Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Life On the Road

It was five months ago I started work as a driving instructor and for a while I wondered if I was going to make it. The hardest part of the job is actually finding pupils to teach, hence my getting a franchise with the AA Driving School in the hope that they'd get some for me. There are never any guarantees but they've got more experience of marketing driving lessons than I have, and a conversation with an established AA instructor during my training led me to believe that they are pretty good at it. The first week was a bit of a disaster, all sorts of problems with admin etc, resulted in no one to teach at all. The AA tell us we're welcome to go and find people to teach ourselves but that's far easier said than done and after a cold morning stood outside our local college handing out special offer cards to anyone that would take one (not many as it happened) I realised when no one actually took me up on the offers that self marketing was likely to be difficult. Fortunately, the second week, things started to pick up and carried on for a month or so as I steadily got busier.

Until Christmas. From early December to end of January, I got about two new pupils a month, not the two a week I'd hoped for. Business was definitely not booming. From what I understand, most independant driving instructors get most of their work from referrals. People who've passed their tests and told their mates how brilliant they are. I thought this would work for me too but first I had to get someone through their test!

Good news then that yesterday, exactly five months since I started, I got my first test pass. My pupil Andy was well chuffed as he'd reckoned the cards were stacked against him. With a colourful history of driving disqualifications (earned riding a motorcycle unlicensed and uninsured) he thought the any examiner would be desperate to keep him off the road but he went in there, properly prepared and passed first time with flying colours. I like to think I can take some of the credit for that, though to be fair Andy does have a lot of aptitude. It's been a pleasure working with him, and more so when the examiner pronounced the news at the end of his test yesterday (albeit without breaking a smile, miserable sod!). Andy is over the moon as he's got a car waiting to be driven and now he can go and drive it.

I'm over the moon too for I've now got a good test pass in the bag and almost feel like a "proper" driving instructor. Business is picking up too. Throughout February introductions started coming more frequently again, and my diary has now been pretty full for the last couple of weeks and looks like continuing in the same vein. As my mate Maureen says;
"Life is grand!"