Some clients may only have the same period free during the week and every week. College students may be a bit more flexible, depending on their term timetable. The unemployed are usually flexible, unless they have family commitments. Remember that you cannot accommodate them all at the same time. It is very important that, when an inquirer calls, you ask them at what time and day they could have their driving lessons and make sure that space is usually available in your diary. Consider the clients you want. Do you want clients who are available during the daytime (e.g. students, the unemployed, housewives/househusbands, those who need babysitters) or are these the ones who will be very money conscious and more likely to cancel driving lessons? Are you looking for clients who believe that, by paying more, they will be receiving a better-quality instructor and that the driving lesson fee is of lesser importance? Clients in this bracket are usually the more reliable but may require driving lessons outside normal working hours. In reality, you will have a cross-section of the population. But, if you charge more than the average for your area, you are likely to have more employed clients who may also be older and who are less likely to cancel lessons due to financial constraints.
You will need to be flexible with your working hours. Some instructors enjoy a mid-week day off as it breaks up the intensity of the hours and days worked. Some ADIs will work all the hours they can get. A good compromise is to work one or two late evenings – perhaps starting late on these days and one weekend day to accommodate those who cannot make a weekday. Many instructors do not work weekends, and this could be a niche market you might consider exploiting.
Remember, you have or should have an outside life. Sitting in a car for hours on end is not good for you – we know that from experience. Even if you are not a particularly active person, it is important to take some exercise and have other interests or you will soon ‘go stale’. Enjoy giving driving tuition but enjoy other aspects of life as well, especially your family. So consider the following: How many days do you wish to work? Are you going to set aside half a day to undertake ‘office work’? What days do you wish to work? How early will you start? The first driving test of the day is at 08:40. With the hour driving lesson in front, plus travelling time, this may mean you having to leave the house at 07:15, or earlier! How late in the day will you work? Consult your partner. What time do you want to eat? How many weeks (unpaid) holiday will you take? How far from home are you willing to work? Travelling time does not create income – it creates cost. Think of fuel, car-servicing schedules, car components (tyres, brake pads, etc.) and additional car depreciation due to high mileage. Build in time to take on board fuel for your car and yourself, for toilet stops, thinking/unwinding time, traffic delays, up-dating records, making telephone calls, updating business accounts, banking, cleaning the car, etc.
If you are self-employed you will not be paid for any time you take off. This includes holidays and sickness. Sickness or injury can strike anyone at any time and, unfortunately in this job, there is no such thing as a paid ‘sicky’. No work = no income. Take care of your health and think carefully before you book that skiing holiday. Later in this article you will find reference to accident, injury and sickness insurance you may wish to consider. When you need a break, consider the time of the year or days/weekends (such as bank holidays) when there may be an increase in holiday traffic in your area. To work over such a period may also result in cancelled driving lessons due to clients being away.
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Note: This article was sent to us by: Barney Holman at 01172010
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