Advertising yourself as an independent cfi? Where and how do you do it

When you talked to the flight schools at Arlington Airport why didn't they hire you on the spot? What did Wild Blue Aviation say? What about Arlington Flight Service what was there reason for not hiring you?
I spent last summer at Arlington for a charity, working with afs. After the week, I dropped off an application, and like everyone, they "weren't hiring". I've worked a fair bit with their mechanic, Brian, as he is the mechanic for the 150.

I didn't apply to wild blue, as Arlington was an hour and a half from where I lived, and an hour and a half from where I live, literally on the Canadian border.

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I spent last summer at Arlington for a charity, working with afs. After the week, I dropped off an application, and like everyone, they "weren't hiring". I've worked a fair bit with their mechanic, Brian, as he is the mechanic for the 150.

I didn't apply to wild blue, as Arlington was an hour and a half from where I lived, and an hour and a half from where I live, literally on the Canadian border.

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Over 40 years ago I had a pocket full of ratings and worked for the rental car company in the terminal. Each day before and after work I would meet every aviator on the airport. Three months later one of them gave me a chance and told me to clean bellies and interiors. Within a year I was in a management position making more then anyone there.

Remember being a pilot means that you are willing to "Travel". Some pilots want to fly but not go anywhere. Really thought I had a better chance of meeting Bigfoot then an unemployed CFI. The Pacific Northwest is absolutely starving for CFIs and commercial pilots. You're doing something 'way wrong'.

P.S. Resumes, applications and social media don't work. No one hires a resume or virtual person. 90% of success is showing up. Knock on doors and get face-to-face. :thumbsup:
 
A little humility goes a long way. By seeking advice on a public forum like this, you must accept the fact that many of the replies will not be what you want to hear. It is important to realize that some of those replies may contain the most valuable insights and advice that you will find anywhere. Don’t alienate those who genuinely wish to help, and who spend some of their valuable personal time considering and replying to your posts. That said…

A few observations:

I note a lack of attention to details, reflected in the spelling/grammar/punctuation of your initial post. There might actually be people on this very forum who are seeking a CFI. I’ve noted that the very best aviators I’ve had the good fortune to work with have ALL been attentive to details, large and small. Each and every message you post reflects on you, and putting your best foot forward would be wise.

The fact that you mentioned your failed checkride on your resume indicates that you are honest and forthright, a character attribute that we can all appreciate.

Another character trait suggested by your posts is obstinateness. Whether this attribute is a plus or minus depends on whether your attitudes and behaviors are helping or hindering you in achieving your goals.

Suggestions:

Reassess your commitment to aviation. Do a little soul-searching. Why do you want to fly? Why do you want to instruct? How important is this pursuit to you, on a fundamental level?

Remove any reference to failed checkrides from your resume. Don’t mention the pink slip unless asked. Let prospective employers get to know you first. Show them the very best that you have to offer. If you are able to make a favorable impression and gain a bit of trust and confidence, employers will be much more likely to hire you despite the failed checkride—especially if you portray it as a learning experience.

Finding prospective clients—people who have a real interest in learning to fly and have the time and funds to actually do it—is not easy. Where would such people be, in your area? You could market yourself on Craigslist, create a TikTok/YouTube/Instagram presence. You could wheat-paste flyers around town like a garage band. You could join a country club and network on the tee box… In 2023, in-person contact opportunities with potential clients are fewer and farther between than previous decades. Meanwhile, you can touch the lives of billions worldwide, right from your smartphone.

If you want to work cheap to make aviation affordable for those with limited funds, you will likely need another source of income. When I was working as an independent instructor, I worked on a sliding scale and had other work.

If you are unable to attract enough clients in your immediate area, and if you are truly committed, consider relocating. Never easy; sometimes necessary.

Lastly, regarding FB: From a personal perspective, I’m in your corner. I loathe FB. And, if I were an independent contractor attempting to market my services to no one but myself, a FB-free existence would work out just fine. But if I were trying to build a career as an independent contractor (CFI, musician, blacksmith, shaman, whatever), I would suck it up and build a FB presence with the aim of presenting myself as a competent, expert, reliable professional, and reaching-out as far and wide into the pool of prospective clients as possible. Considered from another angle, if you were CEO of your CFI company and had to answer to a board of directors, your refusal to utilize one of the most effective (and cheap) means of reaching a large population of potential clients would likely get you fired.

But then, what do I know?
Thank you for your help. I agree and admit that I started off a little sour.

I currently do have another form of employment, but my passion is flying. I don't care if it's barely going 100 mph full throttle in the 150, or hammerheads and snap rolls in a Pitts.

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P.S. Resumes, applications and social media don't work. No one hires a resume or virtual person. 90% of success is showing up. Knock on doors and get face-to-face.

All the resumes I've dropped off have been in person. One of the schools I stopped by mentioned that in person drop offs go at the top of the stack, while emails go to the bottom.

I've not seen other schools cfi resume folders, but when I applied to Rainier at Renton, he put it in a big, accordion folder...

But yes, I know I must be doing something wrong, that's why I'm here. A year and a half and still nothing. I'm due for a FIRC soon... it's been frustrating and infuriating.

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I have rethought my post and you are absolutely right to stay off social media. Keeping in mind we are a group of pilots from student to ATP, flight instructors, both independent and with flight schools (some with positions of influence if not hiring authority), and many of us have lived in multiple parts of the country, we can probably take a poll to see how many here would hire you or recommend you for a position.
 
I currently do have another form of employment, but my passion is flying.
I may be reading in between the lines too much here, but the best instructors have a passion for their student’s success that is equal to, or greater than their love of flying. I think it can be developed, but there are people who just wouldn’t make good instructors without some effort on their part.
 
Also, I got off Facebook about 6 years ago and have never looked back. You can do this without it, but it does make it a bit harder. Our society doesn’t really use the Yellow Pages anymore, it’s Google Maps and social media. If you reject social media, you need an address for business presence and a website. I do have an Instagram page for my tailwheel work, and a very simple website. The year I got married, I commuted twice a week to fly with students and was never wealthy, but never starving and had adequate business. I supplemented with aerial photography for my old boss for a year, and ended up doing about 50/50 teaching and aerial photography - which turned into a salary position, but I love teaching and teach on the side whenever I can. Be creative, care about people, learn some better people skills if you are willing to look for the areas that can be improved, and be willing to try things with modest confidence.
 
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I've been an independent cfi for about a year and a half now. I was located near the Seattle area, with a plane (150j) my students rented from a friend. Most my students have been people he knows, but the must I've had is 2 at the same time. When I lived 20 minutes from the plane and they were motivated, I could kinda-sorta do it full time. Now that I live 3 hours from the plane, it's much harder, especially with current mogas prices, one student with one flight a week made it impossible. It takes all day to fly 4 or 5 hours.

So, how and where do you independents find students? I don't have or use any of those Chinese/Russian data mining places like zuccbook. I'm just a cfi, no cfii or mei but I do have a complex endorsement from my com multi. I've applied at all the local flight schools, but only one nibble, and that was before I had any dual given. I've got a few hundred dual given, and a 2/2 pass on private checkrides, and still nothing. In the pnw I know the hot hitting season is early spring as schools, but Im not hearing anything back from schools.I've already lost 60 lbs, so I really need to get some more students.

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Instructing part 61 as an independent instructor, without a "II" rating, and living 3 hours away from the airport could be the worst possible combination. Independent CFIs find students the same way independent plumbers and independent accountants find clients. First there has to be a market demand, then you need to develop a name and visibility. It won't be easy. People talk about a CFI shortage, but I don't know how widely true that is. Aviation colleges and part 141 schools are growing, but I don't think part 61 is (at least not in every part of the country). The average working person with a family has less disposable income today than in the past, and they are your primary customers under part 61. You are in a shrinking market with a large number of highly experienced instructors looking for a part time hobby after retirement.
 
People talk about a CFI shortage, but I don't know how widely true that is. Aviation colleges and part 141 schools are growing, but I don't think part 61 is (at least not in every part of the country).
I don't know if Part 61 is growing or shrinking, but I am getting noticeably more requests for flight instruction (Part 61) this year than in past years. There are fewer instructors available to help after the airlines went on a hiring spree, and it makes it harder for students to find Part 61 instructors with available time.

- Martin
 
I don't know if Part 61 is growing or shrinking, but I am getting noticeably more requests for flight instruction (Part 61) this year than in past years. There are fewer instructors available to help after the airlines went on a hiring spree, and it makes it harder for students to find Part 61 instructors with available time.

- Martin
I agree... and I don't have time to help everyone that calls. I've literally turned away at least 10 potential students this summer.
 
There are a few airlines guys who instruct part time in the off hours around here....
 
I teach out of a local flight school, but I also have a website for my own independent CFI work.
 
Another independent instructor and I bought a C172N together 2 ½ years ago to have a plane at our airport to instruct in. Frankly we both have other income sources and didn’t really have a plan. Well we’re slammed. Part 61 is not dead. Zero advertising, zero social media. I get calls about every week from people that want to learn to fly for a wide variety of reasons. We have to do 100 hour inspections about every couple of months that drives us crazy keeping up with. I have to tell people no because we have more students than we care to have already. Ratio is about 70% primary and 30% instrument. We think our rates are pretty reasonable for an urban area ($135 hour wet for plane and $75 for instruction. ) Avionics are 2 G5s and 530W. This is just my current experience and may not apply in the slightest to others.
 
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