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#1 04-03-04 14:36:05

Natalie
Member
From: Leeds, West Yorkshire
Registered: 03-03-04
Posts: 176

Starting Out

I have only just started training as an ADI and haven't even taken any tests yet.

I was curious as to what people would suggest:

1.   Do a Franchise?
2.   Start out on your own straight away?

I would have thought a franchise would be best to get the experience but not really sure.

Glad to hear what you all think.

Nats

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04-03-04 14:36:05

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Re: Starting Out




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#2 04-03-04 15:02:52

bigred
Verified Member
From: Kent
Registered: 25-02-04
Posts: 1,592
Website

Re: Starting Out

Hi Natalie,

I see you've already had a good welcome from some of the guys, can I just add my good wishes for your training.

As a driving school owner I'm going to put the case for starting with a franchise, hopefully others will give the other side of the coin.

We guarantee 60 to 80 pupils in first 12 months.

We take all the phone calls and your only real task is to book in pupils who want to start.

You run your own diary and take what holidays and days off you want.

We give you a new car and offer a spare car if things go wrong with yours.

You have set costs and no nasty suprises.

We do your accounts, weekly pupil reports, supply all your stationery, etc.

We have our in house trainer to help prepare for tests and a CPD programme to help you improve yourself.

We charge £1 to £2 more per lesson than most (Honest!) independants which pays for a large chunk of your fees.

We honestly beleive you will earn more with us and have a better quality of work / life balance than by trying to do it yourself.

I'm sure we do other stuff as well, but I'll save that in case anyone comes up with a better way of starting out.

Regards,

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#3 04-03-04 15:07:49

Natalie
Member
From: Leeds, West Yorkshire
Registered: 03-03-04
Posts: 176

Re: Starting Out

Thanks for that Big Red.  My first thought is to go with a franchise to get the experience of being an ADI also for all the things you have stated.

Obvisouly there are charges for all the things you provide so would this be cheaper than going it alone?

Nats

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#4 04-03-04 15:21:55

bigred
Verified Member
From: Kent
Registered: 25-02-04
Posts: 1,592
Website

Re: Starting Out

Hi again,

You will need a car either way, so if you take out those figures our franchise costs about £50per week for the 1st 6 months and £100 per week thereafter. With you hopefully earning £2 per hour more than a new independant instructor that's £70 per week over 35 hours. So for the 1st 6 months I don't think you can lose.

Other franchises vary and promises do need to be made in writing and with known conditions for failure to deliver.

Some companies have long periods of notice (6 months in some cases) and may not give you much work during your notice period.

There are quite a few other pitfalls and carefull investigation should precede signing anything.

Regards,

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#5 04-03-04 16:18:21

Bob_FOADS
Guest

Re: Starting Out

2 pence worth from someone with nothing to gain from replying...

I started out with a franchice from a VERY large company. Used them to gain my pink licence / training etc. etc. When I went green (passed all parts of the tests) I went it alone.

The pay was not good and there were other problems BUT it gave me the chance to BE a driving instructor without any hassel. No car to think about, no advertising, they did my diary etc. etc. all I needed to do was pick up the pupil at the right time and teach them.

It took me 6 months to get fully licenced which was the minimum franchise term and I think they wanted 1 months notice of me leaving so it all worked out OK.

When I was leaving I did look into other franchises but most have minimum contract times, periouds of notice required and so on which I personlay don't like so have gone it on my own.

On your own you CAN get more money in the long run BUT building up a client base takes time and you need a fair capital for the car / insurance and so on.

6 months into going it alone, my diary is half full and I'm earning around about the same as I did when I was in a franchise but working 20 hours instead of 30 a week.

Finaly, my recomendation, go with a franchise to get your feet wet then think about the future later.

#6 04-03-04 16:40:11

Natalie
Member
From: Leeds, West Yorkshire
Registered: 03-03-04
Posts: 176

Re: Starting Out

Thanks both of you for the great advice.   big_smile

Just one more question promise once you are with a franchise and you have a full calendar if one of your pupils has a friend or relative that wants lessons do you have to send them to whoever you are working for or can you just take them on yourself?  I was thinking maybe that would be a good way to build up my own pupil base.

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#7 04-03-04 16:43:29

jonks
Guest

Re: Starting Out

Natalie, Ask as many questions as you like  smile  the more the better!

that's what we are here for!  big_smile

#8 04-03-04 17:05:24

Bob_FOADS
Guest

Re: Starting Out

Depends on the franchise agreement.
Many franchise holders don't care where you get pupils from as you pay the same franchise fee no matter how many clients you have officialy or privatley.

Some franchises do however only allow you to use their students and / or refer other students through them.

Read the small print and ask the questions from whoever you intend franchising with.

#9 04-03-04 17:08:31

Natalie
Member
From: Leeds, West Yorkshire
Registered: 03-03-04
Posts: 176

Re: Starting Out

I will bear that in mind thanks.  By the sounds of it I just need to make sure I read all small print before doing anything.  I think I can manage that.

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#10 04-03-04 17:52:57

bigred
Verified Member
From: Kent
Registered: 25-02-04
Posts: 1,592
Website

Re: Starting Out

Hi Natalie,

As I'm too far away to be of any use as a franchisor, I would be quite happy to answer any questions on franchise agreements, I've looked at loads and can probably and impartially point out some things for you to query with any company.

Regards,

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#11 04-03-04 18:11:14

Liesa
Guest

Re: Starting Out

Hi again Natalie

I used to work for a large local driving school who oporate almost nation wide.

Just make sure that if you join one of these companies you fully understand the franchise agreement. I personally got caught out, when I took on the franchise I was told in no uncertain terms that the contract was for 18 months no more no less. So I assumed that at the end of the 18 month period I'd be free to leave at any stage, how wrong I was! I decided to leave and set up on my own, and gave what they considered to be reasonable notice i.e. 1 month, which meant by the time I left I would have been with them for exactly 3 years. On receipt of my letter the trouble started, they then went on to say I needed to give 3 months notice, this was down to a clause in the contract that required you to tell them prior to the contract ending, that you wouldn't be renewing it. They also insisted that all of my pupils belonged to them and if I wanted to keep them I would have to pay them £25 per pupil. Most of these pupils by the way I'd picked up myself via recommendations. And the company I worked for if I was lucky would supplie me with 1 pupil per month, I had my own car and that used to cost me £100 per week.

Just be very very careful before you sign anything.


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#12 04-03-04 19:50:46

bigred
Verified Member
From: Kent
Registered: 25-02-04
Posts: 1,592
Website

Re: Starting Out

Hi,

I had an local instructor from a biggish school ask me for some advice on exactly what Liesa was saying -

They also insisted that all of my pupils belonged to them and if I wanted to keep them I would have to pay them £25 per pupil.

On his behalf I rang the VAT man who said that companies did not have to pay VAT on pupils lessons if they belonged to the instructor, but if they claimed them as their own and part of their business then they would have to.

I then wrote a letter on behalf of the instructor to his company who let him go without so much as a whimper.

Don't be conned the pupil belongs to the instructor!

Companies like mine are really just some form of dating agency.

Regards,

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#13 04-03-04 20:35:01

Liesa
Guest

Re: Starting Out

I wish I'd known you back then Bigred, well you live and learn!

By the way Natalie being female is a real advantage in this profession, apparently 42% of the licenced drivers are female, but only 12.5% of all ADIs are female!

Unless you're completly useless at the job you'll never be short of work! Ask anyone and you'll be told, there's a very big demand for female instructors!

#14 04-03-04 20:46:28

Bob_FOADS
Guest

Re: Starting Out

My franshise people once gave me a pupil who wanted only a female instructor.
I still kept the job but I do have long flowing hair so I guess that swaied the client :shock:

#15 04-03-04 21:02:43

Liesa
Guest

Re: Starting Out

Hi Bob

Most of them can actually be talked around into having a male instructor, but there are quite a few that for what ever reason insist on a female instructor.

I do however get those that phone and ask for a male instructor as well.

Did you grow your hair on purpose to get the work? lol

#16 04-03-04 23:59:07

skier
Guest

Re: Starting Out

If, as you say BigRED, you guarentee 60 to 80 pupils a year to an ADI, there is something pretty scary in the working hours schedule.

Somewhere on here it was said that average pupil needs 40 hours tuition with an ADI.
So 60 x 40 = 2400 hours per year, = 52 weeks at 46 hours a week.
80 x 40 = 3200 hours = 52 weeks at 61.5 hours a week.

So, when do the ADIs sleep, eat, drink, sport, rest and play ?

If this is really how you are flogging your ADIs then you and them are not going to be around very long, heart attacks on the horizon for sure. It's madness.

Maybe your L pupils do not stay with your company ADIs for more than a few lessons, and that suggests a problem, in fact a whole host of problems. Something is not quite right. Are pupils leaving long before test, for some reason?

It's just that the figures do not add up.

Perhaps you could offer an explanation to clear up the confusion?

#17 05-03-04 07:56:04

bigred
Verified Member
From: Kent
Registered: 25-02-04
Posts: 1,592
Website

Re: Starting Out

Hi Skier,

All our instructors are under contract on 4 counts -

1. Higher than average pass rate
2. Lower than average number of hours to get a pupil through their test
3. Not to lose more than 20% of pupils
4. To be a grade 4, 5, or 6 (Once fully qualified)

If they get below this in one category they have a review of the situation with me. If they get below 2 categories they have to have some extra training.

We work our pupils hard and have a company average of 35 hours per pupil, a pass rate 6% above average. Pupils are lost when they move away, run out of money, get ill, don't like us etc.

So if you say 70 pupils are allocated, we lose 17% = 58 pupils X 35 hours average = 2030. Divide this by 48 weeks of working and you get 42 hours per week. I think the figures add up and give our instructors every opportunity to earn reasonable money!

Do you work on your own? how many hours do you work?

Regards,

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#18 05-03-04 09:53:45

Natalie
Member
From: Leeds, West Yorkshire
Registered: 03-03-04
Posts: 176

Re: Starting Out

Thanks you guys you are all being a great help big_smile

This site is going to be a real asset for me whilst doing my training.  Thank you all for your help.

Oh it makes you happy to be a female doesn't it!!!!

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#19 05-03-04 19:09:16

Liesa
Guest

Re: Starting Out

Hi bigred

I'm not knocking you but one thing just crossed my mind, what is your average pupil like?

Most of the individuals I teach are somewhere between 35 & 50 years of age, of a very nervous disposition, have some form of learning difficulty, less able, etc etc. I won't go on but I take it you get the picture?

I find that these individuals generally take longer to train than the 35 hours you describe. So if I worked for you would I be out on my ear?

My pass rate is around the national average & I very rarely lose anyone, My work is about 80% recommendations and I teach the individuals that others had already given up on, usually very hard work but also very rewarding when they eventually pass! big_smile

I'll eagerly await your reply!

#20 06-03-04 23:20:26

steve
Guest

Re: Starting Out

well said liesa.i totaly agree.

#21 07-03-04 08:13:37

bigred
Verified Member
From: Kent
Registered: 25-02-04
Posts: 1,592
Website

Re: Starting Out

Hi Liesa,

I take all your points, when we talk average, we normally talk national; our own pupil profile will vary from month to month anyway and what is average this year won't be the same next year.

My average hours per pupil will shoot up once I get 3 very long term pupils through their test. There again, I suppose if I get a new student who has had 40 hours with a different instructor and I take 8 hours to polish him up then it will come down again.

As the saying goes - Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics!

Nobody really likes them, but as a manager I have to have some form of quality control & these I'm afraid have to form part of that.

All for now.

Regards,

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#22 07-03-04 08:37:08

Liesa
Guest

Re: Starting Out

Thanks for the reply Bigred

It's so easy to misinterperet things on these boards.

#23 14-07-04 08:51:30

Tablespider
Guest

Re: Starting Out

I have my first stab at part three in a couple of weeks and have learnt a lot reading through the various forums (fora ?), so thanks to all contributors.

I paid into a franchise (no names no pack drill) who use yellow minis  lol and found today that their next induction session with spaces is in November.... hardly rushing to get instructors out there,......

The temptation is to go and do, myself, rather than wait.  Annoying thought at the back of my mind is that some of that hard earned cash that went into the start up of this process while they are confident that a number of PDI's wont take up the opporutnity to go with them in the longer term owing to the delays in getting the liveried car and appropriate marketing support.  Might take up their training and choose not to commit at the end of it... get my not inconsiderable monies worth. (I must say that I have had a top class instructor about which I have no complaints at all).

#24 14-07-04 18:50:45

Liesa
Guest

Re: Starting Out

Hi Tablespider

Welcome to the site!

As soon as you pass part 3 you'll be able to set up on your own anyway, so if all goes well with your part 3 why not give it a try?

But be warned this time of year work tends to be a bit slack, due to everyone going away on holiday etc. The best time to start up is after any holiday period i.e Easter/Christmas & summer holiday period! This is when eneryone usually decides it's time to take lessons, they all seem to want to learn at once wink

Good luck with part 3 and let us know how you get on!

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