The UK driver training community
I am happy to say I passed my Part 3 on my first attempt a couple of weeks ago!
I was and still am well chuffed! All the hard work has paid off. I decided to not take out a trainee licence and trained myself working with other PDI's to help get me through. I got PST 5 - Emergency Stop and Use of mirrors for phase 1 and Progress, Hessitation and Road position for phase 2. I scored a 4/5.
I am now waiting for my car to arrive before I start my franchise. This site looks brilliant with a lot of helpful advice so will definately posting now and then!
Welcome and good luck. Who's the franchise with? I'm interested in what makes people choose between franchise and one man band.
Cheers for the warm welcome. I did my training with Red. As part of my contract I have to take a 1 year franchise with them. I then plan to go it alone after that.
I am taking out a headboard franchise and not their full franchise so I can save a few pennies. As a result I have to source the car myself which I am doing through Hitachi (formally Robinsons). It works out cheaper this way.
Red say that they will help provide students, but I am not going to soley rely on them. I plan to market myself with flyers and hit the schools and colleges, and am looking into having a website developed as I think thats the best way to advertise yourself these days.
Are you an Independent? How did you find marketing and advertising yourself to get students? Any help would be appreciated.
I worked in early 2004 as a PDI (very detached from my sponsor) then alone from 2004-2010. I found advertising in general a waste of time but if you target your audience - you mentioned local schools and colleges - you may well have some success. I was happy to start slowly so as a PDI, so I increased from a couple of friends' kids to about 20 pupils then when I qualified I pretty soon had a full diary and stayed more or less that way until I ran down to friends and family only in late 09 to 10 then packed in in October 10.
You cannot beat word of mouth - maybe do what I did and offer a free lesson for recommending a friend. I said so long as the friend had at least 5 lessons, the existing pupil gets a free lesson. Seemed to work pretty well.
Number 1 bit of advice - offer a good service and you'll get recommended. Show up on time, always phone if problems, and don't skimp on the hour. I used to leave 1/2 hr between pupils even though most were 10 minutes apart, and I'd spend maybe 10 minutes after the official finish talking about driving or other stuff at the end. No pressure to be off at the end of the lesson. And of course, offer good quality instruction! I got loads of pupils from other instructors ('cos their friends learned with me) with stories of bad record keeping (owing the pupil lessons but denying it) and most commonly not showing up for lessons, or showing up 1/2 hr late with no explanation or apology.
One of my objectives was to have an easy life, so the relaxed timetable may have meant 6 lessons a day max (so you'd think less income) but it rubs off on the pupils and they feel less like a number, therefore the diary stayed pretty full.
The pupil is your customer. You are 100% the boss where driving and safety issues are concerned but remember they can (and should) change instructor if the customer service isn't up to scratch. I actually think it's a bit sad that so many pupils seem to stick with unreliable instructors.
Make sure everybody you know is aware you want pupils! Get friends and family to help. I was lucky in that a fair number of friends' kids were coming up to 17 when I qualified. They led to more of their friends, and so on. I got a couple of pupils who'd seen the car and maybe a total of 3 from Yellow Pages (in 6 years). One pupil who liked my car (an MG ZR at the time!) led to dozens of others. Oh, and my first car was a Mini so I got a couple of pupils via the local Mini garage - their parents were there to buy them 17th birthday presents!! (This isn't a rich area!). See if your local garage will offer you a recommendation fee if your pupils buy from them (they often want the same car they learned in) and often the dealer will be happy to give your name to customers, to get them into your car.
Thanks for the help and tips. I will take that all onboard. I also thought it would be a good idea to offer a free lesson to pupils if they could recommend friends and that they block book 10 lessons with me, or £20 cashback. The more pupils they recommend that book 10 lessons or more, the more free lessons or cash back they get.
I have also spread the word about and have done a facebook page which I will send to everyone. You can't beat good customer service - I agree with you. Hopefully this will rub off on my pupils and word of mouth will get around. There are a lot of instructors in my area....I am seing a lot more then usual. Maybe its because I actively look out for them....lol
You mentioned you packed it in October 10. Why did you pack it all in then?
Congratulations i had the same pst & same results when i passed good luck i hope things go well
I teach Speed Awareness and was up to an average of 3 days per week. It got to the point where I was only on-road about 8 hours a week due to speed awareness commitments. With a TVR in the garage for sunny days, the driving school car was just about covering its own costs, so running 1 car means I can work less hours for the same net income. I use the spare time to develop software I'm hoping to market to ADIs (it's a long way from finished) so in the meantime I'm selling the animated briefings I created for myself.
WELL DONE, I hope you will be very happy teaching.
I used to teach speed awareness in Norfolk for the local police and was amazed about how little seasoned drivers knew about basic things like what a hazard line looks like.