Saturday, 27 September 2008

Using a driving instructor's car for test

People who just want to use my car for the driving test make me laugh.

When they ask, I usually bite my tongue and ask them why? Hell - why not use your own?

I even had a parent ask me this and I asked them why they would not lend them theirs (they had been teaching their son in it) as he would be more used to it - and what was their response?

"What if he crashes it?"


So him crashing my only source of income would be ok then would it?

Not a chance guys. If you want a car for the test - hire one.

If you want someone to teach you to drive - phone a driving instructor - not a car hire firm.

Just in case you're confused, you can take any car to a driving test as long as it is in a fit condition to use on the road (would pass an MOT on the day, including having no warning lights, everything works) and it is insured for the purposes of the test (check with your insurance company, they usually are, but some will stipulate that you tell them - if you don't and you crash on test then you're not covered and you can guarantee that the examiner will sue you for lots and lots of money - get it sorted). It needs tax and a valid MOT and remember that the examiner will ask the candidate to check certain things on the vehicle before the test starts (lights, brake lights, screenwash maybe.....) so don't turn up in a wreck, or you'll have wasted your fee.

The car does not need dual controls, the car does not need to be of a certain size.

The DSA have a list of unsuitable vehicles (vans without rear side windows, some convertibles), which are deemed unsuitable purely because of the vision from the examiner's seat.

So please - stop asking us this dumb question. We would be stupid to say yes.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Intensive Driving Instructor Courses

This one has turned up a couple of times recently.

There's a few companies who suggest that you can train intensively to become a driving instructor - very tempting if you've just lost your job or taken redundancy, or even if you're thinking about changing careers and want as little time "sans-wage" as possible.

The fact is though - it's a long process.

There's 3 exams to pass, each with their attendant waiting times (2 weeks minimum for part 1, then 5 weeks ish for part 2 and another 5 weeks for part 3).

There's also the Criminal Records Bureau checks, which can take a couple of months to sort out.

Both Passmasters and The Instructor College supposedly offer intensive courses - one of these is advertised as a 2 week course to learn everything you need to know to become a driving instructor!!!!!!!

Yeah right.

In the real world - you'll need to study like hell to get through part 1 (don't bother paying anyone to train you for this - you can do it with nothing more than the internet and the instructor forums - if you have a trainer lined up for the rest of the training they'll help you out over the phone and email for nowt usually).

For part 2, unless you are already an advanced driver capable of a very high standard of driving (IAM would get you close, RoSPA Gold would get you closer, DIAmond is the same as part 2), you'll need a good few hours - reckon on between 10 and 20 hours of training. Add on to this all of the private practice you will need to do to make sure these techniques are what you do ALL THE TIME, not just on your training sessions, and you'll find that you've done around 120 hours of driving before you take the test. Even if you have passed an advanced test, you'll want to have a couple of sessions to check you're up to the right standard at the time and working to the same standard that the DSA expect of you.

Then comes part 3.

Well the training companies usually recommend 40 hours of part 3 training, and will often insist that you throw yourself into one of your three part 3 attempts before they offer any more, whether you are ready or not.

The reality is that unless you are already a trainer or a coach, you will need around 60 hours of training for this part of the process.

Despite the promises of the big schools - you will probably find that you can't get enough training when you need it ("sorry, our next available appointment for you is at 2am on February 37th 2019, but of course this will be free under our promise of all the training you need - thank-you for training with us, have a nice day"). Many potential instructors find that despite signing up for a training "package", they still need to pay for extra training out of their own pocket to enable them to complete the 3 parts before their 2 years is up.

So - are intensive driving instructor training courses worth looking at?

Don't be bloody stupid.

So what should you do?

Look for a good trainer in your area and make sure that they can fit you in. Never pay for more than one session in advance (this way you can leave without being tied in to paying £4k to a company who can't fulfil their promises). Always expect it to be harder than you think - it probably will be.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Lots of hits for Driving Instructor Earnings

I'm still getting lots of hits from the search engines for Driving Instructor Earnings, so I thought I'd offer you guys some links:

  1. Driving Instructor Earnings Calculator - though not entirely accurate, this is worth a look. If you think things through carefully you can actually get a reasonable impression of how hard you'll have to work. Bear in mind that for every 1 hour lesson you give, you'll need to work for around 1.5 hours, for every 2 hour lesson - 2.5 hours. Don't forget to look at the "after tax" bit!
  2. Becoming a Driving Instructor - The Truth Behind the TV Ads - A great article about whether it's worth becoming a driving instructor or not.
  3. So you want to be a driving instructor? - A real article by a real instructor. No, he's not a happy bunny.
  4. Instructor Training Colleges and Empty Promises - The infamous "Money for Cold Hope" article from the respected industry representatives - the Driving Instructors Association.
  5. Driving Instructor Pay - How much you could earn - the optimistic but realistic version.
  6. Driving Standards Agency Forum Thread - boy was this guy not happy when he posted.
  7. Driving Instructor Jobs - Advice from Career Scotland, with the very interesting fact that only 4% of ADIs have flexible hours. ("Work the hours to suit you" indeed. Please add "r customers" to that statement.)
  8. Money Saving Expert - An interesting thread from a non-ADI forum. Friends, relatives and Instructors tell their side of things.
  9. Becoming an ADI - the 2pass view, written by an ADI.
  10. Real driving lesson prices - what we see every day, just for when you are working out how much you'll earn based on £20/hour.
After reading those you should get a realistic idea of what you can expect. Good luck.