If you live in Heanor then there’s no doubt you’ll have spotted driving instructor Andy Pearson in his unmistakable rock ‘n’ roll styled car – and he’s hoping you’ll be getting behind the wheel this year.
A car is often a ticket to freedom, independence and a future career, so learning to drive is a big new year resolution. And tattooed rock fan Andy is gearing up for his busiest time of year.
Andy, who runs Drive Like a Rockstar driving school in Ray Street, said its great to take on new learners and help them develop – all in his unique way including playing rock music and a ‘tattooed’ learner car.
And Andy’s approach has seen him ditch the more buttoned-down approach of other instructors and set himself apart with a rocky edge.
The 38-year-old said: “Being different is an important part of me and my business. I’ve said before that I’ve always felt different, I feel that I think and see different from my peers and this has always felt like a cross that I carry. With this business though, I feel that it’s differences, its quirks, and my determination to be who I am regardless, are now powers to my business and certainly help me to keep driving forward.”
But Andy wasn’t always so sure about what he wanted, it has been a long, bumpy road to becoming and entrepreneur.
He said: “I was born on the back seat of a VW Fastback in the car park of Ilkeston Maternity Hospital in 1977. I think this is where my love of cars came from too.
“I never really knew what I wanted to do when I grew up. So I made the decision not to grow up as that fitted into my day dreaming, I always felt different.
“My dad was an engineer so I always had a lean towards work in that industry. After working through many different jobs including a zoo keeper, a pizza topper and a guitar string maker, I finally settled down as an electrician. The job never really suited me and in 2009 I was injured at work and unable to carry on doing my job. My spine consultant at hospital suggested I retrain as a driving instructor.
“I thought this was a ridiculous idea but had bills to pay and mouths to feed, so I spent my recovery time training as an instructor. I passed all the qualifying exams on my first attempt and started working as a franchised driving instructor in 2010.
“I had so little knowledge of starting a business or running one. This enabled me to go with my heart and not be restricted to rule books. After working under a franchise for almost two years I felt I had seen enough of how the industry was run. In November 2012, I launched Drive like a Rockstar. I was told it wouldn’t work. But my ethos was to teach people to drive in a way that I would want to be taught. And to represent the genre and people I understand and know so well.
“I will get you test-ready and beyond, I will never judge you as a person, regardless of race, sexuality, hair style, dress sense tattoos, piercings, beliefs or background. I draw the line if you don’t like Guns n’ Roses though!
“It’s been an amazing few yeas since then with many highs. My business has seen a 20 per cent increase in profit year on year and on the businesses’ third birthday, I had my 100th driving test pass. I currently have a 74 per cent first-time pass rate and average at two passes a month.
“I was also named runner up in a national competition for best driving instructor after only trading as Drive like a Rockstar for a year. It was a fantastic accolade.
“The dream doesn’t end here though. This year I’d like to help as many as possible to reach their goal. I also need more drivers and I’d love a rockstar car for every test centre in the UK. It’s full steam ahead, with the pedal to the metal.”
For more visit: www.drivelikearockstar.co.uk.