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#1 01-11-17 22:06:27

smallworld74
Member
Registered: 01-11-17
Posts: 2

Just getting started - choice of car etc

Evening everyone,

My wife is just getting started with ADI training. Initially she expected to go with a franchise but they are really quite expensive! With two little ones, the plan is to be part time to start with, gradually building up as the children go to school. We know of one brand who offers a part time franchise, but have already started thinking that it might be better to go independent from the start. We currently have an OLD Fabia, which is ripe for one of the current scrappage schemes, but we're looking at all options to replace it. The car will need to be at least as big as the Fabia (particularly boot space) as it will be our second family car. Something like a Golf would be our choice if it was not going to be used for instruction. But the Golf (and the soon-to-be-available new Polo) has an electronic parking brake. These are more and more common these days, but is this something we ought to avoid on a car for instruction?

I suppose I should be asking the general question of how much a pupil will choose an instructor based on the car they drive, and how much based on the instructor themselves? I have a feeling the answer will be that as long as the car is reasonable for instruction, that's fine, as it is the instructor which is the more important element.

As for the Driving School business, particularly as we don't need to be full time, we're considering more niche options. We're in right-on Brighton and one thought was to go for a hybrid. Again, if it were simply our family car, it's something we'd consider. But for instruction? Is it a step too far, or maybe ten years too soon? Back in my day, new drivers would buy the car they could afford. But today with PCPs, perhaps more new drivers buy new cars, in which case they might buy hybrids. The Yaris hybrid seems quite popular (though probably too small for us as a family). There's also a new Mini Countryman hybrid. I should say that we're also considering an automatic car too as one of the niche options - of course all hybrids are automatic, so effectively the vehicle could be presented as an automatic that just happened to be a hybrid.

We've had a quote for insurance from one company so far and they say they insure up to group (I think) 15 and max car value of £17000. Presumably there are specialist ADI insurers who insure more expensive and higher insurance group cars. Can anyone recommend any? The Countryman hybrid and Golf GTE are both more expensive.

What about the power of the Golf GTE? It's not GTI levels but do you think that's just too much for a learner driver? You do see instructors in Mini Cooper S's.

If we don't come up with something that seems like it would work with scrappage, we'd probably buy a nearly new car and cut out some of the depreciation. One of my next steps is to check out some of the car reviews on this site. Would you suggest that we should buy new, or is a one year old car feasible? I like the simplicity of buying on a plan then, after three or four years, handing the keys back and taking a new car again.

It's all a little bit blue-sky thinking at the moment. In a couple of months we might be back down to earth and looking to buy a more typical Fiesta or the like (actually the current Fabia would probably be high on the list), but for now, if anyone has any thoughts on any of this, we'd like to hear them. Thanks if you're still reading this long post!

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01-11-17 22:06:27

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Re: Just getting started - choice of car etc



#2 02-11-17 08:44:09

Joe24
Verified Member
Registered: 18-05-12
Posts: 310

Re: Just getting started - choice of car etc

Yes franchise's are often expensive and you will earn little money but it does get you into the job. The phone doesn't just start magically ringing when you qualify so the option of just starting out solo is a tough one. It might work but if often doesn't and many new driving schools fail early doors. If you start solo you certainly won't be making much money for a long time. A franchise doesn't have to be forever. 12 months was enough for me to have a full diary and get my school started. 
New pupils generally get recommended. It's very rare they ask about the car. It's presumed my car will be fairly new and clean. (Which it always is) The ADI is the important bit not the car. Some ADI's lease and some buy. What's good for one ADI might not be good for another. You just got to weigh up all options and decide what's best in your particular circumstances. Again if you choose a franchise often the car is all sorted. My franchise gave me a brand new car every 6 months.
Concentrate on qualifying. Many PDI's start out and soon discover it's not for them.

My post probably sounds negative but it's good to be realistic. Earning loads of money at the start is tough so don't expect to. It's not unusual for business to take a couple of years to start get going. Seriously consider the franchise option but do your research. Make sure you can leave when you want. If you really need money then I'd have another job which pays the bills. Once the driving school takes off you can either keep doing both or knock the other job on the head.

Last edited by Joe24 (02-11-17 08:48:06)

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#3 02-11-17 19:08:48

reddragonbus
Verified Member
From: Edinburgh
Registered: 05-02-06
Posts: 1,655

Re: Just getting started - choice of car etc

If you currently have a car, just use that, spend as little as possible, you don't need a flash car.

Most learners honestly could not care less what type of car you have, they just want cheap lessons.

Biggest mistake new entrants make is going out buying a flash car.


LGV PCV Instructor DVSA ADI Fleet

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#4 02-11-17 23:22:43

Joe24
Verified Member
Registered: 18-05-12
Posts: 310

Re: Just getting started - choice of car etc

They might want "cheap" lessons but they have to pay a bit more for my services. A quality product comes at a price. The cheapo's around here are generally not in business for very long.

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#5 03-11-17 06:44:11

Triplea35
Verified Member
Registered: 28-09-12
Posts: 502

Re: Just getting started - choice of car etc

For me the most important consideration for an instruction vehicle is your comfort.

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#6 04-11-17 21:10:46

smallworld74
Member
Registered: 01-11-17
Posts: 2

Re: Just getting started - choice of car etc

Many thanks for opinions so far. Fortunately my job pays enough for now. We're looking for my wife to get established over a few years, effectively part time until the kids go to school, so just to break even for the first year wouldn't be a concern. Joe24, realistic is exactly what we need at the moment. We don't expect it to be easy, so your post is great, thanks.

I think in the sense that we need the car to be a family car too, your posts give me confidence that we don't have to focus on trying to find the "perfect" car for instruction. What would be very helpful is to get opinions on whether going for an automatic, or even hybrid (which might suit us well), is a sensible thing to do. Is it possible to get stats on how many learners pass with an automatic license and how many manual? Can we expect the vast majority of clients to be 17 or 18 and wanting full manual licences, or is it plausible to find a niche with, for example, older drivers needing to take their test who might prefer an automatic? Would any of the ADI associations gather info on that sort of thing? As I said above, as there are potentially some very good scrappage deals about at the moment, it might be good for us to buy very soon, before the ADI training is finished. That said, buying a year old car would likely save us more money than the scrappage deal, so perhaps not quite so important...

Thanks again for taking the time to share your thoughts.

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#7 05-11-17 10:07:22

Mentor
Verified Member
Registered: 22-10-05
Posts: 381

Re: Just getting started - choice of car etc

I think you are getting the cart before the horse. There is no need to consider which car will be suitable for teaching until your wife has actually qualified as an ADI. Once qualified the options of franchise or going it alone can be considered. The car should primarily be chosen to be suitable for the job and not as a family car. Getting established will be hard at first and limiting the market by choosing an auto might not be the best way to go.

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#8 07-11-17 20:22:33

kaf
Verified Member
From: Wiltshire
Registered: 05-08-07
Posts: 3,328
Website

Re: Just getting started - choice of car etc

Personally, I would be looking at a car that would firstly suit family use, and secondarily would be suitable for teaching.
As Mentor said, choosing auto might limit your market, on the other hand, if there is a shortage of auto instructors in your area, it might fill a hole in the market.
Locally we have a shortage of auto instructors, pricing for auto lessons can be £3-£5 higher per hour than manual.
There is no real difference in pass rates between auto and manual, car control is rarely a cause of failure at test level.  Brain failure is the problem!
A hybrid might provide you with a selling point, on the other hand, if you have to travel a long way between lessons, it might be a problem, especially in winter when you will neeed, lights, heating air con etc on.
It also has to be said that auto instructors do tend to pick up a higher proportion of students with learning issues and foreign drivers.
Only you can decide which way to go.
Main points are, keep costs as low as possible, the lower your costs, the better chance you have of profit.
Your students will have no idea what car they are driving apart from it being auto or not.
Many won’t even remember the colour!

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#9 08-11-17 23:10:28

Zipper
Verified Member
From: Darwin, Northern Territory Aus
Registered: 20-08-04
Posts: 2,694
Website

Re: Just getting started - choice of car etc

The situation is similar down here in Darwin NT.

kaf wrote:

...car control is rarely a cause of failure at test level.  Brain failure is the problem! ...

Yes. Learners in autos often ask me why hill-starts are tested in automatics - I explain that the emphasis has changed from car control as in the "bad old days", to handling traffic safely & legally, and decision-making. Down here the "kerbside-stop/hill-start" test locations vary from steep to hardly a slope at all. Is it the same in the UK?

kaf wrote:

...It also has to be said that auto instructors do tend to pick up a higher proportion of students with learning issues and foreign drivers. ...

My manual Golf is rarely used for training now, nearly everyone opts for automatic, for 4 possible reasons:
(1) Foreign-born and wanting to get a test ASAP. Those who've driven manuals in certain other countries are very rough with the controls and it's hard to beat it out of them. Most of our taxis are hybrids or classical automatics, and many of my foreign students have a husband with a taxi, or want to drive a taxi themselves.
(2) After passing the test in an automatic, their new NT licence reverts to manual after 12 months whether they know how to drive a manual or not(!).
(3) Learning difficulties or some sort of disability (my colleague Connie specialises in these and I help her out occasionally).
(4) Australia tends to follow American motoring trends (over-powered, seating capacity, looks & macho image in preference to handling - and automatic). Exceptions are the tough NT macho heroes in their oversized work vehicles or V8 utes who drive very aggressively.

kaf wrote:

...Main points are, keep costs as low as possible, the lower your costs, the better chance you have of profit!

Definitely!!! I stupidly started out buying up-market vehicles but now I know better.

kaf wrote:

... Your students will have no idea what car they are driving apart from it being auto or not. Many won’t even remember the colour!

When I ask my students what family car they will practice in, many hesitate and say "Um... a xxx coloured one? I think it's xxx I'm not sure). We don't use top boxes here and I make sure my L-plates are on and I'm standing alongside my car when picking up kids from school or they will walk past me. They sometimes don't recognise my slim athletic (cough) body either, and because I'm terrible at remembering names & recognising faces, I often let them go by resulting in a hasty text "where are you? etc" message from one or both of us.(My magnetic signs have disappeared over the years, and many students tell me they prefer to drive incognito so I'm taking my time replacing them.

Last edited by Zipper (08-11-17 23:18:29)


Zipper ("G'Day Mate!")
I'm not 65! I'm only $59.95+tax
www.drivingnt.com

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