Thursday, 3 April 2014
Now I'm an Independent Driving Instructor!
Today was my first day as an independent driving instructor in Nottingham. For 12 years now I have been working as a franchisee at a couple of different Nottingham driving schools. Time to take the plunge and not just look at other independents wondering "how do they get their work?"
In actual fact I have found in the last couple of years a franchise does not provide enough work to fill my diary as I would like week in week out. I think those days are gone forever. In times past it was the Yellow Pages that was the big deal. Everybody used it to find everything. It would cost a few thousand pounds for a decent advert which would bring in a lot of work. In this case it was worth being franchised as the fee would be what you would have to spend on advertising anyway. Plus you're getting the phone answered for you. For years mt diary was packed full and I never had to worry or think about my own advertising. My, how things have changed.
Now with social media marketing and a million online directories (most of them useless) there are so many ways for the little guy to compete and get his own work. It's no big effort to make a Facebook business page which doesn't do anything unless you put money into sponsored posts or competitions. You can spend a lot of time getting more likes before you realise that likes are not paying customers. It gets the odd lead now and then but people just seem to be shopping by price. There's Twitter which is good for being hacked or trolled, as is my experience. And then there's Google search engine rankings. Which is where the money is.
I love a bit of search engine optimization me. I'll tinker with my website til the cows come home and it looks like the work is paying off with enough leads to keep me busy. I've just got to keep it up now so I can get established under my own name.
I'm not convinced about how much a fully liveried vehicle counts. Does it bring in a lot more work or is the more subtle approach of the roof box and magnetic panels just as effective? You would be hard pressed to make an Audi look bad but I know of one national driving school who have achieved just that. Yep, you know who I mean. It's good for a school to have liveried vehicles I suppose. It helps to build a recognizable brand identity but does the solo instructor really need lettering all over the car? I'm not sure.
Anyway that's it. I did it and now time will tell if I'm right or wrong. Wish me luck...