In this guide we will look at the pros and cons of both DaDaABC (now DaDa) and VIPKID, and try to help you come to a conclusion.
Important DaDa Update
Due to the DaDa Hiring Freeze, here is an updated post about DaDa(ABC) before you continue to read this article:
DaDa (formerly DaDaABC) vs VIPKID
In the interest of remaining completely unbiased (seeing as I am a DaDaABC teacher) I have enlisted the opinions of VIPKID teachers to help create this comparison guide.
So let’s ring the bell and begin comparing these two digital nomad jobs!
Here are some of the general points for both companies:
PROS of Working for DaDaABC and VIPKID
- The freedom of working from home
- Flexible schedule of working either part-time or full-time hours
- Great pay
- Minimal preparation time
- Rewarding teaching experience
CONS of Working for DaDaABC and VIPKID
Early morning teaching times dependent on location
Click the image below to read more about DaDaABC Reviews from Glassdoor:
Due to these pros and cons being so similar, I have taken my research further to an ex VIPKID teacher who made the switch to DaDaABC, as well as a current VIPKID teacher.
I wanted to find some crucial key differences between the two companies.
So below, find the 6 main crucial differences in the comparison of DaDaABC vs VIPKID:
DaDaABC’s policy is that they will consider applicants of any nationality, as long as they are native English speakers.
You should also have:
- A Bachelor’s degree
- Teaching experience
- A teaching certificate
- A clean criminal background check
- A strong and stable internet connection
The main key difference here is VIPKID hires only those that are native English speakers with a North American accent.
I suppose you could potentially practice a North American accent in your room for a few days before applying, but I’m unsure of the policy on that!
You’ll also need:
- To be eligible to work in the US or Canada
- A Bachelor’s degree
- At least 1 year’s worth of teaching/tutoring/mentoring experience
- A wired DSL internet connection with at least 20 Mbps download speeds.
Click the image below to discover more PROS and CONS of VIPKID:
Stand-by Time Pay [DaDaABC vs VIPKID]
Da Da ABC
Da Da ABC has a policy of paying teachers half-pay for class cancellations, i.e. teachers are only paid full-pay for when they are teaching, and not stand-by time during their contracted hours.
In part-time hours, however, it’s a different story. Part-time hours are extra hours you can sign up for to earn a little extra, on top of your contracted hours – kind of like overtime.
During part-time hours, you won’t receive any stand-by time pay if you’re not teaching any classes, which means you could, in theory, end up sat at your computer for hours and not get paid a dime.
If you’d like to read more about the best ways to receive your DaDaABC pay, click the image below:
Now half-pay sound like a bad thing, but this policy of DaDa’s is actually a positive when in direct comparison with VIPKID…
VIPKID teachers don’t receive any stand-by pay for periods where they don’t have any classes booked, regardless of whether or not it’s in their contracted hours.
VIPKID teachers are, however, paid half pay if the student cancels a trial class. This means that, if your booked, but the student doesn’t show up, you still walk away with something.
For major course classes, you are paid in full if the student cancels. This is a blessing as student cancellations are actually pretty frequent.
Half pay for student cancellations is better than no pay at all…that’s what I always say.
Cancellation Policy [DaDaABC vs VIPKID]
DaDa’s cancellation policy has changed dramatically recently, and some teachers are less than happy with the changes. There are lots of negative DaDaABC reviews that focus on this aspect in particular.
Currently, there are three different policies for different types of cancellations. Let’s break it down and look at each of them in turn:
- Short term cancellations
Any DaDaABC teacher can apply for up to 8 classes off per month without any financial penalties, as long as they give 24 hours notice.
If you miss more than 8, you’ll be fined a certain amount for each additional class. The exact amount depends on the type of class you miss.
Unfortunately, giving 24 hours isn’t always possible, which brings us on to…
- Medical emergency cancellations
This refers to DaDaABC teacher cancellations within 24 hours of the class booking. DaDa’s official policy is that you won’t be penalized if you provide a doctor’s note. If you don’t, you’ll receive hefty fines on top of no pay for the class.
- Long term cancellations/leave
Based on feedback on their cancellation policy, DaDa adjusted it to make things easier for any DaDaABC teacher who needs to take a large period of leave.
Currently, if your contract is six months or more, you can apply for long-term leave of more than 14 days (up to a maximum of 30) once every six months, without penalty.
This cancellation policy might seem pretty harsh, but when considering that you are hired as an independent contractor, it’s understandable.
How does VIPKID’s policy compare?
There is a strict cancellation policy – if you cancel 6 classes in 6 months, then your contract is cancelled and you’re out.
Seeing as some teachers can have 6 classes in a single day, this seems very strict. Don’t worry though, you won’t be fired for having a single day sick leave, as they cap the cancellation count at 2 classes per day.
There are also cancellation fees:
- $10 financial deduction for cancellations within 2 hours of the class or absences
- $2 financial deduction for cancellations within 24 hours of the class
- No financial deductions if you give them 24 hours notice
Again, this can seem pretty extreme, but it is testament to how competitive the field is, and the level of importance VIPKID puts on reliability in teachers.
Hiring Process [DaDaABC vs VIPKID]
I talk through the hiring process for DaDaABC in the video below:
The basic hiring process of DaDa is:
- Mentoring session and demo class with mentor (pretending to be a student)
- Demo class with real student
- Offered position
- Fill out a profile
- Training videos
This was of course before the DaDa Hiring Freeze.
But don’t worry, there are still plenty of other online teaching companies to apply for.
The process is quite similar to that of DaDaABC, so I won’t write it out again.
However, it is said to be more of a rigorous process by former VIPKID employees who then made the switch to DaDaABC.
Pay [DaDaABC vs VIPKID]
DaDaABC offers a higher flat rate than VIPKID, but the bonuses are harder to obtain. This rate is between $15-$25 per hour.
You can read more information about how much DaDaABC pays by clicking the banner below:
There are also several bonuses to be earned. One of which is the the referral bonus which you can read about here.
And read more about how I used the referral bonus to boost my online teaching income here.
Based on your performance in your interview, you will be offered an amount between $7-$9 (per class, not hourly rate – classes are half an hour sessions).
Now this does seem significantly less than DaDaABC, but the bonuses are a lot easier to achieve in VIPKID.
An example of some of the bonuses you can achieve:
- $1 for showing up for the full time
- If you teach 30 classes in a month you can earn an extra $0.50 per class
- If you teach 45 classes in a month, you can earn an extra $1 per class.
So this brings you closer to an estimated figure of around $18-$22 an hour if you achieve all of the bonuses. Which is still less than DaDaABC’s highest potential flat hourly rate.
Click the image below to see how another online ESL company compares in pay-rate:
Class Bookings [DaDaABC vs VIPKID]
DaDaABC books the classes for you, which is beneficial due to the teacher not having to worry about things such as booking rates, bad reviews and being in competition with other teachers.
You also get regular students with DaDaABC, which you see on a weekly basis, allowing you to build a connection with them…and it also provides a great likelihood of a consistent stream of full-time pay.
The only downside I can see to this is that having the same students on a regular basis can mean that you might feel added pressure, compared to other platforms which rotate teachers for each student.
As their only Da Da ABC teacher, you’re responsible for any progress they do or don’t make.
If you’re the kind of conscientious person that jumps at this challenge, you’ll make a great DaDaABC teacher. For some people, though, this might be a little scary.
Here is a quote about regular students from a former VIPKID teacher who left to join DaDaABC:
One of my students, is now able to use my morning and goodbye song. She’s able to sing it all by herself.
I love seeing the growth and knowing that my teaching style is effective.”
And to even things out, here is a quote from a current VIPKID teacher:
With VIPKID, it operates more like the part-time hours for DaDaABC, as opposed to regular students.
You are most likely to get bookings during the peak hours (6pm-9pm Beijing time).
However, you are not always guaranteed bookings if you choose to work in peak time. Working these hours puts you in competition with the other VIPKID teachers, so you’ll face more competition in getting your slots filled.
As one VIPKID teacher notes, the competition is so fierce, it can often take weeks before you are fully booked when you’re first starting out.
And another important thing to note is that if your student cancels within 24 hours, you still get paid for the session. However, if they cancel outside of 24 hours then you don’t get paid.
This is different to DaDaABC, where a cancelled student always equates to half-pay if it is during your contracted hours… and no pay at all if it happens during your part-time hours.
So the thing to remember with DaDaABC is – you only get your full pay for the time that you are teaching… but with VIPKID, you can potentially get your full pay whilst not teaching… BUT your full pay with DaDaABC will be more once you take away the VIPKID bonuses…
… phew, this comparison business is taking its toll on me. One second, I’m just going to take a rest on a DigiNo signature beach image before I move on to the next section…
Traveling Opportunities (DaDaABC vs VIPKID)
Alright, DigiNo is all about being able to live and work remotely, so this comparison wouldn’t be complete without first looking at the travel opportunities that DaDaABC and VIPKID offer.
The most important thing to consider here is the internet requirements. DaDa require at least 10 Mbps download speeds and 2 Mbps upload speeds.
This is easily attainable in most countries across the world, even those places where the cost of living is substantially lower, such as Vietnam.
It’s all about choosing the right accommodation options. Check out my guide on where to stay in Ho Chi Minh City for more information on this!
Officially, DaDa require their teachers to notify them when they change their fixed working location, which can be a headache for travelers who move around frequently.
Unofficially, however, many DaDaABC teachers don’t bother to notify them. It only really becomes a problem if the WiFi in the new location isn’t up to scratch.
VIPKID have higher connection speed requirements. They officially ask for connection speeds of 20 Mbps.
This is pretty achievable in countries with good internet connectivity, like the ones I’ve listed here, but can be difficult to reach in countries with poor connectivity.
However, some VIPKID teachers mention that it’s possible to teach with lower speeds than 20 Mbps, but the video quality will take a hit.
Here is an interview I did with a VIPKID teacher about traveling and working for the company:
What about other online ESL companies?
Okay, now that we’ve thoroughly compared VIPKID and DaDa, before we finish, let’s take a quick look at how some other companies compare to VIPKID.
Magic Ears vs VIPKID
Here’s a quick table which compares all the key differences between Magic Ears and VIPKID.
We’ve also compared DaDa vs Magic Ears here.
Qkids vs VIPKID
And here’s another comparing Qkids and VIPKID at a glance:
Companies like VIPKID
If you’re not from the US or Canada – worry not! There are plenty of other companies like VIPKID out there with more inclusive hiring policies.
In fact, we’ve reviewed most of them in-depth here on DigiNo. Check out all of the other DaDa comparison articles, listed at the end of the article, to find out more about other ESL companies.
DaDaABC vs VIPKID…Final Thoughts!
It seems that these two work at home jobs are very similar when it comes to reviews. If we ignore things like time differences causing early risers over in the USA, then it comes down to the main points I analysed.
It seems as if there is a higher potential to earn more money at VIPKID with the much easier to attain bonuses and booking structure.
However, class bookings aren’t as guaranteed like DaDaABC and are very competitive. DaDaABC also has the opportunity to book extra hours alongside your regular students.
DaDa or VIPKID?
So it seems to purely come down to the fact that VIPKID has a very strict cancellation and hiring policy (North American accents).
And DaDaABC’s offering of regular students seems to be popular among teachers who have relished creating connections in the learning environment. However the ‘DaDa Ice Age’ has dented the reputation of DaDa in recent times…leading to teachers to stray more towards the VIPKID owned company – SayABC.
So I’ll leave it up to you decide based on what you’ve read so far!
Online ESL Teaching Company Comparison List
As promised, here is the full list of comparison articles so far, to help you find the perfect online teaching job.
Just click the image you of the one you’d like to read: