Month: August 2014

Cheap lessons, dont blame driving instructors

Picture for driving school successI never thought I would hear myself say this but don’t blame driving instructors for cheap prices, well not entirely anyway. A thought occurred to me while setting up another two new driving schools that it is modern methods really. Many years ago people would know of the local driving instructor or would ask around their town or village and everyone knew who the instructor was. Nobody asked the price they just paid it.
Time moved on and we had the likes of the yellow pages and people would probably pick a few and call them but ultimately nobody called more than a few before booking their driving lessons. These directories were limited in information and very few splashed a special offer across the advert rather saying things like ‘prompt reliable service’ etc.
Today we have the internet and what a plethora of schools you get by just searching for driving lessons ‘anytown’. Page one giving you around 30 schools all within easy sight and most displaying a special offer straight away. The trick is they need you to click on their advert and the only way will be to have a price that will cause the customer to click their advert.
When I set up schools or am often advising clients as to why they have no business, I often ‘lets look at Google like a pupil’ I look to see what advert I would click on if I knew nothing about what school to choose. Thinking like a pupil and see what would appeal to me. I know very few pupils ever read the ‘about me’ pages of websites but know that 99% of traffic look at the prices. I know they are looking for prices so this is what we need to first hook them in with.
Schools are forced to compete this way simply because of the way the marketing works now, every pupil has instantly 30 or even 60 adverts in front of them at a few clicks.
Having a brand that works helps. If a pupil sees a name they recognise, even sublimely, they may have an instant draw to that advert so we build our clients branding with poster, livery, postcards, social media and of course websites.
So faced with all this what can you do amongst the sea of offers? Well, position one in the organic search of the search engines certainly helps. Adwords can get you to a prominent position but be careful, I have heard many stories of instructors spending 100’s and even 1000’s to get no interest. Google maps gets you noticed and takes but a few minutes and is free.
Remember you need to be noticed then when the pupil calls you need to answer that call immediately, they rarely leave voicemail. The call needs to be answered professionally too with knowledge and time to spend on the call. We have often spent 30 mins on a call answering questions that turn into a booking. A call takes time sometimes and huge effort but every customer needs the time spent on them so they know your school cares. More information can be found about professional call answering for driving schools here
Food for thought, I was in a meeting yesterday with three people from the national driving school of India who were telling me they sell driving courses yet there is no compulsion for anybody to have driving lessons or do a driving test in India. Yet they sell over 12,000 courses a month. Each course consisting of just 10hours of on road training, 7 hours theory and 3 on a simulator, the cost of all this is £45………………food for thought.

Driving Instructor Training U-Turn

image showing u turn picture for driving instructor training
Recently the DVSA has taken a U-turn in the decision to make driving instructor training a vocational qualification. Saying ‘it will revamp the existing part three exams to fit in more with the new Standards Check’. I am absolutely flabbergasted at this, having for many years been talking to senior DVSA staff and officials, all of who have said this will happen. I know that the units have all been written and the whole qualification process been looked at and developed at what is probably considerable cost. Some of my associates who carry out driving instructor training and are working towards training driving instructors have all been preparing for this radical and much needed change. Driving schools such as Road Runner Driving School in Southampton, Beeline Driver Training in Hastings, LA-Driving School in Weston Super Mare and Summers Driving School in Chippenham, have all been expanding their schools and looking forward to the raised standard that the changes would have brought.
ORDIT was rumoured to have been going to be scrapped in favour of the new vocational qualifications. Go 2 Pass in Manchester are a school looking to develop driving instructor training further and were also looking towards the new qualifications. This school has some 21 instructors and many were ready to take the TAQA award in readiness.
I am sure there is a reason behind all this but interestingly, the associations are quiet on this one. I expected a lot of noise on the subject and news in the magazines but I expect this is to come. Maybe there is a stunned silence all around! It will be interesting what this will do for the driving instructor training profession, many professional trainers have been looking forward to the new standard for a while so we wait with baited breath.