This month’s article is bound to divide opinion, so please bear in mind that this is just my personal view on the matter. We’ve all been left standing in the street looking aimless, a spare part when nobody answers the doorbell, or the last-minute text cancelling the lesson just as you pull up outside their house. Cancellations are part and parcel of our business and we’re not alone. None of us are immune, despite claims of “100% attendance” and “it never happens to me”. But if a pupil cancels, should we really count it as lost revenue?

Universal Mysteries

When a pupil begins the learning to drive process, somewhere in the mystery of the universe is a magic number representing the number of hours of tuition they will need to get to test pass success. Each pupil is different, and I’ve witnessed success from nothing in just 16 hours, to well over 80 hours. Each student has their own magic number and we are not blessed with that information until they’ve passed. After all, don’t we all get frustrated with the age-old question “How long will it take me to pass”? If a student has had to cancel this week’s lesson because their third gran has died, again, then this is not lost revenue. After all, that student will still take their set magic number of lessons to pass. Yes it’s an inconvenience, but not a complete loss. There are always other ways of utilising the time for my business, be it a recharging my batteries, getting the hose out and cleaning the car, or doing a bit of admin and bookkeeping etc. In fact, I can even turn this cancelled lesson in to an additional revenue earner.

Profits from Loss

When a pupil starts their lessons with me, they are given a copy of my terms and conditions, which clearly outlines my 24hr cancellation policy and that lessons are to be paid for in advance and lessons are to be of 2-hour duration. So, if I have a last-minute cancellation, then I’m £70 better off for having had to do nothing. I also run a ‘late lesson list’ , asking pupils if they wish to be added to this and, if a lesson becomes available at late notice, they may take this lesson at a reduced rate of £30 instead of the usual £35. Then If I manage to fill this cancelled lesson, even if I only for an hour, then I make £100 for just an hour’s work! This means I never see a cancelled lesson as a negative, I see it as an opportunity to either make a few more quid, get some admin done, or put my feet up for a change. So think positive, get your terms and conditions on cancellations in place, and make the most of situations beyond your control.