Qualifying as an ADI is the easy part, only about a third of those who start the process manage to qualify. For many reasons, mainly through lack of preparation. So great you qualify, what then?
You could look at the big national companies like BSM, the AA, Red, LDC and Drive Dynamics, they're always offering franchise deals. Take a look around, how many Instructors do you see from these companies? Very few, according to the DVSA figures there are 220 approved driving instructors in the TR post code, I can guarantee there are less than 20 instructors in this area working for these national companies - why? Some of their franchise agreements are over £200 per week, and although their literature states they'll guarantee you a certain number of pupils, HOW can they possibly achieve this - well the simple answer is they don't, and when they do, they'll supply leads from a very wide area. For many instructors driving 20 miles to their next appointment is the norm.
I took the same route as most, I trained with BSM then went out on a trainee licence. At the time BSM had offices in Truro and had 28 instructors locally (now only 2). I was given pupils in Falmouth, Truro, Camborne, Redruth, Hayle and St.Agnes, I was simply running around like a headless chicken, spending lots of time and money travelling between pupils - 'madness, I hear you say'. That's what I thought, I left BSM after 6 weeks, and was told by them that I couldn't possibly make a living out covering only Falmouth and Penryn.
Well here I am 15 years later, still covering Falmouth and Penryn, with 4 other instructors working with me, 1 who covers Helston as well.
Over the years getting pupils has changed dramatically, when I started you could simply put an advert in the Wesr Briton, you could guarantee on a couple of calls and be able to start one new pupil. Now you'd be lucky to get one call a year. It's all about the web and social media, even refferals want to check you out in social media before they contact you.
We've spent alot of time over the years on our website, currently over 50 pages, facebook page and google plus, the results have been brilliant and we will continue to improve it all the time. Our website continues to stay at the top of page one for most search engines for driving lessons Falmouth and similar rearches. Anyone in the Falmouth area who searches driving lessons/schools in facebook will find that our page comes up top.
As you'll see from the image on the right, we don't just stop at the social media, we get out and meet potential customers before they even start looking for driving instructors. Yes it's time consuming and can be expensive but it certainly pays dividends.
The main way of getting new customers is through reputation, Accord Driving School teaches more pupils in Falmouth than any other driving school and more than the big 3 national schools put together.
As the team grows we will do more and more on the website and social media, allowing the Instructors to get out and teach and earn a good living.