Learning to drive can be both daunting and exciting, challenging and rewarding. As the co-founder of Brum Driving School and mother of two young adults, Georgie Goodman (pictured above with one of her students) understands the range of emotions experienced.
“What I try to do is be flexible and adapt lessons to suit the person learning,” she says. “I aim to create a really non-judgemental, calm and welcoming environment where people know that making mistakes is to be expected.” Georgie, 46, qualified as a driving instructor in 2019.
As her co-founder and partner Simon says: “What you tend to find is that driving instructors who have been in the market for 15 or 20 years say to students ‘this is how you do it’. What we do is make it more active and ask students what they think. We centre everything on the student.”
Simon, 37, runs the business finances through their Starling business account. “With Starling, the business admin time is minimal. When we receive a payment, it’s instantly matched on our accounting platform,” he says. Brum Driving School has banked with Starling since it launched in 2019.
Both Georgie and Simon have a passion for technology. “We’ve got a centralised platform that enables students to see everything the instructor wants them to focus on. It’s tailored to each student, there’s no one size fits all,” says Simon.
Students also benefit from a Brum Driving School app. This provides the students with easy access to information on becoming a safe and confident driver. It includes driving progress and instructor feedback. They also have access through the app to online learning resources, theory and practical tests and payments.
Georgie adds: “For things like a busy roundabout, a video can help the student identify how to find a safe gap. We also show videos for manoeuvres like a bay park or parallel park. At the end of every lesson, we write a summary together of what’s happened and what we plan to do next time, which they can see in the app.”
The driving school video resources are created by a driving instructor and psychotherapist as part of the online platform.
When the pandemic brought driving lessons to an abrupt halt, the couple ramped up the online learning resources they provided. “We wanted students to use their time productively.”
Becoming a franchise
After almost eight months of no driving lessons, Brum Driving School is now busier than ever.
“We hadn’t planned to set up a franchise until next year but we’re bringing it forward to cope with the increase in demand,” says Simon. “We don’t want to take on too many pupils because we want to keep the standards of teaching high.”
In addition to up-to-date training, the co-founders will also require driving instructors to complete a course on supporting nervous drivers. Simon says: “We want to take away the stigma and help people through.”
Georgie aims to ease pupils’ anxiety in her lessons. “It sounds obvious but it’s important to calm yourself as the instructor,” she says. “I agree on a plan with each student, which generally helps people feel less nervous because they know what is expected of them.”
Banking with Starling
“We chose Starling for the functionality and flexibility,” says Simon. “The direct debit management is great - we can see everything in the app. We use Saving Spaces to separate our tax liabilities as well as other important expenditures such as insurances and vehicle maintenance.”
The Saving Spaces feature enables customers to ring-fence money from their main account to keep their finances organised. Simon adds: “Starling beats everything hands down.”