We are all going to go mad if we keep looking at the negatives of this.
I want to reassure driving instructors that, while things seem bleak and you’re all naturally worried, this is just a blip. It was described to me in a business meeting this week as ‘a recession on steroids’.
It will go as fast as it came.
Lets look at this rationally
Lets take those pupils that are cancelling now – and some instructors are getting a few, some none and some lots, (no change there to what instructors complain about), are those pupils cancelling for good? No, for most it’s the intention of a 14 day self-isolation. I dare say some are using this as an excuse to cancel as it beats the usual excuses that pupils make when they want to change instructors. But after the 14 days they will be back.
However, there is the high probability of a lock down. So how long will that last? 14 days, maybe extended by a few. Then what? Pupils will be clambering up the walls for driving lessons. We need to remember that no matter what happens, pupils really want to get behind the wheel of their own car. Perhaps now more than ever in light of the public transport scare.
Some instructors unfortunately will not make it through, choosing to give up. This leads to an even greater number of pupils looking for driving lessons. In fact, I think an opportunity might arise out of business necessity to increase the lesson rate.
Currently as a driving school, we’re still booking new pupils into driving lessons, 18 so far this week and turning away lots more because of no availability. Many pupils are not worried about the virus.
There are many businesses in a far worse place than us. Imagine the pubs and clubs, the cafes and restaurants. They are losing business they will never get back. Many will go to the wall.
For driving instructors this is like a recession on steroids, it has hit us fast and will go fast. Seriously, soon social media will be full of driving instructors asking how they are coping with all the work coming in.
Are driving lessons a luxury? I would say no. Remember our own driving lessons. Nothing would stop us from having them. All I wanted was to have my own car and drive. If anything, this virus is going to let people see how much more they need a car. Sit on a dirty smelly bus or drive my own car, umm no brainer really. Look how many people who ‘should’ get a train but prefer to drive.
We come back stronger
So maybe we will be forced into lock down for a few weeks, how can we turn this into a positive? Can we improve on our own knowledge of training? Finish that course we are doing with Tri-Coaching or some organisation that can improve our skill? So, when we do come back we are stronger and better equipped. What about just all those jobs we keep thinking “...if only I had the time to do that”.
As a driving school I am worried, I seriously identified a problem last night. Soon the phones will go mad with pupils wanting driving lessons, all those delayed pupils will want driving lessons, all those pupils putting off lessons will want them and all those who don’t want to sit on public transport will want lessons. My problem is, I already have too much work for the instructors I have, where am I going to get more from?
Dave Foster MA, Dip.DI (or Driving School Dave) is the most qualified driving school owner in the country, after completing his Master’s Degree in Driver Training Education in 2011 at Middlesex University. He also holds a diploma in Driving Instruction and is a Cert Ed. qualified teacher. Dave is the founder and Managing Director of 1st 4 Driving Ltd, and also looks after over 15 driving schools across the country on a consultancy basis.