ATB’s Need an Early Kick Start

Motorcycle Training with Covid-19 – During the last few months the motorcycle training sector has really suffered at the hands of COVID-19 and the consequent lockdown. ATB’s have had to close their doors to customers, even though it has been the best weather in Spring that we can remember. It has had to be enjoyed from the back garden. This has meant that the good weather has not seen the bumper start to the year that so many ATB owners had banked on.

Preparing for the Summer

ATB’s need an early kick start and capital injection after the long winter months. This usually comes as a gradual uptake from March onwards, until the full summer season kicks in somewhere in May or early June. The problem right now is, many training schools are yet to open their doors to customers!

There are some ATB owners who prematurely opened up to take bookings for CBT, DAS and Advanced Training. At the time of writing, the government guidelines stipulate that you can only meet up with one person outside your own household! Training 2:1, 3:1 and 4:1 training does not comply with government guidelines.

Have Some Ignored the Rules?

Apparently, during this lockdown, some training schools have continued pretty much as normal and continued training. This does not put the training industry in a good light as professionals. If the reason was just to make money to survive, it was the wrong reason when so many other businesses are going to close their doors forever (pubs and restaurants).

DVSA Seen As Not Stepping Up

The DVSA have been seen by many ATB’s and instructors as not stepping up and giving any advice or guidance. They are a governing agency for the industry and their silence has been looked at as not caring about the trainers on the front line. Because they are part of the government they have to adhere to government guidelines. This brought silence when so many wanted some extra direction and further guidance.

Unfortunately the guidelines have been interpreted or misinterpreted by so many people for different reasons. Trainers have made the guidelines fit their own circumstance, this is to justify what they were doing. It hasn’t been contained to the motorcycle training industry and has occurred in so many other sectors too – usually out of desperation!

A lack of funds

One thing that it has shown, is the lack of available funds in training schools. ATB’s had barely got through the winter and being hit with another few months of cash flow problems really would be even more pressure on the survival of an already cash strapped industry.

This has meant that many have seen the need to get back to work as soon as possible. This has put some training schools in a position where they have had to earn money to survive over government guidelines. This should be an eye opener for the industry as a whole, to think about increasing prices to be able to put money aside in reserve funds for such occasions.

What does the future hold?

The motorcycle training industry thinking of using CBT Courses as a loss leader must be seen as business suicide. If a training school paid a business consultant (£500 per day consultancy) to give any advice, they would say it was a drain on resources and should be a much higher cost as an extremely important asset to introduce new clients.

A loss leader is usually used to make money on other products sold to the customer that day. For an ATB to hope clients will return for DAS to make money on another day is like playing Russian Roulette. A loss leader is selling a cheap product with the knowledge that people will purchase something else while they are there.

If a customer was to purchase a helmet, jacket and gloves on the same day out of necessity, the CBT could be looked at as a loss leader. The revenue on other items sold should give larger profit margins. It is a genuine loss and not a loss leader if a customer walks away and never returns.

It is about time the business owners valued their own product properly and priced the CBT and other training accordingly. This is the only way the motorcycle training industry can sustain a long and thriving future. Using the excuse that the competition is charging peanuts and they will be out-pricing themselves with higher fees, must be a saying of the past.

Only with a substantial price increase will ATB’s and trainers be able to cope financially in the future. It has been a desperate time for so many trainers and business owners. It has been a struggle and so many have suffered because of low wages and limited work. Now is the time to reevaluate business needs, growth and development – profit is not a dirty word. This is the only way to survive future problems that may arise from nowhere.