Is this a good time to start a new career as a driving instructor?

Since the end of the last financial crisis (2012/13), driving instructors have witnessed an increase in workload and a gradual increase in earnings year-on-year. What is remarkable is that the number of new 17-year olds, the age at which a provisional licence can be obtained, has actually been declining over this period and will not start increasing again until 2020. From 2020-2030, the number of new drivers will start to increase again year-on-year – great news for the driver training industry.

Is this a good time to change tack and become a driving instructor? Well, all the signs are good in the short, medium and longer term. Accountancy service provider FBTC carried out the Annual UK Driving Instructor Review at the end of 2018 and these are their encouraging results:

  • Lesson prices rose in 2018 by an impressive 5.1%, more than twice the rate of the Consumer Price Index. From 2016-18, lesson prices have increased by 15%.
  • The national average hourly rate now stands at £26.59. More than a third of driving instructors are charging £28 per hour.
  • Men work on average 29.5 hours per week at a rate of £26.64/hour (gross weekly income £786).
  • Women work on average 27.5 hours per week at a rate of £26.94/hour (£741/week).
  • Pupil waiting lists are still a reality for most people looking to learn to drive.
  • Franchised driving instructors (those working in a local or national driving school) are earning roughly £130 per week more than independent driving instructors.
  • Around a fifth of driving instructors earn a gross income of £1000 per week (£52K annually!)
  • Around 10% of driving instructors are working 40 or more paid hours per week.
  • Finally, over 92% of driving instructors are “satisfied” with their job and 41.5% reported a “very high level of job satisfaction”.

So, what does this all mean for current driving instructors and anyone considering joining the profession? In uncertain political times (Brexit) the state of our industry has rarely been healthier, based on my 26 years’ experience. Earnings are, on average, double the rate of inflation; hours worked are decreasing (more leisure time); there is a shortage of driving instructors (many have pupil waiting lists) and there will be more young drivers coming on stream for at least the next decade; and the vast majority of driving instructors are satisfied with their job which is surely not the case in most industries.

Working for a franchised company, like Learn Driving UK, is a very sensible option for new driving instructors trying to find their feet. It’s also the case that, on average, they earn considerably more than their independent counterparts according to the latest survey.

As we go in to the last year of this decade, there has never been a better time to move in to a well-paid, satisfying and enjoyable new career.

For details of how to become a driving instructor or if enquiring to work with a franchised driving school, please contact Helen at