Sunday, 31 January 2021

How we help our customers


Let's take a look at what we do here at BIG TOM that makes us different from other intensive course providers.  Crucially we don't work with fixed driving training programmes.  This means that we can work with a variety of customers.  If you only provide a fixed length of course, then you can only help the customers who have a chance of success within that fixed-length, e.g. 20 hours.  The culture of fixed length courses can be problematic because the customer is expecting a defined outcome after the fixed-length, in other words, going to test on the completion of the 20 hours.  Although we can provide such a service for the appropriate customers, that is not how we treat all.  No, we don't do that.  If you are interested in coming on board with BIG TOM, then read on, and see what we actually do.

Our customer comes to us, and we spend time in properly understanding what their "pain" is, when are they attempting to get their licence by and why.  We spend time getting to know how they like to learn.  We make enquiries about possible obstacles to learning.

Armed with this knowledge, we then create a programme that addresses these needs, and it is not fixed, it is bespoke.

We then go out of our way to deliver to the best of our ability that programme to maximise the possibility of successful outcomes.  We leave no stone unturned in facilitating learning.

It is not then a given that we have a confident, competent and safe driver who is capable of driving independently.  We check.  Our pupils may not be wanting us to check, but you can bet our pupils' parents want us to check.  So we have integrity because we don't make assumptions.  This is why our safety record is so high.

This plan works.  It makes for happy customers.  It has for years, and I'm in no doubt it will continue for years to come.

Our service is NOT the norm, it is unique, flexible and has integrity.

Sunday, 24 January 2021

Can I defer my franchise payments?

You shouldn't even be asked to pay franchise payments let alone defer them.  This blog will help you see that there really are better opportunities in the driving training industry.

Some national franchises are still taking a flat fixed fee per week from franchisees in the order of £60 in these lockdowns.  Others are charging full whack for 3 out of 4 weeks in a month and then trying to dress that up as "one week free".  How generous given the fact that you are simply complying with a governmentally enforced lockdown.  These are not insignificant fixed costs, reports of £159/week + are now being exposed on national media.

I've been saying this for a long time now; there really isn't any need (apart from contractual) to stay with a franchise who dictates this kind of terms.  With the BIG TOM Franchise, if you were to take a holiday, get an operation, be in lockdown then as you are not working, you do not pay franchise fees.  It really is a pretty simple concept, and I am pretty sure we are not alone.  I am still hearing about driving instructors who remain in these franchises where they are paying while being in a lockdown.  

We are now coming up to suffering 12 months of this pandemic's effects, and now really is the time to be getting a fresh start with a franchise that treats you with respect.

On my franchise, your payments are all tied to the customer bookings; it is all automated and a slick process.  But of course, if there are no customer bookings because of lockdowns then naturally there are no franchise payments.  That's how I would like to be treated if I were running a franchised business.  

But it is equally true if an unexpected health issue arose (heaven knows we barely get warnings with some of these), or perhaps if you had a desire to have an extended leave period.

You really should expect a professional franchise to have the flexibility to handle these situations that can sometimes crop up.  I really do question the values behind an organisation that financially penalises in times of national crisis. The only way you can truly protect yourself from these contracts is to employ the services of a legal advisor prior to the signing of the contract.  It may seem like a hassle, but it could possibly prevent no end of problems in the future.

But there are only so many times I can say this.  Ultimately, you are the one who is throwing money down the drain at the moment.  You need to do something about it.


Thursday, 14 January 2021

I hate


I've known loads of driving instructors who hate speaking to customers on the phone, they do it because they feel they have to, but as is often the way, when we don't like doing things, we tend not to be great at it.  You can be a superb driving instructor who has great rapport with customers when working with them face to face, but speaking to people on the phone drives you mad:

"What's your pass rate?"

"Do you do discounts for block bookings?"

"How quickly can you fit me in?"

"I've got a test booked next Tuesday, can I use your car?"

".... but Instructor xyz down the road is £2.50 cheaper than you"

Calm down, rest your beating heart, I'm only joshing with you.  But as it happens, some driving schools really do struggle because of this stuff. It's not for everyone.  That's why we do all of this activity on behalf of our franchisees.  And we are really good at it!  You won't be short of work.

For an altogether calmer way of doing business, give me a call (or email if you prefer) and let me start to explain how you can spend less time on the phone and more time with pupils.

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Being held back


Have you ever been deliberately held back in your life?  You know, someone or something or perhaps some organisation that is actually preventing you from making progress?  If not, then you should be grateful for that fact.  It is so incredibly infuriating it is hard to describe.  The feelings that it invokes inside us are immensely strong, emotional and sometimes irrational.  If you are anything like me, you seriously begin to wonder if there are others conspiring against you - that's how it makes you feel.  Well, I've been there a few times in my life and I would not wish it on anyone.  One of the times in fact was when I was training to be a driving instructor.  It was like walking in a very thick sludge of mud - incredibly stressful, painfully slow and frankly it left me with a feeling of being taken for granted.

So imagine just for one moment how this might affect our pupils when we provide driving training.  Sure, I get it that some pupils will be quite happy with the prospect that it might take the average of seven months to pass their test, but believe me when I say, many will not.

There is an extremely high demand from pupils who want to be associated with a driving school that adds value and runs efficiently.  This is what BIG TOM has been offering customers for years, and you can be part of that service provider.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not cutting corners here, there is no compromise on a safe learning environment or competency levels of our pupils that go to test.  But I strongly believe in providing a service that I personally would want to be on the receiving end of - it really is as simple as that.  

And if you are a driving instructor who perhaps up to now has mainly been providing pay as you go driving lessons and maybe struggling to keep your business efficient then I would seriously recommend you get in touch today.  There is a great opportunity out there right now to join a driving school that is dynamic, flexible, responsive to customer needs and yet is rooted in providing safe driving training that gets results. 

It may seem too good to be true, and that's probably why most driving instructors still only provide pay as you go driving lessons.  But if you want a new adventure where you really start appreciating what customer service means, then give me a call today.

Monday, 4 January 2021

The stuff you hate to do


It is reassuring to franchisees that along with the BIG TOM Franchise systems relating to aiding pupil learning, there are also established administrative systems.  These cover the things that many driving instructors have little desire to create, but of course, are vitally important in business.  Data protection handling, health and safety, privacy matters, billing processes, diary management, driving and theory test bookings - the list goes on.

When you come on board with the franchise, you are provided with 100% 1:1 support in all of these matters.  The benefits that are included mean that you can concentrate on the important work to do with pupils' progress and BIG TOM Admin can manage all the other stuff.

You join the BIG TOM Franchise to reduce risk and gain more personal control.



BIG TOM Franchise Q&A 06/01/2021


Wednesday 6/1/21 11am BIG TOM Franchise Q&A:

Come and listen to what opportunities the BIG TOM Franchise offers you in 2021. An audio-only webinar where you can ask your question(s) at the time, or email your question in advance.

How does the franchise work? How much can I earn? When do customers pay me? What territory can I have? How are intensive courses different? What pricing do you recommend? What about my financial projections? Do I get help with marketing? Who books theory and driving tests? And much more!

To register your interest email:

Thursday, 31 December 2020

Bye bye 2020


As we all take a collective huge sigh as 2020 leaves us, I just wanted to close by saying stay safe and stay happy.  I gather that more Covid tests and also vaccination jabs are the order of the day as we enter 2021.  Let's hope that things eventually get better even if it may mean more disruption with driving training and driving/theory tests for the first few months.

If you are monitoring this blog with an interest in joining the BIG TOM Franchise, then what an opportunity these forced breaks provide!  It may not be ideal in terms of the fact that we are off the road, but this is a superb time to reflect on your driving school and how you run your business.  The BIG TOM Franchise offers so many benefits; decreased exposure to Covid, no cancellations, increased pupil retention, advanced payments with no compromise on earnings potential.  But of course, the sooner you get in touch, the sooner we can introduce you to the systems we have in place that surprise and delight our customers.

It's been a tough year, but there is so much opportunity for BIG TOM Franchisees in 2021 - it is a fantastic opportunity to get much smarter about how you go about your business and start taking control of outcomes.

Stay safe everyone.