Sunday, 18 January 2009

Qualifying as a Fleet Trainer - Is it worth it?

At the moment, many instructors are struggling to find learners to pay their wages.

Some are leaving the industry, some are cutting prices to compete, some are looking to use their skills in a wider market - Fleet.

Could this be the next get rich quick scheme?

Some fleet qualification suppliers are really pushing their courses at the moment, with promises of regular daytime/weekday work, paid by the day or half day as the incentive to train, but what is the reality behind this?

There are rumours of free fleet qualification courses (I'd love to be able to publicise these, but the guys who say they have been on them won't give out the details for some reasons.), but on average, the costs for DSA approved fleet diploma courses range from between £800-£1500, which is not a small investment, considering you will also need to take around a week off from your paid job.

For this you get a lovely orange badge from the DSA, which is often only recognised as an "entry qualification" by many fleet providers.

To get to the point where these providers will actually employ you, you may then be required to take another course in order to work for them - often another week off work and up to £1000.

This is before you get any work and will rarely guarantee you anything at all.

One of my colleagues who runs a successful fleet company is receiving around 5 CVs a week from fleet trainers with many years of experience and often with a plethora of qualifications.

Unfortunately he only takes on around 1 new trainer a year, and he reckons he is only able to offer them around 2 or 3 weeks work a year, often in specialist areas due to the over-supply of "standard" fleet training.

However, you know me by now and I have to say that there IS work out there. There is huge potential for professional driver training across the whole of the UK, but in an economic downturn, this may not be the right time to expect it to be the golden shot for your business plan.

So what if you've done your training, you've got some skills that the fleet companies want, you've managed to speak to the right people and have convinced them of your worth and they've offered you work.

How much is it worth?

Well the worrying bit is that some fleet providers are paying highly qualified trainers as little as £100/day. That's for a 9-5 job effectively. This wouldn't be so bad if you could get 4 or 5 days of this a week, but the reality of the fleet market for freelance trainers is that you will probably only get the odd sporadic day (or worse - half day).

You will need to re-arrange your current (and often loyal) customers around these odd days of work. You may need to travel up to 150 miles to provide this training, and not all providers will cover your travel costs.

But what about providing your own training - yep, go indy?!

Well, if you have the skills, you could charge from £250 - £500/day for your services, but remember that for each of these days you provide, you will need to spend time gaining the contract, working the contract, then providing all of the relevant back-up to service that contract. One day at £350 could take 3 days of work. And that's if you manage to get the work at all. You could easily spend a couple of days trying to win a contract worth just a few hundred pounds only to find that your competitors have undercut you, or that they simply come across as more professional.

So after that long post - the question remains - Is it worth it?

1 comment:

Ben Mcfuzzylugs said...

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Lots of great common sense info