ADI training help
ADI training help – learn what the driving school’s don’t tell you.
Being a driving instructor can be brilliant and this page is not meant to put you off. I’m just opening yours eyes so you know the truth.
I wish someone had told me these things before I started!
Many people don’t make it
The vast majority of people who start to become instructors simply don’t make it.
I once saw an article in a magazine at a test centre where they followed people over the course of two years from the first time they applied for an ADI1 starter pack through to their first standards check.
How many of them made it to and passed their first standards check?
It is not easy to be a driving instructor. Many won’t make it. Many will fail. Lots will give up. Sorry to sound negative but that’s just the raw truth.
Take a look at the official DVSA pass rates on my pages for ADI part 1, ADI part 2 and ADI part 3 and you’ll see that the vast majority of people training to become driving instructors will never pass the exams.
The pass rate for the part 3 exam in Birmingham for 2017/18 was just 21.6%. If that sounds bad then remember that about 50% of people wouldn’t even make it that far!
You have roughly a 50% chance of getting to the stage where the pass rate is 21.6%.
What about those that do make it?
Many had been sold a dream of earning £30,000+ and realise that it’s not going to happen so they just drop it. Some are killed on the job. Some can’t stand the stress and road rage. Others won’t get enough (or any) work.
I sometimes think back to the people that were on the training course with me. Each of us were so keen and had dreams of getting our own school. There were about 20 of us in the room and one of us quit just weeks into the training because the money was so bad. One bottled it and pushed a note under the door saying “Sorry, I just can’t do it”. He’d been talking to me on our lunch break about how nervous he was. He didn’t like the responsibility of being with learners. Another went on to become an examiner and the rest…who knows?
Anyone can offer ADI training help
Anybody can legally train someone to be a driving instructor and offer you ADI training help.
Surely they’d have to be an instructor themselves? No.
Surely they’d need to at least pass a course? No.
Surely they must at least have a driving licence? No!
Anyone can just have a go; even someone who’s never done the job, never passed any of the exams and can’t drive!
The only legal protection you have is that nobody other than a driving instructor can take money for driving tuition. To get around this they either contract part 2 work out to instructors or do that part for “free” and add the cost into part 1 or part 3. The DVSA are trying to close this loophole by making ORDIT compulsory but that’s been going on for years.
You can make big money by selling training. Many people will happily pay £2000 up front so if you can get 10 people you’ve just made £20,000 overnight. Then comes the awful training, the failed exams and it all starts over again…
Not all schools and trainers are like this but this is what often happens.
Be sure to read my page on driving instructor training scams.
There can be a long wait for the tests
It’s normal for you to have to wait at least three months to get a part 2 or part 3 test.
I had to wait 8 months for my part 3 test. That was a long time ago in 2002 and things have gotten better but there is often still a long waiting time.
This is just one reason it is crucial you are ready for a test before taking it. You can get cancellations but they are very rare for instructor tests because nobody wants to cancel and have to wait again!
Be wary of anyone that says they can get you tests within days or even weeks. Maybe they can but always check the waiting times yourself by contacting the DVSA.
You can get hit with big tax bills
When you’re self employed you can get hit with huge tax bills because you have to pay some of next years tax on top of this years. You’re not paying twice as much in total but it seems like you are because you’re paying in advance.
If your tax bill is £2000 then you’d pay £3000 because you have to pay 50% on top of what you owe as an advance payment on next years bill. You then pay another 50% (£1000) 6 months later.
This is known as payment on account. It was designed to help people budget better for their income tax but the tragic irony is that it actually puts many small firms out of business just as they’re getting going!
I’m not going to go into detail here because this is something you really need to talk to an accountant about.
If you start working as an instructor in October then when April comes around you’ll only have 6 months of income to pay tax on. The following year you’ll have a whole year to pay tax on so your second year is often when you get your first full tax bill.
ADI training help tip – remember to save for your tax!
Many new driving instructors simply forget they are not paying tax and don’t set aside money each month to cover their tax bill. Your tax isn’t taken out of your wages as it would be when you’re employed, YOU have to take it out of your income and put it aside yourself.
Don’t forget national insurance as well. That’s another 12% of your income on top of the 20% you paid in tax (correct in 2018).
If you want to read more about all of this then click here to read about payment on account on the official Inland Revenue site.
Self employed stigma
When you tell someone you’re self employed, they’re usually quite interested.
They’ll ask you what business you have, how long you’ve been doing it, how you got into it. When you tell a bank they just don’t want to know! As soon as you say you’re self employed the barriers go up.
Lenders see self employment as a big risk. Remember that even if you work for a big driving school you are still self employed. There is no such thing as an employed driving instructor. No backup, no support, no sick pay. You’re a one man (or woman) band on your own.
You’ll come across this prejudice everywhere you go. Call up a company and say you want a loan and they’ll be only too happy to help until you say that you’re self employed. At that point you may as well just put the phone down because you’ve got no chance. There are companies willing to help but you’ll pay a few % more APR for it.
You can’t get a mortgage, credit or rent property for the first 3 years
When you apply for a mortgage they will ask to see a minimum of 2 or 3 years of accounts.
If you don’t have them they will sometimes accept whatever you do have but offer to lend you less. It’s very hard to get any kind of credit during these first 2 or 3 years.
There was a time when I had no accounts and rented a flat. The only way I could do it was to pay 6 months rent up front with a large deposit and even then it took a lot to convince them!
It’s not all bad!
The aim of this page of ADI training help is not to put you off becoming a driving instructor.
I just want to show you what it’s really like. There are many good companies that do work hard to put good instructors on the road and they shouldn’t be given the same treatment as the cowboys.
My advice to learners is to choose an instructor not just a school. My advice to instructors is to choose a trainer not just a school. Good instructors/trainers can work at schools but the very best ones usually have their own business.
To see some video clips showing what happens during the job and to read the good and bad points visit my page about the good and bad of being a driving instructor.