Saturday, 6 October 2018

One Year On

One Year On

I recently caught up with one of the local driving schools in Chorley who's business is called Bob Medley School of Motoring. It's been one year since Bob got on social media so it was nice to bump into him for a catch-up. Bob originally signed up with me at Superdrive Academy where I deliver driver training to driving instructors in Andover and also do social media marketing with Get Your Own Driving School.

I have seen Bob driving around the town on occasions, well it's hard not to bump into local driving instructors if I'm honest because Chorley isn't exactly a huge place. I can literally see all of the driving instructors in one day. Thee's about 20 of them which is surprising due to the size of the town.

I asked Bob is he still enjoying the job? His smile grew from ear to ear and she said "I'm absolutely loving it". He went on to tell me that it's still the best career move he's ever done and he hasn't looked back.

He told me that not only is he loving the job but it also fits around his family routine very well which is a bonus. After spending just 10 minutes talking with Bob, I could sense a huge wave of enthusiasm. This was the same enthusiasm I saw when I first met him.

I'd seen Bob's Facebook posts from time to time where he posted about his pupils passing their driving test. He was obviously doing a good job because he seemed to be posting on Facebook a couple of times per week.

One year on, he had progressed from being a novice at social media to being an accomplished poster on Facebook. Not only that, he was also making a great success at running his business.

It's always good for me to see my clients still enjoying the job, it gives me great pleasure. It's almost the same feeling you get when a pupil passes their driving test but in some way, a lot better.

Thanks for reading this Blog.

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Top 5 tips for passing your driving test

We asked three individual driving schools their top tips for passing the driving test. One was The Academy of Driving another called Superdrive Academy and the third was Bob Medley. Passing your driving test as quickly and as cheaply as possible is one of the most common things that we hear as driving instructors when we speak with our clients or their parents. I was having this very same conversation with another driving instructor colleague of mine called Bob who owns Bob Medley School, you can visit Bob's website here

I was asking Bob what does he tell his learner drivers when they ask him how long will it take to pass their driving test. Bob's reply was it will take as long as it takes, and how long is a piece of string? He went on to say that in his opinion, everyone has their own rate of learning. I agreed with Bob and through our experience we decided to come up with a top 5 list or tips on what we think is important for anyone who wants to take driving lessons and get through their driving test quickly.

The top 5 tips listed below are in no particular order, they are just items that we think are important. Each tip is as important as each other and all have the same relevance.

Tip 1 - Have regular driving lessons.
On average, it can take a learner drive approximately 40 hours worth of driving in order to get to a standard whereby it could be considered as ready to take and pass a driving test. On a whole, we see each pupil once a week so that could mean 40 weeks in order to gain your full driving licence. This could be halved by maybe having a two hour lesson instead of a one hour lesson.

If your driving instructor has the space and time, then maybe this could even be ramped up to two lessons per week.

Tip 2 - Be consistent
This normally goes hand in hand with the above tip. It's probably not beneficial to leave large gaps between lessons, such as weeks or months. I know that finances play an important part on how often you can take driving lessons but the further apart your driving lessons are then the more damaging this could be to your rate of learning. You may have forgotten what was taught on your previous lesson if it was 4 weeks ago. This can have a detrimental effect on your learning and could slow the pace of learning right down.

Tip 3 - Get private practice
Now, this is not for everyone but where possible you will benefit from going out and getting extra practice by going out with parents or other members of your family, even friends may be able to help you. Obviously there are rules and laws to going out driving on a provisional licence other than a driving instructor. If you're not sure what these rules are then just ask your driving instructor. If you are fortunate enough to go out and get private practice either in your own car or in your parents car, then speak with your driving instructor about he. He or she can advise you best on what to practice and where to practice.

Tip 4 - Use other resources to study
In most cases, your driving instructor will be the only person in your life that will give you expert advice on all things driving. Let's face it, once you've passed your test how often are you going to update your skills and seek professional advice, hardly ever if at all. So, whilst you're learning to drive, have a look on YouTube for example and find videos that you are covering with your driving instructor, such as the parallel park. By doing a little study in your own time can help to speed up the learning process.

Tip 5 - Be realistic
Some new clients we get think that they can pass the driving test within 10 hours. Even those who have never driven before. When taking driving lessons, there's a lot to learn and take in. In some respect, there's a syllabus that you have to work through such as hill starts, emergency stop, parallel park and other reversing exercises and that's not even mentioning the time it takes to reach a safe standard of driving for our roads. So, be realistic as to how long it will take you to cover and reach this standard.

Thank you for taking the time out to read these tips and I hope some of them will be useful to you.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Creating a Facebook Ad campaign
Today's Blog is about how we ran a very quick Facebook Ad campaign for one of our customers called 360 Driver Training who are based in Hemel Hempstead

We have just literally finished building their website and created the branding for them so now it was time to get them some exposure.

What we done first and what we've done so far is to just simply use Facebook to build up an audience for them in their local area so we had to come up with a Facebook campaign that could get some likes and shares.

The concept was to offer some sort of freebie and to hopefully increase the amount of likes on their driving school page. We came up with the idea of a gift voucher for Amazon to the value of £50. The fee of £50 was a decision the owner of 360 Driver Training came up with. So, how did we do this?

We got an image of a £50 Amazon gift voucher then wrote a simple but effect paragraph that would invite people to take part in a competition. The winner won the £50 Amazon voucher. it isn't a competition as such, it's just a free giveaway prize.

So, the article was wrote, we had an image so it was time to post it and put our strategy to the test.

So, we know that people love prizes, especially ones that are free and we know that there are some people who just love entering competitions. All we had to do now is sit back and wait.

It wasn't too long before we saw some activity on the Facebook post, in fact, some activity was an understatement. It sort of went ballistic for the first 2 hours. Now, what I've forgotten to mention which is a crucial point is that the rules for the competition where that you had to like and share the post. We decided to run the Ad for 7 days.

Every now and then we'd go to their Facebook page to see how the Ad was performing. I'm glad to say that we were pleasantly surprised and please how the post was getting likes and share. We were thinking at this time that we are now building up an audience.

Now, one of the positive things to do on Facebook is to keep engaging with your audience so our plan was once the Ad had finished at the end of the seven days was to write good quality posts and hopefully continue to get engagement with this new found audience.

Now our next step was to write a normal post but to write a good article about their driving school. Now, at the discretion of the owner of the driving school, he wanted to give away their first lesson for free. So we popped a little post on Facebook mentioning this and we got the expected results.

The audience that had liked and shared the Amazon post was now engaging with the driving school. The outcome was more customers for them.

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Moving from a franchise

This blog is about one of the driving instructors in Cannock who's name is Harpreet. Currently Harpreet is franchised to a driving school in Cannock but has asked for my help to leave his franchise and setup up independent. One of the first things I done for Harpreet was to set him up with his own website Progress Driving School

Harpreet had chosen the business name himself and wanted to be trading under his own driving school name within 2 months of contacting me. His plan was to stay with his franchise for the next two months and also start creating the identity and branding for his driving school with his main aim of targeting customers in the Cannock area.

So after writing some content for his website and creating a logo for both his website and his Facebook page I set to work on doing the actual build. Harpreet was pretty clear in his mind what he wanted to get from me and this made my work much easier as it's often a lot less time consuming if the customer already has some sort of brief.

Harpreet wanted a corporate look and feel about his website as his plans for the future where to expand his own driving school and eventually take on his own instructors on a franchise basis. He was even interested in setting up a training establishment so he could train his own ADI's and then set them up with a franchise with his driving school.

I am one week into designing Harpreet's website and it's all coming together nicely. I will come back to this blog at a later date and update it and finish telling you about Harpreet's journey.

As I've mentioned above about having a franchise for a driving school, Superdrive Academy have now got franchise spaces available.

Friday, 23 February 2018

Designing a website for driving schools in Romford

Designing a website for driving schools in Romford, in particular Rob Gould Driver Training was something that happened unintentional and came about by chance.

In this Blog, I want to just outline and pinpoint some concerns that driving instructors have approached me about in reference to do with their websites that they've had built to showcase their business, well their driving school actually.

I'm going to use Rob Gould Driver Training as a case study and attempt to tell you his story or parts of his story in this Blog For legal reasons I can't blog about the whole story but I will try to describe to my best a true version of events as described to me by one of my customers.

So, Rob employed a company to build a website for him which would showcase his driving school.

One of the reasons Rob decided to get a website was to help with marketing and to use as a marketing tool to work alongside his existing promotional material - Obviously his goal was to attract new business with a possibility of expanding his driving school with more driving instructors.

He knew he needed a website to help him attract new business so he hired the services of a web designer and a SEO specialist who also was a marketing guru.

Rob paid the fees that was requested by his new web designer which incidentally was £2,300 and then Rob sat back in anticipation and couldn't wait for his new website to be completed and launched. Anyway, the day came when his new website was launched and he was now waiting in anticipation for his phone to go with hopefully new enquiries.

Unfortunately for Rob, he's still waiting for his phone to go and nine months down the line he hasn't had one single enquiry.

That's where I came in - Rob contacted me and asked me if I could help. So I took control of Rob's original website, gave it a good clean looking website that was fresh with content and images and was simple to use and understand.

Rob's website is not the first website where I've had to do rescue and recovery work on, I've hand handfuls of driving schools ask me to help them generate business from online marketing including social media too.

Potential customers haven't got 10 minutes to spare to trawl through thousands of words on a website, you've literally got 30 seconds to make a sale. Also, if the information isn't there in front of them, there not going to scroll and scroll and scroll all the way your pages looking, they'll just simply move onto the next website they found on Google.

These are the basic things learner drivers want to see on your website:

  • Prices
  • Opening hours
  • Areas covered
  • Maybe a picture of someone passing their test
  • A small section about the school

That's it I'm afraid so anything other than this is wasting your time in most cases. Do not put thousands of words on your website and turn it into something that resembles the Daily Telegraph.

Yes, Google loves content and it has to be relevant but anything in the region of 500 words is sufficient, not 5,000 as I've seen in some cases.

There's no point in writing paragraph after paragraph about driving instructors in Romford for example.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Driving instructors Hereford

A review from the ADIJNC meeting

Hi, I'm Dev from Hereford Driving School in Hereford and I'm one of the independent driving instructors in Hereford.

I recently attended the ADIJNC conference and these are my notes from the meeting. As always, it started off with notes from the chair.

It’s always a huge relief and very satisfying once the conference feedback is in and the conference day has been a success. Let’s not forget it is organised completely by the volunteers on the governing committee. I feel proud of the quality of the event and the professionalism involved from everyone who helps to organise it. We always take on board your feedback and we will endeavour to work on any items you consider could be improved. Thanks must go to our speakers, sponsors, the trade stands and all the delegates who attended and helped to make it such a huge success. There will be photos on the website shortly but meanwhile just a few of the comments we received are below. What is so satisfying is the number of people who have said they will be back next year and who enjoyed the new format for the Saturday night meal before the conference. We filled the entire hotel restaurant and had a great evening together. A report and photos are further on this newsletter. Today’s event was brilliant and well organised. I’m very glad I went. Michael Spooner ADI Events Ltd Great day Lynne!  Thanks to you and all your team. Your hard work and dedication show in how smoothly this event runs and how much everyone enjoys it. Chris Scott Douglas An extremely well organised conference.  Good range of speakers.  Great Value.  Lovely food.   Thanks a lot. Geoff Moore

1st time at the conference, enjoyed the day.  See you next year. Paul Wilson You are doing great job!  Well done guys. Rafal Urban In the 8 years that I have been an ADI I have attended all bar 1 ADINJC conference.  Every year the conference improves on the previous year.  Every year this conference surpasses anything offered by other driver training conference providers, and this year the volunteers (yes, volunteers) at ADINJC produced the best driver training conference in 8 years, I have had the privilege to attend.  So if you only have budget for 1 CPD event in 2018, spend it very wisely………………on the ADINJC conference and nothing else! Rob Tillier, Founder/Director, Accelerate Driver Training Year on year, an excellent conference and well structured.  Yet again, more time with the DVSA, so constructive!  Every year I take more from this conference than the last.  This has benefited my business as I introduce things that I have picked up from the ADINJC.  George Simpson Thank you for inviting me to speak at your conference and making me so welcome. It was a pleasure to see such a well-attended event with people so passionate about driver training and making our roads safer. Nick Croft Our whole team had such a great experience at the conference, Lynne organised a seamless event, the NJC team and guest speakers pulled out all the stops to make us feel welcomed and well informed.
You must be very proud of the whole team that made the day run so smoothly and look effortless - which I’m sure it wasn’t. Debbie Howton This was one of the best ADINJC conferences so far. All good speakers, some fab; meeting up with colleagues I haven’t seen for ages, staying with lovely friends for Friday and Saturday.  Melanie Smith SAVE THE DATE Sunday October 28th 2018 for our next conference! One of our committee also attended a CPD event held by the DISC the Driving Instructors Scottish Council which ran for a day shortly before our own event. Her write up is in the newsletter for you to read.

Driver Ahead Conference: It’s clearly conference season because only a few days before our own conference I attended another one in London.  This was produced by IAM RoadSmart and the RAC Foundation. It was an excellent event and was all about “Mapping a safe route to the driverless car”. Topics included: Cybercrime, driver behaviour aspects of current autonomous vehicle trials, developing driver training in the future, the role of advanced driver training, lessons we can learn from the rail and aviation sectors and views from insurers. ADINJC has attended other autonomous and connected vehicle conferences and talks because we feel we need to understand what will possibly be happening and when and how it will have an impact on ADIs. I’m pleased to say that I came away with the conclusion that although changes are on the way with vehicles and the types we will be purchasing will change clients will still need driver trainers to help them for many years to come. However our work as trainers will change over time. The DVSA was also in attendance at the conference. Next year, I intend to go to the ADINJC with Rob from Rob Gould Driver Training near Romford.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Driving Instructors in Worcester

This is a write up of Advanced Driver Training by one of the driving instructors I know and who are probably one of the best driving schools in Romford area. Mr Brookes who often writes articles for the ADINJC organisation and has often be referred to as one of the best driving instructors in Worcester and he has very kindly wrote a Blog post on advanced driving. I hope you enjoy his words. You can find out more about driving lessons in Worcester here.

What to write about for this month? Here I am staring at a blank screen. Then it  occurred to me. Advanced Driving Tests! – Why not, it’s yet another area I have specialist knowledge in, that’s equally of interest to ADI’s.  (Now bear with me, I promise I will produce an article on the various requirements for the spacing of characters on number plates eventually). So, what is it? To cut a long story short it’s a system of driving developed by the Police from a series of training notes used by the Metropolitan Police at Hendon in the 1930’s. Many of you will have no doubt heard of “Roadcraft” even if you haven’t read it, which was the book eventually published from those notes. (On a side note, Driving Examiners were originally trained by the Police at Hendon and Preston,  around until 1960 when the Ministry of Transport setup their own training at a couple of sites before finally ending up at Cardington in 1976. Roadcraft itself was the first government publication  published on actual driving techniques until “Driving” came out in 1970, which later became “Driving the Essential Skills”) It’s called Advanced Driving, just because that was the name of the course at Hendon. I tend to agree with an acquaintance of mine, Reg Local , that it might be rebranded “Better Driving”. Everyone reading this article, myself included could be a better driver in one way or another. What’s different about it? Well that really depends on the standard you were trained to originally. The last ADI I put through both the IAM and RoSPA tests best described it as a ‘different style of driving’ Off the top of my head, more emphasis is placed on not signalling when there is no-one to benefit, separating braking and gear changing, rev matching - things already touched on in the Essentials Skills, along with cornering and limit points. (With limit points, I’ve always found it odd that the Essential Skills tells you to set the correct speed for a corner on approach, but gives you no information on how to judge that speed). There are some slight positioning differences on  left hand bends, and straight lining roundabouts! – Everyone in my experience always seems to be excited about straight lining roundabouts for some reason. That could be a subject for  another article. So, moving swiftly on, let’s don our string backed driving gloves and see what options are available, if you’re interested in taking an advanced test. First off, The Institute of Advanced Motorists. Now rebranded as IAM Roadsmart, it was founded in 1956 to bring the police system to a civilian audience. Its link to ADIs is that one of the founders was Denise McCann, who was Chair of BSM at the time. It’s probably the most well-known advanced test amongst the public. The test is usually examined by a serving or retired police officer, lasts around an hour and takes in all types of road. Commentary or as it’s now called by the IAM “Spoken Thought”, is optional.  The marking system is graded 1-3 (1=Commended, 2=Satisfactory, 3=Requires development) across 23 categories (for example Steering, Anticipation, Positioning), with no “3’s” allowed for a Pass, so it’s not a purely fault based assessment like the DVSA. To turn up ‘cold’ and take the test it’s £99, and any ADI capable of driving to a good Part 2 standard should have no problems with it. If you want to learn a little more about the Roadcraft system of driving, or think you may want to brush up on some techniques then there is a £149 option which includes as many sessions as you need pre-test with a volunteer observer. There is also the equivalent of a distinction called a “F1rst” – This is where a candidate scores 1’s in 21 out of the 23 categories and has to give a short commentary. Having passed the initial test, you can go on to take the tougher “Masters” test. This lasts 90 minutes, has a commentary requirement and is conducted in an area unfamiliar to the candidate, by Area Examiners who are usually ex-police driver trainers.  The marking system is the same as the standard test, but to a much a higher standard. Some say equivalent to a police course (without the use of any exemptions obviously). There’s less than a thousand ‘Masters’ on the register currently. This is also graded as Pass or Distinction, and is valid for 5 years. The cost is £249 for 12 hours training and the test or £129 for the test only if you feel you’re at a high enough standard already. Now we move on the next most well-known course available. The Finchley League of Safe Drivers. Who?  I hear you say. In 1955 the Finchley League of Safe drivers recruited some Hendon Driving instructors to teach the system to the public, in 1960 it became the League of Safe Drivers before in 1980 passing the reins over to an organisation you might have heard of – The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents or RoSPA. The RoSPA test is also around an hour, a lot of the examiners also examine for the IAM, (there’s a limited amount of police or ex-police personnel interested in examining). The test is along the same lines as the standard IAM test and is graded Bronze, Silver or Gold. Traditionally and perhaps slightly controversially, a “normal” IAM Pass was considered equivalent to a Bronze or a Silver. Before the F1rst, Enthusiasts would often progress from the IAM test upwards to the RoSPA test which was considered a tougher standard.  The test only option is £62 – There’s no training package like the IAM. If you want training you’ll need to join your local group for a small fee. The pass is also only valid for three years. (Having initially passed the test you pay a nominal yearly membership fee to RoSPA which covers the cost of your three yearly retests). Training for both the IAM and RoSPA is provided by volunteer observers who have taken the test, and then taken the organisations training tests, and varies across the country. Some groups will provide classroom sessions and one to one tuition, others do a monthly meet, where everyone arrives in a local car park, and gets assigned an Observer for a run, or combination of both. If you don’t want to become immersed in Roadcraft, then there are still a couple of options open  to you. Diamond Advanced Motorists who are linked to the DIA, offer an Advanced Test and an Elite Test. The Advanced test is basically a Part 2, and in fact is often taken by PDI’s as a dry-run, so not worth considering if you’re a fully-fledged ADI unless you just want to dip a toe in the water. The Elite test on the other hand is a two fault (but not two in the same category), 90-minute test based on the Cardington system of marking and is £125 for the test only. The cost of training for the test, should you need it will vary depending on the hourly rate of the Diamond Trainer you use. Finally, the DVSA themselves offer the “Cardington Special Test”.  It’s £144 and you must travel to Cardington to take it.  Grade A, the only grade anyone is really interested in, is a maximum of 3 faults. This also allows you exempt membership to IAM Roadsmart (i.e. you can become a member without taking their test) What do you get out of it? A new set of skills and knowledge to impart to your clients, many fleet providers also require their trainers to have taken advanced tests. You could volunteer as an observer after you’ve passed your test as a gateway to getting experience teaching full license holders, if that’s not an area you’ve worked in before, or just for the satisfaction of pushing yourself that little bit further. Further reading: Without doubt: Roadcraft, however Advanced and Performance Driving by Reg Local is an excellent primer for the subject along with his Youtube channel where he has a variety of instructional videos on the different techniques. The now out of print “Expert Driving the Police Way” by John Miles can still be found from online sellers, along with the Roadcraft DVD, and Ultimate Driving Craft by Chris Gilbert.