So how does one cope as a driving instructor during times of economic downturns?
Well you've got to put your business cap on, because being an ADI is not a job, but a business venture.
Personally for me, it has been a two fold effect, I've been getting a lot of calls from people looking for £15 driving lessons, which has meant fewer conversions from initial learner driver enquiries, while on the other hand I've had more people coming to me for tuition after deciding that it was too expensive learning to drive with national organisations like AA driving school, BSM, RED, etc and look for cheaper lessons from local independent instructors.
Keeping driving school afloat
Just like any other business, the first thing you do as an owner is see if you can reduce any costs, which with a driving school is not easy since most costs are either essential, or contracted, so immediate action is not possible.
You could however think about downsizing your driving school car, a little inconvinience from driving a less powerful car would see a smaller leasing fee, as well as less money being spent on petrol, especialy with the cost of fuel rising.
Other costs that could be reduced are mobile phone bills. Do you really need a contract phone with a monthly fixed cost, would a pay as you go option work, especially if you use alternative means to make calls and text messaging in the evening (landline calls could be free from home, and you could send text messages from the computer). These are business decisions that need to be made when you are suffering an economic downturn such as the current credit crunch.
Driving School Marketing
Every driving instructor must have a way of marketing their services to potential clients, and now more than ever, you need to work even harder to make sure that as many potential learner drivers as possible are aware of your driving school, the prices you charge, and why they should come to you as opposed to the instructor down the road!
Advertising is something that you should consider doing, Coca Cola the most successful drinks manufacturer continues to advertise despite it's huge success and established brand name, so you need to use this means of marketing.
You should however closely monitor all your advertising efforts and find out which one works for you. I always make sure I ask each enquirer where they got my number from. Don't just continue to advertise in the local paper, Yellow pages unless they are bearing dividends and a return on your investments.
You should also get a driving school website, and include well written marketing pages that will persuade potential clients to use your services.
Driving lesson prices
I don't think it is a good idea to offer cheap driving lessons just to get more clients. You are running a business and trying to make a living, and you need to make a profit, so your prices must be set with that in mind.
As a business owner/driving instructor there are a few things you can do to survive the credit crunch, so don't just only hope that things will change soon, be a part, by making changes.
Red Driving School debate.
Driving School Marketing ideas for instructors
Pay as you Go Cheap ADI Training.
Cheap driving lessons london
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