Good and bad of being a driving instructor

Good and bad of being a driving instructor

Here’s my honest opinion on the good and bad of being a driving instructor based on 20 years of experience in the job.

Any job has good and bad point so don’t let the bad put you off. If you are looking for the perfect job without any drawbacks then you’ll never find it.

I would like to point out that to me this isn’t a job because I love it so much and that’s really the key to enjoying anything. Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.

Read my page The truth about being a driving instructor after you’ve read. You might also want to read my page on funny driving lesson stories because if you become an instructor these things could well happen to you.

The good of being a driving instructor

  • You’re the boss so you can work when you want to, not when someone tells you to.
  • You can transform peoples lives. Teaching them to drive means they can take their family out, get a new job or just be more independent
  • You run your own business. It’s a great feeling to be self-sufficient and know that you have your own company.
  • The money can be great. You can easily earn £25 an hour and it can be much higher, even after expenses.
  • There are lots of things to go into after becoming an ADI such as growing your own school, becoming an ADI trainer, starting up websites to help learners, advanced training, fleet training (visiting companies and training company drivers to be safer etc.). It’s far from a dead-end job.
  • You can always have the newest shape/model cars with all the latest kit and gadgets
  • You get to meet lots of great people that all have their own characteristics and stories. Your pupils will remember you for the rest of their lives; everyone remembers their driving instructor!
  • It’s easy to find your car in a car park with the roof sign on

The bad of being a driving instructor

  • You will be in car crashes. If you spend every day in a car with people who can’t drive then it’s a case of when it will happen, not if it will happen. You can watch crashes I’ve been in here.
  • You will get vile pupils now and then. I have had people whose attitude is so bad you wouldn’t believe me if I told you the things they have said. You’ll meet people who think they know it all, even though they have never driven before. You’ll meet pupils that are abusive, have terribly bad breath or body odour and deliberately attempt to crash the car because they think it’s funny. They are quite rare but they are out there. Part of my ADI training involves teaching you how to avoid these problems.
  • You’re forever walking a tightrope when you drive a car. One mistake such as speeding and you could lose your entire business.
  • Your income is never guaranteed. You might have months where you earn £2,500 and months where you earn £500. The bad winter of 2010 put a lot of instructors out of business.
  • It’s very stressful. You’re going to be dealing with road rage and idiots on the road every day. Hardly a week goes by when someone won’t blast the horn at you for stalling or shout at you out of the window
  • You need to be multi-skilled. Not only do you need to be a driving instructor but you’ll have to learn how to build and run websites, advertise, keep financial accounts (even if you have an accountant) and more.

General points on being a driving instructor

To work as a driving instructor you’ll need to be personable and able to mix with anyone. Some people will have opinions and attitudes you don’t agree with. Some won’t speak much English or maybe from other countries and have different cultural views or etiquette.

You are going to be meeting many different types of people during your career as a driving instructor. I’ve taught all sorts including the “normal” types such as students, nurses, doctors and actors. Then there are the slightly more uncommon such as professional poker players, escorts, lap dancers and drug dealers. Sometimes you really wish you hadn’t asked what they do for a living!

There’s a law saying that only driving instructors can teach people to drive for money, except police in line with their work such as educating bad drivers they have pulled over. The rules on this are very strict and you can’t be rewarded in any way for driving tuition. People try and get round this by saying they’re paying for your time, not tuition or that you’re teaching them in return for them painting your house etc. Any reward at all is illegal and you can be heavily fined and even sent to prison for teaching someone to drive without being a qualified driving instructor.

That means pretty much everyone has to go through driving schools. You may even get phone calls from celebrities. You could turn up for a lesson and find out that you’re teaching someone famous that wants to remain anonymous.

The kind of things that can happen to driving instructors

I heard a story once which I think was true but I can’t confirm it. They said an instructor had a call booking a lesson in Scotland and when they turned up there were several men in suits waiting. They explained to him that a famous person wanted lessons but it had been kept secret for security reasons. Then Madonna got in the car! Yes, the famous singer.

The men were her bodyguards who I think were said to have gone on the lesson as well. You may remember when she moved to Scotland after marrying Guy Ritchie and allegedly wanted lessons to be safe on the roads there. Like I say, maybe not true but I do remember hearing it years back and things like this could happen.

Do tell your insurers if you’re teaching someone famous. Imagine what could happen if a famous footballer broke his leg in a crash and it ended their career.

Is being a driving instructor worth it?

Being a driving instructor isn’t for everyone but it’s the best job in the world for me. Yes there are bad things but the good things far outweigh those and there’s nothing else I’d rather do.

Read my page The truth about being a driving instructor to learn much more about the job.

Take a look at the official DVSA requirements to be a driving instructor to see if you could do it or see my page on how to become a driving instructor.