Second, and most importantly, I think it's time you changed your moniker on TFP, because from the sound of things you're definitely not starving anymore!
This quote from Moski inspired me to start a new post on the topic of what a CFI can expect to make if they decide to go to the next "thing".
Working for a Part 135 operator is interesting. Companies usually make SOME kind of an effort to keep their employees. Not the one I work for. It's not that they WANT to get rid of you, but they know that you're most likely not going to stay, so the general belief is "Why pay them any more than we can get away with and have them still show up for work tomorrow?"
As an ATP-holding Cessna 402C captain flying single-pilot IFR passenger carrying operations, I make $12.80 per duty hour.
Just so you know I didn't type that wrong, that's twelve dollars and eighty cents per duty hour.
Now one thing to consider is that I get paid by the duty hour, not flight hour...so even if I get to work and the airport closes due to fog, I still get paid to sit and watch TV waiting for the airport to open back up. That makes it a little easier to unload the anxiety of "I gotta go fly if I want to get paid!"
"How do you make ends meet?" is the question I would be asking. Well, there's not a lot left over. Luckily there is PLENTY of extra flying to go around and overtime is the norm, which earns you time and a half. I average about 60 duty hours per week, so all the bills get paid, including the loans I had to take out to fund this dream, but like I said, there's not much left.
The pay is horrid, but where else can you fly 7.5 hours, 7.0 of it in IMC and as many as 20 approaches right down to minimums in a single day?
It's a great job and I love the work. If someone said to me "Well, due to industry restrictions, you have to fly for this airline for the rest of your career", then I would be fine with that, but that's not how it is, and I'm looking forward to the next job with either NetJets, AvantAir or Segrave Aviation.
To anyone looking to CFI before going to the "next thing", my advice would be to teach yourself how to live on CFI pay so you wont be disappointed when you make the move with hopes of making more dough, only to have your hopes dissolved.
Feel free to ask any questions...I'm not one to act mysterious with information.
Still smiling, still starving, and still a CFI.