Driving Instructors Earnings

ADI Salary & Profit Margins

If you are wondering how much an instructor can earn in a year, then it is most likely that you are also considering becoming an instructor.

Let me say right away, that you should not think about changing your career to teach learner drivers just based on how much you've been told that instructors can earn. There are many TV and newspaper adverts out there painting a rosy picture of earnings of up to £600 a week or £30,000 a year, all they are after is you signing up to train with them at a cost of around £3,000, without telling you the true picture of life as an ADI.

The first thing you need to know about the potential earnings as a driving instructor, is that you will be operating as a self-employed individual, and not an employee of the driving school, and thus you don't have a guaranteed salary or yearly earnings.

Once you've spent your £3,000 on training and if you succeed in becoming a driving instructor (there are no guarantees here, and the current success rate for completing ADI training is quite low), you then need to buy a franchise from the driving school (did you think they would provide you with a driving school car free of charge), and then start to promote your business.

Driving Instructor Salary

So how much does a driving instructor earn, or how much money can you really make teaching learner drivers? First of all, you will not make £30,000 in your first year as a driving instructor. Secondly don't fool yourself into thinking that the going hourly lesson rate is what you will be earning as an hourly salary while being a driving instructor.

Example ADI earnings

Lets say the current lesson rate in your area is £25 for every hour, and that as a newly qualified instructor, you are paying a driving school £150 as a franchise fee every week which includes the cost of the tuition car and up to 5 pupil referrals. Please note no driving school can guarantee the number of pupils you will get in a week, but let us for arguments sake say you get 5 pupils a week.

After your first week you've already made a loss of £25, and I haven't included the cost of petrol! After your 2nd week you have made £100 (again petrol costs not included), and that is assuming you got the additional 5 pupils who all took lessons and the 5 from last week also had driving lessons with none of them wanting tution at the same time. In reality things will not work that smoothly, and pupils will not all have lessons immediately they join an instructor, nor will they pay the maximum price in an area for an unpopular driving school! Premium rates can only be charged by the likes of BSM, AA Driving School or an established independent with a very good reputation.

Driving lessons £10 per hour

Lets say you have been established for a while, own your own driving school with no week franchise fees to pay, are able to give a total of 30 driving lessons a week, at a rate of £25 per hour, what is your hourly driving instructor salary or earnings?

You will make £750 a week based on the 30 hours of driving tuition you have provided, will have probably worked a total of 45 hours to be able to provide that amount of driving instruction taking into account 15 minutes travel between lessons and lunch breaks. So you worked 45 hours and got £750 as a weekly salary or did you?

You forget to take care of your outgoings! Lets have a look at some of them on a weekly basis all estimates of course:

Car cost including insurance £80
Petrol £60
Marketing and Advertising £20
Sundries, Stationary etc £20
Total £180

Net Week Driving Instructor Earnings £570

So your hourly earnings as a Driving Instructor is 570/45 = £12.60

I have been very conservative with my figures, and there are still other things you need to take into consideration, like pension, health, income and life insurance, and making allowances for tax, and you can see that contary to popular belief, driving instructors are not making a killing teaching learner drivers! Also you don't get paid for going on holiday, or being sick!

There are benefits to being a driving instructor, and many of of us love our jobs and the satisfaction we get from it, but for many people, money is not the motivating factor that makes us take up this line of work, infact there are many driving instructors who have given up better paying jobs.

More Reading
Driving school marketing.
Pay as you go ADI training.
Red driving school training the truth about the TV advert.
AA driving School


  1. Anonymous8:37 pm

    Well done for making the point that 30 hours a week of paid tuition actually equates to around 45 hours of actual work, but you're very conservative on the costings there.
    Realistically your car, insurance, tax and servicing will cost around £100/week, and advertising will be around £35.
    Once you add in costs of training, the ADI licence and the various groups many ADIs join, your weekly costs will be nearer £230/week.
    Oh - and who the heck earns £25/hour with all of the 5 for £50 offers around these days?

  2. Anonymous12:03 pm

    hi my names i s dave currant this is complete bull as my drving school will make 10m in its first year of trading \

  3. Anonymous1:52 pm

    wow! this blog has really opened my eyes, I was going to attend a Red Info day tomorrow full of hope and great asperations, but have been brought down to earth with a bump. Although I am looking for job satisfaction I also need to earn some money, it looks as if spending £3000 and not being guaranteed qualification plus a franchise is going to leave me nothing but debt....Think I need to re think

  4. Anonymous5:25 pm

    I've been an Adi for two years, the industry is full of bad instructors and crazy cheap lessons. The market is flooded with instructors, how can we improve road safety when the people teaching driving skills are paid a pitance. Market forces are killing the industry.
    We need to set a minimum lesson rate say £20 per hour and as in Scandinavia make it illegal for anyone other than a qualified instructor to give lessons ( parents who teach their kids to drive just pass on bad habits).
    Finally more needs to be done by the DSA to maintain standards and force out the bad instructors

  5. Anonymous2:27 pm

    I've not been an instructor for long (Dec 2009) and didn't do it for the money. I love driving and wanted to pass some of that on.
    I work part time (approx 3 days a week)and charge £18 per hour along with a few different discounted block bookings.
    In reply to the comment "it looks as if spending £3000 and not being guaranteed qualification plus a franchise is going to leave me nothing but debt" Are you ever guaranteed a qualification surely that depends on you and you don't have to go with a franchise you can go it alone, I have and I'm full and having to turn people away at the mo. Don't get me wrong it is hard work. It's probably never going to be the £30k that they say but as long as you put the work in it's an ok living.
    My car costs (car, insurance, tax, sevicing) are around £80 per week, advertising £2.50 per week for me (google adwords), fuel £30-£40 per week plus the extras as mentioned by undercoveradi making it about £150 - £160 per week.
    I agree with the last anon, crazy cheap lessons are ridiculous and impossible to match, don't even try I say. If you have a good name people will still come to you over the cheap but rubbish instructors. I've gained a couple lately from other instructors because of recommendations and it feels great!!

  6. Anonymous6:37 pm

    pass rates in n,ireland for red driving school are less than 1 per cent .check it out .

  7. Anonymous5:24 am

    I have Been an ADI for a mere 3 years and let me tell you that £18 per hour lesson price is to cheap, you are selling your own industry short! Simple as that!

    We should all be charging £22 per hour minimum!

  8. Anonymous4:59 pm

    This is my first official week as a RED PDI on a trainee licence. I have no pupils in my diary and I can't get through to RED on the phone - nor have they answered my email, except to confirm it was received. Have I been scammed and am I now liable for the £205 p/w for a car I can't use? I'm very worried now.....




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