Stick Shift Instructor Basics, FAQ, Quiz 

 

This is Giuseppe Frustaci, the Founder of Stick Shift Driving Academy. Below, I will: 

1. Give you the basic nuts and bolts of what’s involved in being an instructor with us

2. Share with you the most frequently asked questions (and the answers) 

3. You can then take a simple quiz to show that you understood what we presented below

If you pass the quiz, the next step will be to talk on the phone and potentially get you signed up to teach. 

Nuts and Bolts

I started the business in 2018 and since then, we’ve done a little over 4,600 manual transmission lessons nationwide. We currently have roughly 130 instructors in 38 metro areas throughout the United States and are on our way to being in 50 metro areas by the end of 2022. In the past four years we’ve received all sorts of questions from potential instructors, so I’m going to go into the most commonly asked questions and details that potential instructors typically want to know.  

FREE to Join

First, there is nothing to buy from us. We are not a multi-level marketing company. We are not going to ship you yoga pants or essential oils or any of that junk. There is no cost to sign up, no cost for the insurance, and no cost for using our services. Everything about your signup and use of the website is completely FREE. 

How Does This Work?

Our website operates pretty traditionally as long as your traditions go back to the early 2000s! Our business model operates similar to the way eBay or Airbnb work. When the customer comes on the website, they make a reservation on your calendar, similar to how you might make a reservation on a website like Airbnb. When that reservation comes through, you would get a text message and an email with the customer’s information and their booking information. You would reach out to them to coordinate where you want them to meet you and discuss any concerns that either you or they might have, especially Covid-related. You will have them meet you in a parking lot and you would teach them the very basics of stick shift driving, like getting into gear, upshifting and downshifting. Then after the lesson, we would process the payments. Within a couple of days your pay would go to your bank account via direct deposit. 

Managing Your Schedule & Availability

As far as your availability goes, you can be as available or as unavailable as you want. We have a requirement of 2 weekdays and 1 weekend day with at least a 4-hour block of time each of those days. And we don’t take you off the site if you’re available one day a week or just the weekend. Our assumption going into this is that most people already have jobs, are in school, or have kids, and that you are going to be doing this as a side gig. You’ll have a calendar where you can indicate your regular availability. You can also block off specific dates if you want to be unavailable. Additionally, you can sync your Stick Shift Driving Academy calendar with your personal calendar (Google, iCal, etc…) so that you automatically block time off on your Stick Shift Driving Academy calendar. 

Where Do You Teach The Lesson?

As far as the location goes, a couple of details there. It would need to be a paved off-road area. Our insurance does not cover any incidents that take place outside a paved off-road area. Typically a paved off-road area means something like a parking lot, but a cemetery would also work. You would have the customer meet you at your preferred location so you don’t need to drive far. Most instructors teach in their hometown and you also don’t need to pick up the customer, since they can already drive.

What Will You Teach?

If you are wondering how much you can really teach in a parking lot (it’s a totally fair concern), customers are only expecting to learn the very basics of stick shift. They’re expecting to have an opportunity to learn things like getting into gear, upshifting, downshifting, and so on. Additionally, they’re only booking 2 - 4 hours with you and they know they’re going to stay in a parking lot, so their expectations are pretty modest.There is just a limit to how much you can teach someone in a couple of hours, and there’s a limit on how good they’re going to be by the end of the couple of hours. The problem that you are solving for them is that you are just helping them to develop the fundamentals, like modulating the gas pedal, the clutch pedal, upshifting, downshifting and things of that nature. You’re only going to be spending 2 to 4 hours with them so we try to do a good job of keeping their expectations reasonable and realistic.

Requirements Of Your Lessons

If you are looking for ideas about what to teach, there is a recommended-but-not-required curriculum that we wrote and it is on our website. You are welcome to use it and you are welcome to ignore it. What you teach and how you teach are totally up to you. The only requirement of how you will conduct a lesson is that you give the customer the amount of time that they purchased. If they purchased 2 hours, you just need to give them 2 hours behind the wheel. Same goes for the three and four hour lessons. We don’t make any requirements about what you teach or how you teach. If you’ve taught any of your friends or family, you know that some people pick it up very quickly, some take a bit more time to get it. Therefore, we don’t guarantee the customer any level of competence and we don’t make any requirements on you about how good the customer is at the end of the lesson. The only requirement is that you give them the time they purchased. 

Earning Potential

The compensation is $100 for 2 hours, $125 for 3 hours and $150 for 4 hours. You will be paid as a 1099 contractor via direct deposit. We process funds transfers similar to the way eBay and Airbnb process funds. We’re just managing the flow of dollars from the customer’s credit card to your bank account and then we take out a cut of that. If you are an amazing instructor and you are able to teach them faster than the amount of time they booked, you will still get paid the full amount of money for the time the customer originally booked. For example, if the customer booked 3 hours of lessons and you managed to complete the lesson In 2 hours and 30 minutes, you will still get paid for the full 3 hours. 

Our Relationship with You

In addition to providing you with customers and handling all the sales, the way our relationship would work is that we are really working for you and not the other way around. You are not our employee. Rather, you are an independent contractor and we’re providing you customers through the website (similar to how Airbnb and eBay would work) and support your decisions.

We Support Your Decisions

At a very high level, we support any decisions that you want to make in the name of safety and security. If a customer makes you feel uncomfortable and you don’t want to take a lesson, we will support that decision. If during the lesson they are driving erratically and you feel uncomfortable and you want to end the lesson early, we will support your decision to end the lesson early. If they are not obeying your Covid-19 requirements, definitely end the lesson early. If they are wearing a Yankees hat and you are from Boston and the Yankees are your sworn enemy, we will support your ending the lesson early (kidding). In all seriousness, you don’t need our permission to ever do whatever you think is safest. Insurance is included in our offering (which we pay for) and I will get into it shortly, but my attitude is I’d rather avoid problems entirely rather than rely on insurance. That is also why the lesson must be done in a paved off-road area like a parking lot. By staying in a parking lot or similar paved off-road area, you’re helping to reduce the risk.

Insurance

Regarding the insurance, there is a $10,000 collision policy and $1,000,000 liability policy covering every lesson. The insurance is included as part of your signup and you do not have to pay anything to be covered by it. We cover it 100%. To be covered by the insurance, a lesson MUST take place in a paved off-road area. Typically, this means a parking lot or cemetery. Finally, after you do your first lesson, you’ll need to take your car to a mechanic for basic safety inspection. Our insurance company needs to be sure that they’re insuring a decent and road-worthy car. Typically, these inspections cost about $50. We completely understand if you want to wait until after your first lesson (and get paid) before spending the money. 

Clutch Damage & Wear and Tear

You’ll note that what is not covered by insurance is wear and tear. Sometimes instructors say “Hey, if I’m using my car to stick someone stick shift, and they destroy my clutch, is Stick Shift Driving Academy going to cover that?” That goes back to what I said earlier about being cautious and avoiding problems. If a customer’s operation of your vehicle is ever giving you concern, end the lesson immediately. If they’re burning up the clutch, grinding the gears, or doing anything else to your car that you don’t think is safe, reasonable, or normal, you have our guaranteed support in ending the lesson early. We’ve had a few situations where lessons were going poorly and the instructors were getting concerned about their transmission surviving the lesson. The customers were grinding the gears a bit and the clutch was getting a little burnt up and the instructor said that they were not comfortable with what was happening to their car. They ended the lesson early and we just processed the refunds to the customer. To be clear, we do not cover any wear and tear expenses to the clutch or drive train or anything like that but, again, we also support you if the lesson is not going well and you want to end it early.

Next Steps

If everything you've read so far sounds good, here are your next steps:

1) If you have questions or concerns, scan the FAQ below to learn more.

2) At the bottom of this page, answer a few questions to confirm your eligibility to work with us

3) If you pass the eligibility quiz, we'll email you to schedule a time to complete your signup process.

Click here to skip the FAQ and go right to the quiz

 
  • Can I Talk to Someone From the Company?

    Absolutely! The FAQs below cover the questions we get most often, but we're happy to discuss anything that is not mentioned below. Once you answer a few questions at the bottom of this page, the next step will be to schedule a call to complete your signup process. During that call, we can discuss anything you like. We want to make sure you have all of the information you need so that you can feel confident about working with us.

  • Do I have to use my own stick shift car during the lessons?

    Yes, we will be providing you with customers that sign up for lessons and you will be using your own car to teach the lessons.

  • Does Stick Shift Driving Academy cover the costs for wear and tear since I will be using my personal stick shift car during the lessons?

    No, we do not cover the costs for the maintenance and wear and tear of your car.

  • Do I have to buy something like uniforms, etc. to become an instructor?

    No, you do not have to buy anything from us to get started as an instructor.

  • Do I have to commit to being an instructor full-time?

    Absolutely not, what works for you works for us. You can decide on your availability, and work only at times when you are available.

  • Where do I have to teach the lessons?

    The lesson should be done on a paved off-road area, like a parking lot. Insurance does not cover any incidents that transpire outside paved off-road areas.

  • How long does a lesson last?

    Your customers can choose the length of lesson that they want when they sign up on our website. It starts at 2 hours to a maximum of 4 hours behind the wheel.

  • Is there a curriculum available as a guide for teaching?

    There is an recommended (but not required) curriculum available on our website. You will have access to it once you get onboarded. There is no required way for you to teach the stick shift lessons but what is important is that your customer completes the time behind the wheel based on their booking.

  • How much will I earn?

    You will get paid $100 for a 2-hour lesson, $125 for a 3-hour lesson and $150 for a 4-hour lesson.

  • Since I get paid as a 1099 contractor, does anything get deducted from the $100, $125 and $150 and go to the company?

    No. The customer pays us a fee on top of what they’re paying you through the site. The amounts above will be your net earnings after each 2-hour, 3-hour and 4-hour lessons.

  • How will I get paid?

    You will be paid as a 1099 contractor via direct bank deposit. We process fund transfers similar to the way e-Bay and Airbnb process funds.

  • Can I use my PayPal account instead of using my bank account to get my compensation?

    No, you will have to use your bank account.

  • What if I complete the lesson earlier than the time designated in the booking, will I get paid in full?

    Yes, you will be paid in full depending on the lesson duration your customer booked on the website. We recommend asking the customer to send you a text confirming if they want to end the lesson early. This helps avoid problems with complaints about shortened lessons and refunds.

  • What does the insurance cover? 

    The insurance has a $10,000 collision policy and $1,000,000 liability policy.

  • Does Stick Shift Driving Academy cover the insurance policy cost?

    Yes, there is nothing that you need to pay when you get to be an instructor with us except the vehicle safety inspection certificate, which you can submit after your first lesson with us.

  • How many lessons do I get to teach on a monthly basis?

    The average instructor teaches about 2-4 lessons each month depending on their location. Instructors located in metro cities usually get more customers due to the number of people signing up in their area. Additionally, the instructors who have the most availability on their calendars tend to make the most money.

  • How will I be able to acquire my vehicle safety inspection form?

    You will have access to “Instructor Central” (a resource portal on our website) during the onboarding process. Over there you will be able to access the form, update your availability times and preview our recommended teaching curriculum.

  • Who can carry out my vehicle safety inspection?

    Any mechanic can. We can provide a link to a web-based inspector to whom you will have to show your vehicle via video call to get it certified. If you want to have your vehicle inspected by a mechanic, we will be providing a form that needs to be filled out by the mechanic. The mechanic should be licensed/certified in accordance to the laws of your state.

  • I am an Uber/Lyft driver, can I use the Vehicle Inspection Form I obtained with Uber/Lyft?

    Yes, we use the same form for vehicle inspection as Uber and Lyft. If you have your copy and it was inspected in the last 90 days, we consider your vehicle passed for inspection.

  • What are the requirements a customer must have in order to book a lesson?

    The minimum requirements that we have on our policy is that the customer has to be over 18 years of age, already has a license and is enrolled in an auto insurance policy.

  • Am I allowed to use a GoPro or a dash cam to record a lesson?

    Yes, absolutely. It is stated in our Terms and Conditions that both you and your customer agree that the lesson can be recorded, although it is not required.

  • Can I end the class early if I feel unsafe or uncomfortable with my customer?

    Absolutely. We support you as our instructor. If you feel unsafe or if the customer does not comply with your Covid-19 safety requirements, we will support your decision.


  • What would be my relationship with Stick Shift Driving Academy if I pass as an instructor?

    You will be an independent contractor and you’re using us as a marketing and booking service, similar to how you’d use Airbnb as a marketing and booking tool to host guests in your home. We will be providing you customers based on your availability and we will be the one to handle all other aspects like marketing and sales.

  • Am I allowed to do my own marketing like posting on Facebook so my family and friends can book me as an instructor?

    Yes, we will also do our marketing but you are free to promote Stick Shift Driving Academy and yourself. Just make sure that they will sign up using our website so that your lesson will be covered by insurance.

  • What if someone I know wants to take a lesson; can they book me as an instructor when they sign up on the website?

    Absolutely. Part of our process will be giving them a call during their booking process. They can request for you to be their instructor and we will be sending them a link to your calendar so they can book on your available schedule.

  • Can I join Stick Shift Driving Academy as an instructor long-term?

    We do not have any restrictions or requirements about your availability and longevity. What works for you, works for us. You can teach at your desired available times.

  • How long will it take for me to get onboarded as an instructor if I sign up today?

    The onboarding process can range from 1 to 2 weeks, sometimes a bit longer at certain times of the year.

  • What would be the next step if I get the quiz all correct?

    You would be moved by our team to the signup phase automatically, usually by the next business day.

  • What would be the next step if I get any quiz question wrong? Can I take it again?

    Yes, you will get another chance.

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