We're on the bones of our arses here. All relative of course, when you consider the poor starving wretches of Somalia or Bangladesh, but without doing anything profligate like going on holiday or repairing the roof of our house, we're gradually slipping further and further into debt.
Much of this is down to me. Partly because sloth is the deadly sin I'd associate myself with more than all the others combined. Partly because I don't like confrontation. So when pupils leave, I don't always tell my boss, because he gives me a hard time about it. So I don't have enough work.
And when you need £300 a week just to break even, this can very quickly go tits up.
So here's my thought.
Rent a wreck school of motoring.
CHEAP DRIVING LESSONS! NERVOUS WRECKS WELCOME!
Let's face it, most learners will not be driving around in brand new cars when they've passed their tests. They will be buying cheapo old bangers.
So why not teach in one? Make it a selling point? Certainly the question everone asks when they ring up about lessons is "How much do you charge?"
Currently my weekly costs break down as follows:
franchise - £130
car - £85
insurance - £20
fuel - £80
total - £315
These are rough figures. They jumped upward because of the VAT increase. They are climbing steadily because of fuel costs.
But what if I got some cheap pile of cack fromthe bargain basement of my local garage? Annual budget of perhaps £500 a year.
Well that's £10 a week. Add a couple of hundred quid for the cost of fitting dual controls. So that then goes to maybe £15 or £20 a week.
Because the car would be worth less, it would be cheaper to insure. Perhaps £500 a year instead of £900. That's £10 a week.
Fuel costs would probably go up a bit, especially if I got a petrol car rather than a diesel. Let's call it £100 a week.
Finally, if I do this, then I won't have to give all that money to The Man. But I will have to spend something on advertising. Last time round I seriously underestimated the amount I would have ot spend. So let's commit £50 a week to google, newspaper ads, yellow pages, website, whatever.
So what does that add up to?
£180 a week. Rather better than £315.
But that's only part of the story. We also have to live. Pay bills. Keep wolf from door. That kind of stuff. Roughly, we need about £200 a week to do this.
I need to earn £515 a week to get by. How the fuck did that happen? I used to get by on the dole, sort of.
Anyway, where was I ?
Oh yeah. £515.
I get £20 a lesson. That's effectively £20 an hour because I need to get from one lesson to another and I don't have a teleport. So I need to do 26 hours a week.
Of course the big selling point of shithole school of motoring would be that it's cheap.
I'd keep it simple. No frills. No gimmicks. No introductory offers. Just a straightforward flat rate.
Still got to find that £200 a week to pay the bills. New overheads would be £180 a week.
That's £380 a week. I'd need to do 26 hours a week doing it this way too.
OK well how about £16 an hour? Still well below the current market rate. Well that puts it down a bit. Now got to do 24 hours a week.
So not that much to choose in terms of how hard I'd have to work.
But there's more to it.
You see, I'm not really interested in becoming rich. I can't be arsed. I became an instructor because I wanted to earn enough per hour that I wouldn't have to slog my bollocks off for 40+ hours a week to earn a crust.
Currently, if I have a few bad weeks, I quickly find I'm up shit creek. Of course, if I have a good few weeks, I make a lot of money. But this never happens. Not the way I'm doing things right now.
As an example, let's say I do 15 hours.
Right now that brings in £300, and I fail to cover my overheads (actually I'd probably break even becuase my fuel costs would be down a bit) but I would still have to find £200 to pay the bills.
With rent a wreck, I do the same 15 hours and it brings in £240. But my overheads would be perhaps £130, again shit week = less fuel. Still not earning enough, but only about £90 short instead of £200.
I cannot carry on the way I have been. It's unsustainable. We face losing our home unless something changes. So either I find a way of making a go of this, or I do something else instead.