freelance instructing

fulcrum

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hi cfi's i am getting ready for my cfi ride soon ,

i just need some pointers from you guys for recruiting students,

my situation right now wont let me teach full time , college , job etc

and also how much does it cost to get insurance ?

any extra information is welcome , thanks in advance.
fulcrum
 

bobbysamd

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Student recruiting

Here are some ideas that are somewhat tried and true:

(1) Get some business cards printed. Hand them to EVERYONE. Post them on FBOs bulletin boards. Make nice to the person at the front desk and ask if you can set up a display with your business cards. You need one of those little plastic business card display stands that you should be able to get from the printer or an office supply outlet.

(2) Just tell people you are a new flight instructor and are looking for students.

(3) This actually should have been (1). Tell the FBO at which you're training that you want a job. Take a non-flying part-time FBO job. The idea is to get noticed.

(4) Attend pilot meetings of various kinds. Meet people. Go to static displays at airports. That's how I found my instructor.

(5) Attend FAA WINGS Seminars. Pilots need one hour of basic airwork, one hour of takeoffs and landings, and one hour of instruments to earn their WINGS. My instructor got a lot of business that way. Moreover, it won't hurt you or any pilot to attend a WINGS seminar.

(6) I'll mention this one just because it comes to mind. Place an ad for services in the local classified. Results are usually disappointing. For that matter, scan the Help Wanted section of the classified.

(7) www.avemco.com or AOPA for insurance. MAKE SURE that the policy you purchase includes professional liability coverage as well as hull and property damage. You will likely need two policies. The professional liability clause should, without fail, provide you with a legal defense.

The point is you must do quite a bit of marketing to get students. As you build a reputation for being a good instructor, you'll get lots of word-of-mouth business.

Hope these ideas help. Good luck with your practical.
 
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Wiggums

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The are a couple of ways to recruit students. The first is to put your business card at every airport in the area. There are usually a couple places at every airport, terminal, restaurant, FBO, where you can place your cards. Also, you can put up flyers at the the local colleges, the best kind I've seen is the full page ads with tear off numbers. Lastly, if you have a big expensive school in your area like FlightSaftey, you might try putting flyers on the cars parked there. I've had a few flyers on my car recently from freelancers.

Another part of recruiting is to be at all the aviation related events in your area. Try to meet as many people as possible and give out your cards. Wings meetings are great, since many of the people there will be doing some dual soon. Other things you might want to look into are Angel Flight and your local EAA chapter. Also, if your university has some type of flying club I'd get into that.

The most important recruiting tip is to always give the very best service you can. Most people that succeed at freelancing get many new customers by word of mouth. Always act professional, and always give your current students some cards and let them know your always on the look out for new students. If they think your a great instructor your current students will gladly recommend you to their friends.

There are two types of insurance you'll need, airframe and liability. Airframe insurance will come with the aircraft your flying. If if's the FBO's airplane, they should be providing the insurance on it. However, some policies allow the FBO's insurance compnay to pay the FBO for the damage, then come after you for the money. Make sure your considered “named” on the policy. If your flying a customer's aircraft make sure that CFIs are considered “named” on the policy, or have the owner call the insurance company and get your named on the policy. Even though the owner will be protected if the airplane is wrecked, you want to make sure the insurance company doesn't come after you later. Liability insurance is something that I would buy from AOPA or NAFI. Aircraft insurance policies have liability, however, you'll also want to have some generally liability insurance. For example, six months after one of your students had a private checkride they crash and sue you. You'll need some general liability coverage, the aircraft's coverage won't help you. The whole insurance thing is pretty complicated, I suggest reading all the insurance articles on avweb.com, especially this one.

http://www.avweb.com/articles/lendplane/

In any case, good luck. Freelancing instructing is difficult, and it will take some time to get the ball rolling. However, you get to be your own boss, and typically make more money then other instructors.
 

dondk

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My suggestion is more down the road. Go to local community college's, High School's and Adult Education programs. Offer to do a ground school for the summer session (or whatever is the next session).

I know 2 people, 1 in NY and 1 in PA who did this. The lady in PA did not even have her CFI (had a BGI) and taught 2 days a week at the local community college, when she finally got the CFI she already had 1/2 of the class lined up.

The guy in NY did the evening adult education gig, he ended up with 8 students from his class.

Not all area's have programs like this, but those who do will consider a class.

I agree with all the others on insurance, my only .02 is to shop around, AVEMCO tends to be cheaper than the others. Although I vaugely remember some wierd cap they had on either the type of equipment or HP.



Freelancing I agree is difficult, but it can be rewarding not only in $$$ but in some of the relationships that will be born from it. I have several close and dear friends that came from freelancing and with that came opportunities that I do not think I would of gotten if I was a flight school instructor.

Best of luck...
 

starchkr

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My suggestions are to first go to the busiest training field in your area, if not in your state to recruit students. You will possibly get a few students at the small fields, but a lot of student pilots start with a reccomendation from a friend or family member as to where to go. That recommendation usually is to a place where there are a lot of students and a lot of traffic. In my case it was Addison in Dallas, definately one of the biggest training airports in the north Texas area. I even believe it was ranked as the busiest single runway airport in the nation for awhile.

My second suggestion is to hook up with a school or FBO who only takes on Freelance instructors. The benefits of this are, one they expect no money from you so you keep everything you make. Two, they will have many recurring student activities as their previous students reccommend them to you.

A third and really important suggestion is to find a school that will offer more than just the plain jane aircraft. Everyone has 150's, 172's, 172 RG's and so forth. The place i freelanced had 2 172's, 1 182 and 1 172 RG to match the others, but then they had 1 Commander 114, 1 Twin Commanche, 1 Mooney, 1 Bonanza and 3 Barron's of which one was a 58 Foxstar conversion. We brought in a lot of traffic from the other schools when their students found out that we had a much better aircraft selection for training.

Needless to say, with the above things all happening where i had instructed, we had plenty of incoming traffic, and none of our instructors had to advertise themselves outside of the place we instructed. It was nice having all of the students walk in to find us, and if you were there that day they became your student. I know that does not happen often, but if you look hard enough you will find a place, just don't settle for less unless you think you deserve it.
 

jetdriven

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,you might run into problems with the FBO only letting "their" instructors etc instruct in theit planes. Even though I was covered by a non-owned policy and checked out in all of their planes, they still wouldnt let me do it. I call it greed.
 

Pilotadjuster

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CFI Insurance

Im in about the same boat right now; taking the ride later this month.

As far as insurance, AVEMCO does not write CFI insurance any longer; when they got out of the commercial insurance business, I believe they cut off CFIs as well. The only one I have found is through AOPA and its about $400 for the year, including professional liability and hull coverage (cant recall the levels off hand). Please post on here if you find a better deal than that, as there are only one or maybe two companies who even offer that insurance any more.

Good luck on your ride!

PA
 

dondk

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AVEMCO got out of covering CFI's???

Does AOPA still have a clause that 230 or 260 HP is the max they will cover in?

That is the one and only thing I hated about freelancing, the **CENSORED****CENSORED****CENSORED****CENSORED** insurance.

too add .02, I agree .. get yourself aligned with either a club or FBO, or in some rare cases someone on the field where you have a choice of aircraft. I found a lot of students had preconceptions on high wing versus low wing trainers. By having some of both at my disposal I was able to retain and attain a few extra students.

Best of luck on your ride!
 

Pilotadjuster

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CFI Insurance

Yep, just checked the AVEMCO site, and they have nothing there for anything even smelling commercial, including CFIs. Their Direct Approach policy covers only instruction you RECIEVE in an owned or rented aircraft.

NAFI has a program through Falcon Insurance Agency http://www.falconinsurance.com/ - anyone have experience with them? Also--is NAFI worth joining?

thanks for the suggestions from everyone.

PA
 

dondk

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NAFI...

good question, I have been a member for about 2 1/2 years... I think it is $35 a year, for that you get some decent discounts at various companies like GLIEM, ASA and the such. IF you use the discounts the money saved does exceed the cost, you also get Flying for free for a year. So if you add up the dicounts and the free subscription it will exceed the cost of the membership. The only other thing I used it for was that I think Pilot Portal gave NAFI members a nice plaque for your students who made thier first solo. This was a nice thing that my students really liked.

As for insurance, never used them or even knew they offered insurance. NAFI is owned by EAA if that makes any difference.

Best of luck...
 

PHX767

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My thoughts on insurance - When I was just starting out, I decided not to buy liability insurance. Attorneys generally will not sue someone who does not have assets - What do they hope to gain? My 1988 Grand AM?

If you are concerned about getting sued, incorporate yourself as a business. That way if somebody does decide to take action against what you have done as a CFI, it will not affect your personal assets - only those of your corporation.
 

Wiggums

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You generally won't be sued if you don't have any assets, however, it still could happen. Laywers will sometimes sue to go after future earnings.
 

FlyinBrian

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Even though I was covered by a non-owned policy and checked out in all of their planes, they still wouldnt let me do it. I call it greed.
I'd say you're being a little harsh. Profit margins at most flight schools (and everywhere else in aviation) are very slim. Unless a school has more students than its instructors can handle, don't they kind of owe it to their own people not to provide the means by which freelancers can come in and underprice them? The flight school I worked for allowed freelance instructors, but we were ripe with students for our own instructors. Since 9-11, the pickings have been much slimmer, so they have disallowed freelancers. I don't think it has to do with greed so much as good business sense.
 

Pilotadjuster

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Insurance and corporations

The incorporation idea does not work unfortunately. I am not an attorney, but can tell you ANYONE can be sued for ANYTHING. Even if you are not at fault, the cost to defend yourself can send you to bankruptcy.

You may form a corporation, however that does not insulate you from personal liability in every case. If the corporation formed includes you as the only officer and the purpose is flight instruction, I would be surprised if any marginally competent attorney could not "pierce the corporate veil". Just not a good idea.

Insurance, though outrageously expensive, is still the best course of action. In my case, I will be working with an FBO which requires it of their instructors. I also own a home I would like to hang on to for awhile....

PA
 

bobbysamd

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CFI, Inc. or LLC

Good post about incorporating or even turning yourself into an LLC. I don't think instructors can become PCs or PAs. I'm no attorney, either, but there are too many opportunities for an independent CFI to comingle business and non-business matters and allow the veil to be pierced.

Just bite the bullet and purchase the insurance. It's much less trouble in the long run and more conventional to boot.
 

na265

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Wiggums has the right idea. I taught for the Continuing Ed Dept at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. They did all the advertising and provided the place to teach and all materials. I put a PA28-160(not a good trainer) on lease-back and did pretty well. They paid $40/hr and I paid myself $30hr flying. I can't tell you about insurance. The hassles and libility aren't worth it. That is why I don't instruct anymore.
 

kilomike

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I was a freelance instructor for a long time. I have since stopped instructing for the most part. The only instruction I give is for someone with whom I've been flying for years and I am named on his insurance policy. He has been flying for a long time and keeps up his proficiency, so the risk is minimal. Otherwise I do not instruct due to liability concerns. Right now I have no assets to speak of, but I am indeed concerned about future earnings since I am applying for an electrical apprenticeship program, and college educated people with a skilled trade usually do exceptionally well financially. So that pretty much eliminates me from the ranks of active instructors. I will however continue to attend the FIRC seminars to keep my CFI current since I gain valuable new aviation knowledge each time I attend a seminar. I do encourage those who no longer instruct to keep up with the FIRC's. After all, I worked hard to get that CFI/CFII/MEI and I won't let it expire.

Fly Safe!
 

fulcrum

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thanks to all of you that answered

thanks guys for all he info and advice
wish me luck
fulcrum
 

avbug

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Fulcrum,

I don't get to instruct much any more, but when I get the chance, I revel in it. You'll enjoy teaching. How could anyone not enjoy sharing flight?

Greg Brown put out a book called The Savvy Flight Instructor. I don't know if they still do, but NAFI would send that book to new members as part of the membership. That's probably the best book you will find on the subject. It covers getting and retaining students, and a plethora of other information. (How many hats would you say there are, in a plethora...sorry).

Liability insurance is great, but nearly impossible to get and it's a lot like a really small parachute; it will only break the fall. It won't stop the fall. You're going to incur liability by providing instruction, and that liability doesn't go away for a long time. You teach a student and three years later that student hurts somebody, all he or she need say is that Fulcrum-my-instructor taught me to do it this way. Fight's on.

All you can do to truly defend yourself is to provide the best service you can possibly give. Train to proficiency. Recognize that you're NOT building hours, but providing one of the most valueable and noble services known to mankind; you're teaching. Treat your endevour with the respect it deserves; take it seriously. This is the best defense against lawsuits. You can't prevent them, but you can avoid them.

As for finding work, it's out there. Business cards help. Get involved in every way you can. Recognize now that free time is a thing of the past. Give up your weekends, your evenings, your mornings, and your lunch hours. Whenever you have five minutes, pursue your vocation like a holy quest. Most instructors sit at the office and wait for business; it doesn't have to be that way. Go get it.

Get involved with Civil Air Patrol. You can't charge for instruction in the airplane, but you can make contacts, get instructing experience, and it will bring you business. Count on it. Same for EAA, and other groups at the airport. Make yourself known. Get in and help out.

Teach boy scout aviation merit badges, and offer to take every scout who passes for an intro flight. This will make you known. I've done this for many years, and I believe in it.

When I was doing a lot more instructing, I found endless ways to get attention for flying, and flight instructing. I towed banners advertising the fact, I took an airplane apart once and put it together in a mall to sell aviation and instructing. I taught classes, ground schools, public awareness classes, etc. I towed an airplane through a parade. Lots of late nights with students, early mornings, and everything in between.

Follow up with your students. How many people start flight training, but never finish? A lot. How many get a pilot certificate, and then drop out? There are many inactive pilots you can go get and bring back to activity. If you don't hear from someone after a week, call them. Send cards. Visit. Show them you're interested, and motivate them. Motivation in flying is contageous, and you must be the disease carrier. Take it to your public, to your students, and infect them, then keep it active and burning inside them. It's entirely up to you.

Good luck!!
 

bobbysamd

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CAP

Avbug gave you an excellent suggestion by urging you to get involved with CAP. No, you cannot charge for your time, but you can build up instructing experience. You can become a check pilot and give annual Form 5 Rides. If your wing permits, you can give flight instruction towards ratings in CAP aircraft. I did. My first two signoffs were CAP members.I became an Assistant Chief Check Pilot in my wing and attended and helped put on two check pilot clinics. We learned directly from an FAA man who trains examiners how to conduct a flight examination. That was invaluable training. Perhaps more importantly, CAP will open the door to make great contacts. Through CAP, I met and became friends with some extremely fine people who helped me get my career off the ground.

Good luck with your enterprising.
 
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