The AA Driving School Franchise Take One
I've held an AA Driving School franchise twice, and would like to share my experience with any PDI or ADI thinking of taking out one.
I first joined the AA Driving school as an ADI in late 2003, at the time I had recently become a driving instructor, and needed for my new driving school business to grow, and the way the franchise was setup at the time suited me very well. There was the weekly fixed fee which was about £160 and they then charged you about £150 for every pupil they supplied you over a 10 week period, but the good thing was that they only charged you for a maximum of 10 pupils. They also had an introductory offer which meant that I didn't have to pay the fully weekly franchise fee until I had been with them for 10 weeks. I also think it was one of the cheapest driving school franchises at the time, at least compaered to BSM, RED and probably LDC.
My first franchise with the AA Driving School at the time was very good, I had lots of pupils and didn't have any complaints as an instructor with them, in fact I had to limit the number of pupils with them, as I was getting very busy. I had to give up my franchise with the AA driving school due to some family problems about 2 years after I joined them.
AA Driving School Franchise Second Time
I decided to rejoin the AA driving school as a franchisee in 2007 having sorted out my family problems and having looked at the various driving school franchises around including the Red Driving School, Safeway, the AA still offered the best option for my needs, and since I'd had good service from them the first time round, I had no reservations becoming a driving instructor with the AA for the second time, however things were not going to be the same I later found out.
Just before I left the AA driving school the first time I had a franchise with them, there were a couple of changes made, one of them was a different way of charging instructors for allocated pupils to via insite. Instead of the system I mentioned eralier, there was now a flat £30 fee for each pupil introduced to the ADI. This new change also meant that the instructor was no longer guaranteed a minimum number of lessons with the learner driver pupil. The AA's spin on this was that after their 1st lesson, that pupil was now profitable for the instructor, while this was true, what actually happened in reality, was that there were a lot of instances where the pupil either did not turn up for the lesson, took only one or two lessons and then didn't want anymore (at least not at the AA recommended price anyway), and unless the instructor was very dillegent in checking the insite website, you could end up being charged with a fee for a learner that had cancelled their lessons.