From what an online booking system for driving instructors actually is, to its features and benefits, we’ll cover everything you need to know about driving instructor booking systems.
What is a driving instructor booking system?
A driving instructor booking system allows customers to self-book and pay for driving lessons online. They can do this via the booking portal on a driving instructor's website or mobile app.
The booking process is automated and lesson availability is updated in real-time so that instructors can take bookings 24/7.
How does the booking system work?
Customers can book their driving lessons online in five simple steps.
1. Choose the time slot
Firstly, customers will browse the instructor's available lesson slots on the calendar. Instructors can set the time window of these slots to the nearest 15 minutes. This is handy if you have some slots dedicated to driving tests and others to quick refresher lessons. Having time slots set at such precise times allows instructors to make the best use of their time and sell as many lessons as possible.
At this stage, you can upsell upgraded packages and merchandise. From specialist lessons that focus on perfecting manoeuvres to L plates that the learners can use in their own car, upselling is easy with a booking system.
With a driving instructor booking system, you can place these extra items in clear view and users can add to their basket in a few clicks. As you’ll be suggesting extras that are tailored to the customer, it won’t feel like a sales pitch.
Read more about optimising the online upsell with your online booking system here.
2. View the basket
BookingLive’s basket functionality means that customers can continue shopping if they wish and add more items to their basket. You can customise a timer that allows customers to secure their bookings before purchase. At the checkout, you can automate discounts and include a section for promo codes.
3. Complete customer details
If this is the first time a learner is booking a lesson, they will need to share their email address and create an account. If they’ve booked before, they will need to log in with their password and BookingLive can autofill the rest of their details.
For first-time customers, they will complete a booking form, agree to the terms and conditions and choose contact preferences. Driving schools and instructors can customise the form so they can gather all the information they need. In this context, they may want to know if they’ve had lessons before from another provider, have any medical conditions that could affect their driving, and what test centre they would prefer to use.
4. Booking summary
This is where the payment is taken for the driving lessons. The customer can choose their payment method and make a deposit if they’ve opted for a 10 week course of lessons, for example. BookingLive offers a range of payment gateways including PayPal, WorldPay and Stripe. If you’re a small driving school that wants to use our free booking system, the Stripe payment gateway is included.
You can view our comparison of booking system payment gateways here.
5. Booking confirmation
In the final step, the customer can view their booking summary and ID, and an automated confirmation email will be sent. The email can be customised to include whatever you like - for a driving lesson, the email could talk about the things to bring to the lesson as well as links to resources about the highway code. We discuss how to write appointment confirmation emails to reduce no-shows on our blog.
On top of confirmation emails, you can send SMS notifications. Doing so will help you increase the chances of your message being seen, and increase lesson attendance rates. Keep in mind that your branding and tone of voice should be consistent across your various communications. This makes your driving school appear credible, professional and trustworthy.
Features and benefits of booking systems for driving instructors
A driving instructor booking system benefits both customers and instructors. A customer can book their driving lessons in a few simple steps, and an instructor can automate processes and save time on admin.
We’ll explore the main features of online booking systems and how they can benefit instructors and learner drivers.
- Automate the admin
- People can book anytime, anywhere
- Offer driving lesson packages
- Sell redeemable vouchers
- Streamline the payment process
- Analyse booking data
- Level up your marketing
- Improve instructor communication
- Deal with fewer customer queries
- Eliminate no-shows
1. Automate the admin
Every job has some level of admin, but driving instructors have a notable amount of paperwork to manage. Driving schools often have diaries that are pushed to capacity, waiting lists to monitor, and notes about pupils’ progress to log.
With an online booking system, this admin can be automated and stored in a secure database. When a new pupil makes a booking, a customer profile will be created for them in BookingLive. Here, you can view their lesson history and any notes that you’ve made for the session.
Waiting lists can also be managed - whenever enough regular slots are available to take on a new pupil, the system will automatically send a notification to the prospect inviting them to book.
Wave goodbye to paper diaries too! You can sync your Google, Outlook or Apple calendar to the booking system so instructors know exactly when and where their lessons are. This is updated in real time so that people are well aware of cancellations.
2. People can book anytime, anywhere
Without a booking system, instructors usually take phone calls from students wanting to schedule a lesson. Being interrupted by the phone whilst teaching other pupils isn’t ideal - it’s not professional and instructors should be giving their full attention to teaching. If an instructor misses a phone call enquiry, prospective customers may try out competitors that do answer.
An online booking system solves this problem! Pupils can self-book online 24/7 using any device, meaning that instructors will receive fewer phone interruptions. This convenience is exactly what customers want; BookingLive research shows that 69% of customers are more likely to book with a company that has an online booking system. It’s much more efficient and accurate than booking over the phone and customers can browse at their leisure.
It’s easy for customers to cancel and reschedule lessons too. They can access the booking page through their confirmation email or through the driving school’s website and amend details. Making this simple makes it more likely that customers will amend their booking - reducing no-shows.
3. Offer driving lesson packages
Selling a set number of driving lessons at a discounted price is a great way for instructors to guarantee business. Every driving school is doing it, so you need to keep in line with the competition.
Offer higher discounts for booking more lessons. For example, you could promote 5% off when you book 10 lessons, 10% off when 20 lessons are scheduled and so on. With an online booking system, these discounts can automatically be added at checkout when the basket is filled with the set amount of lessons.
It’s easy to adjust these discounts so you’re not committed to doing it all year round. Instructors can set the deals to last for a certain time period.
The booking system is sleek and easy to navigate so your package deals will stand out and encourage pupils to book. Use clear calls to action in contrasting colours and display the number of slots left to persuade people to book there and then.
4. Sell redeemable vouchers
As soon as people turn 17, they’re often given the gift of driving lessons. Instructors can tap into this by selling gift cards and vouchers so that family and friends can give them the perfect present. Instead of having loose vouchers that are at risk of getting lost or filed incorrectly, a booking system allows you to sell digital gift cards.
With a digital gift card, you can automatically log how much has been spent and when. You can also break down your sales data to assess how much gift cards contribute to overall revenue.
Another way of attracting new learner drivers, building a loyal customer base and increasing revenue is to offer a free taster lesson. To make sure that only new pupils use this offer, the booking system will track their details to ensure that you’re not out of pocket.
5. Streamline the payment process
Driving lessons can be stressful for nervous learner drivers. So much so that it’s easy to forget about a lesson and not have the cash ready for the instructor.
Independent driving instructors usually take cash payments for their lessons which is very outdated in this digital age. Carrying loose notes isn’t the most organised and it can be a pain cashing it in at the bank.
In the era of online banking, it makes sense for driving lessons to be paid online too. With the booking system, pupils can pay whilst they schedule their lessons using the gateway of their choice - some of BookingLive’s top payment gateways include Stripe, PayPal and WorldPay.
Paying online is much more secure and convenient for both parties. The booking system goes further than taking payments - a driving school can take care of all aspects of their finances. From automating tax, pay and pension calculations to raising invoices to generating accounting reports, you can use Zapier’s integrations to do the job.
6. Analyse booking data
Analysing booking data helps driving schools to adapt their strategy to suit demand. Understanding what does and doesn’t work well will help instructors to maximise their profits and grow their business.
For example, you may find that a 5 o’clock weekday slot fills up fast. To make the most of this customer behaviour, you could manage staff availability so that more instructors are available to teach at this time - leading to more sales.
Usually, you’d have to tackle complex spreadsheets to find out what types of lessons are popular and which days of the week are in demand. It can take hours upon hours to extract the data that you need and it’s not fun trying to get your head around the numbers.
A driving instructor booking system will display all the data that matters to you in a sleek dashboard. The stats will be updated in real-time so you can be confident that it’s always accurate. Saving time on data collection and analysis allows driving schools to make faster strategic decisions and drive growth.
7. Level up your marketing
A common way of marketing driving schools is through word of mouth. People want to feel comfortable in their instructor's presence and believe that their driving ability is improving. This makes social proof more important than ever. An online booking system can support all aspects of your marketing efforts using numerous integrations.
For collecting reviews, BookingLive integrates with many different review platforms such as TrustPilot and TrueReview. With these integrations, notifications will automatically be sent to customers inviting them to leave a review after they’ve had a specified number of lessons. This automation not only saves you time but the request will be sent at an optimum point to gain reviews.
A booking system can be used to manage all of your marketing campaigns too. With everything in one place, you can stop jumping between multiple systems. BookingLive integrates with social media and email marketing tools like MailChimp. Driving schools can automate emails to be sent to regular customers about upcoming deals and share driving tips.
With the social media integration, you can embed a booking link into your profile which is proven to increase traffic to driving school’s websites. Making it as easy as possible to book is the best way to bring in sales.
8. Improve instructor communication
A driving school will have a fleet of vehicles and a number of instructors to fill the seats. Managing staff schedules and ensuring that no one is double booked for a lesson can be tricky.
The driving instructor booking system will sync staff calendars, improving communication between instructors as availability will be clear. It will be easy for staff to cover lessons in the event of an emergency and capacity management will be streamlined.
BookingLive can also integrate with common business apps such as Slack, so when a booking is rescheduled the whole channel is notified. This would be handy if the assigned instructor isn’t available for the new date and another team member can step in.
These automated notifications save time because employees no longer need to have unproductive conversations. All the information they need is easy to access, including when other instructors are on holiday and when overtime is available.
9. Deal with fewer customer queries
There are many questions that prospective pupils may have before they sign up for lessons. How long do the lessons last? What car will they be driving? Which test centre will they be training towards? Does the driving school have any restrictions on who can learn with them?
Without a booking system, instructors would be bombarded with these enquiries on the phone. This is time-consuming and doesn’t guarantee sales, which can be frustrating. With a driving instructor booking system, you can add an FAQs section to each product so that customers are properly informed. The more informed customers are, the more confident they will be in their purchase and the less likely they will be to send questions.
10. Reduce no-shows
Everyone’s time is precious, so it’s disappointing for instructors when pupils don’t show up. This is usually down to them forgetting about the session, especially if they booked verbally at the end of the previous lesson.
Online booking systems are proven to reduce no-shows. The system will automatically send SMS and email reminders ahead of the lesson and include a link to make it easy for customers to reschedule or cancel. There are many ways to manage last-minute appointment cancellations, one of these being to have a cancellation policy so that your business is covered, and another is to take deposits.
To give your driving school some financial security, take partial or full deposits. You can do this for certain lesson types, perhaps lessons over two hours, or for customers that repeatedly skip their lessons. When one of the offending customers goes to book another lesson, the system can automatically ask them for a deposit.
How much does a driving instructor booking system cost?
BookingLive offers an online booking system for solo driving instructors and larger driving schools. We have our booking system for small businesses that works on a tiered pricing model, and you can start taking 25 bookings per month for free!
As you take on more learner drivers and your books fill up, progress up the tiers. Our ‘Grow’ package is only £9.99 per month and you can take 100 bookings; extra features such as our Zapier integration are also unlocked so you can customise your booking system to your business needs.
If you’re a larger, nationwide driving school, our Enterprise system may be better suited to your requirements. At the Enterprise level, you will have a dedicated success manager who ensures your booking system is running smoothly and exceeding your expectations. With the Enterprise booking system, you can take unlimited bookings, can whitelabel the system to your website and much more.
How can I get started?
To keep up to speed with customer expectations and the way the world is moving ever more digital, driving instructors need to adopt an online booking system. Booking systems save time, improve business efficiency and drive growth through automation and provide an outstanding customer experience.
Offering an instant, convenient and mobile focused online booking experience is essential to capturing the interest of the younger demographic. And let’s face it, the primary audience for driving schools is those aged 25 and below. Government data shows that the majority of driving tests are taken by 18 year olds, with this number declining as age increases.
BookingLive’s own research shows that 79% of Generation Z want online booking systems, and 50% of people surveyed won’t book at all if there’s no online booking system. The facts are clear, booking systems are an essential tool for driving instructors.
Interested in a booking system for your driving school? Get in touch with BookingLive today, sign up for a free account or book a demo with one of our specialists. We can talk you through the system and answer any questions you may have. We look forward to hearing from you!