Sunday, 30 September 2007

Trying to make more sense of this blog!

I'm in the middle of sorting out all the tags so that you can search for stuff better - hope it helps.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Guaranteed Pass Courses

One of my associates runs a website which is designed to turn up high on the search engines for this phrase, and he gets over 100 hits a day with people looking for this kind of course!

I know that we all want some kind of guarantee when we buy anything these days, but what do they really think that we can guarantee?

After looking at this for a few minutes, I've found a lot of sites offering free retests, and a couple who will repay your test fee if you fail, but I really feel that people want a guarantee that they will pass!

There's one guy out there who offers a "guaranteed pass" rate on his site - it's nearly £2000! I reckon the principle there is that he should be able to get anyone through with that many lessons, and if not they'll give up. I reckon he'll regret that sometime! 100 lessons isn't unknown, and I've seen a few customers who would take him to court if he didn't keep giving lessons after that!

Yep - people really do want "a driving license or your money back"!

What kind of society do we live in?

Saturday, 15 September 2007

The Average Price of Driving Lessons Going Up

As economists will tell you - when you get a glut of supply, prices will drop.

They will also tell you that when prices drop enough, suppliers will stop producing, as they cannot afford to continue, which ironically pushes the price back up!

At the moment, there is a glut of driving instructors across the country, but more and more instructors are giving up the job and returning to "normal" paid jobs. The insecurity and low pay has taken it's toll on them. Irresponsible customers who cancel late and pay irregularly are often cited as the final deciding factor - just a few phone calls during the week can half the weekly profit.

And when the excuse from the pup is "well I can't afford it anymore" then we have to wonder if we want to keep servicing these kind of people.

More and more of the bigger companies are advertising "first 5 lessons for £49" or similar - an excellent advertising ploy, drawing lots of people in to start lessons which are not economically viable for the driving instructors who are pushed into offering them by their franchises. Unfortunately the people who can afford driving lessons at less than £10 an hour simply can't afford them at £20 an hour, or they decide they want to try another special offer from the next franchise, so you lose money on 5 hours work, and get nothing from it.

So we are going to lose instructors.

More instructors will move into specialist training like Fleet and FLH.

Learners will need to take more lessons to fulfil their year long learning obligations.

Ergo - prices will rise.

Considering that at the moment, it costs on average around a grand to learn (45 hours at £20 an hour, plus a bit to be insured on your dad's insurance, test fees, dvds etc), how much do we think the public will pay.

I reckon that if I couldn't drive, it would be worth well over £3000 to me.

Roll on the £50 driving lesson. I might even move back to teaching learners for that money!

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Urban 4x4 Drivers & the "False sense of security" factor

I know that urban 4x4s divide people into 2 VERY distinct groups - those who love em, and those who think they should be banned.

Well I can't stand them. They are an outward sign that the person who has bought them is greedy, selfish and has an inferiority complex. The problem with all of these things is that the symptoms they produce are pretty bad for other people on the road.

They are the car of the bully and the bullied.

The bully feels their own inferiority and feels the need to impose himself on the road, the traffic situation and other people. The bullied feels that everyone else is doing that to them, so they get in their 4x4 and try to fight back - the effects of both are exactly the same.

I often meet people, mainly ladies (sometimes their husbands) who justify their 4x4's from a safety point of view. Unfortunately this is a foolish argument.

The safety of a 4x4 is a myth.

Anyone outside the 4x4 when it impacts is much more likely to be killed or seriously disabled. This can be easily seen when you stand a 7 year old in front of the bonnet of (for example) a mini and a range rover. If you then imagine that both cars are travelling at 20 mph you can see vividly the problems. The mini will bump them over - possibly breaking a leg on the bumper, or hurting their head on the (impact designed) bonnet. The Range Rover (even without the addition of bull bars) will probably break their hip then run them over.

And the fact is - the height of the 4x4 moves everyone outside the vehicle out of the line of sight of the driver - especially young children to the rear of the car.

Other drivers are just as much at risk - if hit by a 4x4 it will ride up on top of the "normal" car crushing the inhabitants. The steel ladder chassis will crush anything it hits.

The really strange fact is that statistically you are actually 1% more likely to be killed or permanently disabled if you are INSIDE the 4x4 in a collision. This is because of the instability of 4x4's (hit a motorway barrier in a normal car - you bounce off, in a 4x4 - you go over the top and wind up in the middle of the other carraigeway on your roof!), and the fact that though they feel like normal cars, they don't drive like them. A 4x4 can often get amazing grip in the worst of conditions due to their design, but in these conditions there is no improvement in braking over a normal car.

The salesmen will tell you how amazing the brakes are, and will go into great detail about how technologically advanced they are, which is true - they have to be. The problem comes when you actually expect your Rangie Sport to react like a BMW - it can't. Impossible. 3 tonnes of agricultural machinery will not stop in the same way. It also won't warn you of the fact. In the BMW you'll notice the slight wheel slip on the bad road surface - it'll make you nervous and you'll slow down. In the 4x4 you won't notice it until you hit the brakes and suddenly find the ABS kicks in earlier because it simply doesn't have enough grip to hold the car. Though having ABS on a car will help it slow more quickly in real life conditions - having a lighter car going slower will stop you in half the distance!

The "False Sense of Security" Factor:

This is the worst bit. We've all been in one - how nice does it feel to be so high above the hoi-polloi, in such a beautifully engineered machine - the sense of superiority, the solidity, the view so far ahead. The way it gets grip even on wet and slippery country lanes, keeps pulling hard through heavy rain.

And that is the downfall - it feels like it's handling perfectly, just like a car - a good one at that, but it won't stop, and when it hits something we're all in trouble.

There needs to be a new licence category for vehicles which weigh over 1.5 tonnes.

People need to understand the huge differences these vehicles introduce to the way you should drive them.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Driving Instructor Earnings - AGAIN!!!!

Yep, this is a never ending one - it's so much fun when you throw the subject into a thread on a forum and watch the two sides jump at each other!

Simple fact is - yep, you can earn a lot in this business!

No, it aint an easy ride!

As is always the case, there will always be those who cry that they've not made their On Target Earnings in their first year, those who cry that they're never going to make the promised £30k (or £40 if you take note of some company's promises!), and never make the effort to get there. There will always be those who don't rightly care - they never expected to make £30k anyway and just wanted to tick over thank you very much.

And then there will be those who do, have, or will make the cash. Easily in some cases. These are the guys who treat it like a business. If you opened a shop you wouldn't expect to make money without advertising, making the place look nice, offering stuff that other shops didn't, and generally being better than those around you.

So why should being a driving instructor mean that you can just "do the job" and expect the cash to rush in. It won't. It will go to the guy down the road who works harder, works smarter and has a better website!

Have fun everyone!