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#1 29-03-06 11:22:35

KAR
Verified Member
From: Blackpool
Registered: 26-01-06
Posts: 117

Building up business!!

Hi all,
I just wondered if anyone had any ideas how I could build up my business. Is this the wrong time of year? I've just packed in my old job so I can build my driving business up and dont know what to do now. I have put an advert in the yellow pages, I've taken cards to all the newsagents, I've sent posters to the local colleges, nurseries, dentists and doctors asking them to put some on their notices boards. I've had business cards done and give a handful to the few pupils I've got asking them to pass them to anyone who might be interested. I've driven round for the past week hoping to get my name out there. I've even put an advert in the local cinema.
I've had no response and am wondering how i go about getting business.....I'm a single parent and need to pay my mortgage etc.
Will things start to happen..... :? :? :?

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29-03-06 11:22:35

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Re: Building up business!!



#2 29-03-06 11:25:42

luchell
Guest

Re: Building up business!!

It's hard to say to be honest. It should pick up for you, you seem to have done lots and put the effort in. Are there any family members or friends that know someone who needs or wants to learn to drive?  I wish you luck, i would say business picks up this time of year but i am no expert. It seems to anyhow with the summer coming up people want to learn now.


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#3 29-03-06 20:52:06

spudulike
Verified Member
From: Bideford,North Devon
Registered: 30-07-05
Posts: 44
Website

Re: Building up business!!

Keep on going KAR.

I only started in September, majority of people will tell you it can take a year to get well known. I think I have had a lucky start as I live in rural North Devon, not a bad pupil/instructor ratio and now enjoy a full diary.  I have virtually no spare time left (except my golf afternoon) and forsee me having to turn pupils away by the end of the week.

Make sure you give a good service, never be late.  I have had 2 pupils recently who have come from very well known local indies, who tell me that they were left outside college at time of lesson with no-show and no phone from instructors.  I think that is appalling and I make sure I treat pupils in the way that I would expect my kids to be treated. Also a large driving school in the area used to bring his dog along in the car!!! yikes Got to be having a laugh??

You can only continue what you are doing, get your name seen, put out flyers, you just need a couple of students who tell their mates and so on.

Best of luck,

Spud

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#4 30-03-06 10:00:21

KAR
Verified Member
From: Blackpool
Registered: 26-01-06
Posts: 117

Re: Building up business!!

Thanks Spud...I hope your right. I will keep trying.
I dont know what other ADI's in the area are going through cos we cant stop and chat. I went into the test centre for a nosey in Feb and was told there was a meeting coming up on the 8th March but I was unable to go, now i wont go in test centre cos i feel out of place and not part of the gang yet if you know what i mean.
My main thought is that the people we are targeting ie college aged people are at college all day so how do you get work during the day??

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#5 30-03-06 12:15:12

luchell
Guest

Re: Building up business!!

Oh don't feel out of place in the test centre, no one there knows how long you have been around.  lol wink

#6 30-03-06 12:21:10

luchell
Guest

Re: Building up business!!

I have a few mums who need hours from 10 am until 2.30 so they fit in quite nicely during the day. Also try and find when peoples days off are. I see quite a few college students on days off or if they have gaps in between lessons we may book a driving lesson.

#7 30-03-06 19:38:45

spudulike
Verified Member
From: Bideford,North Devon
Registered: 30-07-05
Posts: 44
Website

Re: Building up business!!

Most of my students are booked during "free periods" or some have half days.  If any ask for lessons after college I always ask about free periods, they are usually more than happy to do it then.  Saves them time sitting in the cafeteria. 

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#8 02-04-06 12:03:28

hoppo
Verified Member
From: Wakefield
Registered: 03-03-04
Posts: 97

Re: Building up business!!

KAR When i started i got some leaflets doen with a "first lesson free" offer on and posted them myself through doors on local streets and that worked really well. If you e mail me your location i sometimes get enquiries from my site for other areas if i get any for your area i will pass them on.

The advice about trating your exisiting pupils like gold is great advice, ask them they will spread the word best for you especially if they think they might loose you.

Good luck, keep smiling ;D


The home of the Learner www.thelearner.co.uk

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#9 12-04-06 16:33:08

Janey1
Verified Member
From: Suffolk
Registered: 01-02-06
Posts: 292

Re: Building up business!!

Hiya

Sorry to hi-jack the thread - I'm in the same position as you KAR - just set up business on 9th March.  I have three pupils at present (all from colleagues at current job).  I have put an ad in Yell.co.uk.  I have put an ad in the local paper - still nothing!

Now, one of my pupils is on holiday for two weeks, the other has just broken her little finger - not just a simple fracture either - a whole bloomin screw and nut job!!!  So, after a month, I have a total of one!!

Good job I aint given up me day job!! (although would love to!!)

Cheers





Janey

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#10 15-04-06 10:12:03

Panjandrumbuilder
Guest

Re: Building up business!!

Your existing pupils become potential salespeople for your business around the second or third hour of their training, by which time they can deal with simple junctions left and right. They are still highly dependant upon you but because you have taken them from scratch to adrenalin filled achievement in such a short time, their belief in you as a teacher rises dramatically. Sounds cynical I know, but this is when you must start to exploit this 'goodwill.'

Have you made some lesson reinforcement tools for your business? Do you know how to?

Try leafleting student houses. Offer pupils a free hour for every new pupil they introduce. Introduction means new pupil signs-up and block-books at least 10 hours. University students love this and will often compete with one-another to see how many free hours they can earn. They're very competitive - use this competitiveness. One year I had competitor students earning up to 7 free hours each. Another benefit of this is that you tend to get all your pupils from one locality which cuts down your travelling time.

Hope this helps.

#11 15-04-06 10:48:54

luchell
Guest

Re: Building up business!!

Some great advice there, i did the get an hour free or twenty pounds for a while and my pupils really enjoyed trying to get as much as they could off pass plus for example. One supplied me with four pupils so got 80 pounds off his pass plus as that is the option he choose rather than cash or 4 tuition hours. I must say though my stipulation was they do not get the reward UNTIL the new pupils has taken 4 hours. Its no good to me if they take one and run off so saying four, they are usually staying by then hopefully.

I've said it many times before and it wont work for every area but my local trader magazine works wonders, also putting leaflets in your local 6th form/colleges common room works well. My brother suggested talking to the head of the schools which didnt sound too bad. Once you have one pupil you tend to get another and another from their class i found.

My local chippy and garage did some free advertising for me which was lovely, so have others that ive asked recently. Ive actually picked up pupils from the local chippy! i got two from there the more you go in some of these places the more people start talking to you.

I even chatted to the chap at the sainsburys checkout whilst he was serving me to find out if he drove etc he didnt so then i said oh have a card lol Did it all very naturally but you never know some of these will think about phoning in the future perhaps lol

Oh the petrol station ive had people staring at me when im filling up, i was thinking oh what do they want. Its because they wanted a business card so that was good.

My mother in law is a seamstress so by her business cards is a pile of mine at her house. People come to her house to pick up their clothes she gets to know them to over time many take my cards. Eventually they may phone. Ive had a couple from her. All just thoughts really, allsorts goes just keep trying different things lol

#12 15-04-06 13:02:49

Panjandrumbuilder
Guest

Re: Building up business!!

Couldn't agree more. It's the little things that you do that pay-off over time, you just have to be alive to the possibilities and keep on keeping on.

My stipulation was always that the referred new pupil had to book and pay for 10 lessons up-front before the referring pupil got their free hour. Pay for meant either cash in hand, or cleared cheque in the bank. It worked very well for me.

One additional little marketing point, particularly to the new instructor who gives out business cards, (well 2 points actually). Firstly you won't win much business if you just ask pupils to pass-on your cards. In business there has to be a quid pro quo; something for something rather than something for nothing, so make your 'free lesson for every new pupil successfully referred' pitch, at that time.

Secondly, don't leave pupil referrals to chance. Existing pupils are like gold dust. You have to manage your pupil referrals proactively. Think about producing some simple lesson reinforcement tools on your own pc. It needn't cost you more than a penny or two per pupil per driving course. Why produce these? Because in so doing, you are adding value to your lessons which enhances your reputation. In addition, if your pupil is young, say 17/18 and lives at home, i.e., not at Uni, their parents are well impressed that their child's driving instructor is really earning the lesson price. You see, it's proof of tuition. This opens a whole new area of referrals for you, i.e., the parents.     smile

If you would like some help with producing lesson reinforcement/added value tools just say so and I'll put some stuff on my web site for you to work with.

TTFN

#13 21-04-06 15:00:47

Trentender
Verified Member
From: Nottingham
Registered: 13-04-05
Posts: 89
Website

Re: Building up business!!

My recommend a friend freebee is 30mins free EACH. I think this way the new pupil gets some incentive as well. My personal experience is Yellow Pages - crap but Yell.com - good: Based on number of pupils gained for outlay. Not tried the new BT Pages yet though.


If its the 'Taking Part' & not 'Winning' that counts then why bother keeping score!!

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#14 21-04-06 16:49:06

Panjandrumbuilder
Guest

Re: Building up business!!

Sounds like a good idea. Forgot to mention in my previous post that any free time you give as part of a marketing activity is a legitimate expense to your business, just as if you were giving £20.00 notes to encourage referrals. As such, you should make a note of any free hours or half hours you do and claim the 'value' of those hours under the expense heading 'Advertising' in your accounts. You can work out this value quite easily using the ADI Business Modelling Tool at www.dtol.co.uk At the end of your trading year, add all these hours together and multiply them by the net hourly rate figure produced. It's not a fortune in terms of tax savings, but better in your pocket than the Chancellor's.  ;D


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#15 22-04-06 11:28:48

Trentender
Verified Member
From: Nottingham
Registered: 13-04-05
Posts: 89
Website

Re: Building up business!!

Sounds like a good idea. Forgot to mention in my previous post that any free time you give as part of a marketing activity is a legitimate expense to your business, just as if you were giving £20.00 notes to encourage referrals. As such, you should make a note of any free hours or half hours you do and claim the 'value' of those hours under the expense heading 'Advertising' in your accounts. You can work out this value quite easily using the ADI Business Modelling Tool at www.dtol.co.uk At the end of your trading year, add all these hours together and multiply them by the net hourly rate figure produced. It's not a fortune in terms of tax savings, but better in your pocket than the Chancellor's.  ;D

I never knew that!!  yikes

The Chancellor is already giving me a sore rear end with the 80% tax on diesel.


If its the 'Taking Part' & not 'Winning' that counts then why bother keeping score!!

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#16 23-04-06 09:51:19

Panjandrumbuilder
Guest

Re: Building up business!!

Happy to help! Life's a learning experience and I learn something new every day.

Cheers.  yikes


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#17 25-04-06 18:13:52

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

Re: Building up business!!

It will take time to get established KAR. Here are some tips:

Monitor your advertising and see which is working and drop the expensive ones thst don't.

If you are not getting any response consider the design, size and place of your adverts. Look at what others do if you think they are sucessful with it try something similar, be careful with blatant copying you could get into expensive trouble.

Next, and very important, make sure your phone is answered by a person who can book a lesson with the caller. If they are phoning around and find an answer machine, or are not able to book a lesson, the chances are they will go to the next number where they will get booked in. If you can get an answer machine or phone that logs calls, it won't make people leave messages but you can see if it is missed calls not no calls.

Don't be tempted to drop your price or make stupid offers in desperation. You only get the people who want cheap. People respect quality and are happy to pay for it. Some years back we tried referral schemes with free lessons but found that we got the referrals anyway just by the quality of the lesson delivered.

Make sure pupils don't leave the car without their next appointment in the diary and an appointment card with it written on.

Hope this is helpful.


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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#18 25-04-06 20:15:11

KAR
Verified Member
From: Blackpool
Registered: 26-01-06
Posts: 117

Re: Building up business!!

thanks colin, everybody has something helpful and constructive to say and I appreciate all your advice. I will try monitoring my advertising and changing where necessary.
Thanks again
big_smile

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#19 07-06-06 13:42:59

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

Re: Building up business!!

Hi Kar.

Been some time since your last post on this subject, just wondered how it's going and have you found any particular avenue has generated more business than others?

I got up and running at beginning of May, so coming up for 6 weeks....  Have 6 pups now.  First one from Yell.com and 3 from ad in local newspaper.  Tried an ad in free local rag but it generated no enquiries!

Two pups that I knew from part 3 training practice have stayed on as well.  Building up slowly, still working full time job from 7 'til 15.10 so have plenty time available to build up.

Two of the pups work for quite a large local employer so hoping to get some word of mouth from them.

Another series of ads planned for local newspaper next week.

cheers

Alex.

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#20 07-06-06 14:24:03

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

Re: Building up business!!

How are you dealing with answering the phone while at work Alex?


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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#21 08-06-06 07:30:29

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

Re: Building up business!!

Hi Colin.

My father's in the house most of the day and I have printed a sheet to fill in with the callers details.  I also have an info sheet that he can refer to for basic info enquiries (lesson prices, offers, areas covered, etc) I can then call them back. Not ideal I know but needs must.  I can't use mobile at work either so that's a nuisance.  I can get it on during tea/lunch breaks if I need to make calls.

At this early stage I don't think I've lost any potential business but it is something I'll need to monitor when the next couple of ads go in the paper.

Alex.

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#22 08-06-06 10:51:11

Janey1
Verified Member
From: Suffolk
Registered: 01-02-06
Posts: 292

Re: Building up business!!

Hi Alex

I've been up and running since March - I have still only four pupils - one new one last week from an ad in the local paper.  Like yourself, working full-time - 08:30 - 4:30!!

Had one text and one call from local ad - but only enquiries!

I am on Yell.com and have a regular ad in the local paper - nothing else.  The three I currently have are from work - if I wasn't at work, I would only have one and that was from Monday this week!



Janey

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#23 08-06-06 11:12:19

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

Re: Building up business!!

Hi Janey. 

Not alone eh?

Not too concerned about being quiet right now. Gives me time to think about and assess my own performance between lessons too.  Keen to get up and running full time soon though, hopefully by September.  Did think about starting on franchise but would rather stay indy.

Driving to and from work I keep the signs on the car too and often take a detour on the way home through local villages and past secondary schools at finishing time. Helps to make the name visible and probably helps when folks see the newspaper ad - hopefully they'll think 'oh yes, seen the car about'... lol

Always keeping the car clean and shiny now too! Found a great product for bringing tyres up nicely - tyre foam that you spray and leave for a couple of minutes. White foam - looks like whitewall tyres when it goes on - dries to a lovely sheen.  Can't remember the manufacturer of the foam off hand, will check & post. There was quite a choice in the shop.

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#24 08-06-06 13:30:57

markA.d.I
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Re: Building up business!!

Another sad person like me who dresses his tyres lol

Looks so much better i think, nothing worse than someone who cleans the car and leaves the tyres mucky !

#25 08-06-06 13:52:07

Janey1
Verified Member
From: Suffolk
Registered: 01-02-06
Posts: 292

Re: Building up business!!

Hi Alex

Never mind about tyres!!  It doesn't help with advertising when one of your pupils has crashed the car into a pole!!  Your name and 'School of Motoring' nicely signed up and you are driving round with your bumper hanging off!!  I'm getting it repaired next Wednesday!  I have to say though, the body repair place has 'made good' the worst so it doesn't look that bad!!

Hey-ho!





Janey

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