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#1 10-03-13 19:57:45

ShaunLeeds
Member
Registered: 09-03-13
Posts: 8

A few queries before I make a decision on starting training...

I'm sure that you have read many of these types of posts in the past, and that you will read many more in the future. I have read through numerous posts on this forum over the last few days and a lot of the content has been very helpful indeed. I am looking for advice/answers to a few queries I have. I am considering training to become an ADI. Pretty much every topic says that you should seriously consider all aspects before making a decision, hence this post

I will say that I have not yet made a final decision, and I think it will take me a good few weeks in consideration and research before I do make a decision. Anyway, I will proceed on the basis that I will do the traning.

I have been weighing up whether to go to an independant trainer, or a school. I'm thinking going with AA, with a view to joining their franchise. I realise that I will not have a reputation/any income (let alone profit) if I was to go it alone.

Now I was hoping for anybody with any experience of training with the AA, and/or teaching in their franchise (or indeed any franchise) to advise me what to expect. i.e. the amount of pupils that are likely to be referred to you in the first few months to 48 months. I realise that there is a franchise fee and petrol/admin costs and from my research, the general idea is that based on a £22/hour rate, you should expect to make between £7-£10 from that, based on a 30 hour week. In your experience is this correct?

I have searched my local area in Leeds on the AA website as if I am a new learner wanting lessons. There are 3 AA drivers in my postcode area and they are all fully booked for the next couple of weeks, apart from the odd hour here and there.  My initial impressions is that this is a good thing, as all 3 are busy. Can you think of any down side to this? Am I likely to be given equal opportunities as those established instructors (assuming they are established)

I live 10 minutes from Leeds City Centre, next to the motorway, so realistically I can fairly easily get around a lot of the city within a relatively short period of time. Again, can anybody see any down sides to this?

I'm sure that I will think of more questions to ask in the next few days or so.

I look forward to reading your replies.

Thanks

Shaun

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10-03-13 19:57:45

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Re: A few queries before I make a decision on starting training...




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#2 10-03-13 20:11:58

Roadmaster
Verified Member
Registered: 04-03-04
Posts: 5,670

Re: A few queries before I make a decision on starting training...

There are 3 AA drivers in my postcode area and they are all fully booked for the next couple of weeks, apart from the odd hour here and there.  My initial impressions is that this is a good thing, as all 3 are busy

There aren't many ADIs around who will tell a customer that they are quiet, so you need to be very careful about what you believe.   
The AA is competing for business agaainst all the other schools in the area, and it has to supply not just one but 3 ADIs.    That's a lot of business to find in these very tough times. 

You can see how tough it is in an area by checking the waiting times for a practical test.    Many areas are down from 6/8 weeks just 12 months ago to 1 week.  That  shows you how little work is around.   

I think anyone who wants to start up in this business at present must have more money than sense.  That's my honest opinion.

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#3 10-03-13 20:41:50

Evan
Administrator
Registered: 27-12-09
Posts: 2,058

Re: A few queries before I make a decision on starting training...

Good points from RM, if you have financial commitments ie mortgage, dependents etc, be very careful. Lots come into this business and fail to stay in business as long as the lifetime of their first green badge, which is a big financial loss if you calculate how much they have lost in training fees etc. Be very careful what people promise you with regards work, as there are no guarantees, as Roadmaster says above times are tough.

Last edited by Evan (10-03-13 20:43:03)

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#4 10-03-13 20:57:31

martin Williams
Verified Member
Registered: 26-06-09
Posts: 1,144

Re: A few queries before I make a decision on starting training...

I recently had a letter off the AA asking if i was interested in joining their franchise. Below is what it would have cost me if i was doing around 30 hours a week with them.

Franchise fee 120 quid
Milage cost at 15p a mile, which works out at around 95 quid a week for me.
Fuel cost working out at around 110 quid for a week in a Focus.

Total cost 325 quid.

In my area their hourly rate is 24.50 but they also have special offers such as 5 lessons for 91.87 and 10 hours for 200.5 or first 2hrs 24.50. So i guess my average rate might be around 20-21 an hour. A total of around 600-625 for the week. Take away the costs and your left with around 275-300.

Now 30 hours of lessons is like 40 hours in a normal job due to the travelling you do and work at home, so it does work out at 7.50 an hour at best. There is no sick pay, no pension and no paid holidays and if you are sick you still have a franchise fee to pay also you will have to pay out over 3000 in training fees and exam costs in the hope that you pass. Be warned many don't pass and many have to pay extra for training and only pass on their 3rd attempt at part 3. 

You need to ask yourself do you really want to spend between 3000 and 4000 pound to come an ADI then go on a franchise which will earn you for just 7.50 an hour? My advise would be to go to a local driving school with a good reputation in training PDIs. Pass part 1 on your own then pay as you go for part 2 and 3. I would not worry to much about going Independent or franchise till you pass then come up with a business plan which works best for you. Whatever you do don't pay a large sum up front for the complete training package. 600 quid for part 1 is a rip off.

Last edited by martin Williams (10-03-13 20:59:32)

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#5 10-03-13 21:12:47

ShaunLeeds
Member
Registered: 09-03-13
Posts: 8

Re: A few queries before I make a decision on starting training...

RM, I haven't actually asked any ADI's about their work load. On the AA website, you can book/schedule your lessons online and then pay for this online (which you may already know), in doing this you can pick the available time slots, and all apart from the odd hour are booked up. Not sure how accurate this is, but I wouldn't have thought that 3 ADI's would be showing as unavailable for the next week, thus turning away new business. Unless I have misunderstood this?

I do however appriciate what you say about 4 ADI's competing for the same business - and that's just within AA. That is something I hadn't thought of, so thank you. I'm the kind of guy that always sees the positive, hence why I am trying to get some perspective on the negatives.

Evan, one of the reasons why i'm looking into this now is that I am in the fortunate position not really have any major financial commitments. I'm in a reasonably well paid job, which I kinda just fell into and before I know it, 7 years have passed and there are no real options for progression, in a profession that I don't really enjoy. Then there's the possibility of a redundancy in a year or so due to a shake up at work. This is something I have always wanted to do, so I thought that I should act now whilst I am in a position to fund the training.

Almost everything I have read says do not believe what people say - so I guess that many people have been burnt in the past (and present). As I said in my original post, i'm trying to get an idea of the risks involved before making a decision. So thanks for your input guys.

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#6 10-03-13 21:37:18

ShaunLeeds
Member
Registered: 09-03-13
Posts: 8

Re: A few queries before I make a decision on starting training...

martin Williams wrote:

I recently had a letter off the AA asking if i was interested in joining their franchise. Below is what it would have cost me if i was doing around 30 hours a week with them.

Franchise fee 120 quid
Milage cost at 15p a mile, which works out at around 95 quid a week for me.
Fuel cost working out at around 110 quid for a week in a Focus.

Total cost 325 quid.

In my area their hourly rate is 24.50 but they also have special offers such as 5 lessons for 91.87 and 10 hours for 200.5 or first 2hrs 24.50. So i guess my average rate might be around 20-21 an hour. A total of around 600-625 for the week. Take away the costs and your left with around 275-300.

Now 30 hours of lessons is like 40 hours in a normal job due to the travelling you do and work at home, so it does work out at 7.50 an hour at best. There is no sick pay, no pension and no paid holidays and if you are sick you still have a franchise fee to pay also you will have to pay out over 3000 in training fees and exam costs in the hope that you pass. Be warned many don't pass and many have to pay extra for training and only pass on their 3rd attempt at part 3. 

You need to ask yourself do you really want to spend between 3000 and 4000 pound to come an ADI then go on a franchise which will earn you for just 7.50 an hour? My advise would be to go to a local driving school with a good reputation in training PDIs. Pass part 1 on your own then pay as you go for part 2 and 3. I would not worry to much about going Independent or franchise till you pass then come up with a business plan which works best for you. Whatever you do don't pay a large sum up front for the complete training package. 600 quid for part 1 is a rip off.

Some very good advice Martin. Thanks.

I spoke with a salesman from AA yesterday, and not once was a mileage fee mentioned.

I was considering going with my instructor who taught me to drive. He was very good and I have referred a number of friends and family to him. He is very trustworthy, so that is a massive plus for him. However, I believe he has only recently started doing ADI training in the last year or so. I know he is very good at his job so this may not necessarily be a bad thing.

One plus of doing the training with AA, and going into their franchise is that you do get 1600 (if indeed you pass) off your first 6 months weekly franchise fees. Plus after staying with them for 2 years, you get 1100 back in a lump sum.

Last edited by ShaunLeeds (10-03-13 21:42:05)

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#7 10-03-13 21:49:06

Roadmaster
Verified Member
Registered: 04-03-04
Posts: 5,670

Re: A few queries before I make a decision on starting training...

I think AA instructors have to pay 40 per pupil, which is another expense to consider.

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#8 10-03-13 21:52:08

Paulski
Verified Member
From: Aylesbury
Registered: 27-01-05
Posts: 203
Website

Re: A few queries before I make a decision on starting training...

Hi Shaun

The aa has several franchise options including the one that costs 125 plus 15p per mile. Another wraps all the costs up at around 210 per week plus 20-40 per pupil referred.

I'm not an aa franchisee although I was back in the day but you didn't have to offer discounted rates for block bookings if you didn't want to and this didn't make much difference to pupil supply if you opted out. I left in 2008 so it may be different now. The deals aa offer such as the first two for one were paid in full to you, although obviously you are subsidising them anyway through your franchise fees.

As others have stated this business can be hard at the moment and I would imagine very cut throat in certain areas.

Don't fall for the sales patter, the business looks so straight forward on a marketing pamphlet but remember it's just a course that they're selling and you should separate buying the training from doing the job itself.

Good luck!


www.redminidrivingschool.co.uk
info@redminidrivingschool.co.uk

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#9 10-03-13 21:53:52

martin Williams
Verified Member
Registered: 26-06-09
Posts: 1,144

Re: A few queries before I make a decision on starting training...

Hi Shaun,

The 1 with the milage fee is what they call the part time option. There is other options but the franchise fees are much higher and i believe you pay a fee for each pupil they get you.

As i said take care and don't pay a fee upfront. 1600 may sound a good discount for 6 months but it works out at around 60 a week. Not much of a discount really, I expect you will still be paying them between 200 and 250 a week but you will have to work out the figures for yourself. At a local school you may find the franchise will be as low as 60-70 a week with your own car.

Last edited by martin Williams (10-03-13 21:56:18)

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#10 10-03-13 22:01:49

ShaunLeeds
Member
Registered: 09-03-13
Posts: 8

Re: A few queries before I make a decision on starting training...

Some great input, thanks guys.

Just had another look at my old instructors website. He will give the training for 1590, or 30 per session. Which is much cheaper than the AA. I know I can trust him too. Think I will give him a call tomorrow.

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#11 10-03-13 23:03:05

MAZ
Verified Member
From: N/Wales, Cheshire
Registered: 13-06-06
Posts: 838

Re: A few queries before I make a decision on starting training...

The risk is blowing your brains out (financially) in the first 6 months; this is whatever way you trade.

The AA have a "cab ranking" system for pupil introductions, when a new pupil requests a lesson in a postcode, a list of instructors covering that postcode is generated, the instructor that last received an introduction in that postcode will be on the bottom of the list (or last in the cab rank), as a new instructor in that postcode who has not yet received an introduction, you would be at the front of the rank. Initially, you would be better offering to cover as many postcodes as possible as exceeding the mileage limits is the last of the worries for a new instructor. Obviously if you are the only instructor covering a specific postcode you will always be at the front of the rank for that area.

An established instructor will only need 1 to 1.5 new pupil introductions a week to continue the status quo, whereas a new instructor will be seeking as many as possible in the early months, it would be wise to get as many self sourced pupils as you can. The AA run occasional workshops on marketing and how to self source pupils, it would be wise to take advantage of these especially if you get offered them for free or at a discount.

There is usually some sort of staged franchise increase during the first month or so, these vary from time to time, I do not know what the current deal is but I would negotiate for the best available particularly if they keep calling you back to see if you have decided on a training school.

The mileage franchise which has been mentioned is for part timers only, it would not be cost affective for full timers, the full franchise has mileage limit of 30,000 over 32 weeks, before excess charges come in, you would need to be covering 40 hours a week to exceed the limit, as I said before, not a concern for a new instructor.

The risk with the AA is; that you reach the point where you are paying full franchise fees and have not enough income to cover it. This is the risk in any business; currently in my area we are all busy, I dont know the situation in your area, by the time you are through training the climate could have changed, if you pass in the last few months of the year, it is historically a bad time to start in this profession.

I was making the same head scratching decisions you are now some 24 years ago, but 95% of those who trained with me are long gone, and most did not make it past 12 months.

Cant really help you any more than that, the decision is yours to make, good luck..

Maz.

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#12 11-03-13 08:26:49

Evan
Administrator
Registered: 27-12-09
Posts: 2,058

Re: A few queries before I make a decision on starting training...

''I was making the same head scratching decisions you are now some 24 years ago, but 95% of those who trained with me are long gone, and most did not make it past 12 months.''

A very important sentence for any prospective PDI read digest and read again.

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