I always used to ask my pupils ‘how much do you want to pay?’ The answer will always be along the lines of ‘as little as possible’. I would use an example of the DSA average at 50 lessons. Showing that 50 lessons at an average £20 would cost them £1000, I would point out that this was an average and they may need only half of them. They would still see that this would be £500. I would then use the example about two hour lessons, showing that this would effectively reduce the required lessons by a third (33%). This would mean only 18 two hour lessons were needed, costing £720. I would then suggest they used block booking so that further savings could be made…they of course are thinking that they will only need half that (as I had suggested earlier) so the reality of them affording them is getting easier. I would always write this down on some paper, so the student can see the logic for themselves and to give to their parents later, and tailor the example to fit with their needs. The example used shows a new pupil with no prior experience.
No Goal (book the pupils test)
My example above would follow on by asking them ‘when would you like to pass your test.’ Answers of ‘as soon as possible’ can be expected. Again use the example of the DSA average of 50 hours of tuition. This would mean the average pupil would take one year (50 weeks). Do you think you could keep all your pupils that long? I could not. Use the two hour lesson and you are only looking at about four months until the test. As your pupil will be trying to halve this (most seem to feel that they are better than the average) then they are thinking about two months, a time frame almost any pupil will be happy with. As before I will write this down, giving them an actual date in my diary for when I would expect them to sit their practical test in about 16 weeks.
Let’s take a step back. In schools and colleges etc. when you sign up for a course the exam dates are set in tablets of stone. You work towards these dates and take extra tuition or do extra study to meet these dates. So why does this not happen with driving tuition? In my experience you can book up your pupil’s test dates well in advance and work towards that goal. This follows with the theory test too, I book this for the pupil if they have not already done it, generally aiming for about 6 weeks’ time. You need to be a little guided by the pupil as some have learning difficulties and this time frame may not suit them, but on the whole 6 weeks is fine for most.
So who books the tests? Simple! You do. So many instructors leave the pupil to book their own test and then experience problems such as double bookings, pupils booking too soon or booking when you are away etc.
Professional or cowboy
Imagine having a builder come to your house and say, ‘you get the materials and let me know when you have them and I will come and build your extension any time to suit you…’ What are we thinking, professional or cowboy?
What about a plumber who comes and gives you a quote for a new radiator and say’s ‘you go to B&Q (other good retailers of bathroom fittings do exist) and get the radiator and I will fit it when you want…’ Again, what’s your opinion going to be, professional or cowboy?
Yet so many instructors say, ‘you go and book your test and let me know when it is and I will do it…’ and then complain that their pupil has been apparently ‘ripped off’ by some test booking agency that charges them extra to book the test for them! These agencies are only providing a service that most Driving Instructors won’t.
Booking a test is simple using your unique business I.D. and the dedicated number, which speed dials direct to an operator. Book the theory test the day after their first lesson for about six weeks’ time and when they pass book the practical test for about ten weeks after that, which will be about 16 weeks from their first lesson with you.
So what have we now got? A pupil who has had their first lesson and is excited at driving the car for the first time, they go home to Mum and Dad and tell them all about it and how the instructor has booked both their theory and practical test (in YOUR diary). Mum and Dad are happy as they would have been worried about how long it would take and how much it would cost. When they go to school they tell their friends who are amazed that their test is being booked and wonder why their instructor has not booked their test.
You pupil not only has a goal but a way to achieve this goal and all they have to do is turn up for their regular lessons. Your pupil will not leave you because you are providing what they want. It is the instructors who give no real timescale and just wander through lessons who lose their pupils.