When is a cancelled lesson lost revenue?

I’m sure that this blog shall have a very much divided opinion, so please bear in mind that this just my opinion and I may well not be correct. So, we have all been left standing on the doorstep looking like a spare part whist nobody answers the door, or the last-minute text to cancel, just as you pull up outside the student’s house.

Cancellations are a risk we all have to deal with in this industry. We are not alone, and we are not immune, despite claims of 100% attendances and “it never happens to me”.


If you have been in the industry more than 5 minutes then, you will, have had a pupil cancel on you. But my question is, if a pupil cancels, is that really the lost revenue you see posted, moaned about on social media, usually as the ADI is walking back to their car alone?

When a pupil starts to learn to drive, somewhere in the mystery of the universe is a magic number of hours of tuition they shall take, each student is different, I’ve had from as little as 16 hours from nothing to pass to well over 80. Each student has their own magic number and we are not blessed with knowing that information until they have passed. After all we have all had the same question of “how long will it take me to pass”?

So, if a student had to cancel as their 3rd gran has died, again, then this is not lost revenue, as that student shall still take their X amount of lesson to pass, I don’t see that as complete loss, as there is always something else that I can do to work on my business, albeit a recharge of my batteries, or getting the hose out and cleaning the car. 

I can even turn this cancelled lesson in to an additional revenue earner.

When a pupil starts their lessons with me, they are given a copy of my terms and conditions, of which clearly outlines my 24hr cancellation policy and that lessons are to be paid for in advance and lessons are to be of 2-hour duration. So, if I have a cancellation then I’m £70 better off for having had to do nothing.

I also run a late lesson list and ask them if they wish to be added to this list and if a lesson becomes available at late notice, they may take this lesson at a reduced rate, saving them £5 off the normal lesson rate of £35.

Then If I manage to fill this cancelled lesson, even if I only do a quick hour’s lesson, I then make £100 for just an hour’s work. £50ph !

Therefore I never see a cancelled lesson as a negative, I see it as an opportunity to either make a few more quid, get some admin done, or put my feet up for a change.



ADI NETWORK Limited is incorporated and registered in England & Wales

Company number 08896186



One comment

  1. Back in the day l was so busy I was Pleased if someone cancelled a lesson because it gave me a break – I can’t even make a decent living doing instructing now. Knocked on the head four or five years ago

    John Willshire


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