I was speaking to an AA Driving School Instructor recently at the soon to be closed Hendon test centre, and he was saying that the AA Bristol call centre was not able to fill his diary at the moment with pupils.
This fully qualified ADI has held an AA franchise for over 18years, was available for work for 60 hours a week and covering about 9 North London post codes and yet not fully booked. This is obviously the effects of the current credit crunch economy, and I woud wonder how a newly qualfied driving instructor would be coping with an AA driving school franchise, especially after the 10 weeks discounted period is over and you still have to pay £200 pounds a week minimum franchise fee, could be more if you've had pupil introductions (£30 per learner driver no matter how many lessons they eventually have).
This is one of the reasons why I decided to become an independent driving school instructor. While I can't charge as much as an AA instructor, I can freely market myself as I like, don't have to use a 1600cc Ford Focus car for driving tuition, have a less expensive monthly car leasing fee to pay and generally have less strees in my life. The biggest reward is of course the fact that I'm now promoting my business, and everytime some sees my car, it is promoting me, not the AA.
If you've taken out a national driving school franchise to get yourself established in the industry, I wish you the best, but I would recommend you always have setting up your own driving school up at the back of your mind.
PS I've just had a letter through the post inviting me to join the organisation, offer a weekly franchise fee of £28 gradually stepped up, claiming to equate to over £1000!