Becoming an ADI can be a fantastic career if you succeed. If you don’t, it can become an expensive headache you wish you didn’t have. We’ve put together a five-step guide to help you avoid unnecessary pitfalls along the way.
The sales hook. Earn up to £50k a year. Tempting isn’t it? If you do the maths it all adds up doesn’t it- but are those figures achievable? The reality is, most inexperienced ADI’S could take years before generating a turnover/profit of £50k. Before embarking on your journey I recommend researching the key points I’ve listed below when estimating your net profit.
• Hours you’ll work each week
• Holiday/sick pay
• Allocate 5/10% losses through lesson cancellations
• Operating costs
• Net Profit
Is it for me? Be your own boss, work your own hours. In reality, working your own hours will only be achieved if you have a constant supply of pupils who are able to take driving lessons to fit in with your schedule. Managing your hours will be determined on supply and demand. If the demand for driving lessons is low, you may find yourself not being able to cherry pick your hours. With experience and gaining a good reputation, you may find you have a nice supply of pupils, making working your own hours more achievable than it was when you first started.
I spent a lot of money with a large training organisation, which left me short of where I needed to be when taking my part 3 test. After failing my first attempt, I contacted an independent trainer who got me through the test on my next attempt. The standard of these two trainers was miles apart. In retrospect, my belief is – a quality ADI trainer doesn’t need to be supplied PDI’S on a franchise basis. If they’re well respected within this industry, the trainer should generate enough work without having to pay a franchise for it.
What are you getting for your money and how does it compare with everyone else? From my own research, the national driving schools course costs are almost double the cost for some independent driving schools. Just remember, no matter who you choose, fundamentally you’re paying for the person who’ll be sitting next to you in the car. Taking all that into account, you should probably have reservations over a company who is a lot cheaper than everyone else.
Try to avoid paying for the course all in one go. If you can, ask the company if they can offer a pay as you go scheme. Then if you ever feel like it’s not for you, you haven’t wasted all your money.
PDI pass rates could be compared to practical driving test pass rates, in the sense that everyone is different. Some learner drivers may need 30 hours to get to test standard, some could need 40, 50 or even 60 hours to get there. The same theory should be applied to your PDI training too. This could be one of the big reasons why the part 3 test pass rate is so low, given that too many PDI’S take the test when they’re not ready.
The DVSA require you to have a minimum of 40 hours part 3 training before you take the test. Will that be enough hours for everyone? Definitely not. If you don’t feel ready, don’t take the test. Yes it’ll cost more money in the short term but it will definitely save you more money in the long term.
Being an ADI myself for 15 years, I can vouch that it’s a great career which I still love to this day. Along your journey you may have some ups and downs, but hopefully there will be more ups – now you know where other people have failed.