Just before Christmas I wrote an article based on some silly statements I’d seen about independent instructors being “better trained” and “more professional”, meaning that they could charge more and not have to offer discounts. It was easy to prove categorically that those claims are untrue with a simple scan of some instructors’ websites, and that all instructors are pretty much the same (with the statistical spread that that implies).
I just saw another comment about franchised instructors being much worse off because of having to pay their franchiser. There are still people who are dumb enough to think that being independent automatically means you’re £200 a week better off. You are not.
As I said in that earlier article, if an independent instructor and a franchised one both have the guaranteed same number of hours, and if both charge the same hourly rate, then the independent is better off – not by the whole amount of the franchise fee, but by the whole amount of that fee minus whatever he or she pays for their own overheads (and those are absolutely not even close to £0). So, if the franchisee pays £200 per week for everything (except fuel), the independent – even if they don’t realise it – will be paying at least £30 per week, but more like £50-£100 in most cases, for everything (except fuel). So the independent would be turning over approximately £100 more.
But look at all the “ifs”.
Now, consider this. A franchised instructor is likely to be charging £25 per hour or more for lessons. The independent ADI who made the claim isn’t, even though that’s the typical franchised rate in their location. Their website indicates a top rate of £21 per hour, but only £20 per hour with block booking. They also have introductory offers where blocks of 10 lessons are equivalent to less than £17 per hour! One block offer for a smaller number of hours that could last a pupil for a month is equivalent to £11 per hour!
In a worst case scenario (lots of first time buyers on the books), even if the two ADIs were doing the same number of hours (say 30), the franchised instructor could easily be turning over more than £300 a week more than the independent. In the best case (all paying the independent’s highest rate), also with the same number of hours, the franchised ADI would still be turning over £150 more per week.
And the thing to remember is that if you have a full diary and are having to turn people away, you don’t cut your £25 rate to £11, or even £20. If you are cutting it, it is to try and fill your diary. Therefore, you’re not doing the same number of hours as the franchised ADI in the first place. So the difference in turnover is even greater.
This is why franchised instructors can afford to pay the franchise. It is why they are not as badly off as some independents like to believe. And it is why I advise all new ADIs to start off with one.