Drive with Dave offers manual driving lessons in Minehead, Taunton and the areas in between. When looking for a car for his business Dave had to consider the mileage he would be covering as a driving instructor and running costs including ongoing maintenance and fuel efficiency. He also had to ensure his final choice was comfortable as a work space as well as a personal car and would be somewhere he could happily spend a considerable amount of time. Pivotal was that he wanted to give students the chance to learn in a car that would also be a great and realistic option for their first car. His choice? The smart forfour!
What made you choose a smart car?
There were three smart cars in the family before I decided to buy one, so I already had an inside glance into what they were like to drive and maintain. As a driver, the smart forfour seemed to do the job it needed to do efficiently without over-complicating things. At its bare bones it offers a nice, smooth ride, had the gadgets I wanted, and was cost effective to run. I’d never driven a car that had its engine at the rear before but was also pleasantly surprised by how little engine noise there is compared to the front-engined car I had before.
As a driving instructor at Drive with Dave I needed a car that I could trust mechanically, but was also was suited to the work. The car is my place of business so I can’t afford to have a car that is breaking down all the time and doesn’t come with a good warranty package. The smart is modern and comfortable inside which is important when you’re sharing the vehicle with your students all day. The package I bought included electric mirrors and adjustable seating and steering which proves really helpful when teaching people of varying sizes. The car is small enough that my students (and myself) can park in small spaces easily but with the back seats down there is the space I need for a big shopping trip or moving gear around for my band. All in all it was the car that seemed to suit my work and personal needs the best.
Do you feel the car suits your business?
The car is my commuting vehicle but also my office. Because of this the car needs to not only perform reliably, but present well too as it is where I spend 100% of my time when working and where I meet my students.
I was able to fit the car with dual brake and clutch pedals which is essential when teaching people to drive. Not all cars have dual controls manufactured for them so I was pleased to discover that dual controls for Smart were in production from an outside company. Safety is important in my job and thankfully the smart feels like a safe car to drive. It has airbags and seats that are merged with the head restraints, creating an almost racing car feel of snugness. Another cool feature of the forfour is that, despite the engine being in the back, the fluids are all under the (small) front bonnet: great for those show-me-tell-me questions with students.
My smart is two-toned in colour (red and white) which I feel helps it stand out from the pack when I’m using it for business. The controls inside the car are all easy to use and ergonomic and I particularly like the car’s limiter function for keeping the speed under control!
How would you rate the smart car for practicality?
The car is very practical for me as when I’ve finished my lessons for the day I can simply remove my top box and drive it like a normal car again. If I needed to I could also unclip the dual control pedals, leaving more foot room for the passenger. With the seats down in the back I can also fit the 2 by 12 speaker cab, my amp and my guitar equipment that I need for playing gigs with my band. The car is deceptively spacious for a vehicle that looks so compact from the outside.
I drive the car a lot so economy is also pretty important. The car keeps track of how (eco) efficient your driving is and displays a graph of where you could improve. The surfaces inside the car seem easy to clean and it doesn’t take long to jet wash the outside which I typically need to do once a week due to how often it gets used.
Has your car purchase been cost-effective for your business?
The option to buy on finance helped me to effectively budget for my business without having to part with a lump sum that I didn’t have at the time. Being relatively new to the industry I was still building up a customer base so the cost seemed to be reasonable at the time, especially seeing as some driving school franchises would charge you £200 a week for their service and to a lease car. Being a new car, I won’t have to MOT the car for 3 years which means I only have to worry about servicing it every 12,000 miles and I trust the mechanics in Taunton to do a good job and find the most cost-effective solution for sourcing parts.
How was your experience with your Local Business Development Manager?
Lorraine was very helpful and genuinely wanted to make sure I was happy with what I was getting. In my experience, a lot of car salespeople are just out for a quick sale so it was a refreshing change to get some genuine advice on the car and a finance plan that did what I needed it to – including cost, mileage and ownership options. Lorraine also helped me to get a deal on the exact car I wanted at a cheaper price due to the previous one I was looking at being sold earlier that week. Thanks Lorraine!
Would you recommend a smart car for business use?
I would highly recommend the smart car if you’re looking for a car that is hugely functional without showing off. It gets you from A to B smoothly, safely and into those tough parking spots without a bother. It’s not obnoxious and doubles up as the perfect driving instructor’s class room. It’s comfortable, good looking and deceptively spacious inside. I can’t think of a better vehicle that I could use as a driving instructor’s vehicle, band wagon and also for domestic use.
Dave was helped in his journey towards his new smart car by Taunton’s Local Business Development Manager Lorraine Lane. She added, “It was a great pleasure to help David source the right vehicle for his new business venture. We found the perfect car for him in a matter of days. I am so pleased to hear that he is enjoying the new smart car and that it is working very well for his new business.”
Find out more about Drive with Dave by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’d like to find out how a smart car could be perfectly suited to your business, contact your Local Business Development Manager.