When choosing which company to learn to drive with, you may suddenly realise there’s lots of instructors out there. You may already know if you would prefer to have either a male or female instructor, you may be looking for one that uses automatic cars rather than manual. But one of the big considerations that most students will be thinking about when choosing their instructor is the price. Some offer deals, to make them stand out in the crowd. But are these deals as good as they appear to be?
Misleading introductory offers
If you’re looking for driving lessons, I bet you’ve seen loads of offers, for instance 5 lessons for £50, 10 for £99. Sound great don’t they? But you may want to make sure you check out some of the details before you hand over your money.
Did you notice that the offer states the number of lessons and not the length of a lesson? There are some instructors who have been known to provide shortened lessons. So rather than charging for the usual hour, the deal only includes a short 30 minute lesson. So it’s important to compare the price based on the same amount of time, which might well work out about the same as a regular lesson – so not such a great deal!
On the other hand the “5 lessons for £50” deal doesn’t actually state that it’s your first 5 lessons that are discounted. Some will discount certain lessons, for example lesson number 1, 5, 10, 15 etc. However you have to pay the full price for all the lessons in between. You may need to pay this up front and once you’ve paid you may not get a refund which isn’t good if you don’t get on with your instructor.
Trainee driving instructors
Wouldn’t you feel cheated if you were paying full price for your lessons and then discovered that your instructor wasn’t qualified? A qualified instructor will have a green ADI badge, if their badge is pink then they’re not qualified. Check out your instructor before you start, know what you’re paying for. How experienced are they? There’s nothing wrong with learning to drive with a newly qualified instructor or even one in training – but would you really expect to pay full price?
Get Driving on your First Lesson
Driving on your first lesson sounds great but essentially it’s not being done to help you – it’s purely a sales gimmick. A good instructor will always spend time during your first lesson chatting to you about the controls (you need to know the difference between the accelerator and the brake, or understand what you’re looking for in the mirror) and about you and your expectations. On a first lesson you may get to go for a short drive (if you’re ready) not because you’re being ripped off, but you need to learn the basics before you start on the more technical parts like reversing, and other manoeuvres.
So our advice is, if you think an offer is too good to be true, -check it out by all means. But go into any deals, with your eyes open. At the end of the day instructors need to make their money; to maintain their car, pay for petrol, put food on their tables and a roof over their heads etc. If they’re not charging you enough, then you’ve got to ask yourself why not?
Ask questions and get the information in writing – question them about their deals – ask them what is included in the offer and what isn’t.