Have you ever felt that driving school franchises are only about helping the driving school owner?
We’ve all seen the many complaints on Facebook about franchises.
Let’s move forward…together
“No pupil supply, poor support, non-existent marketing. Getting nothing for your money.
They’re great when they want your weekly fee, absolutely rubbish when they come to support.
I’ve worked for some rouges
It sickens me too – and I’ve worked for them. Not only as an instructor, but as a salaried trainer too.
I’ve been in the inner sanctum and I’ve been told “David, your problem is you care too much about the instructors, you need to get tough and remember it’s business.” Well if caring is a fault, I’m as faulty as hell.
I set up 1st 4 Driving on the back of those sorts of comments. To offer the kind of support good driving instructors need.
We want to offer the kind of help a professional driving instructor can thrive on.
Where the type of driving instructor who wants to concentrate on their teaching side can relax and let me worry about the business side.
This was me for seven years of my career. I went to work for a large franchise so I could start my Diploma in Driving Instruction (Dip.DI). This would allow me to go to night school in the evenings to do my Cert Ed. teaching qualification – and to start my degree. But that was me. I let the driving school supply my pupils, run my accounts, supply my car etc. I became the very best driving instructor I could.
- Do you feel like you could be a better driving instructor with the right support?
- Do you struggle with the business side? Or even HATE it?
- Study or even just put your feet up in the evenings and re-charge the batteries?
The British Franchising Association do not recognise a driving school franchise as a proper franchise. Its model does not quite fit the criteria. A typical franchising model would be that of the ‘McDonalds franchise’. In this example, someone buys the licence to operate under their brand and they must follow every single rule. They but their burgers, bread rolls, uniforms and even napkins from where they are told. The staff are employed and jump when told to or simply get replaced.
With driving schools, this does not seem to work.
Therefore, we are dropping the franchise name and replacing it with a fairer system. There will be two options open to driving instructors.
Introducing our new Associate and Partner schemes:
A new, fairer system
Both schemes offer the very best 1st 4 Driving support package, but the Associate scheme is more tailored to trainees and novice driving instructors. These instructors will be looking for more support in establishing themselves. The Partner scheme is more defined towards the qualified driving instructor who wants to fine tune their tuition skills and, like the associate, wants to concentrate on their teaching rather than so much on the business worries.
The terms better reflect what I want for you. If you are the right driving instructor, I WANT to associate with you and if you fit the school, I want to partner with you. Working with you so we both achieve what we desire.
Now that’s NOT a franchise!
A unique total support package
1st 4 Driving is changing that image. We’re offering a total support package that, whilst includes the pupils you need, goes so much further.
For example, many driving instructors debate the need for professional liability insurance. But nobody can argue if lady luck isn’t on your side one day and something happens, many driving instructors out there will be finished. Not only losing their jobs, but a real possibility of losing their homes, savings and who knows what else.
That’s why we now INCLUDE this at 1st 4 Driving automatically with your package. We include things like legal defence insurance, pupil licence checking, advance payments for lessons, manual on how to get the best from your Association or Partnership and advice from me, Dave Foster when you need it.
We hate disappointing pupils
Obviously, we supply pupils, but it’s how we do it. We don’t rest until you have the pupils you need. We are already position one on Google in almost every area we go to.
A testament on its own to what we do. But we run tailored social media campaigns and other advertising campaigns when needed. If the pupils are there, we get them.
Every day we turn down pupils who are looking for driving lessons because current driving instructors are full, or we have no coverage in an area. Pupils who are looking for the unique 1st 4 Driving way. Pupils who have read what we offer and think “I want that” – and we have to disappoint them.
But as I keep saying, while this service is for some, it is not for everyone.
- If you are the sort of instructor who is not a team player, then it’s not for you.
- If you are the sort of instructor that thinks pupils don’t care what you look like on driving lessons, it’s not for you!
- If you are the sort of driving instructor that likes to eat their takeaway meal while on a driving lesson, it’s not for you!
- If you are totally inflexible about your coverage area at times, then this is not for you.
- If you want to talk about inappropriate things or complain about other driving instructors or schools to your pupils, it’s not for you either!
- If delivering driving lessons is ‘just a job’ and you don’t care about your pupils, then it’s not for you!
Summing this section up nicely is a quote
‘Do you want people in your home who are defensive about their comfort zones, or willing to step respectfully into yours?” (from “Bog-Standard Business – How I took the plunge and became the Millionaire Plumber” by Charlie Mullins)
I think this fits nicely with great customer attitude. Imagine a new novice pupil who is quite frankly ‘bricking it’ before their first driving lesson. Who do they want turning up for their driving lesson? Driving instructors need to not be so defensive about their zones and step respectfully into the pupils. Can you? Then you’d make a good 1st 4 Driving Instructor.
Our unique 1st 4 Driving Online Learning System
Here at 1st 4 Driving we have a unique system for helping the pupils. It’s still being developed and added to, but we have a system where the pupils can watch videos and lesson plans online before their driving lesson.
They can pause, rewind and re-play them over and over again. When they get in the car, they might have questions about what they saw and rather than delivering a whole briefing, you can often move to a simple re-cap.
The strange thing is, while we market this as “passing your test quicker, safer and cheaper“, we find the pupils that use it are of a better quality and are more likely to want to learn better. The parents that see this system want more for their children and look towards a better standard. They tend to be more inclined to book more lessons. This is something I found when I delivered driving lessons all those years ago. The more services you offer, the better the clients. They will not always use all the services, but they took comfort in knowing that I was the best instructor for them.
Giving the best service
And in a final note, this whole principle cascades to all 1st 4 Driving pupils. We offer many things free as a standard package:
- Full free theory training online, not the reduced package where pupils get limited support and must pay for the full package.
- The 1st 4 Driving System mentioned above.
- We book tests for pupils and Driving Instructors
- Support from our pupils Facebook page
- Packages that include the driving tests
- Payment facilities by any means THEY want
And above all, we offer them the best driving instructors, YOU.