returning to the hagwon industry in 3-5 years, once I generate enough money to start, build, and grow a large Oh Hagwon.

The closing of my English Gyosoopso allows me to share information I would have never shared if I were to continue it. The reason for this is that I have done things behind closed doors that I wasn’t technically supposed to do. Things that people could have reported me for and that I would have lost some points or had to pay a fine. Nothing big, but rules that hagwons are supposed to follow, but most do not.

Now, I am able to share everything without fear. And though I tried to follow all of the laws as best as I could; there were things that everyone else in my area was doing, so I figured it would be okay to follow suit. The thing is that a lot of the laws in business in Korea are not so black and white. And now I am able to share what those things are.

I want to be able to help you at least get on the same playing field as those who know the ins and outs of the hagwon industry. In business, it’s the people with the most knowledge that succeed, so I hope to pass some of what I learned to you, so that you can have a better chance at creating a hagwon business in Korea.

You really need to invest in your knowledge. Honestly, if information available in the members section I created was available for me when I first started my hagwon, I would have bought all of it in an instance. If you are really serious about starting a hagwon business in Korea one day, it is worth it for you to invest some money and time in purchasing a membership and digesting all of the content, as well as the FREE content in the form of podcasts and blog posts. I don’t say this just to only make money, but I would truly encourage my old self to invest some time and money into learning more about the hagwon industry before starting any business. I wish I had learned more, which is why I created this site so that a younger version of me would be able to get a head start.

I hope you enjoy the information on this website. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at hagwonstart@gmail.com. However, premium information related to the growth of your hagwon or how to start a hagwon will only be available to our members.

Become a member to access all of the content and to have access to me, Tony Choi AKA Tony Teacher.