Driving Instructor Jobs – Guide to Getting the Best Job

You may have recently become a fully qualified driving instructor (ADI), or you may be part-trained (PDIs). Either way, you could be searching for driving instructor jobs.

Typically, taking a job as a driving instructor involves signing a franchise. Before signing a franchise however, it’s important that you research the area and the company that you’re committing to. A main concern will be is there enough work?

How many driving instructors are there in the UK? How many in my area? There are currently around 50,000 driving instructors on the ADI register, and around 7000 trainee driving instructors throughout the UK.

Market saturation

Statistically, there are more driving instructors than ever before.

According to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) however, there are fewer individuals applying and taking the practical driving test. This is likely due to the huge costs, particularly to individuals under the age of 25 to legally maintaining a vehicle. With an increase in driving instructors and some 200,000 fewer practical test applicants than compared to five years ago, market saturation is sure to occur.

A full diary is essential for a full-time driving instructor

Taking a job and signing up for a franchise based on empty promises of unlimited learners is unwise. Research your area, talk to driving instructors to find out how full their diaries are. Contact other driving instructors working within a company who you might be interested in. See how they are treated and whether they receive enough work.

Franchise agreements

Most driving instructor jobs involve signing a franchise. A franchise can often prove beneficial as it eliminates the stress and time commitment of being independent and sourcing your own work. Joining an existing and successful driving school is particularly beneficial if you are a newly qualified instructor as not only learner drivers are provided, support should be there from the parent company if needed.

Of course a franchise is intended to mainly benefit the driving school that wrote it and as such, many are eager to get that signature on the dotted line. If there is a franchise agreement contract involved, ensure that it stipulates a minimum amount of hourly paid lessons or leads forwarded to you each week or month, else a reduced franchise fee is applicable. Ensure also that there is support should it be needed by telephone and e-mail as this is often important to a newly qualified instructor.

Be cautious of lengthy franchise agreement. There’s nothing wrong with a long contract in itself and it may entitle you to lower weekly payments, however bear in mind that your situation may change. You may become ill or you might intend on becoming independent earlier than expected for example. Ensure the contract takes loss of earnings due to illness into account otherwise you may need to pay franchise payments whilst ill and not working. Failing that, consider accident and sickness insurance that will cover you for such circumstances and ensure your franchise fee is all paid.

Ensure also that there’s either some form of get out clause within the contract on early exit, or if not, that you are prepared to pay all the remaining fees. It’s likely that you will be expected to pay a certain amount to exit the contract early, but a fair settlement fee should ideally be stipulated.

Which driving school should I apply to join

Other than the stipulations outlined in the contract and whether the school receives glowing recommendations from other instructors, you may wish to consider joining either a small local school or a large driving school that covers several towns or is national.

There are possible benefits and drawbacks to both. The benefit of a small local school is that the radius in which you teach is likely to be smaller than a large school. Therefore the amount of distance, miles and fuel used getting between lessons is fewer. With a smaller catchment area however, there may be times of the year where your diary is less full. You may be able to negotiate a radius with a large driving school although they do generally expect their instructors to travel reasonably large distances. Again read the contract thoroughly in this instance. The driving school may provide you with the work that is outlined in the contract, but it may be too far away to be profitable to you. Although driving instructors are generally able to refuse particular clients for reasons such as this, it’s still likely to count towards your quota of overall weekly new clients.

A local driving school is possibly able to deal with any issues or concerns you have on a much more personal basis than a large school. A change of circumstances that affects a contract could be dealt with and handled personally where this is less likely in large organisations.

Must I sign a contract with a driving school job?

Most driving schools, especially the larger schools do require a contract to be signed. Some small schools however do not. A small school may for example provide you with a certain amount of work per week or month and request a payment based on the amount of work provided. This can often be in form of any excess work that the school cannot accommodate. This is often fair and as there is no contract to sign, there is no legal requirement to stay.

This form of agreement is often ideal if you intend on going independent sooner rather than later and/or do not like idea of having a contract tying you in. The amount of work received may be random however, so expect the need to market your own school whilst you get established.

Best driving instructor franchise

The best driving instructor franchise relates to your specific needs, but will often include:

  • a fair weekly fee that will leave you with a reasonable income after expenses
  • an ease-in period where you pay a reduced amount until your diary becomes established
  • a guaranteed amount of bookings / work per week else a reduction in franchise fees
  • all advertising accounted for within franchise fees. If not this should be stated and a lower fee should apply
  • short-term contracts
  • an acceptable level of support, especially important to trainee or new driving instructors. This may include general help, advice and if you prefer, diary management. Extra support may include accountancy
  • an acceptable distance in terms of miles that the company will send you between each lesson
  • contract holidays
  • you pay a franchise, you keep 100% of lesson fees
  • extended training – Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses (if desired)

Driving instructors car leasing

A vehicle may be included within your franchise agreement. Some driving schools offer a franchise with the option of not taking the car. Research driving instructor car leasing as you may be able to source your own vehicle at a better rate than what the driving school is offering. Leasing a vehicle will often involve regular vehicle change and service.

Trainee driving instructor jobs

As a trainee driving instructor who has passed part 2 and has received at least 40 hours of training towards part 3, you are legible to teach for pay for a maximum of 6 months. Trainee driving instructor jobs vary in hours and pay. Although as a trainee, you do not have to specify to clients that you are training, a driving school may make this clear to learner driver clients and as such request a reduced fee. This will of course result in reduced earning. If a contract is involved, ensure that your weekly franchise fee reflects the reduced fee paid by clients if applicable.

As a trainee, you are only entitled to three attempts at the part 3 test. If you fail your third attempt, ensure the contract terminates at this point, leaving you no more weekly franchise fees to pay. Part of your contract may involve training for part 3. This training may be provided as ‘free’, but of course very little is for free. This will be taken into account within your franchise fee. Some schools can take advantage of trainee instructors desperate to sign up and get training and earning.

Although it’s important to make sure you are not taken advantage of and that you are left with a reasonable profit at the end of each week, it’s also important to understand that the primary role of a driving instructor is to learn and not earn.

Whilst looking for a trainee driving instructor job, the primary concern should be with the quality of training you receive. Some schools are ORDIT registered (Official Register of Driving Instructor Training). Although this government scheme ensures a certain criteria is met, in reality many driving instructor trainers who are not ORDIT registered are equally proficient at training and in some cases surpass those that are on the register.

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