Cambly vs Palfish – Which One is Best?

By Editorial Staff •  Updated: 09/30/19 •  Teach Online

Both Cambly and Palfish are two unique and somewhat similar online teaching companies. Both are an excellent option for potential teachers and in particular non US based teachers to get started with teaching English online.

If you’ve been wondering if you should apply to Cambly or Palfish and you want to know which one is better. This guide will explain the differences between the two.

Cambly and Palfish Requirements

As with all comparisons, we first need to look at the requirements for both Cambly and Palfish.

Cambly Requirements

Cambly is quite light on the requirements due to the conversational nature of the platform. To get started you must be a native English speaker and have access to the internet by way of a quality laptop that has a webcam. You will also need a decent pair of headsets for online teaching.

All that is required apart from having the required technology is to be a native speaker of English if you want to teach English.

Palfish Requirements

Palfish (see our comprehensive Palfish review) is an app you can download to your smartphone or tablet. With Palfish, you’re able to create an account and start taking on potential students based on an hourly rate that you set.

Palfish is broken into two groups, the “kids course” and the “free talk” program. The free talk program is open to all nationalities but the kids course is strictly for native speakers. They also have a dedicated program for Filipino based teachers.

Winner: Palfish due to their app based nature. You don’t need a laptop or a pair of headsets and both native and non-native speakers can apply.

Apply to Palfish here

Cambly vs Palfish Hiring Process

The hiring process for both of these online teaching companies is simple, fast and easy.

Cambly Hiring Process

For Cambly you’ll need to create an account, pass a speed test for your internet connection and verify that you’re a native speaker by way of creating an introduction video for them as well as submitting a copy of your passport or drivers license.

Palfish Hiring Process

For Palfish you download the app and then setup your account through completing a text introduction and an audio introduction (30 seconds max). You upload a picture, any qualifications you have, set your rate and then you can start getting appointments.

Now, if you apply for the Kids Course (if you’re a native speaker you totally should as it’s higher paying) you will have to have to go through an interview process. But for the free talk program you simply signup, create your account and wait to be approved.

Winner: Tie.

Cambly vs Palfish Bookings

An important aspect of both these platforms is how bookings work. How do you actually teach and what are both like? For starters they are both quite different from one another and offer a wide range of flexibility for potential teachers.

Cambly Bookings

Once you create an account that has been approved, students are able to view profiles of teachers they want to call. The public profiles show your country flag, certifications, number of calls you have done and an overall rating.

As a teacher you’re able to get bookings 24/7 as Cambly has a global audience of learners instead of Palfish which is strictly focused on the Chinese market.

With Cambly, you can have “reservations” as well as “priority hours.”

Reservations are requests by language learners to set aside time to learn with you. For reservations you can either approve or deny reservation requests. Priority hours allow language learners to book your time in advanced.

So if you open up “priority hours” from 10 am to 11 am you’re required to work at those times. With priority hours anyone can book you. For reservations, those will be requests typically from previous students.

Palfish Bookings

Palfish is broken up into three different programs. A free talk program, a kids course program and a Filipino course program for Filipino teachers.

Each of these programs work in the same way with regards to booking. You simply open up time slots and the parents book you.

The difference with the bookings as a side note is when you teach. For the Kids Course, it’s an after school program so expect to be teaching evenings Beijing time. The Kids Course books you weeks in advanced so make sure you’re available to teach when you’re scheduled.

The Free Talk program is more flexible so you can teach mornings or afternoons Beijing time. You simply log into your account and open hours.

Not ideal if you’re US based, but if you’re outside of the US their are numerous Palfish teachers who make a good income from teaching English on their phone.

Winner: Cambly.

Palfish is the better option long term, but in the short term you can start getting calls right away.

Calling Out Sick with Palfish and Cambly

Cambly and Palfish both have varying policies when it comes to cancelling class for whatever reason. As with any online teaching company, you’re an independent contractor and are not given dedicated sick time. If you need to cancel a class here are the penalities:

Cambly Cancelation Policy

With Cambly it depends on the booking. If you have accepted a reservation or have been booked under the priority hour function and miss class you won’t incur a financial penalty. But your account could be potentially banned from accepting bookings for a limited time.

Palfish Cancelation Policy

Palfish has poor communication when it comes to cancelling class. To cancel class you simply go into your app and cancel the classes you have been booked. The Palfish admins will contact you asking why you had to cancel class.

For the dedicated kids course the policy is more strict. If you cancel 6 classes during a 6 month time span you will be terminated from the kids course program.

Winner: Palfish.

Palfish vs Cambly Pay

Now for the pay. Which platform will you actually make more money from in the long term. Cambly or Palfish?

Cambly Pay

If you do calls for a full hour you can expect to make $10 US. The actual pay rate is 17 cents a minute. This is some of the lowest pay in the industry.

However, Cambly has no requirements apart from being a native speaker who has a functioning laptop with a web cam and a pair of headphones. With Cambly, you’re not considered a teacher as Cambly markets themselves as a place to have conversations.

If you’re looking for something part time that is light on requirements, Cambly is a good option.

Palfish Pay

Palfish pays their teachers between $16-20 an hour on average. With Palfish you actually set your own rate so new teachers opt for a lower pay as a way to attract reviews and students and then increase their hourly pay as their demand increases.

If you’re apart of the kids course you have access to a few bonus pay options:

Winner: Palfish.

Palfish long term is the better option. It takes time to get bookings but once you have established yourself on the platform you can do both the free talk and kids course program. Teaching when you want.

Cambly vs Palfish Conclusion

Cambly and Palfish are the perfect opportunity for someone who does not meet requirements of other online teaching companies. If you don’t have a degree or a TEFL certificate consider working with Cambly or Palfish.

Long term Palfish is the better option as they pay more, have more program options and it’s more flexible as you teach from your phone. But Cambly is better if you’re looking to get booking now.

Editorial Staff

I'm David Unwin and I head the editorial staff here at Teach and GO. I've taught as an ESL teacher in Thailand for 5+ years at all levels of education, from elementary to University. I was also one of the first 1000 VIPKID teachers. I and my team now share my extensive experience as a teacher here at Teach and GO. Learn more.

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