How much do driving instructors earn – UK?

Many people decide they want to set out to become a driving instructor, and as part of their research they want to know how much driving instructors earn?

The first thing to be aware of is that driving instructors do not earn a salary. 99.9% of driving instructors are self-employed. So if you are thinking of training to become a driving instructor with Red driving School, BSM driving school or some other driving school, their instructors are all self-employed on a franchise basis.

So this means that quite simply the more lessons you teach in a week the more you are going to earn. You may have seen adverts saying “Earn £40k as a driving instructor”. Is that realistic or is it just a sales pitch? Well certainly it’s possible to earn £40k as a driving instructor But in reality it’s not likely. Let’s do some sums.

Let’s say you are totally independent and so have no franchise fee to pay.

If you do 35 lessons per week that is probably equivalent to 45 hours per week (allowing for travelling time between lessons, admin time etc).

And lets say you work 48 weeks per year (assuming the minimum holiday entitlement of an employee)

35 lessons per week x 48 weeks (and assuming you have no time off sick) = 1680 lessons per year.

Now let’s say you charge £27 per hour (a little above the industry average). that gives you a gross income of £45,360 as a driving instructor.

But wait – you’ve got expenses!
Lets say an average lesson is 15 miles, then based on HMRC mileage allowances your fuel/car/insurance/servicing costs will be £8,300.

Now of course you will have some other expenses as well. Let’s say you spend £500 per year on advertising and marketing, website, SEO etc, £200 on materials and ongoing training/CPD, £200 on an accountant and £100 on other miscellaneous admin and we’ve got expenses of around £9,300.

So we can expect a driving instructor doing 35 lessons per week to earn around £36,000.

But remember this is making certain assumptions. It assumes that you want to work long hours, that you can fill your diary every day, that you don’t take any time off sick, that you don’t pay into a sickness or pension scheme.

Recent figures show that the average driving lesson costs around £25 and the average instructor works 29 lessons per week. So for a 48 week year the average driving instructor earns £34,800 gross before expenses such as car etc. While this includes instructors who only want to work part-time it means that the average driving instructor is taking home around £26,000 – £28,000.

Be aware as well of course that if you are looking at training to become a driving instructor you will also have your driving instructor training fees and exam fees of around £2,000 – £3,000 to pay before you even start earning!

As we already have highlighted, the amount a driving instructor earns is reflected in the number of hours worked – there is no such thing as a driving instructor salary. For this reason – yes you could earn £40k or even £50k as an driving instructor. But our advice is to be realistic – there are very few who earn those kind of figures. It’s very easy to get carried away and hope for the best case scenario, but the best people to ask about instructor earnings are actual ADI’s (approved driving instructors) who are doing the job. Rememebercthat training organisations are keen to get your hard earned cash! Some of them do not have a good reputation amongst driving instructors!