If I started learning the guitar, I would expect to spend most of my lesson holding a guitar and being 'hands on', if you like. When learning to drive, however, you’ll notice that so many driving instructors (ADIs) seem to spend ages just sat by the side of the road talking about driving. Worse still, there's a trend among many ADIs to explore how you would like to learn, learning goals and...stuff.
Now, it's clearly important to explain stuff when needed. It's also a good thing to establish whether a pupil learns better with diagrams and explanations, if they need demonstrations, or if they're more of a 'doer'. With many ADIs, however, the balance seems to be in favour of talking (or 'briefing') and somewhat less on actual driving!
The reason behind all this yacking is not hard to work out. For independent ADIs, the two biggest costs are their car and fuel. For a franchised ADI, the car plus franchise cost can be as high as £300 per week! Many ADIs have lease cars which have a yearly mileage allowance. This can be as low as 10,000 miles, but is rarely above 20,000. If that limit is exceeded, the penalty can be up to 7 or 8p per mile. So, many driving instructors keep you talking to avoid driving and so saving them money.
As a rural ADI, if you’re thinking that my fuel costs are high, you’d be right! Last year I racked up around 45,000 miles (that's over 3,500 miles per month). With Fit2drive, you learn to drive by driving with explanations when needed.
With costs on the up, in order to keep profitable, I have two choices; either drive a lot less (and maybe hang on to pupils for way longer than they need too!), or put my prices up a bit. And when I say a bit, it’s about the price of a coffee and a muffin. I couldn’t do the first option, as it goes against my ‘hands-on’ method of training. So, from 1st Feb 2020, my prices will be going up, but rest assured, the value will be as good as ever.