Hi, my name is Kelvin White and I have been in the driving school industry for 18 years. I began by qualifying way back in the May of 1999 and like many others, joined a franchise operation and was keen to get going on the new adventure.
I chose the AA driving school and guess I was attracted by the big-name brand and thought it would bring a bit of security. How wrong was I and alarmed to have just two hours work in my first week and this after leaving a full time job with Eddie Stobart.
To cut a long story short, I left the AA in April 2001 and went independent as a sole trader.
I then did what a lot of ADI’s do and focused on being the best instructor I could be and took a lot of extra training to pass the ROSPA gold and Cardington DVSA special test. This gave me the confidence to raise prices and by 2006 I was once of the highest prices independents in my home town of Bridgwater.
I was now attracting far more work than I could cope with and at the same time, a good friend of mine was in the final stages of qualifying. His training was far from perfect as is often the case with the major training providers and I give him some help to get over the line.
This was my first speculative attempt at recruiting some help and I started passing him surplus pupils at £50 a pop. I guess this was and still is quite a common among ADI’s who find themselves in a similar position.
Very soon, we formulated an actual franchise agreement and the driving school was born. I took on a couple of other newly qualified instructors, but the turning point was when my oldest son Lee decided he would also like to train and become an instructor.
The next decision turned out to be one of the two monumental decisions that paved the way for a 30+ vehicle driving school.
In January 2007, I took a week-long course to become an instructor trainer. It was a gamble back then and in addition to the course fee of around £2000 and loss of earning for a week’s work, I had no idea if I could do this.
On return, I began training members of the general public and by July 2010, we were operating with seven franchised instructors.
Then the second monumental decision was made, almost by accident and it so nearly didn’t happen.
I was running a monthly advert with a business directory called “The best of” and the regional agent invited me to attend a seminar run by the directory owner. It was a free event and I thought nothing to lose and booked up. The event was in Taunton at 6pm and I must have changed my mind 4-5 times during the day. It was cracking hot day, and did I really want to sit with a bunch of business owners at a seminar or be home in the garden with a cold one?
So, I did attend, and it was the second monumental decision that I have ever made.
It was that evening I made the transition from being a driving instructor and driving school owner to a businessman.
The speaker covered around 30 steps to maximising a business and while I was quite chuffed to be already performing about half of them, I was blown away with what was possible and once I started thinking like a real business, rather than a driving instructor it was a game changer.
I started to attend business seminars on a regular basis, almost every waking hour was researching and implementing new procedures and I leant one of the most valuable lessons of all – you have to spend time working ON your business and not solely working IN the business.
Driving instructors are probably one of the best examples of this and many ADI’s think and behave like driving instructors and not like business owners at all. That goes a long way to explaining the low lesson prices, countless cancelations and lost income that exists within the industry.
Between 2010 and 2012 I was able to grow my driving school from seven franchisees to over thirty and this during one of the worst recessions of recent times.
October 2011 brought another very unexpected opportunity and I was contacted by Dan McAndrew, an internet marketer that had become aware of the phenomenal growth of the driving school and the business awards we were winning with the way we were using the new social platforms like Facebook.
It was Dan’s idea to document the procedures that had made the driving school so successful and offer to other ADI’s and driving school owners so that they would be able to replicate and achieve the very same success.
Well after several attempts to first make contact with me (I refused the calls) and even more attempts to convince me to share the hard-earned information – The ADI Blueprint was conceived.
The idea was to document the whole operation and produce over 50 step by step video tutorials that anyone could follow and replicate. This process was a huge learning curve and took over 6 months to complete.
The ADI Blueprint was finally launched in May 2012 and it took just two days to sell the first one at £2997. Blackpool driving school became our first member and they were followed by three more within the week.
Since 2012, there have been many changes in both on-line and off-line marketing and business procedures and we have had to constantly update the content and membership to keep at the forefront of driving school marketing.
During 2014, we changed the ADI Blueprint from a one-off purchase to a monthly cost-effective membership and renamed to the ADI Marketing Institute. This was a 12-month membership option with drip fed content in bite sized chunks to avoid overwhelm.
Following feedback from over 600 members since launch back in 2012, we launched version number four in 2016 and introduced ADI Business Success.
This has remained our current option and gives ADI’s and driving school owners a low-cost business membership and community of like-minded instructors who are keen to maximise their income and eliminate the cancelation that are rife within the industry.
We currently have members from all parts of the UK and our aim is to make up the shortfall in real business information and training sadly lacking from the DVSA’s qualification syllabus. We do not provide theory-based procedures from business graduates and so-called experts that have never worked in or owned a driving school but provide what actually works in our own driving school and many of our members.
When I look back at the endless seminars, countless hours of learning, the implementation and testing, not to mention the huge financial cost was it worth it?
You bet it was and now I have a four-hour working week and no longer trade my time for money.
ADI Business Success gives you the opportunity to absorb over 40 procedures and strategies at a fraction of the cost and time through our very low cost monthly membership.
Commit to just one month’s membership and absorb all the information you feel will be useful to you and then terminate membership if you wish. We do feel when you see just a small selection of what we have to offer, you will probably stay longer and that’s why we still have original members that have been with us for over six years.