Last editedJul 20233 min read
We’ve never been in greater need of driving instructors, with the number of instructors in the UK falling by 12% over the last seven years. There are always going to be people of all ages who want to broaden their horizons with a driving licence, and it could represent an exciting career opportunity if you consider yourself a good driver with a keen eye and a decent amount of patience.
If you’re looking to help the next generation of drivers onto the road, you could either join a driving school or set up your own business as an independent driving instructor. Either way, you’re going to need to get paid and while cash-in-hand used to be the favoured payment method, things have changed in recent years.
We are moving gradually towards a cashless society in the UK, with cash and coin payments expected to make up less than 6% of all transactions within a decade. It’s a digital age and businesses need to adapt if they want to offer the best and most convenient experiences for their customers. The same is true of driving instructors.
Accepting digital payments not only offers convenience and security but will also help driving instructors streamline their finances and provide a more professional service. Switching to a cashless payment system will make your job that much easier and allow you to automate the fiddly finances so you can get on with helping new drivers overcome their nerves and find that elusive biting point.
Here are just a few payment options driving instructors could consider when setting up their payment processing solutions.
Digital payment platforms
A digital payment platform acts as an intermediary, facilitating secure and convenient transactions between instructors and their learners. There are hundreds of options available, most of which will allow students to pay their instructor with just a few clicks or swipes. With GoCardless, for example, if the instructor has linked his online accounting platform (Xero is always our choice) he could send an invoice, track the payment, and even set up recurring payments for regular lessons.
The students, meanwhile, enjoy the benefits of being able to pay by credit/debit card, bank transfer or digital wallet. Digital payment platforms also provide a secure and transparent way of managing transactions, minimising the risk of payment disputes. Instructors can also set their rates and accept payments directly through the platform, ensuring a hassle-free process for both parties.
This approach requires learners to pay for a package of lessons in advance, providing financial security for instructors and ensuring commitment from learners. By accepting prepayments, instructors can focus on delivering quality instruction without worrying about handling cash during lessons and will be able to plan their schedule many weeks and months in advance.
To entice students to invest in prepayment, consider offering discounts and other incentives. For example, if you charge £30 per lesson, you could offer 10 lessons for £250. What you lose in overall income you’ll more than make up for in dependable custom.
In-car card payment machines
For driving instructors who prefer face-to-face transactions, having an in-car card payment machine can be a practical and affordable solution. These portable devices, offered by payment platforms like SumUp, allow instructors to accept contactless debit or credit card payments directly from the car, providing a secure and convenient option for learners.
There are several benefits of using card payment machines, including a significant reduction in cash-related risks, the air of professionalism and credibility it’ll bring to your operation and the speed and security of the process. Customers should also be able to use it to pay with their mobile phones through apps such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, further uncomplicating the payment process for many young learner drivers who might choose to forego their physical wallets entirely.
Bank transfer and PAYG payments
Bank transfers are a common and secure way for driving instructors to receive payments without cash. Instructors can provide their bank account details to learners, who can then transfer the lesson fees electronically. Online banking platforms and mobile banking apps make bank transfers quick and easy, allowing both instructors and learners to track payments efficiently.
Pay-as-you-go payments, meanwhile, are an alternative option for driving instructors who prefer a more flexible payment structure. Using this method, learners can purchase reloadable prepaid cards that they can use to pay for individual lessons as they go, with the cards functioning similarly to debit or credit cards.
We can help
Remember, a smooth payment experience not only benefits you as a driving instructor but also enhances your students' overall satisfaction and commitment to their journey.
GoCardless is a global payments solution that helps you completely automate the payment collection process, cutting down on the amount of admin and allowing you to get on with doing what you do best – teaching. It can also integrate natively with Xero to create a complete accountancy solution, collecting payments automatically from customers.