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Build Your Own or Join Franchise/Partnership?

Run Your Own Business, or Join an Established Driving School? What’s Best?

When you pass your ADI examination you’ll have a choice of driving instructor jobs available to you. While some opt for further training to become c-ADI trainers, others choose to open their own driving school, or join an established driving school in Ireland and operate a franchise locally. So what’s the best option for a newly qualified ADI? Business owner or franchisee?

Working Hours

  •         Business

  • As the owner of your own business, you’ll be in charge of the hours you work, giving you flexibility to work around family, social, or other career requirements as needed (ideal if you’re taking c-ADI training, for example). You can vary your driving instructor salary easily by taking on more clients or toning down your schedule as necessary. However, remember that it can take some time for a new ADI to build up a reputation, and you may not have the opportunity to work quite as many hours as you’d like during the first few months of owning the business.
  •         Franchise/Partnership

  • The good things about franchises is that you’ll still have some degree of control over how much you work, although many companies will require you to commit to working a minimum number of hours per week if they have a large client database. You may also be tied into a contract that can dictate the number of hours you work. Many contracts are set at 6 or 12 months, with some simply being ‘rollover’ contracts that continue until you provide notice of cancellation.


  •         Business

  • If you’re going down the ‘own business’ route, you’ll be wholly responsible for any business overheads, which for driving instructors can be quite significant. You’ll be required to supply your own vehicle, pay fuel costs and insurance, and ensure the vehicle is safe, well maintained, and is serviced annually. As a new business owner, you may be required to be in business for a number of years before your profits are significantly higher than your business outgoings. Becoming a driving instructor isn’t always easy, but rest assured it’s worth it in the end!
  •         Franchise/Partnership

  • For newly qualified ADIs, it can sometimes be more cost effective to opt to go down the franchise route. You will be required to pay a regular, set fee - usually on a weekly basis - to the company, but this will often include many overheads so that you don’t need to take care of these yourself. Many companies offer their franchisee’s dual control-equipped vehicles that are taxed, serviced, and swapped out for a newer model on an annual basis. Some many also offer non-essential yet beneficial business insurance that can help to protect your reputation and your financial state should an accident occur either in your vehicle or as a result of your vehicle.


  •         Business

  • Unless you already have a solid reputation in your local community, it can be challenging to make a name for yourself as a qualified driving instructor. ADIs that are launching their own driving school business should make marketing and promotion a priority, and be prepared to work with professionals who can advertise the business digitally for maximum effect, targeting specific demographics - most notably the 16-24 age range - through great content marketing, SEO, and SMO. While this can be an unwanted expense just as you’re starting out, a good marketing strategy can really help accelerate your success and get you to where you want to be.
  •         Franchise/Partnership

  • Franchises differ considerably when it comes to how they expect you to source students. Some expect you to source students independently, much like you would if you running your own business. Others supply students as part of your contract and fee. However, the most common type of arrangement that tends to take place is the ‘student introduction service’. This is a sort of halfway point between the other two options - the driving school will provide you with clients for an additional fee. You’ll be looking at around €27 per student, or around €55 per student if they block book a number of lessons at once.


  •             Business

  • Once you’ve passed stage 3 of the ADI examination, you’re out on your own! If you’ve spent the previous 2 years working closely with a supportive driving instructor training school, this can be quite a nerve wracking thought for newly qualified ADIs. While you can opt to undertake further training - and even c-ADI training if that’s a route you’re interesting in exploring - many people just want to start earning a driving instructor training salary, and miss out on further opportunities that could help them to hone their skills and target any areas they feel are particularly challenging.
  •         Franchise/Partnership

  • There are a number of franchises that will offer additional training as standard for their driving instructors. After all, they have a reputation to protect and want to ensure that their instructors are competent not only in terms of the RSA guidelines, but with their own internal protocols, too. Having this ‘safety net’ of extra training can be very beneficial for newly qualified ADIs who lack real, on-the-job experience as a driving instructor. This training can also be useful when preparing for the annual check test, which is remarkably challenging to pass!


  •         Business

  • As a business owner, you’ll be able to set your own driving instructor salary. You can easily earn more - or less - by changing the hours you choose to work, taking on more or less clients, or adjusting your lesson rate. The average rate per hour in Ireland is €33, but you may charge whatever you like as the owner of a driving school - just be sure to keep an eye on the local competition to ensure your rates are attractive to learner drivers, many of whom will still be students in school and unable to afford the higher fees.
  •         Franchise/Partnership

  • If you opt to go down the franchise route, your lesson rates will be set by the driving school. While the advertised rates may be a little higher than the national average as clients are typically willing to pay more to be trained by a ‘named’ driving school, remember that discounts for block bookings can affect your driving instructor salary. If, for example, you book 40 hours in a week, you may only see 60 percent of that in terms of salary due to whatever special promotions are being offered by the driving school.

So what’s best, owning your own business or opening a franchise? As we can see, both options have many advantages. However, for newly qualified ADIs, the support, student sourcing, financial assistance, and reputation boost offered by major driving schools can be very advantageous, helping you to establish yourself within the industry and grow your reputation as a driving instructor in Ireland. Once you have gained some practical experience and grown in confidence as a driving instructor, you may wish to branch out and take more control over the direction in which your driving instructor career is going by opening up your own business.

We have formed strategic partnerships with some of Ireland's leading driving schools who can offer sponsorship schemes to help with your training costs and guarantee you a full diary of students once you have qualified... Contact us to find our more.

Who we have trained

We have a working relationship with many instructors and driving schools...big and independent

Colmans Driving School Lucan

"NUI Driving Instructor Training were great help with my check test"

RSA Driving School are one of Ireland's largest driving schools providing driving lessons in Dublin, Driving Lessons in Cork and Driving Lessons in Meath and we are proud to say that they choose us for all their driving instructor training

Mary's Driving School Kildare

"NUI helped build my confidence and grow my business"

MyEDT Driving School are specialists in delivering EDT Driving Lessons. Dublin is currently the only city they service but they will soon be providing driving lessons in Cork and we have been chosen to train all their new instructors