Driving schools in Abbey Wood offer different driving packages to students. Considering how important learning to drive is, you want to make sure that you get the best education while at it. Fortunately, with so many driving schools now available, it should be easier for you to choose a school that has potential in creating a good driver out of you. Always choose the best driving school who offer a pass promise
Abbey Wood Driving Lessons Choosing the Right Instructor
Recently I've been seeing more and more new driving schools appear in my area advertising cheap driving lessons with a variety of special deals. Offers such as '10 lessons for £99', '5 hours for £55' and '4 hours for £44' are appearing with increasing regularity. But is the customer really getting value for money? Personally I know that I could never operate my business offering such deals - it would barely cover my overheads - and I wouldn't want my business associated with anything 'cheap' anyway - so how are other driving schools achieving it?
Are you getting value for money?
Now I obviously can't speak about every driving school out there offering these deals but from the many stories I've heard the general answer is NO for a variety of reasons:
Sitting on the side of the road for most of the lesson. I often hear tales from pupils who have come to me from other driving schools that they would spend most of their lessons parked up in the car going over theory rather than getting in valuable practical work. This is a way that driving schools can cut costs - less fuel used and less wear and tear on their car. I once heard a story that a driving school in the area carried out a 2 hour highway code lesson with their pupils!
Tying on from the first point, less practical work on lessons is going to result in a decreased progress in the pupils driving skills. If you're sitting about for half of every lesson not actually driving then it's going to take you twice as long to get to test standard. So that '10 lessons for £99' deal looks good on the surface, but if it's going to take you double the lessons it would at a established and reputable driving school is it really a decent saving?
The initial offer will only be a one off and can include some terms and conditions. Once you've had your deal, the lesson price will go back to the driving school's standard prices. The terms and conditions on a '10 hours for £99' for example can typically be something like 3 hours to be held back for test day lesson. That would tie you to the driving school - you get your first 7 hours and then MUST stay with the driving school until your test to get the other 3 hours - something you might not want to do if you're not happy with the instruction being given to you.
So let's do a case study. John decides he wants some good quality driving lessons with a company that have good customer testimonials and some great recommendations. They charge £210 for 10 hours with the first hour free so the pupil can meet the instructor before making any further commitments. Typically this driving school will have a pupil ready for test at around 30 hours - therefore John will spend a total of £630 to pass his test.
James decides he wants to go for cheap driving lessons. He finds a random company online doing a '10 hours for £99' deal. However, due to the driving schools ways of cutting costs it takes James 50 hours to pass. The final 40 hours were also at the standard price of £200 for 10 hours. Also James wasn't particularly happy with his instructor but 3 hours was reserved for his test day so he didn't want to lose that. In total James had to pay £899 compared to John who paid £630. Also John managed it in around 4 months compared to James who took 7 months due to the extra lessons.
These cheap deals can look too good to be true and often are so beware. I think it's much better to choose a school on reputation, testimonials and recommendations rather than price - there's probably a good reason why one school can charge a lot more than another - you generally get what you pay for in this life!!
Jody Thomas, a Grade 6 DSA approved driving instructor and fleet trainer, runs the Jody Direct Drive in Croydon which offers top quality driving lessons to people of all ages and specializes in nervous pupils. For more information click Croydon Driving Instructor
The Need for Driving School Flexibility
The vast majority of the driving instructor industry is driven by recommendation. Many of my colleagues in the local area hardly do any advertising because their reputation is good enough to win them enough business to keep them busy. So if you are looking for a driving instructor and don't know which one to use get some recommendations from friends or relatives. This will give you a good idea which ones are best.
There is a saying that "if you want a job done properly ask a busy man" mainly because, and this is particularly true with driving instructors, there is a reason they are busy. Their service is in demand probably because its high quality. If you call an instructor that has been recommended and they are too busy for you to start immediately DON'T BE PUT OFF. Its easy to ring someone else who is not so busy but this could cost you more money in the long run as the instruction might not be as good.
Let me put it another way, If you were going out for a meal in an unknown restaurant that someone had recommended to you and there was an hour wait for food most people would wait rather than go to the one next door that was empty and full of waiters and waitresses just hanging around. There's a good reason for people not wanting to eat there!
When choosing the person to teach you a life skill such as driving be prepared to wait for the best instructors, it will make you a better driver, you're more likely to pass your test first time and you won't get ripped off. Busy Instructors have no need to drag out the lessons because there are always more people queing up to start once you've passed your test.
TRAINEE or FULLY QUALIFIED.
Don't be afraid to ask if the instructor is a trainee instructor or a fully qualified instructor. Not many people know there is a difference. When training to become an instructor you are allowed to start teaching when you have completed a certain amount of training. You then have 6-12 months to pass the final stage and become fully qualified. Many trainees do not make it past this stage.
How do you tell the difference?
In order to teach people to drive for money instructors have to be registered by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA). This is the government organisation that regulates the industry and conducts all driving tests. When an instructor begins teaching they are issued with a certificate that contains their name and photograph as well as an expiry date. This certificate has to be displayed by law on the windscreen of the training vehicle. Trainee badges are Pink in colour and have a big triangle on one side. Fully qualified instructor certificates are Green and have a large hexagon on one side. Be sure to check the details if its an instructor you don't know.
Now I'm not saying that trainee instructors are all bad, I was a trainee myself once, and i employ a couple myself, but they may not have the knowledge of the more experienced fully qualified instructor. Training of instructors is not as strictly controlled as the training of learner drivers and therefore standards of trainees differs hugely. Many of the larger national driving schools that advertise on the TV use a lot of trainees and they are not legally obliged to inform you that this is the case. So check before you book and if you are not happy with having a trainee teach you ask for a fully qualified instructor. If this is not possible look elsewhere.
If you find yourself unhappy with your instructor don't be afraid to discuss the issues with them. Good instructors are open to the fact that they can't please everybody all the time and will be appreciative of your feedback. If you still feel you're not getting the service you're paying for move instructors. It may be a bit of an issue in the short term but in the long term you could find yourself saving money. If you don't enjoy the lessons then you won't learn anything which is a waste of money!
Illegal driving Instructors
There are a number of people in the UK who operate illegally (unqualified people teaching for financial reward). Anybody can get a set of dual controls a roof sign and some training materials. Since 2007 all newly qualified instructors undergo an enhanced CRB check. Illegal instructors won't have this. Some instructors who don't pass the final examinations carry on instructing illegally. Usually they will be friendly, courteous, try to befriend you so that you won't ask questions. They will usually also charge a lot less than a professional (see my other blog on cheap driving lessons). Make sure you see their certificate, make sure it hasn't expired, and check the name photo's and dates all match up. If you have doubts walk away as you could also be liable for aiding and abetting an offender.
Gareth Price is a successful DSA approved driving instructor and a member of the Institute of advanced motorists. Having built up his own successful driving school business he has recently turned his attentiion to showing people how they can learn to drive for less using private driving practice.
His new website is [http://www.drivingschool-croydon.co.uk]
Here you can sign up for the information for free. Even if you are wary of teaching someone to drive it'll cost you nothing to find out how to do it before you make a decision. Private driving practice combined with a few professional driving lessons is the only real way to save money on driving lessons. His EBook "Parents Guide to Learning to Drive" is the perfect way to start.