The Christmas 2023 edition of the BBC British History Magazine is pretty clear about the current cost-of-living crisis in the UK. Here is a snippet:
The question is, what effect will this have on driving schools and the ability of the population to pay for driving training?
BIG TOM does have some experience with these difficult times because the driving school was established in the Spring of 2009. A quick glance above at the historical context would indicate that this was not the easiest time to start a business. These considerations are very real for prospective driving school owners. The fallout rate for driving schools is a closely guarded secret in the industry, but if you consider the DVSA statistics in this video, you will soon realise that all is not well.
What is needed in these times is accurate, clear, unbiased information. This is not the time for schmoozy sales talk aimed at hooking unsuspecting want-to-be-driving school business owners to part with large amounts of savings based on little more than a glossy magazine or a highly polished driving school car. This is the time for vigilance and timely business tactics. I hope it is not too contentious to suggest that the extremely large, nationwide behemoths are at a distinct disadvantage. This is as true with large organisations inside or outside of the driving training industry. Big is slow, unresponsive, inflexible and sluggish. Just look at how they responded to the Covid lockdowns as an example of their inability to dynamically adapt.
This is just one reason why the ADI Union was created over a year ago. The writing has been on the wall for some time, it’s just a question of whether you are looking in the right direction or not. But part of the problem in this industry is that the organisations who shout the loudest have a vested interest in the perpetual renewal of the driving instructor register. They are connected with providing training for PDI’s and so very much rely on and welcome the continual stream of new driving instructors. The old adage of paying more attention to the quieter voices for increased integrity holds true in this industry as any other. The individuals and organisations who make the most ‘noise’ in public forums, social media and in general, are very often compelled to SHOUT WHAT THEY ARE SAYING because otherwise, few would pay much attention to them.
Newcomers to this industry have little to compare to though. They would not know of the more discerning voices because these quieter souls don’t feel the need to have the masses agreeing with them – it is often the way that the individual to pay the most attention to is the one who is not affected by groupthink.
Business experience and the collection of war wounds that inevitably arise as a result are what make us stronger. It is the ability to endure when the going gets tough, be resilient and perhaps most importantly, adapt. This is where a driving school can create protection to survive in such times that we appear to be in; by developing systems that are outward and inward-looking. Change is needed to manoeuvre effectively in differing markets. This kind of talk will be lost on many driving school owners who look upon the giving of driving training as little more than a hobby or pastime. But for those who are committed to creating successful businesses, those individuals will seek out the opinions that are under the radar… and with good reason.