How much does a driving instructor earn?
There is no fixed salary. You aren’t employed and you don’t get paid a wage. How much you earn as a driving instructor is up to you.
Keep reading to the end of this page and I’ll explain why you can, and can’t, earn the mythical 40k a year that you’ve no doubt read about.
Can a driving instructor earn 40k?
That’s the most common question I get asked on a daily basis so here’s the honest answer:
Yes, you can but most won’t and those that will often up making themselves ill doing it.
Driving instructors that earn good money are more than just good instructors. They’re good at marketing, have great people skills, understand the internet, psychology and many other things.
If you understand that then you’ll do well. If not you’ll be yet another frustrated instructor, angry that they are making no money.
Don’t expect to train as an instructor in a few weeks and immediately earn £40,000 a year from day one working through a driving school. They are telling you this to sell you a course.
I can’t tell you how many emails I get a year from people saying they read my site, thought I was making it all up and now a year later they wish they’d listened to and regret ever doing it.
This video looks at why many driving instructors fail to make money
How a driving instructor can earn £40,000 or more
Imagine a driving instructor that has spent years in the job, knows it inside out and has a well-established business.
They’re charging £30 an hour with no discounts or intro offers. They pay nothing for advertising because they are so well-known.
This instructor works 36 hours a week which consists of doing lessons at 0900-1100, 1200-1400 and 1500 to 1700 Monday to Friday and 0900-1100 and 1300-1500 on a Saturday.
All of those things are achievable. I have worked 6 days a week myself for 20 years and doing 6 hours a day with at least an hour between lessons is just like a normal working day. People are available at those times for lessons; I haven’t worked evenings for 10 years and mornings and afternoons are always popular times with students and part-time workers.
36 hours a week times £30 an hour = £1,080 a week
£1,080 times 48 weeks (taking 4 weeks holiday per year) = £51,840
What about business expenses though?
- A Ford Fiesta Titanium will cost around £390 per month so £4,680 a year. All servicing, parts, breakdowns, tyres etc. are included in this cost.
- Diesel costs will be around £2,700 a year for a 36 hour week.
- Insurance can vary hugely but let’s say £600 a year.
Those total business expenses come to £7,980.
£51,840 income minus £7,890 business expenses = £43,950.
You still have to pay tax but that’s the same for any job. The point is, there are no tricks here. I’m not hiding any costs or exaggerating prices. Those figures are all perfectly achievable and realistic.
So can you earn £40,000?
It is possible BUT you need to remember that this example is for an instructor at the top of their game who really knows what they are doing. Not everyone will earn that, especially new instructors or those that just aren’t as good.
You also have to do a lot of hours. If you think 36 hours a week isn’t a lot then just wait until you try doing it as a driving instructor…
This income could be dented by the odd pupil cancelling or illness but that isn’t going to happen very often. Many self-employed people would have another income stream to cover those things, such as renting out a house or having other instructors paying to use their franchise.
Can you imagine yourself as such an instructor?
The catch to earning 40k
There is one colossal problem to earning a good income as a driving instructor: you’ll be working around the clock and exhausting yourself to do it.
It’s easy to boast how much you can earn without revealing exactly how you’re doing it. Many will have you believe that they’re only working 3 or 4 hours a day and spending the rest of their time sailing on their private yacht. It isn’t like that!
To earn 40k as a driving instructor you’ll need to be working 6 or 7 days a week from morning until evening. You’ll need to be making videos, doing social media, updating your website and many other things.
There is no point in earning decent money if you’re killing yourself to do it.
Look at the example above where I say an instructor is working 36 hours a week.
That doesn’t sound like much but I deliberately made it sound easier than it is to show how easy it is for companies to trick you into thinking that.
The truth about earning good money as a driving instructor
36 hours is just the time you spend doing lessons. What about the time spent travelling to and from lessons? Even if that was just 15 minutes each way for each lesson, that’s 9 hours of travelling.
18 lessons, each 2 hours long, with 30 minutes travelling for each lesson is 30 minutes x 18 lessons =540 minutes or 9 hours.
Add on the time spent on videos, social media etc. and you’re well over a 50 hour week.
There is no point earning 40k if you’re having to work a 50 hour week to get it.
Earning £30 an hour might sound good compared to minimum wage jobs but it’s really a piddling amount. After taking out your expenses you’re down to at most £23 an hour.
Depending on where you are in the country, many driving instructors will earn nothing close to £30 an hour. It’s often as low as £15 to £20 an hour after you take into account discounts and introductory offers.
If you’re only charging £15 an hour then you’ll be down to about £8 an hour at most after expenses.
What the average driving instructor earns
The average driving instructor earns around £15,000 to £20,000 a year (after paying expenses but before you have paid tax and national insurance).
I know this from talking to hundreds of instructors over the years, talking to accountants who do the books for instructors and having been in that position myself.
This doesn’t mean you will earn that because as we’ve already said several times, it’s up to you. If you want more you can get it but for people who insist on having a figure then that’s what most instructors get.
See my other page about instructor earnings for an example of what ADI’s earn.
The truth about what a driving instructor earns
I hope you can now see how misleading claims about a driving instructor’s income can be.
I wrote his page so it started off sounding great before I slowly revealed each thing that makes it worse. The thing is, most places won’t do that.
If you only read down to the section before “The catch to earning 40k” then you were probably excited and ready to sign up.
Most companies will stop there and not tell you the full story – I have.
If you don’t believe me then I wish you the best of luck. You’ll need it.