“We instructors seem to have some deep-seated hesitation about asking our students to invest in anything besides airplane rental.”
“Ground instruction is an important part of pilot training,” observes Pilot Examiner Jason Blair, “and to train effectively in the air, proper ground training must also be completed. I suspect we’d all agree that an aircraft cockpit with the engine running is not the best place to brief new maneuvers. This also means that ground training is an appropriate service for which to properly charge.”
We instructors seem to have some deep-seated hesitation about asking our students to invest in anything besides airplane rental. As a result, we tend to undercharge, or worse yet, not charge at all for ground instruction. That turns out to be a double whammy, because along with not earning any money for your expertise, when you’re teaching for free there’s less incentive for your students to study.
It may feel painful to our customers at times, but paying for ground instruction can actually save them money—by properly preparing for lessons they complete their training more quickly than if we must consume lesson time teaching material they could have learned at home. Unless you somehow incorporate the charges into other aspects of training, you simply must charge for ground instruction. Otherwise you’re demeaning our profession by cheating yourself, your flight school (if relevant), your customers, and other CFIs around you.
For more guidance on this topic, see Greg’s book, The Savvy Flight Instructor 2nd Edition.