Being able to drive is extremely important. Not only does it make life easier, but also many employers require their staff to possess a driving license. Demand to learn is high and there is a constant stream of newbies who are desperate to get behind the wheel. Being able to drive is something that a lot of us take for granted.
Being a driving instructor can be an extremely rewarding job, but as with any career, there are plenty of challenges. Alongside the nervous first-timers, reckless drivers who refuse to slow down and those customers who just don’t seem to get how to drive, there are also some excellent moments. Getting someone who has failed many times before to pass is a great feeling, as is enabling the development of a person’s life or career by giving them gift of faster travel. Instructors also meet a variety of people from all walks of life and can even form relationships with customers to ensure their service is spread by word of mouth.
Of course, there are outgoings and admin, including purchasing or leasing a car and paying for petrol, but instructors with a steady stream of new learners and a very good reputation can charge more and ensure a busier diary. The other huge benefits is that the majority of driving instructors are self-employed, which brings flexibility, control over earnings and working hours and of course the lack of a boss! Teaching people how to drive is a great way to carve out a career path by using a skill that you may not realise is in demand.
Becoming a driving instructor isn’t completely straightforward and there are several caveats before you are allowed to advertise your services and teach others how to drive. You need to already be a safe and experienced driver, possessing a license for over three years and having no more than five penalty points. You can’t become a UK government Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) if you have been banned within the last four years and prospective instructors must pass the ‘fit and proper person‘ requirements outlined by the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). You will also need to obtain a DBS (disclosure and barring service) criminal background check before becoming qualified.
Once you have done the difficult part, you’ll need to get yourself a car. Usually instructors use smaller cars with lower engine capacities to make it a bit easier for total beginners and there are several models, such as the Vauxhall Corsa, that include a dual pedal system. You will also need to pick the right insurance, with specialist packages available specifically for driving instructors. If the idea of becoming self-employed isn’t appealing, there are many driving schools that employ driving instructors, often providing a car and training, taking away some of the more challenging and risky aspects of setting up your own business.
Instructors must take into consideration the routes and areas they will use to teach pupils. The UK’s road network can be very congested and car journeys can often be severely delayed, even when it isn’t rush hour. Planning ahead to avoid a multitude of potential hindrances, such as temporary closed roads, one way systems and heavy traffic, all of which have the unwanted impact of making the learning experience far more difficult than it needs to be, is wise and ensures happier customers.