Top driving job ideas that offer flexibility and freedom

For many people, driving isn’t about simply getting from A to B, it’s about freedom and choice. If you’re thinking about making a career change and you love being behind the wheel, then a driving job could give you the flexibility and independence that you’ve been looking for.

Not only will you no longer feel restricted by the same four office walls, but you’ll often get to choose a schedule that suits you. For those who enjoy driving, even just a few minutes behind the wheel can do wonders for the soul as you sit back, relax, and unwind.

If you fancy getting paid to take to the road, then buckle up because we’ve pulled together a list of widely varied but accessible driving jobs – each one offering something slightly different…

Best for combining driving and teaching

1. Driving instructor

If you enjoy the pleasure that driving gives you, then why not help give that pleasure to others by teaching them to drive?

As a driving instructor, you’ll teach people of all ages from the start of their journey through to passing their test – and seeing the progress they make each time they get behind the wheel can be incredibly rewarding.

The role is ideal for people who are calm, patient, and confident behind the wheel, as you’ll need to try and instil these attributes in the students that you teach.

As a driving instructor, you could earn anywhere between £20-£30 per hour, depending on what area you teach in and whether you choose to take the franchise route with a driving school, rather than going it alone.

To become an approved driving instructor (ADI), you’ll need to complete a fairly straightforward three-step process.

  1. Apply to the Driving Standards Vehicle Agency (DVSA) who will assess your suitability for the role. They usually accept people who are:
    • Aged 21 or over.

    • Have had a full car driving license for at least 3 years.

    • Are qualified to drive the same category of vehicle you’re supervising your student in.
  1. Once your initial application has been approved, you’ll be able to start your Driving Instructor Training, which will prepare you for three qualifying tests and is offered by a wide range of driving schools across the country.

    Although the training (and tests) come at a cost, you can often successfully complete each test within a matter of weeks at a test centre near you.
  2. When you’ve successfully completed training and passed each of the three qualifying tests, you’ll have 12 months to apply for your first Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) badge.

    There’s a fee for this but once you have it, you won’t need to renew it for four years. The badge means you’re now allowed to get out on the road and charge students money for your teaching service.

When starting out as an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI), some people prefer to work for a driving school or agency first whilst they build up confidence in their teaching ability. Others, however, prefer to go it alone and work on a self-employed basis, choosing their own schedule – but it’s completely up to you!

Or want to know more?

Best for building community links

2. Bus driver

Bus Drivers are friendly, reliable faces in the community who like being in the driver’s seat and providing great quality customer service.

The role is well-suited to individuals who like routine (as bus routes follow a set path), enjoy meeting lots of different types of people, and can work flexible hours – which could include early mornings, late evenings, and/or weekends.

It’s also a great role for people who are looking to challenge themselves in the driving field, and who fancy being in control of a much larger vehicle. If you’ve never driven a bus before, then there are plenty of employers who are happy to take on trainees and provide full support whilst you work towards your Passenger Carrying Vehicle (PCV) licence.

A typical shift will involve issuing tickets to passengers and sticking to the bus timetable to ensure that passengers are picked up and dropped off at their destinations on time. If you’re an excellent communicator who wouldn’t mind going the extra mile for your passengers, then you could apply today.

Many companies are willing to train career changers – with no previous experience – on the job.

3. Taxi driver

The role of the taxi driver is similar to that of a bus driver, but you’ll have a more personal one-on-one experience with your passengers – because you’ll be driving a smaller vehicle and transporting fewer passengers at a time.

Taxi drivers also follow more varied routes and will often not know where they’re headed, or how far, until a passenger gets into their taxi and tells them where they’d like to go.

The role is ideal for people who enjoy the idea of sitting behind the wheel and not knowing where they’ll end up next – each and every journey could lead to a new adventure, and you’ll constantly be exposed to interesting stories from passengers from all walks of life. No two days will ever be the same, as there will always be new people to meet and places to discover.

Taxi driving is usually a fully flexible role and the vast majority of people who do it are self-employed, meaning that you’re in full control of your own hours and your own vehicle.

To get started, you’ll need to apply for a taxi or private hire vehicle licence – the conditions of which vary, depending on whether you live inside or outside of London. Once you have your licence, it’s easy to get registered and out on the road as a self-employed taxi driver with companies such as Uber.

4. Delivery driver

delivery driver

One of the best things about being a delivery driver of small items is that they’re usually more personal. For example, you could be delivering someone their favourite pizza or a pair of shoes they’ve been eyeing up for ages online – and it’s nice to feel appreciated!

Some people are also unable to get out and about themselves, so their deliveries will mean a lot to them.

As a delivery driver, you’ll get to do more than just drive – you’ll also get to build connections with people in your community. There are plenty of opportunities to work on a self-employed basis, which will give you the freedom to drive your own car, listen to your own music, and sometimes even wear your own clothes.

If you think you’ve got what it takes to deliver in this role, then browse our list of delivery driver roles below.

5. Chauffeur

Why not drive your career forward by taking on the role of chauffeur? If you’re looking for a professional role that allows you to see life from a different perspective, then this could be the career you’ve been looking for.

Chauffeurs drive individuals or groups of people to their location of choice in either a car, van, or limousine, making sure that their experience is always as enjoyable and problem-free as possible. They’re usually expected to dress smartly, and will always be polite, reliable, and discreet when necessary.

Airports, organisations, and private households hire chauffeurs for a number of different reasons. You may pick people up on a one-off occasion, or have one or two regular clients who you work for exclusively.

A day in the life of a chauffeur can vary depending on who you decide to work for, but it’s usually very interesting and insightful, as you’ll build relationships with clients who lead a range of different lifestyles. You can also end up driving some quite luxurious vehicles, provided by the agency or organisation that you work for.

To become a chauffeur, you’ll need to be calm, confident, and experienced behind the wheel, as well as have a clean full UK driving licence. If you want to increase your chances of getting hired, it can also help to do some further training with the British Chauffeurs Guild, where you can gain access to temporary and permanent chauffeur opportunities.

Many chauffeurs start by working for an organisation or an agency whilst they build up experience, with some then choosing to become self-employed later on – but the choice is yours!

Best for combining care and driving

6. Ambulance care assistant

ambulance stretcher

A career as an ambulance care assistant can be very fulfilling for those who love driving and are passionate about helping others.

Many of us take it for granted that we’re able to get to and from medical appointments ourselves because we’ve gotten so used to doing it. But for some people, it’s not that easy – and that’s where an ambulance care assistant steps in.

They make sure that non-emergency patients can safely and comfortably get to and from where they’re receiving treatment. The role is best suited to someone who enjoys a people-focused approach to their work and likes to make people feel comfortable and cared for. As an ambulance care assistant, every time you buckle up and take to the roads, you’ll do it knowing that you’re making a huge difference in people’s lives.

Although shifts are often planned in advance, hours are typically flexible because there’ll be people requiring transport from early morning to late evening, six or seven days a week. So there’s usually plenty of variety available when it comes to shift patterns.

Read about Kim, who left her high-powered job to become a Patient Transport Driver...

Ready to search for roles?

7. Animal ambulance or pet taxi driver

Pet taxi driver

Would you like to use your driving skills to help sick and injured animals get to the vet? You could significantly increase their chances of making a full recovery.

When an animal falls ill or has a terrible accident, they may need urgent veterinary care, and not all owners will be in a position to drive them to a vet or pet centre themselves – especially if the injury or illness means they need to be transported in a specialised way.

For cases like these, vets, pet centres, and animal charities sometimes have animal ambulances or pet taxis who can pick up animals and take them to get the treatment they need. People may also book an animal ambulance for scheduled veterinary appointments if they don’t have a way of getting there themselves.

While an animal ambulance driver’s key role is to drive the ambulance, they’ll also care for animals and their owners (who can be quite distressed), so it helps if you have a genuine love of people and animals, and can demonstrate empathy and compassion.

Animal ambulance drivers will also be responsible for filling out the relevant documentation about the pets, and ensuring that the vehicles are always clean and safe.

You can usually get started without any previous skills or experience, but you do need to have a clean driving licence, an enthusiastic and cheerful nature, and a strong desire to help animals.

Before you buckle up and get out on the open road, employers will usually check that you have been first aid trained and that you know how to safely move and handle animals. There’s no need to panic if you haven’t, as many employers are happy to provide on-the-job training.

8. Funeralcare driver

funeral driver

Are you calm and confident behind the wheel? Could you show kindness and compassion to others when they need it most? If yes, then you could succeed in a career as a funeralcare driver.

Although slightly unconventional, the role is instrumental in the funeral process as the drivers are responsible for providing a professional and empathetic chauffeur service – transporting the body of someone who has died, and/or their family and friends to the funeral.

At a time when families and friends are at their most vulnerable, even the smallest details can make the biggest difference, so you’ll be expected to plan your driving routes in advance to make sure that each and every drive is as smooth and painless for those involved as possible.

This role would be perfect for an organised driver with immaculate attention to detail. With training provided on the job, the only qualification you need to get started is your driving license. So, why not apply today?

Best for those who would love to be in command of a larger vehicle

9. HGV driver

If you like the idea of driving a larger vehicle such as a large van or a lorry, then it’s worth considering a role with a company that makes bulk deliveries to retailers, restaurants, and other businesses.

Larger deliveries tend to be made on a much more routine basis, so you’ll get used to seeing the same friendly faces at pick up and drop off points. You’ll also get to work on your physical strength because when you’re not driving, you could be doing lots of heavy lifting.

Because driving an HGV vehicle is completely different to driving a car or van (for example, it’s larger in size, has a different set of gears, and so on), you’ll usually need to do some training first and complete a four-part test. Once you’ve successfully completed the relevant tests, you’ll receive your Driver’s Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC licence) – and will be able to go solo behind the wheel.

Some companies will be willing to help you achieve your licence on the job, while others would prefer you to have it before you apply. But, as long as you’re a confident car driver, you should be able to get your licence in a matter of days or weeks. Although, the training and tests come at a cost, the good news is that you only need to renew your licence every five years – and you can’t put a price on safety.

If you’re interested in a role as an HGV driver, you could be out on the open road in no time – so what are you waiting for?

Ready to apply now?

Best for those who would like to drive on a voluntary basis

10. Volunteer Driver

It might sound simple, but by getting in the car and driving, you could help change lives – even spending a couple of hours a week in the car can make a big difference.

A large number of people – due to age or disability – don’t have access to travel, placing restrictions on their freedom and independence. This can mean that they struggle to get to the shops, hospital appointments, or social events. Then, they gradually become more isolated and may even go without the things they need because they can’t get around on their own. But by buckling up and giving lifts to those in need, you could be helping transform someone’s life.

There are also voluntary driving opportunities available in other areas. For example, Guide Dogs for the Blind offer sighted guide training to volunteer drivers who transport blind people and their dogs, and the British Heart Foundation also regularly need volunteer drivers to collect donated items from people’s homes if they’re unable to bring them into charity shops themselves.

To volunteer as a driver, often all you need is a full UK driving licence and the ability to drive safely. Expenses such as petrol costs are usually covered by the organisation you choose to volunteer for, although the terms and conditions of this should be confirmed before you start.

Have you applied for a driving role? Or have you done a driving role in the past? We’d love to hear your experiences. Join the conversation over on the Rest Less community forum, or leave a comment below.

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