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5 techniques to make sure learners show up to their driving lesson

Do you get frustrated by some of your pupils either being late or not showing up at all? We break down the key activities to help your learner drivers show up and arrive on time to fit your schedule.

Driving instructor waiting on pupil. Photo by Obi Onyeador

Take Deposits

To get started, the easiest way to get learner drivers to show up to the lesson is to have them pay up front. If they have paid for the lesson beforehand they are much more likely not to miss it.

Of course this sounds like a great idea, however, this means there is an overhead. Taking deposits and upfront payments means there is more time and effort used by ADIs which can be slightly off putting to some but trust us, the gains are worth it.

Here are some ways in which you can take up front payments:

  • Bank Transfer - Give your learner driver you Account Number and Sort Code. They can transfer over to you. For accounting purposes, we recommend having a separate account explicitly for these payments so the cash doesn't go into your personal account.
  • Zettle or other card machines - Use a card machine at the end of one lesson and ask the learner to pay ahead of time for the next lesson. These machines cost approximately £29 and each transaction costs 1.75%. It does take a cut, however you have peace of mind.
  • PayPal - Send learner drivers a link to your PayPal account and they can transfer directly into this account. Very easy to setup.
  • GoRoadie - We a free payments service to all our instructors, request money through GoRoadie and we will transfer immediately after the first lesson. Find out more about our free services for driving instructors.

Text Reminders

Another no brainer that many driving instructors have mastered over the years and have educated us about. Sending a text message or WhatsApp message 24 hours ahead of time means they are more likely to remember to set their alarm, not go out partying and generally being more prepared for their driving lesson.

Of course this is more overhead for you as a driving instructor.

There are services out there that offer this as a paid service. Check back here in a month or two for our outstanding service or registered your interest here. We will make sure a learner never misses a lesson again.

Pro Tip: Use WhatsApp, texts could cost money whereas WhatsApps (providing you have a data plan) is free.

Give them context

Something we talked about here at a recent GoRoadie Webinar is treating learner drivers like adults. And in doing so, you can share aspects of your business to them to help them understand how their actions impact your life.

If a learner does miss a lesson or is late, you can sit them down and show them your calendar. Break down your costs to them, let them know you're focussed on breaking even, you have mortgage to pay, and you have goals in life. Explain the impact of them missing that lesson. Explain why it has a bigger impact on smaller business like a driving school than a large corporation.

Perhaps by explaining this and giving the learner driver some additional context, they will have more empathy. And the result may just be that they make sure they show up and treat you and your business with more respect.

Terms, Conditions and consequences

This is another classic that driving instructors from larger franchises like RED, BSM and AA do. However, more and more independents are starting take on this strategy and here at GoRoadie we massively recommend it too.

When you agree to give the learner driver lessons, email or hand them a print out of your core terms and conditions.

Inside these terms you can talk about late fees, or learners losing their deposits too.

Key points to highlight on this are:

  • Cancellation Hours - How long you give them to cancel before a driving lesson. And if that lesson is refundable or not within these hours.
  • Driving tests cost - Since they will be using your car for the test, explain to them you may charge a 2 hour driving lesson for them to attend their test.
  • Lateness - Explain how long you are willing to wait for a learner before you leave.

1, 2 or 3 Strike Rule

Be fair but tough.

Be clear if they break the rules if you have a strike policy in place. If they break the rules once, twice or three times then you are entitled to cease teaching them. The hassle of finding a new instructors in today's COVID-19 climate is huge so explain that you will not put up with someone that will not take your business seriously.

By putting down the ground rules at the start, they will be more likely to stay in line.

And sometimes...

...learners are going to be unwell, sick or have some unfortunate circumstances. Life can be unexpected too. Remember to be human and kind and open minded too. There are some great people out there that may end up having some hard luck.