Superdrive Academy who are based in Andover, United Kingdom specialise in driver training and is the same as most driving schools has severely been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Their business had to shut down for the third time in just one year. They have been ordered to close by the UK government and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency. However, Superdrive Academy still had a lot of leads come through from their website https://www.superdriveacademy.co.uk enquiring about driving lessons and could they still learn to drive during a lockdown? The simple answer to this was no.
Superdrive Academy had to stop trading and as a result, their business lost a lot of revenue and no doubt lost a lot of customers too. As at the time of writing this journal, driving instructors are still now allowed to go back to work due to them not being able to carry out the social distancing measures of two metres. As you can imagine, sitting next to someone in a car teaching them is definitely not 2 metres. We are even sure that when the social distancing comes down to 1 metre that driving instructors will still be allowed to go back to work but we hope so.
It’s not just Superdrive Academy who are based in Andover, England that are affected, but driving schools throughout the whole of the United Kingdom, which represents Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. As mentioned, Superdrive Academy and most driving schools are on their third lockdown and have been placed in Tier 4 which is the same tier as non-essential businesses. We are now in January 2021 and their first lockdown started back in March 2020.
We can only sympathise with the driving school industry as the financial impact they’re dealing with must be massive. Then, once they do return to work, how long will it be before another lockdown will be placed on the industry? Will masks be made compulsory as they are in Scotland? How will this affect the communication in-car between the pupil and the trainer? One thing is for sure and that is there are interesting times ahead for the whole industry.
We believe that there is also going to be a backlog of driving test candidates as we are led to believe that these were all cancelled around the 20th of March 2020. The same applies to the whole of the driver training industry such as motorcycle training and testing and heavy goods vehicles. The impact this could potentially have could be that provisional licence holders could be queued right back until April 2021 for their driving test.
We have been informed by the DVSA that people who are going for their driving tests have to wear face coverings such as masks unless they are medically exempt.
Most instructors but not all, have had some help from the English government with respect to grants to help ease the loss of revenue each driving instructor business has endured during the pandemic. One of the criteria for this was that they must have been running their own business for 12 months or more and have one year’s worth of trading. The grant from the government was 80% of their earnings based over an average of three years. Those who have only been trading for 12 months or so are still entitled to the grant but what about those who have recently set out in business. We’re led to believe that they are not entitled to anything.
For those entitled to nothing, there is universal credit which if you’re fortunate to be able to claim this, then it’s probably better than nothing.
As any business owner knows, sometimes business can be cruel as well as exhilarating so we would like to wish the whole driver training industry good luck for 2021 and the future, keep safe.