Last Updated on February 10, 2023
With so many factors at play, understanding a driving instructor salary isn’t as straight forward to answer as it seems. Let’s dig a little deeper into the factors that can determine what a driving instructor could earn.
Franchise vs Independent Driving Instructors
Becoming a driving instructor under the umbrella of a franchise has advantages. For example, you will be able to leverage the marketing prowess of the franchise name in order to get more pupil enquiries in your area. Household name franchises instil confidence in pupils because like any product or service, brand recognition has a direct correlation with sales. Franchises can also offer support and training to instructors in order to develop a successful instructor business. Most franchises also provide the car too, so essentially they can get you up and running with everything you need.
However, franchises also require the driving instructor to pay fees in order to operate. Fees can range from £50 per week without a car to £290 per week with a fully maintained car included.
It depends upon what you are looking for and how independent you want to be. Do you just want an off the shelve franchise package of resources and support services to operate your own quality driving school with pupil generation and a car as an option? Or do you want the school to do everything for you including supplying a car so that you are almost like an employee. Some franchises just require a months notice to leave after an initial period of three months while others require a 3 or 6 months notice to leave after an initial period of 1 to 3 years!
Interestingly the higher priced franchises tend to usually require the longer contractual commitments which is understandable as they are supplying a car. So depending upon what you are paying if you’re not seeing sufficient bookings, the fee can become a burden on your earnings, as it’s due regardless of whether you’re fully booked with pupils or not.
Independent driving instructors won’t have franchise fees to contend with, however they also can’t leverage the marketing and brand recognition of a franchise. But that isn’t necessarily a negative. An independent instructor with good business and marketing acumen will be able to do just as well or even better than a franchise instructor, but it’s a much tougher route to driving a higher salary as you’ll also have marketing costs to contend with too.
Being part of a franchise or going independent are two huge factors in how much a driving instructor can earn, but ultimately it all comes down to the individual.
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Expenses Will Cut into Your Earnings as an Instructor
There is no way around it. A driving instructor is a business and a business naturally has expenses. This can cut into your driving instructors salary but are crucial for running your business. One of the biggest expenses for a driving instructor week to week (excluding franchise fees) is usually fuel costs. If you work full time hours you can expect to pay around £50 – £80 per week for fuel.
The cost of renting a new fully maintained car for example is currently around £100 per week (based on usage of 30,000 miles per annum) for a typical driving school car.
You can of course buy your car to eliminate rental costs, however you’ll be burdened with repair and servicing costs which could indeed by higher than the cost of renting over time if the car requires significant repairs. The car also won’t last forever and when it comes to replacing a car that has racked up significant mileage with little to no trade in value, you’ll need to have deep pockets in order to find a replacement.
Based on a survey of 20,000 driving instructors carried in 2018 carried by Accountants FBTC, independent instructors obtained on average about 28 hours of paid for lessons per week at an average hourly rate of £25 whereas those on a franchise obtained on average 30 hours per week at an average hourly rate of £26.
Therefore, driving instructors salary on a franchise earn around £80 more per week than those who are independent but of course they have to pay a franchisee fee but equally an independent has to buy the services/resources etc. which would otherwise be included in the franchise fee.
However, in order to get students through the door it can often be a “race to the bottom” where the lowest price or the cheapest deal gets pupils in the driver’s seat which also cuts into your earnings as an instructor. Be wary of offering too many deals to students or you may end up chasing your tail by being fully booked but not actually earning any money.
So, How Much do Driving Instructors Earn?
Well it depends on the instructor. A good instructor with excellent retention, repeat business, referrals and business acumen could quite easily make £30,000 per year without any issues. Though not everyone will be able to achieve this salary because of how much it takes to get to this stage. At the early stages of a driving instructors career, don’t expect to make £30k per year, you’ll be starting much further down as you build up your reputation in the local area.
According to Indeed, they state a driving instructors salary is around £34,174 per year. However, with self-submission surveys, it is likely that only successful instructors would be so forthcoming of their income while instructors starting out, struggling or those thinking becoming an instructor could be a quick and easy way to make money won’t likely be making anywhere near this figure.
Indeed also state that the average tenure of an instructor is only 2-4 years, which makes their average salary figure of £34,000 questionable, because if you are earning that figure as an instructor, you’re doing very well and would likely last longer than 2-4 years.
Being a driving instructor is a rewarding career because you’re teaching pupils a life changing skill. Earning in the top bracket would be the icing on the cake.
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