When venturing into the world of driving instruction, a fundamental question often arises from prospective students wanting to become a driving instructor is: should you purchase a new vehicle or opt for an existing or second-hand one? With over three decades of experience in the field, our driver training staff here at Intelligent Training Solutions will bring you an informed perspective on this critical decision.
What is the ideal vehicle for becoming a driving instructor?
When starting a career as a driving instructor, the key is choosing a vehicle that feels comfortable and presents well inside and out. Avoid cars with visible wear, such as faded paint or stained interiors.
Our extensive experience has seen a range of vehicles in action, from spacious Holden Commodores to compact Toyota Corollas. We’ve encountered both treasures and troubles in the realm of driver training vehicles, including the initially promising but ultimately costly Dawoo Nubira, and the unexpectedly reliable and fuel-efficient Ford KA*.
*SIDE NOTE on Ford KA: Despite its size limitations, the Ford KA proved its worth in reliability and fuel economy, albeit at the expense of passenger comfort.
Diverse Experience, Universal Advice.
Having operated a wide range of vehicles in our 30+ years of vehicle ownership, ranging from Australian-built and locally owned vehicles to luxury cars and European vehicles, as well as off-road options, we can confidently state that using your existing vehicle or purchasing a second-hand one, is certainly a viable choice for a new driving instructor in Australia.
What is the student’s perception of the training vehicle?
Interestingly, learn-to-drive students are generally more focused on learning than the make or model of your training vehicle. In our 30+ years of experience, having taught thousands of learner drivers to drive safely and efficiently on Australian Roads, we can confidently say that most students won’t recognise your vehicle’s make or model until they’re far along in their training.
This, however, doesn’t mean you can compromise on the vehicle’s presentation.
What makes a GOOD Training Vehicle?
Reliability, fuel efficiency, and comfort top our list of criteria.
The vehicle’s age is secondary to its maintenance, roadworthiness, and cleanliness. New models like a brand-new Toyota Corolla or Kia might seem appealing, but it’s crucial to consider if such an investment aligns with your business sense. Remember, becoming a driving instructor should be a relatively low-cost venture compared to other businesses.
We usually advise prospective driving instructors to consider the vehicle they already own. With the exception of utes, 4WDs, or coupes, most sedans or small SUVs can be adeptly converted for driving instruction.
How do I add Dual Controls to my Vehicle?
The process remains the same for new or second-hand cars. Intelligent Training Solutions and the Driver Training Industry will always strongly recommend installing Dual Controls (passenger-side pedals) in to your training vehicle.
Some options for installing Dual Controls into your vehicle include Frank’s Engineering Pty Ltd and Gilano Engineering, though we encourage doing your own research to find the best fit for your needs.
Pros and Cons of a New Vehicle
Purchasing a new vehicle brings benefits like a service warranty and modern comforts. However, it also involves higher initial costs, increased insurance premiums, and potential risks from inexperienced drivers. It’s essential to weigh these against the financial implications, especially for those starting fresh in the business.
Pros of Purchasing a New Vehicle
- New Car Service Warranty: All vehicles may encounter issues, but a new car service warranty offers a safety net. This warranty often covers breakdowns during a specified period, reducing maintenance costs. Brands like Kia even offer warranties up to seven years. Always verify with the dealership if the warranty applies to vehicles used for business purposes.
- Enhanced Comfort: Vehicles manufactured in recent years, such as 2015 to current models, boast superior comfort compared to older models. Modern cars are equipped with various amenities and features that make driving a more enjoyable experience.
- Advanced Features and Safety: New vehicles come equipped with the latest in safety features and technology – a significant advantage for a driving school. Offerings like advanced braking systems, blind spot monitoring, and rearview cameras not only enhance safety but also contribute to a more comprehensive learning experience for students.
Cons of Purchasing a New Vehicle
- High Initial Cost: New vehicles come with a steep price tag, representing a considerable investment, particularly if multiple cars are needed. For many aspiring driving instructors, purchasing a new vehicle often means taking on debt, which, despite potential tax benefits, can add financial strain during the early stages of business.
- Increased Insurance Costs: New cars typically incur higher insurance premiums due to their greater value and the cost of repairs, adding to ongoing operational expenses.
- Risk of Damage: In a driving school environment, where vehicles are frequently used by learners, the risk of minor accidents and internal wear and tear is higher. This risk can lead to increased maintenance costs and could be a concern for those who wish to maintain their vehicle’s pristine condition.
- Capital Allocation: Investing heavily in new vehicles ties up capital that might be more effectively utilised in other business areas, such as marketing or service expansion. This could limit financial flexibility and growth opportunities for your driving school business.
Important Things to Remember!
In the end, the choice between a new or used vehicle when becoming a driving instructor hinges on several critical considerations. These include your personal preferences, financial capacity, and the specific objectives of your driving school business.
New vehicles come with the allure of cutting-edge features and the assurance of warranties, offering peace of mind and a certain prestige. On the other hand, used vehicles present a more economical entry point, potentially offering substantial savings without sacrificing essential quality and functionality.
It’s crucial to remember, however, that the success of your driving school – reflected in repeat clientele and the invaluable currency of word-of-mouth recommendations – relies fundamentally on your skills as an instructor.
Your ability to teach effectively, communicate clearly, and build rapport with students will have a far greater impact on your business’s reputation and growth than the make or model of your car. The vehicle you choose serves as a tool; it’s your teaching prowess and interpersonal skills that truly drive your business forward.
Interested in becoming a driving instructor?
Interested in becoming a driving instructor?
Speak with one of our course coordinators delivering the TLI41222 Certificate IV in Motor Vehicle Driver Training across Victoria, South Australia, ACT, and New South Wales. Enrol in a driving instructor course today and look forward to a diverse and interesting career.