Category - Brexit

I Wonder What IS To Blame?

Fruit and vegetablesI just placed my weekly Asda shop – well, updated my weekly delivery for tomorrow – and discovered something very interesting. And very annoying.

They have no cucumbers, no grapes, no sweetclems, no broccoli, no aubergines, and various missing choices for other fruits and vegetables. It’s the worst I’ve seen it, and that includes anytime other than a couple of weeks at the start of the first lockdown, after which it calmed down.

In the first lockdown, items which ended up selling out due to stockpiling were along the lines of pasta, toilet rolls, rice… stuff that could be, well… stockpiled. All the items this time only last a few days, and do not fit into the stockpiling bracket in any way whatsoever. If people were going to stockpile things to eat almost without preparation, it would be snacks and frozen food – not fresh fruit and veg.

That hasn’t stopped the Northern Ireland Secretary, Brandon Lewis, from claiming empty supermarket shelves in Northern Ireland are due to COVID, and not the little matter of Brexit. No one agrees with him, though.

We already know as an absolute fact that Brexit is screwing up at least some imports. Even The Brexit Daily (aka Daily Mail) reported a few days ago that there had been delays in ‘cauliflower packs, citrus fruit, aubergines, courgettes, mushrooms, strawberries…’ which had already resulted in shortages on shelves. Another source reports Brexit-specific delays to around half of the normal import shipments, affecting fruits, seafood, and meat.

The real explanation is that Brexit HAS caused it, and COVID is simply making things a whole lot worse than it had done while it was still working alone.

A New US President – Thankfully

USA Election graphicAt last, Joe Biden has made it to the White House. It’s still disturbing that it was so close, but it’s the result America – and the civilised world – needed.

The Americans are lucky. They were able to rectify the crass mistake which occurred in their country in 2016.

Here in the UK, the one we made just before Trump was elected remains.

Being Clueless Doesn’t Stop You Being An ADI

Although it might have a say in how long you remain one!

My article, Should I Become A Driving Instructor is quite popular – 25,000 views since I published it. It is a very long article, and some people probably don’t have the attention span to read it all, but in it I explain how an ADI’s finances work.

It’s quite simple, actually. You charge money for lessons, and you spend money to get a car, run it, keep it on the road, and keep your business afloat. What’s left over is your wage before tax and National Insurance. Anyone higher than a squirrel on the evolutionary scale will use yearly figures for comparisons, and not short-term spikes in their earnings as a guide to future profits. I mean, over a typical financial year my monthly hours worked might look something like this.Hours worked per month (typical)

It is equivalent to an average over 52 weeks (we call that ‘a year’) of about 30 hours of lessons per week. I have done busier years than this, and I have done quieter ones. And I have had more erratic ones  But this is typical – an ‘average’, if you like.

My current lesson rate is £29 per hour. So my takings for the year – my turnover, which is how much money I take from pupils – would be £45,240. But not all that money is my wage.

Right now, doing a week like that would cost me about £80-£100 or so in fuel costs (which varies depending on the cost of fuel at any given time). Over a full year, I’d have to spend about £5,000 on fuel just to be able to give these lessons.

Then there is how much it costs me to have a car in the first place. Let’s consider this in my world – and not the one populated with unicorns prancing across candy cane fields under a sky full of rainbows. The absolute minimum cost to anyone is going to be at least £30 per week to keep a car on the driveway – and that’s for an older car which never goes wrong, which in all honesty is in unicorn territory. Over a year, that would cost you over £1,500. A newer car, or one which is leased or on PCP, or from a franchise, would cost at least £80 a week (over £4,000 a year), and up to £200 a week (over £10,000 a year).

So if you subtract the fuel cost and the yearly cost for keeping even a perfect banger which never goes wrong  on the road, your theoretical wage would be £38,700. Realistically you will have a proper car – one that still reflects sunlight and has at least something inside it which is electrically powered – and your theoretical wage would be more like £30,200-£36,200.

There are other overheads you need to subtract from that, but let’s stick with this theoretical set for the purposes of this discussion.

Now, just for a moment, let’s take a totally separate path. IF I charged £50 an hour, my theoretical wage would leap to around £67,000. IF I charged £100 per hour, it would be as much as £145,000. But reality has a big say in all this.

In 2016, a survey showed the average lesson price in the UK was £24 per hour (mine was £25), with a higher range of £28, and a lower one of £23. In 2020 – and without knowing what effect COVID-19 has had yet – these figures are typically about £5 higher. I stress, these are averages, and at any time there are always some people who are charging either well below or well above the average. But when I say ‘well above’ or ‘below’, were talking a few pounds – not tens of pounds. Anyone charging double that is not doing normal lessons with normal people.

I recently saw someone claim that it was possible to ‘earn’ £74,000, and they even cited an example of someone who ‘had done it’, and that they did so working 36 hours a week over 48 weeks. Straightaway there is a problem, because 48 weeks isn’t a full year, and 36 hours per week over 48 weeks actually equates to a weekly average of 33 hours per week. That would means someone ‘earning’ £74,000 would be charging the equivalent of £43 per hour which is almost double the normal lesson rate. Alternatively – and without knowing the full details – another way of looking at it is that £74,000 over 48 weeks scaled to a full year equates to £40 an hour at 36 hours per week. This is what happens when the clueless start throwing random and incomplete figures around.

The second problem is that they are not ‘earning’ that at all. That is their turnover, which the person who made the claim admitted to later, though not initially when they were in full-on bragging mode. Turnover is absolutely meaningless unless you have someone’s detailed accounts. The worrying thing is that supposedly professional people are bandying these figures around for purposes best known to themselves, but they are totally ignorant to what it is they are actually pushing.

Someone charging anywhere near £43 an hour is not going to be driving a banger with faded paint. They will not be giving normal lessons to normal people – there will be some unique selling point (USP) they are involved with, or they will only be covering a special area with very rich clients. And if they have a cat in hell’s chance of sustaining that model from year to year even in those circumstances, they will be highly experienced to the extent they can get away with it. If they are inexperienced (or bad) instructors, even posh and rich people will tend to realise any shortcomings sooner or later.

Taking overheads into account, the person they mentioned would have been ‘earning’ at least £10,000 less than that £74,000 – even without knowing the full story. If they were using a high-spec or specialised vehicle – which is likely if the hourly rate really was £43 – it could have been £20,000 less, or even more. So it is misleading, and unprofessional to push a high figure like this as a potential salary. It is no better than me quoting a friend of mine who charges £60 an hour – he’s a plumber.

The bottom line is that most ADIs – the vast, vast, vast majority – cannot possibly charge £43 and hour. That majority is so vast that individuals who can get away with it for whatever reason are irrelevant. Furthermore, the vast majority of ADIs struggle to maintain even 20-30 hours, and that’s especially true right now. You can see my real world example, which dips between about 80 hours and 160 hours per month over a year (20-36 hours a week) even when there’s no pandemic to deal with. Back in the last recession, you could easily halve those figures for many people, and at the opposite end I once did a year where I was averaging 40 hours a week – which nearly killed me. I would never quote that year as in any way ‘typical’ – because it wasn’t, it isn’t, and it shouldn’t be. It happened by accident, and I deliberately pulled back as a result of it, hence ‘30 hours’.

You see, that’s another complication which the person boasting these figures missed. In terms of workload, an average of 36 hours over 48 weeks is precisely that – for 48 weeks, the instructor would be delivering that number of lessons. And that is hard to do, especially if it is week in, week out. If they worked 7 days a week, they’d be doing 5 hours every day (the person who made the claim said they were ‘doing 2 hour lessons’, which doesn’t quite fit). A 6-day week would be 6 hours a day – which does fit. And no cancellations, urgent appointments, or family issues? It’s unicorn territory even with that. But whatever, financially it has to be gauged over 52 weeks to make any sense in salary terms.

And I stress again the phrase ‘theoretical earnings’. In reality, an ADI has other overheads he or she will have to subtract from their turnover before they can call it their wage. These will vary for each individual – with the likelihood that someone charging £43 per hour and getting away with it will have a lot more to pay out than everyone else.

If you’re thinking of coming into this business, do not listen to poseurs who quote these outlandish figures. If there is any confusion between ‘turnover’ and pre-tax profit when they comment, walk away and blacklist them. They do not have a clue – no matter what title they give themselves.

A decent instructor teaching normal pupils should be looking to earn a proper wage somewhere around £25,000-£30,000 in 2020 (COVID-19 and Brexit effects notwithstanding) – if they’re doing an average of 30 hours and if they’re charging around £30 an hour. You can worry about USPs, rich clients, and doubling your fees later.

Oh. And ‘turnover’ is not your ‘wages’ or ‘earnings’.

Brexit Shows Its True Colours. Again.

brexit_mentalityImmediately after the referendum, Brexiters showed their true colours by putting signs up telling foreigners to go home.

Nearly four years down the line, the unimaginable has happened, and that half of the electorate with the combined intelligence of a cowpat has collectively orgasmed overnight, as Johnson delivered what he hopes will keep him in power. This story shows clearly what drove us into this in the first place.

It was placed on doors across all 15 floors of a Norwich tower block.

Make no mistake, the sentiment which drove the twat(s) who did this festers in the minds of a huge number of Brexit supporters out there. They will deny it, of course. They will take issue with it. But they have this cancer running through their veins, no matter what ‘reasons’ they now give for voting to leave the EU.

This is what did it. This is what got that tiny, tiny majority that has effectively destroyed this country. And this is what we have condemned ourselves to.

31 January 2020, 11.00pm

EU flag with fallen starA date and time which will live in infamy.

The idiots still can’t see what they’ve done. The warnings of the last four years have not been heeded, and nearly half a million have lost their jobs in vain.

Brexit is going to destroy this country.