The cost of training to become a driving instructor is expensive and once qualified, the running costs of the business; petrol, insurance and franchise all mounts up.
Generally, it’s not in a driving instructors or schools interest to provide excessively cheap driving lessons or intensive courses.
Why are their driving lessons cheap?
There are many reasons for offering cheap driving lessons, some for genuine reasons and some may have a catch. Usually the saying ‘you get what you pay for’ is appropriate and in this instance is still applies. In this article we shall look at the possible reasons why driving schools and instructors may offer significantly below average cheap driving lessons or cheap intensive courses. Plus we shall look at ways to find a good driving school or instructor and avoid the cheap driving lessons scams.
I’ve found a really cheap driving instructor
That all sounds great then. You may think you will save a fortune on driving lessons. If this driving school or instructor’s driving lessons are far cheaper than all the others in the same location, there must be a reason.
The reason could well be that they aren’t getting any work and are having to offer ridiculously cheap driving lessons to attract potential customers. Although driving instructor training follows a strict syllabus and once qualified a strict code of practice must be followed, this doesn’t mean to say all driving instructors are good.
A good driving instructor should quickly gain referrals and recommendations from happy pupils previously taught. If they are not receiving these referrals, cheap driving lessons may be offered.
This may not be the case however, the instructor may have recently moved to the area and is offering cheap driving lessons to get up and running. When enquiring, ask the instructor why their driving lessons are so cheap. If the reason doesn’t sound plausible, remain cautious.
I’ve found a trainee instructor offering cheap driving lessons
Whilst a potential driving instructor is training, they may decide to opt for a trainee pink licence that is valid for 6 months. A trainee pink licence should be displayed somewhere in the front windscreen and a fully qualified instructors green licence should be displayed similarly. Whilst opting to go with a trainee driving instructor in return for cheap driving lessons is fine, there may be some points to consider. A trainee instructor is simply not going to have the experience.
As with most professions, experience is the key to providing an excellent service. It take a driving instructor a good amount of time to really settle down and understand the best teaching methods for both themselves and their pupils. Due to this, you may need more lessons than with an experienced instructor. Another are to consider is if the trainee instructor has not completed the training within the 6 month period that the trainee licence is valid for, they may not be permitted to teach driving any longer for pay.
If this is the case, you may be many months into learning to drive and all of a sudden your instructor informs you that they can no longer provide lessons. this will leave you in a situation where you will need to find another instructor that will have a different car and different teaching techniques, ultimately costing you more. Opting for a trainee instructor is a good choice providing you are aware of the potential complications. If all goes well however, you may reach test standard in good time and would have saved money with the cheap driving lessons.
Cheap driving lessons or intensive courses may involve car sharing
You may be pleased that you found those really cheap driving lessons or cheap intensive course, but before you book it and hand over your money, read the small print and make yourself aware of all the details.
Some driving schools or instructors can offer very cheap lessons or intensive courses by car sharing. In other words, you will be taking your lessons with up to 3 other learners. Car sharing usually involves intensive courses taken over a short period of time such as a week or two. Car sharing will involve you spending a significant amount of time on the back seat watching the other learners drive. Or if you are positioned behind the driver, then you will have very little to watch indeed.
Whilst a little can be gained from watching others drive, the only successful way to learn is to drive the car yourself. Whilst enquiring about a course, ask if car sharing is involved. If it is and you don’t have a problem with this (you may be doing the course with a friend for example) ask what is the minimum amount of hours you will be behind the wheel. Generally, around 30 – 40 hours is needed to reach driving test standard.
Cheap driving lessons don’t always stay cheap
Often driving schools or instructors promote very cheap driving lessons. Continuing with these very cheap lessons is not viable for the driving school so often there comes a cut-off point where the driving lesson price increases. Most schools do make this clear for instance ’10 driving lessons for only £ insert cheap price here’. Some however don’t. You could be well into your driver training course and your instructor will inform you that the lesson prices have changed. The price change may be well above the average price for that area.
You may simply think that you will find another driving school. Whilst this is of course an option, this will involve getting used to a completely different car and a different instructor who will have a different teaching technique and reference points. Some learners look around for schools offering a discounted first lesson, take this and move onto another school. This actually isn’t a very cost effective solution as ideally you want to be with the same instructor and car throughout the duration of your course.
Before you book a course, ask the school or instructor if the prices remain the same throughout and if not, what are the changes. Ask if they provide block booking discounts or student discounts as this will save you some money.
Cheap driving lessons, good or bad?
Whilst we all look for deals to save us money, when it comes to services such as driving lessons, simply opting for the cheapest can ultimately cost more. Listed below are some tips to avoid the common pitfalls for going for cheap driving lessons.
Cheap driving lessons may cost more
A part trained instructor or a instructor that isn’t very good may offer cheap driving lessons but long term may end up costing you more due to inferior teaching. Whilst searching for your ideal driving school or instructor, try not to focus too much on the price but look for a school that has been recommended. Recommendations and good reviews tell a great deal about a driving school. You don’t want to pay over the odds, but paying the local average lesson price with a good school will result in less hours needed to reach test standard and a higher chance of passing the test first time.
Instructor new to area – cheap lessons
Whilst the cheap lessons may be appealing, the instructor may be experienced but will not have the knowledge of local test route roads. Driving test routes are certainly not the most important aspects of driving lessons as a learner should be able to deal with any road. There are often many parts of test routes that can be particularly difficult and if unaware can result in a test failure. The cheap driving lessons in this case may offset the lack of local road knowledge, but to be safe, choose an instructor who is both experienced in teaching and local test routes.
Block booking and student discounts
It usually takes around 30 to 40 hours of driving tuition to reach test standard. Whilst enquiring with a driving school, ask if they offer block booking discount and/or student discounts. Often if you pre-pay for a certain amount of driving lessons, a discount is offered.
Take an assessment lesson
Before paying for a course in full to take advantage of any discounts, take an assessment lesson. During this lesson, the instructor will give you a good indication of how many driving lessons you will need in total and if you are capable of an intensive course (if applicable). More importantly however, this assessment lesson will allow you to see if you and the instructor ‘click’. It’s important that your instructor is friendly, patient and that you understand clearly their teaching technique. Choosing an instructor that doesn’t work well with you can result in awkward driving lessons and less being learnt due to a lack of understanding.