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#1 22-10-13 12:43:35

Peter King
Member
Registered: 22-10-13
Posts: 3

Thinking about taking AA franchise - please adivise

Hi everyone. My name is Peter and I am new to the forum.

I lost my sales job a few months ago and I am considering joining up with the AA. Its something I have actually thought about for a while and now considering my circumstances I want to go for it. I am 38 and I am looking for something that will last me a number of years.

I have a few questions and would appreciate some feedback that will help me make a decision.

I spoke to a rep from the AA the other day and asked him lots of questions but I am still not 100% happy and convinced.

1) I asked him for contact details of current AA franchise owners, but he said they don't give those details. He said it was a 'touchy' subject. I would of thought they would have no problems giving me these details so I could speak to a instructor to get their opinion.

2) He mentioned that initially they do supply me pupils and as I am new I would be more likely to be supplied more than other instructors. Is this true?

3) Is this a good career move? Can I make a decent living?

4) Are the exams/training fairly easy? I read a comment somewhere else where someone said most people fail part 3! Is this true?

5)  Before I pay them the money for the training (£2600) what should I ask for? Do I need to look at a franchise agreement/contract before?


I will really appreciate some feedback

Thanks Peter

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22-10-13 12:43:35

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Re: Thinking about taking AA franchise - please adivise



#2 22-10-13 13:58:33

Mentor
Verified Member
Registered: 22-10-05
Posts: 375

Re: Thinking about taking AA franchise - please adivise

1) You already know why he would not give you the details.
2) Might be true, more likely waffle.
3) No & No
4) Yes it is hard and more will fail than pass.
5) Better to train with a good independent trainer who will let you pay as you go along.


Sorry to sound so negative but that is the reality.

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#3 22-10-13 14:14:48

MGM
Verified Member
From: Surrey
Registered: 24-10-11
Posts: 861

Re: Thinking about taking AA franchise - please adivise

Hi Peter

Unfortunately I have to agree with Mentor.

I would add to (5) - if you do go ahead, don't let any franchise issues influence your choice of trainer. Who you train with, and who (if anyone) you work for/with afterwards are two entirely separate issues. The AA (and many others) will offer you all sorts of franchise deals if you train with them, but they'll offer the same to any qualified ADI (I know because I get letters from them regularly!).

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#4 22-10-13 14:59:21

Peter King
Member
Registered: 22-10-13
Posts: 3

Re: Thinking about taking AA franchise - please adivise

Mentor wrote:

1) You already know why he would not give you the details.
2) Might be true, more likely waffle.
3) No & No
4) Yes it is hard and more will fail than pass.
5) Better to train with a good independent trainer who will let you pay as you go along.


Sorry to sound so negative but that is the reality.

I appreciate your honesty. But I don't know why he wouldn't give me contact details for current instructors. All he said was it is a 'touchy' subject!

Also are you telling me its not worth going for? Is the money that bad?

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#5 22-10-13 15:39:14

Mentor
Verified Member
Registered: 22-10-05
Posts: 375

Re: Thinking about taking AA franchise - please adivise

Peter King wrote:
Mentor wrote:

1) You already know why he would not give you the details.
2) Might be true, more likely waffle.
3) No & No
4) Yes it is hard and more will fail than pass.
5) Better to train with a good independent trainer who will let you pay as you go along.


Sorry to sound so negative but that is the reality.

I appreciate your honesty. But I don't know why he wouldn't give me contact details for current instructors. All he said was it is a 'touchy' subject!

Also are you telling me its not worth going for? Is the money that bad?


He would not give you the contact details because any existing franchise holder would be unlikely to influence you to go with them as they would tell you the same as I have.  If you can live on 12-15k after tax, working all hours, then it's maybe worth a shot, otherwise leave well alone.

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#6 22-10-13 15:56:46

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

Re: Thinking about taking AA franchise - please adivise

If there was nothing dodgy about the contract they would be using it as a selling point.   

As for supplying pupils,  they can only supply if there is any, and as the AA makes money from charging it's instrtuctors for pupils would they not be more likely to sell them than give them to you for nowt?

No ADI I know is making a good living from learner tuition.  It isn't a career, it's a part time pocket money earner.  And if you can find work, the hours are long and unsociable. 

Les than 30% pass the part 3, which suggests that it is not easy.  So you may spend two grand on training for part 1 and two then find you are one of the 70%+ who has blown their savings.

If you really want to give it a go, stay away from the big companies.  You can do part 1 on your own.  Agree with mentor above, find a good independent trainer for part 2 and 3, and one who charges by the hour rather than a big  wad up front.

Apart from that, welcome to the forum!   big_smile


p.s. If you post which area you are in someone may be able to recommend a good indy trainer

Last edited by Roadmaster (22-10-13 15:59:24)

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#7 22-10-13 16:39:55

DonT
Verified Member
Registered: 08-10-11
Posts: 141

Re: Thinking about taking AA franchise - please adivise

I didn't train with AADS because I am a dinosaur but I was a trainer for them for about 6 years. I frequently was asked to see potential PDIs to discuss their career. I was paid for one hour of work and was always truthful about the career, indeed a few went elsewhere. Having said that maybe they have changed their policy because of the dreaded excuse of the Data Protection Act.

As far as your other queries are concerned I cannot disagree with anything that others have said. Check everything before you sign anything. It is possible to get training cheaper than AA prices but you need to get the best trainer. Only accept lessons which are paid by the hour so that you can change trainers if necessary. There are a number of forums where you can find out the best and most cost effective trainer in your area.

The job is indeed a job where you will never become a millionaire, however you can achieve complete satisfaction, if money is not the deciding factor.

Needless to say, I am no longer an AA franchisee, but that is another story.

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#8 22-10-13 16:54:40

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

Re: Thinking about taking AA franchise - please adivise

The advice above is all correct, plus you will take a couple of years to start earning money if you qualify. As has been said by RM don't fall for any promises of work, if it isn't there you won't get any, though the same promises will be made to the next person enquiring who just so happens to have the means to pay for training.

What is not widely publicised in this business, are the stories of people using their redundancy payments and savings when they lose their jobs, in a hope that they will secure a lucrative future. I have seen many come and go and its sad to see.

I am lucky I am doing ok now, but the first 4 years were very difficult financially. The job is not good for family life or indeed for socialising, to be honest when you look at the price of lessons, then work out the actual hours you spend running your business, the lesson price is a lot less then you think in terms of net wages. Remember there is normally half hour either side of lessons you are not paid for, cancellations, unpaid holidays or sickness, car payment, insurance, I do enjoy the job, but to be honest, it often feels like the job runs you, rather than you running the job.

Do your sums, think hard about whether you really want to do it, try if you can to talk to other instructors, it might be worth going along to the local association meeting if there is one, and having an informal chat there. As has been said, seek out good independent trainers, meet them talk with them, find one you are comfortable with, do not under any circumstances part with a large sum of cash up front.

Welcome to the forum, best of luck.

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#9 22-10-13 20:21:11

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

Re: Thinking about taking AA franchise - please adivise

Peter King wrote:

Hi everyone. My name is Peter and I am new to the forum.

I lost my sales job a few months ago and I am considering joining up with the AA. Its something I have actually thought about for a while and now considering my circumstances I want to go for it. I am 38 and I am looking for something that will last me a number of years.

I have a few questions and would appreciate some feedback that will help me make a decision.

I spoke to a rep from the AA the other day and asked him lots of questions but I am still not 100% happy and convinced.

1) I asked him for contact details of current AA franchise owners, but he said they don't give those details. He said it was a 'touchy' subject. I would of thought they would have no problems giving me these details so I could speak to a instructor to get their opinion.

2) He mentioned that initially they do supply me pupils and as I am new I would be more likely to be supplied more than other instructors. Is this true?

3) Is this a good career move? Can I make a decent living?

4) Are the exams/training fairly easy? I read a comment somewhere else where someone said most people fail part 3! Is this true?

5)  Before I pay them the money for the training (2600) what should I ask for? Do I need to look at a franchise agreement/contract before?


I will really appreciate some feedback

Thanks Peter

1) The Data Protection Act prevents phone numbers being given out. The AA will not even give an instructors number to their own pupil, it has to be given by the instructor.

2) As you have no pupils to begin with, you will automaticaly go to the front of the cab rank for each postcode you elect to cover, so 10 postcodes puts you at the front of 10 cab ranks, (I cover 25 postcodes).

3) Personaly I have made a living in this business since 1988, but I was self employed for 7 years before that and was aware that you have to eat, sleep and breathe a business to make it work and never take your finger off the button. However, the majority of my colleagues don't get past the first year.

4) When I took my pt1 training I sat in a class of 30 people, we where told, only 3 people in this room will become approved driving instructors, as I had just lent 3,000 pounds from the bank, Not being one of those 3 was not an option.

5) You need to see the "franchise" and the "training" as 2 separate things. Once you gain your green badge you are a free agent (because you are paying for the full training yourself you are not tied to any company). You can then take a franchise with any company and would be advised to scrutinise any agreement with a fine tooth comb. I believe the AA from time to time have incentives where some or all of the training fees are returned after a period of franchise should you take up with the AA. But, I see no reason why they should not give you sight of the franchise agreement if you are considering training with a view to take on an AA Franchise.

Maz.

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#10 22-10-13 20:43:31

brod
Banned
Registered: 20-03-13
Posts: 694

Re: Thinking about taking AA franchise - please adivise

Welcome Peter, all previous posts have given very good and accurate advice, just to add my little bit in the hope it will add another bit of help in your decision.
Five weeks ago I began instructor training with a footballer who is ending his career this year with Chester city. He like you had an interview with AA and like you sought advice from other sources before being given my name. He will be paying for his training as he goes, he knows he can walk away if ever he chooses to as there are no contracts. He was advised by me what literature to buy and study in preparation for his theory test, I think his total outlay was 120 pounds and he is already thinking of taking his theory test. He has had one driving assessment with me to date and following this assessment and development session we both devised an action plan for him to go away and work on, he will call me when he feels he has met his goals on his action plan. So far based on his first assessment and his commitment I feel he will only require a further 2 x 2 hour driving sessions with me to reach the required standard for his driving ability test.
So to date he has spent less than 200 pounds and is well on his way to becoming an instructor (very much cheaper than the large fees the big company's charge you). Ring around Peter, do as advised and attend local association meetings don't be afraid to ask for names of trainers and don't be afraid to ring them.
This job is so rewarding, but as already posted is also very time consuming. Once passed and an ADI you need to give yourself a good 2 year plan so you can establish your name.
One last bit of advise!! go onto the DSA  website and search for a document called the ADI14, download it and read it carefully, it will tell you all you need to know.
Good luck  smile
PS as said in an earlier post it may help if you let people know where you are based.

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#11 23-10-13 08:03:14

Peter King
Member
Registered: 22-10-13
Posts: 3

Re: Thinking about taking AA franchise - please adivise

Hi just to add a comment to the last post I am based in the Harrow area.

I've got be honest I am surprised by all the negative feedback. It is a job I had my heart set on now not sure! I am at a age where I would probably struggle to get a normal well paid job and that's why I wanted to do it.

I appreciate the feedback as it's honest. However if it's as bad as people make out on this forum then why are you still instructors? Surely if you know you aren't making good money then why not walk away?

I'm more confused now than I was before.

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#12 23-10-13 08:24:11

DonT
Verified Member
Registered: 08-10-11
Posts: 141

Re: Thinking about taking AA franchise - please adivise

Peter,

You may also wish to consider what is written in the following link:

http://www.squidoo.com/driving_instructors

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#13 23-10-13 09:14:32

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

Re: Thinking about taking AA franchise - please adivise

Peter King wrote:

Hi just to add a comment to the last post I am based in the Harrow area.

I've got be honest I am surprised by all the negative feedback. It is a job I had my heart set on now not sure! I am at a age where I would probably struggle to get a normal well paid job and that's why I wanted to do it.

I appreciate the feedback as it's honest. However if it's as bad as people make out on this forum then why are you still instructors? Surely if you know you aren't making good money then why not walk away?

I'm more confused now than I was before.

Why am I still an ADI?    Because like you I wouldn't get another job at my age! 

Peter, many people get conned into thinking being a driving instructor is a good idea by the adverts, earn 30k etc.  You are sensible in seeking out opinions from those who are actually doing the job and can relate the reality of what it's like, even though it isn't what you thought or wanted to hear.

Of those who do make it as an ADI a lot don't survive to renew their licence after the initial 4 year period, because even though they may be brilliant at instructing, they cannot run a profitable business as a self employed trader, because that aspect is not included in any training.

The numbers of registered ADIs has been falling for the last couple of years, and will continue for the next couple.   That's an indication of how the trade is going.

Take your time.  Do lots of research, and look for other options before you commit a penny to any sort of training.

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#14 23-10-13 09:33:29

Loopy Lou
Verified Member
From: Berkshire
Registered: 03-11-07
Posts: 554

Re: Thinking about taking AA franchise - please adivise

Peter King wrote:

I appreciate the feedback as it's honest. However if it's as bad as people make out on this forum then why are you still instructors? Surely if you know you aren't making good money then why not walk away?

I'm more confused now than I was before.

The answer to that is many people HAVE walked away...those that don't, stay for any number of reasons such as:

* Money is not the main reason they do the job - they may have "independent means" or a partner who works

* They've been doing the job for years and that fact means a lot to them - it's not easy to just "walk away" from a career that you've invested a great deal of "yourself" in already, not to mention time and money

* As you say yourself, once you get to a "certain age", it's not so easy to find a job! There's an awful lot of competition for even low paid jobs these days...my son who is 23 has recently come to the end of a Fixed Term Contract and he's really struggling to get a job despite being well educated, young, fit, personable and healthy! He's even tried for shop floor and warehouse jobs at supermarkets - the recruitment process for even such menial roles is bizarrely complex, protracted and highly competitive. There's no such thing now as "you'd be better off stacking shelves at Tesco" - you've got to jump through flaming hoops and swim through a crocodile infested river to GET that shelf filler job at Tesco first!

I could go on, but I'm sure you get the idea smile

As others have already said, don't think in terms of "taking out a franchise with the AA" - you've got to qualify first and that's far from a certainty!

I wrote the page that DonT mentioned in the post above (http://www.squidoo.com/driving_instructors). It's not a quick read I'm afraid - it's LONG and detailed...but it gives you an insight into the reality of the industry and the qualification process.

As I always say, make an informed decision smile

Last edited by Loopy Lou (23-10-13 09:36:09)


It's too bad that stupidity isn't painful...

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#15 23-10-13 10:43:34

AUTAX
Verified Member
Registered: 22-07-11
Posts: 1,032

Re: Thinking about taking AA franchise - please adivise

Peter, people writing on here are giving you honest opinions. Not because they don't want to see another potential Driving Instructor competing with them but because so many have been stung in the past by Red's shameful advertising over the last couple of years.

It takes time to build a reputation and eventually you can make a decent living out of it as long as you are prepared to work hard and long and consider having a manual and automatic car to teach in. That's where the smart money is.

But before you can even consider the path to becoming a teacher, can you teach? Have you the patience and way with all to describe something in many different ways because pupils are not clones and they are individuals.

If you can teach and teach calmly without loosing your patience or rag then that's your first hurdle.

Better to be told the truth rather than, "Come on in, the waters fine!". However it is a great job and being an ADI is a lot more than just about paying the bills. To some of us it's a vocation.


Be Fear-less, go GEAR-LESS!

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#16 23-10-13 11:15:43

Zipper
Verified Member
From: Darwin, Northern Territory Aus
Registered: 20-08-04
Posts: 2,690
Website

Re: Thinking about taking AA franchise - please adivise

Roadmaster wrote:

... Why am I still an ADI?    Because like you I wouldn't get another job at my age! ...

Same here!
Plus, it gives me so much satisfaction that I am willing to tolerate the minuses (I only JUST tolerate them though)


Zipper ("G'Day Mate!")
I'm not 65! I'm only $59.95+tax
www.drivingnt.com

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#17 23-10-13 13:18:20

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

Re: Thinking about taking AA franchise - please adivise

Peter if we were to use the description in one of the adverts we would say:

Work hours to suit yourself, work around your family, earn around 30,000 per year.

The advert should actually read:
Work around other people and their families, expect to spend less time with your family, aspire to earn 30,000 a year, but be prepared for that to fluctuate up or down.

It is a good job, I love the job, but it is damn hard work, as far as the hours, I have always worked long hours so no change there, except that the long hours were supplemented by overtime payments.

This job is not for everyone, every year the pressure increases on ADI's much is due to the financial environment that clients and ADI's now find themselves in, it's no surprise that the intake of PDI's has dropped dramatically, or indeed the amount of ADI's not renewing their badge. As RM so rightly says many never last the length of their first green badge.

Those are the facts.

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#18 23-10-13 17:53:44

brod
Banned
Registered: 20-03-13
Posts: 694

Re: Thinking about taking AA franchise - please adivise

Peter King wrote:

I appreciate the feedback as it's honest. However if it's as bad as people make out on this forum then why are you still instructors? Surely if you know you aren't making good money then why not walk away?

I'm more confused now than I was before.

I don't think people are making it out that this job is bad! i would say it is probably not a good time to come into this profession at the moment especially if you believe you can earn 30 grand a year. Those ADIs who are well established will have been at the job for some time and it will probably have become a way of life i know it is for me smile but it takes time to get up and running and during this period many will struggle to survive, don't be put off by what you believe to be negativity, it isn't, it is just people telling you how it is or as Evan says "the facts" don't be taken in by the larger national schools.

You say you are more confused then before!! what is it that is confusing you?

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#19 24-10-13 20:27:50

Lady-Hynarc
Verified Member
Registered: 09-04-12
Posts: 649

Re: Thinking about taking AA franchise - please adivise

Hi Peter,

Did you get my PM?

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#20 01-11-13 17:11:30

sofasurfer
Verified Member
From: Surrey
Registered: 30-07-13
Posts: 310

Re: Thinking about taking AA franchise - please adivise

If you have no children, no mortgage and can survive on 10k per annum (net) then give it a try. If you can make a success of it during the bad times, you will probably be an ADI until you retire.

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#21 01-11-13 21:29:07

christhedrummer
Verified Member
Registered: 18-10-06
Posts: 1,163
Website

Re: Thinking about taking AA franchise - please adivise

Where you live in the UK will make the biggest difference as to how much you will earn.

Expenses to be an ADI are pretty uniform across the country but lesson price varies dramatically. I live in the south east in a town of about 80,000 people and charge 22 (manual) and 24 (auto) per hr. As a ball park after all expenses (including saving for replacement cars) I clear about 15 per hour. For 30hrs a week that's 450 or about 22k per year taxable income. If you are in an area where the lesson prices are 18-20 per hour then for that same 30 hours you're talking 5-6k less a year. That is the real killer in my opinion. You have to remember that that 22k is also after all expenses and paying much lower NI contributions. It's probably the equivalent of 25-27k compared to an employed person paying for their car, petrol, insurance, phone etc. So the basic income figures are a little misleading.

The first 3 years after I qualified I was with the franchise that trained me as I didn't feel like I had the business skills to establish and run my own business as well as put the hours in instructing. It worked for me. I was rarely short of work, if I was I did some extra self promotion to top things up. For me those years as a franchisee were invaluable. Yes, I was paying someone 150+ a week but I didn't have to focus too much on the business side of things. I worked my ass off but got my name around and slowly recommendations came in. Alongside the franchise I started planning to go Indie by setting up websites etc and when I felt that there would be enough work generated between that and my recommendations then it was time to sever the cord and go on my own.

Looking back I know I wouldn't have lasted this long had I gone independent from the start. The franchise model fitted me and I saw it as a means to an end. That end now is a steady income of 20k plus every year for the last 6 years. Yes, I work 2 evenings a week up until 8pm and 4 hours or so every Saturday but as of the new year I am planning to cut back on the Saturday and (finally) have a weekend to speak of as my daytime schedule is consistently full. It takes time to establish yourself but you CAN make a reasonable living from this job.

Like every job, if you're prepared to put in a few years of hard work, long hours and sacrifice some luxuries then the rewards are there.

One of my friends is a full time engineer and sits in traffic for 1 1/2 - 2 hrs a day getting to and from work, or up to 500 hrs a year or 20 whole days. 20 days just getting to and from work. The furthest I travel is about 15mins and that's on a bad day. I get to pop home during the day for a spot of lunch rather than eat at my desk. I can pop into the post office when it's quieter rather than having to go during lunch with everyone else. If I go to the gym it's in a slot during the day when noone is in rather then the cattle market before and after work.

Self employment suits me, this career suits me, I enjoy the job and don't have to answer to 'the management' because there ain't none! Every job has pro's and con's, that's the beauty of a forum like this, you will get information on both the good and bad bits.

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#22 02-11-13 14:16:17

Lewinpeter1
Verified Member
From: Morpeth,Northumberland
Registered: 17-01-09
Posts: 803
Website

Re: Thinking about taking AA franchise - please adivise

Hi
Excellent post.
Peter


Dont press that,oh @@##!

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