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Becoming self-employed is a dream that many of the working population hold dear – and on which many have been acting in recent years. The first half of 2022 saw business start-up rates jump by nearly a fifth, at its peak equating to 90 new businesses being created each hour. Each of these businesses was, more or less, an individual taking the leap from salaried work to a new life on their own schedule.
There are hundreds of ways to facilitate a new freelance career, whether monetising a hobby or taking your work skills into a consultation role. But there is one tried-and-tested method for which you might find yourself uniquely equipped: becoming a driving instructor.
Becoming a driving instructor is, granted, an intense and even expensive process. But at the other end lies an extremely lucrative career with all the perks freelancing can provide. To become an approved driving instructor (ADI), you must first pass three ADI tests. The first is a theory test, the second a driving ability test and the third an instructional ability test. Altogether, they cost a little over £300 – with a further £300 required to register formally.
As a freelance driving instructor, your time is yours to plan. This is the great allure to driving instruction, and indeed self-employment in general: the option to choose your schedule and workload, and to plan your days accordingly. But this is both a blessing and a curse, requiring as it does a close eye for detail and a healthy attitude to both time management and timekeeping. On top of this, you’ll be putting a lot of miles on your vehicle so maintenance will be a major component of your business structure. If you have the mechanical knowledge and abilities to do this yourself, you will save a substantial amount in the long run; so it’s worth investing in a mini garage of your own with everything you need e.g.: torque wrench, pliers, car jack, site radio and so on from suppliers like RS.
If you are taking on multiple students, you will need to internalise their progress as well as take notes. You cannot afford to be late for any one appointment, nor can you afford to be out of the loop regarding their individual progress. This can feel a little like spinning plates, but practice makes perfect – after which the rewards of a self-made schedule can be enjoyed to the fullest.
A considerable majority of driving instructors work freelance, with a great many of those using their own vehicles to conduct lessons. This means not only inviting students into your car but allowing them to drive it. Naturally, this can be a bit of a hurdle for new and prospective instructors – particularly if their car is not fully suited to the task.
In cases such as this, a little investment in another car specifically for learning can go a long way. A used car is absolutely fine, as long as it has relatively little in the way of service history and a recent MOT pass. However, whatever the car, you should take out temporary car insurance in order to give it an extensive test drive.
You need a car that handles well, and that is forgiving for new students. You’ll know exactly what to look for after your training and should not jump into any purchase or lease unless you’re sure your students will receive the most benefit.