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#1 07-09-06 10:49:15

Bully306
Verified Member
From: Lancs
Registered: 11-10-05
Posts: 205

Starting up on your own if you're skint and other 1st steps!

Hello there,

I qualified on Tuesday so this is my 1st post on here in my new capacity as an (gulp) ADI.

I'm sure you've all been asked this loads of times but which ways best to start with? After spending the neck end of 2 1/2 - 3 grand on passing this blummin' thing with petrol , lessons, and exams etc. the pot is officially dry.

I work full time in a dull job (the reson for the change) and so was wondering whether to take the leap into a franchise or try and work round my job to start with and build up a bit of a client base before going full time.

Car lease would be an option but how many pupils would I need to pay for the car and petrol initially?

Renault have what seems to be an attractive offer at the mo (65 quid a week for a clio) or Robinsons?

I've also been solidly at the training so haven't really thought it through lot. i.e business accounts, tax, pro's and cons of each etc.

Is there a good book to answer all my questions??


If anyone can answer any of this jumbled gibberish above it would be greatly appreciated.


What? Wahey!......Gerroffff!

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07-09-06 10:49:15

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Re: Starting up on your own if you're skint and other 1st steps!



#2 07-09-06 11:22:31

sv1000s
Verified Member
From: West Lothian & Perth!
Registered: 01-02-06
Posts: 62

Re: Starting up on your own if you're skint and other 1st steps!

Hello there. Congratulations first.

I qualified in April and got up and running in May.  Had the car already fitted with duals so no start up costs there.  I'm still working full time (7 til 3) and building up business in the evenings. Once I get enough business, hope to go full time ADI.  At present I'm coming up for 18 hrs lessons so not far away from being able to pack job in (and unable to do more lessons too...)

Luckily my job is neither strenuous or tiring so mixing both is ok.

I reckon the time taken to get a full diary would depend largely on the area you operate and your advertising methods. I use local rags, yell.com + friends/colleagues just now.

All the best.

Alex.

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#3 07-09-06 11:30:01

Target
Verified Member
From: Winchmore Hill North London
Registered: 17-01-05
Posts: 5,695
Website

Re: Starting up on your own if you're skint and other 1st steps!

Your find that working part-time perhaps evenings and weekends will still bring you the full-time costs.

So if you take that Renault or Robinsons contract which will work out to about £100 per week including insurance plus your fuel £50 per week excuding all the other costs advertising etc etc your soon be on £200-£250 per week.

When I started I was never in any doubt I wanted to join the AA. Simple answer to my question. My costs for training possibly reached £6000, still paying some of it off and thats 4 years later.

Its tough out there. I'd really consider joining a franchise and see whats on offer. Or hold your current job down a little longer and try to put some time and money into advertising. ( and I do not mean chucking it at YP). When the calls start coming in then maybe its the time to think about starting on your own, but it by no means happens overnight.

Its a real funny time of year. You could be better off planning to go full time in 2007. I could'nt wait that long. Was sick of the job and the busiest time was Nov/Dec so I left in October before the madness started.

Alots changed in the last few years. Alot!.


Approved Driving Instructor ADI(car)
Cardington Grade (A) Diamond Special DIA MSA IAM ROSPA (Silver)
QEF Mobility Qualified
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#4 07-09-06 12:27:16

gday
Verified Member
From: Oxfordshire
Registered: 27-04-05
Posts: 531
Website

Re: Starting up on your own if you're skint and other 1st steps!

I qualified in July and was that sick of my job that I resigned immediately, took some holiday and started with the AA last Saturday.

Fortunately for me I have enough savings to live off for up to a year, although of course I would rather not but that gives me a little less pressure to be earning large amounts too soon.

I have had 4 pupils off the AA this week, I did not take out a pink licence so am starting from scratch. They charge £30.00 one off introduction fee for the pupil and then they are yours. The franchise fee they start low and you don't pay the full amount until week 8, this weeks fee being £10.00. One of the students I have had this week had a full Syrian Licence so can drive of a fashion but is desperate to pass his British test so has booked another lesson for tomorrow. So outgoings this week £120 introductions + £10 franchise = £130 + Petrol + Phone l, income this week, 10 hours at £25.00 / hr = £250.00.. One of the Introductions this week has pre booked 12 hours so I will for sure have her again, another has booked a session for next week and the Syrian man will for sure need another lesson or 2 next week if he wants to take his test before October. So next week current outgoings £10.00 Franchise fee + Petrol + Phone, income £75.00 - £100.00

Hope this helps

Regards

g'day

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#5 08-09-06 05:49:15

Carl
Guest

Re: Starting up on your own if you're skint and other 1st steps!

When I qualified (back in July 1998) I joined the franchise I trained with. It took several months and an awful lot of hard work and money to get started (new car, local advertising etc). Although I was in a franchise, I was their only instructor in the area and only got 8 pupils in 15 months as they had no advertising in place. I spent almost £2000 in the first few months on newspaper advertising alone.

Luckily I was already self-employed and could fit lessons around my job. I've never really called myself busy. Even now, 8 years down the line, I can vary from 10 to 35 hours a week. This time of the year is not a good time to start up, with schools going back, darker evenings, winter, Christmas.

Personally, I'd advise staying where you are, getting some advertising in place, put a little cash aside and look to start next February/March when things generally pick up. Be wary of franchises as they will still want their money, regardless of how busy you are.

Carl

#6 08-09-06 09:52:37

Target
Verified Member
From: Winchmore Hill North London
Registered: 17-01-05
Posts: 5,695
Website

Re: Starting up on your own if you're skint and other 1st steps!

Its a great Part-Time job with full time commitments. :x


Approved Driving Instructor ADI(car)
Cardington Grade (A) Diamond Special DIA MSA IAM ROSPA (Silver)
QEF Mobility Qualified
Taxi Driver Training DATT
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www.targettuition.co.uk
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#7 12-09-06 14:28:11

Colin Martin
Verified Member
From: Southsea
Registered: 21-01-05
Posts: 2,465
Website

Re: Starting up on your own if you're skint and other 1st steps!

Hi Bully,

Times are a bit tough at the moment so if you can keep working and build up part time then that would be a good route. As mentioned before you will probably only break even going part time because there are inevitable fixed costs that are the same for part and full time.

One way to save is if you have a reasonable car at the moment. You could have it fitted with duals for around £300 to £500 and use that. The big disadvantage is you might let people down if it breaks but line up some hire companies you can use if you have a pupil on test and need a car.


Colin Martin
The Bright Red L http://thebrightredl.com
Instructor Apps http://drivinginstructorapps.co.uk
Apps Video channel https://www.youtube.com/colinbythesea

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#8 22-09-06 20:03:42

cat
Verified Member
From: leyland
Registered: 17-08-05
Posts: 388

Re: Starting up on your own if you're skint and other 1st steps!

hi bully

qualified april this year went indy in june.  i lease my car from robinsons at a cost of £320 per month, insurance for waverney £35 per month petrol on average £50 per week.

i was with bsm and took the pupils that i had with me but this only gave me 10 hours but i had to go for it so initial cost per week for me is £138.75 per week before i make any money

my client base built up over the first four weeks with placing advertising in the local spars in my area.  i know have 25 hours work so doing ok.  it was a gamble that i had to take and luckly it has paid off.  one pupil recommended me to two others and an ex pupil who passed first time recommended me which was really nice as i must of made an impression on them.

like it says above wait for a few months till christmas is over then start sorting your business out that way you will have the pupils who have been given money for lessons for christmas to grab and give lessons to.

good luck and well done for passing and becoming an adi

cath


Black Cat Driving School

catherine685@btinternet.com

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#9 22-09-06 22:53:32

smdtr
Guest

Re: Starting up on your own if you're skint and other 1st steps!

I was with BSM, the franchise and the lack of work almost bankrupt me.  I had to work part-time with my original instructor to make money.  The only benefit I can see from a franchise like that is to get started and build a diary (if you're lucky).

That said there are some honest small schools with good franchise deals, some have been mentioned on the forum.

I was quiet when taking the plunge to go solo but I'm currently enjoying a full diary.  It's taken 11 months but even when I'm quiet I still make more than the old days.

I lease a mini but wish I'd bought it, re sale value is good.
I spent £1000 on Yell Pages, wish I hadn't waste of £1000 exactly!
I spent £180 on Yell.com, just covered this cost.
I spent £180 on Thomson, didn't really need it.

My work comes from referrals and Google.

My advice is to keep working and build the school part-time.  Keep your costs low as possible and charge as high as the local market allows. 

#10 26-09-06 14:01:27

Bully306
Verified Member
From: Lancs
Registered: 11-10-05
Posts: 205

Re: Starting up on your own if you're skint and other 1st steps!

Cheers All for your advice.

It's going to be a gamble however I do it.

Savings - er none all gone on training
Loans - You betcha!
Credit Cards - Upto the friggin' eyeballs!
Wage - nowhere near enough (see above!)

plus young family, Partner working reduced hours (due to young family), plus birthdays approaching oh and er......CHRISTMAS!! of course (mind you I quite like Christmas).

My latest idea is a long term loan (via the mortgage) swallowing up all of the above plus a car to start on my own (around my job). all at a relatively manageable monthly rate (well no more than i'm forking out at the mo) and when the wonga starts rolling in I can pay it off early. I will still be working full time (for the forseeable)so there's at least a bit of security so we should keep the house!

What to you think??


What? Wahey!......Gerroffff!

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#11 26-09-06 14:22:34

smdtr
Guest

Re: Starting up on your own if you're skint and other 1st steps!

plus young family, Partner working reduced hours (due to young family), plus birthdays approaching oh and er......CHRISTMAS!! of course (mind you I quite like Christmas).

I've been there, exactly a year ago.  The long term loan will cost you and you'll never recoup that cost, we always say we will but in reality we seldom do.  A 7 month lease from Robinsons won't stretch you too far and it's short term.  You could always sell your current car and use for a deposit.  Some good deals on Suzuki, Citroen and Hyundai at the moment.

I don't suppose you're in central Scotland are you?  I'm looking for an ADI/PDI at the moment.

#12 26-09-06 14:55:11

Bully306
Verified Member
From: Lancs
Registered: 11-10-05
Posts: 205

Re: Starting up on your own if you're skint and other 1st steps!

Sorry mate not in Scotland.

It's a good idea about selling the car but we only have one and the girlfriend uses that for work and ferrying the nipper about (he's started headbutting radiators, don't know what all that's about!)

The 7 month lease sounds ok, but this is another thing, when do I start advertising?? before or after I get the car or do I state in the advert that i'm starting up and will be starting off on such and such a date?? all these questions hit me all the time day and night!

Also i'll be paying for the car from the off so if things don't quite take off i'll be stuck and those credit cards will take another womping.

That's why i'm considering the loan. At least the costs will be low fixed and manageable and if things do take off, Happy days! then maybe a few years down the line i can pay it off.

I know what you mean about never getting it back mate but atleast I wont strictly be relying on getting pupils to cover the lease and costs.

Bit of a quandry I find myself in.......................for a change!


What? Wahey!......Gerroffff!

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#13 26-09-06 16:47:36

Colin Martin
Verified Member
From: Southsea
Registered: 21-01-05
Posts: 2,465
Website

Re: Starting up on your own if you're skint and other 1st steps!

Hi again Bully.

Is your current car worth enough to sell it and buy 2 reasonable ones to get started? One for you to teach in and one for your good lady. When I switched to auto's I ran an older car for 4 weeks alongside the manual to build it up.

We are looking for area managers at the moment as we are setting up throughout the country(we could answer a lot of these questions and help you set up a regional school). PM me for details if your interested as its different to our current web site content.


Colin Martin
The Bright Red L http://thebrightredl.com
Instructor Apps http://drivinginstructorapps.co.uk
Apps Video channel https://www.youtube.com/colinbythesea

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#14 26-09-06 21:04:50

timmanwaringadi
Verified Member
From: Devon
Registered: 29-08-06
Posts: 2,406
Website

Re: Starting up on your own if you're skint and other 1st steps!

If you loan money at all, the mortgage is the cheapest way to do it but BE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN YOU CAN AFFORD IT, as if you can't, the wife and kids won't be happy in a tent. If you are sure you can afford it, then great. Colin's suggestion of selling one car and getting maybe a manual and an auto could be useful, there's often work for auto trainers when manuals are quiet. (phone around local instructors to see whether this is the case for them)
I've gone for a 7 month lease with robinsons, and I've discussed the option of buying it after that, and whether buying new or after the 7 months, their prices were much better than anything I could get around my area from dealers, and pretty good in comparison to the net prices, and didn't scare the hell out of me handing over 10k to someone I'd never meet. Not collected it yet, so can't give an absolute recommendation.
As far as advertising is concerned, can you set yourself up a website cheaply? This is pretty essential as far as I can tell, and if you can, then get leaflets around and about around a week before starting, (friends, family, ask everyone to take some and leave them where they think people will see them) this way, when people see the leaflet they can verify stuff over the net, and if they call, then you can say 'yes, I have some space next week, if you'd give me your name and address I'll see where I can fit you in.....' without having to say you're not starting for a month, or having money going out with no students.
One warning tho, getting the car/mortgage sorted will take the most time, so start this early. Good Luck and keep us updated.

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#15 27-10-06 16:32:25

gary.condon@tiscali.co.uk
Verified Member
From: Minehead Somerset
Registered: 13-10-06
Posts: 412
Website

Re: Starting up on your own if you're skint and other 1st steps!

Hi

I have been unemployed on incapacty beneffit for just over a year. I took a gamble and used credit cards to pass my ADI training as other employment is imposible (sent out 40 CVs for jobs I am overqualified for and not a sniff).

I passed my part 3 first time and now I have nothing to do with my green licence.

My credit rating is bad as my unemployment meant late payments, and this means that I cant take a chance with a franchise becuase of the weekly payments, and the adverts have gained an absolute zero.

I would say to those who are thinking of throwing all you have at ADI work, please think about it as I know to my peril that it anint all 30,000 PA when you pass, in fact I am £3600.00 down and falling.

Sounds glum I know but for somer it works and others it dont, do your home work and dont get in over your head.

G

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#16 27-10-06 17:01:41

Colin Martin
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From: Southsea
Registered: 21-01-05
Posts: 2,465
Website

Re: Starting up on your own if you're skint and other 1st steps!

Sorry to hear about bad times Gary. What advertising are you doing and how are you funding your car?. I am happy to offer advice on getting things rolling. PM me if you don't want to post here.


Colin Martin
The Bright Red L http://thebrightredl.com
Instructor Apps http://drivinginstructorapps.co.uk
Apps Video channel https://www.youtube.com/colinbythesea

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#17 27-10-06 17:56:27

gary.condon@tiscali.co.uk
Verified Member
From: Minehead Somerset
Registered: 13-10-06
Posts: 412
Website

Re: Starting up on your own if you're skint and other 1st steps!

Hi

You threw me there, I was not expecting a reply as it was just a warning to would be ADIs who are about to risk home and family.

As there is no money left I got some free cards made up from Vista print which have been put in my wife's Avon books, the local popular chippy and all friends.

I have made some little posters and put them in the sweetshop windows and post office.

I have the sign on the car roof and drive around the town and also park up in prominent places for exposure.

There is no money for much else and to be frank, my wife is ready to throw the bath out with the water to get it going however I am not.

I would feel terrible if the house is lost and the kids loose out because of a mistake by me in the believing of silly ads about £30,000 getting us out of debt.

Desperation can be cruel, I worked very hard to pass, a local ADI has said he will pass on the odd pupil as I am a diploma life coach and have skills for nervous drivers and a lot of patience compared to a lot of local instructors however, non yet, he is chocka.

It is a small clicky area where the "born and bred" of the town get the work it is well sewn up by Sally's school of motoring and she deserves it.

Sally is a great lady and she has offered work on a franchise BUT it is quiet time because of Xmas, and I cant afford to pay her a franchis with potentially nothing coming in it would be silly.

I sound negative but to pass my ADI I was very positive however, all the positive has been drained out at the moment by the judgments made about me because of a credit rating.

I worked 6 days a week for years and it took its toll on my health and now the bank will not open a bussines account, robbinsons will not lease me a car so I must risk letting down any learner |I do manage to get, by using my own car to teach. I don't know what I will do if it breaks down?

OK so why did I do the ADI test, didn't I see this coming, well yes I did but I had spent so much money and time by the time I realised I was on the being missled by the ads that it would have been an insult to my wife if I would have bailed out at that point.

I will bounce back when I have taken stock and I will continue to apply for other work till my luck changes.

Hey, thanks for the reply it is good to know that there is some help out there when needed.

G
   


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#18 27-10-06 18:34:07

Colin Martin
Verified Member
From: Southsea
Registered: 21-01-05
Posts: 2,465
Website

Re: Starting up on your own if you're skint and other 1st steps!

Sounds like you are doing good things.

If you could print A5 leaflets on your printer and post them when your not working. Maybe offer a gift voucher this time of year. We reckon you can deliver about 250 an hour and can get 2 per 1000 bookings. Keeps you fit as well.

Make sure your phone is diverted, or put your mobile on the leaflets. People don't mind calling mobiles now. Stand outside college gates and hand out leaflets.

Older cars can break but keep it clean and tidy and your probably OK. I ran a 10 year old Fiesta Ghia auto for a month to build up auto business. It was a nice little car and a lot of my pupils liked it more than the current 206. See my thread about the 206 breaking down on thursday. Lease car or not I would not have got a replacement for this mornings test.

Speak to local schools and see if they will do a per pupil franchise deal where you pay a fee for each new pupil.


Colin Martin
The Bright Red L http://thebrightredl.com
Instructor Apps http://drivinginstructorapps.co.uk
Apps Video channel https://www.youtube.com/colinbythesea

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#19 28-10-06 08:11:26

timmanwaringadi
Verified Member
From: Devon
Registered: 29-08-06
Posts: 2,406
Website

Re: Starting up on your own if you're skint and other 1st steps!

Gary - good luck mate, things will pick up, but to help out, as Colin suggests, have a chat with the instructor you get on with and offer to buy students off her - should cost approx the same as 1 lesson, so you effectively give the first lesson free. As far as clicky areas are concerned, don't worry, there will be enough people in the area who aren't clicky, or who don't get on with the clique who will come to you if they know about you. There is free webspace available for a small site with prices and info on your life-coaching skills etc which some people will like. Colin suggests flyering, which is something I am trying to avoid because I hate doing it, but it does work, but only expect a couple of calls for every thousand or so flyers. If you have contacts with any schools or colleges, could you do road safety talks? These get a very good response, and remember that as soon as you have a couple of students you can start up a recommend a friend scheme. Also, do websearches for instructors etc in your area and you will find that a lot of the results will be web directories - get yourself listed on these, and get your free listing in all the paper directories as soon as poss. If anyone asks you what you want for christmas, ask for adverts in local free paper, and when on the phone to the free paper, ask them if it is cheeper to advertise in the motoring section, rather than the directory of tradespeople, as my ad went from over £40 in the directory down to less than £20 in the motoring section, but try to get this running for a couple of months, (approx £160) as this will get people used to seeing your name/logo.
Wish you all the best mate.

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#20 28-10-06 11:06:12

gary.condon@tiscali.co.uk
Verified Member
From: Minehead Somerset
Registered: 13-10-06
Posts: 412
Website

Re: Starting up on your own if you're skint and other 1st steps!

Thanks for all the good advice, I have a friend loading a web site tomorrow as I just brought a .com domain name.

I will be using the ideas you have put forward, I think that the training was so intense that when I passed there was a massive anti climax and I thought, was it all worth it.

I will regroup and get the positive attitude needed to go forward now that I have taken a breath and seen the need to be proactive.

I think I (in the back of my head) thought that the learners would be throwing themselves at me and my diary would be instantly crammed however, reality kicked in and the only offers came from schools wanting me on a franchise (no real bad thing I suppose).

Thanks again

Gary

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#21 28-10-06 12:32:58

smdtr
Guest

Re: Starting up on your own if you're skint and other 1st steps!

Hi Gary

Web site, well done make sure this happens and that it looks clean.
Use Google Adwords to draw potential customers to your web site. 
Try and widen your training area if the local one is difficult to break into just now. 

Tims suggestion is a good one, you want to tap into the busy instructors success, even if you have to do lessons for less it'll pay you back eventually in referal work.  I moved into a new village year and half ago and I'm slowly taking the work from external instructors, it all started from 1 pupil.

Don't worry about business accounts and your car being older.  To make money your costs have to be low and turnover high.  Business accounts cost more and so do new cars, it's not needed.  Google is a cheap way of getting work and you can use it to get intensive work from all over the UK.  1 pupil intensive can make you £600 turnover in a week.

You can make money doing this job, it just takes time.

#22 28-10-06 17:17:02

Colin Martin
Verified Member
From: Southsea
Registered: 21-01-05
Posts: 2,465
Website

Re: Starting up on your own if you're skint and other 1st steps!

Agree, don't bother with abusiness account. Not needed.


Colin Martin
The Bright Red L http://thebrightredl.com
Instructor Apps http://drivinginstructorapps.co.uk
Apps Video channel https://www.youtube.com/colinbythesea

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#23 29-10-06 10:51:44

timmanwaringadi
Verified Member
From: Devon
Registered: 29-08-06
Posts: 2,406
Website

Re: Starting up on your own if you're skint and other 1st steps!

Good man, regroup a bit, relax after the intensity of training, then launch in!

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#24 31-10-06 13:10:01

Bully306
Verified Member
From: Lancs
Registered: 11-10-05
Posts: 205

Re: Starting up on your own if you're skint and other 1st steps!

Good Luck Gary, keep pluggin' away!

Cikey I haven't even started yet and i'm feeling like i'll get bombed out of business in no time!

I have though seen my path!

I've cleared outstanding debt and am lining things up to start after christmas. It's worked out that i'll have a bit of money to buy a reasonably new car. (hopefully getting a fiesta) and advertising etc.

I've a mate who does websites and another mates wife is a freelance graphic designer (business cards etc.)

It's also working out that 2nd cousins and friends children etc. are all approaching 17/18 and are keen to give me a go. So even if it's only a few it's a start and i'll have my normal jobs wage to pay the essentials while I try to build up a bit of business.

we'll see how it goes..............................


What? Wahey!......Gerroffff!

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#25 31-10-06 13:18:42

gary.condon@tiscali.co.uk
Verified Member
From: Minehead Somerset
Registered: 13-10-06
Posts: 412
Website

Re: Starting up on your own if you're skint and other 1st steps!

I have now set up a web site ay www.kisdrivingschool.com it is tacky (according to the web company that want £800.00 to rewrite it) but it does the job for now.

I have put out cards and small posters in local shops and this week an ad goes in the local paper.

I had my first booking today for 1 hour next wednesday. Small fry I know but if it stays quiet I will sign up with a local school after xmas for a year.

The funny thing is, I just paid £300.00 insurance to take out 1 lady for a 1 hour lesson next week.

Cheers

G

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