Why to avoid introductory offers for driving lessons
Driving schools often have introductory like five lessons for £50 or ten lessons for £100.
Here’s why I think learner drivers should steer clear of these offers.
Why do driving schools have introductory offers?
Each instructor a driving school has will be paying the school around £150 per week to be supplied with pupils.
The more instructors a driving school has the more money they make so some schools just take on ANYONE that pays them.
That’s why driving schools have intro offers: they need to desperately flog cheap lessons to try and get all these people some work.
There are no standards or interviews to join most driving schools. So long as you pay you’re in. If someone offered to pay you £150 per week what would you say?
Driving schools often use unqualified, inexperienced trainee driving instructors known as PDI’s (Potential Driving Instructors). You can work as a driving instructor for 6 months on a trainee licence.
Is learning with a trainee bad?
Not always but a trainee’s inexperience could end up costing you more if they don’t know what they’re doing. They may never have even had a pupil pass before, don’t know where the tests go or what examiners expect of pupils.
The majority of trainees never qualify meaning you’ll end up looking for a new instructor and spending more money when they fail their exams. The pass rate in Birmingham in 2017/18 for the final exam to become an instructor was 21.6%.
I don’t use trainees but I am not against them. I am one of the UK’s leading driving instructor trainers and I spend a lot of time helping new instructors. I just think everyone should be told if they’re learning with a trainee.
I was a trainee once but some people just want to learn, pass and not be held back by their instructors inexperience.
Introductory offers are bad for driving instructors too
If you see a driving school website advertising positions for driving instructors or offering franchises then they’re using the system I described above. The franchise is the weekly fee the instructor pays the driving school.
Did you think the driving school was taking on more instructors because they’re really good and must be popular? No, it’s because the more they take on the more money they make.
This is bad for instructors because they get ripped off too. They could join up and get tied into a contract paying £150 a week for 12 months and yet they get no work.
There’s nothing the poor driving instructors can do. Driving school contracts cover this with a clause saying at no time do they promise to be able to supply work. I know because I’ve been there and worked on a contract like that.
Introductory offers are often just a lose-lose situation for pupils and instructors. The only winner is the greedy person running the driving school who takes all the money.
Problems with intro offers
Here are some of the other things I’ve heard from pupils and instructors that have come to me from schools with intro offers:
- The four or five cheap hours were not the first four or five hours. They paid a deposit of £50 and then on the second lesson were asked to pay a rate of up to £30 an hour! What they bought was four cheap hours but not the first four hours. The cheap hours were hours 1, 10, 20, 30 etc. Between those cheap hours you pay full price.
- The intro offer has to be paid up front and is not refundable. I have met many pupils that paid £50 in advance and didn’t like their instructor on the first lesson. In one case they sent them an instructor that didn’t even speak the same language! They were told they’d have to stay with them or they’d lose the rest of the deposit. That cheap intro offer just cost them £50.
- The introductory driving lessons are not always an hour long as you’d expect. If the usual rate is £24 an hour and the intro lessons are only 30 minutes long for £12 each then you’ve saved nothing!
- Many schools have test fees. That means that on the day of your test you are hit with a fee of £100 for the lesson; that’s how they make the money back from intro offers. I even once saw a pupil being told this in Kings Heath test centre minutes before their test. The instructor made them withdraw £100 cash from a cash machine or else they wouldn’t do the test.
- I worked at a school with intro offers and we were told to drag lessons out to make the money back. If you gave away 5 cheap hours you had to get at least 5 hours extra out of the pupils later on. They even had a chart on the wall showing the top selling instructors and ones that dragged out lessons the most got rewards such as a holiday to Italy.
- You could be hit with a price rise soon after starting to make up for them losing money on the into offers.
However you look at it they’re going to make the money back from you somehow.
Why to avoid schools with intro offers
I’d rather not deal with a company that will trick you in with a fake price before revealing the true normal price.
How many times have you seen things like “Free phone, nothing to pay for 6 months.” only to find out that after the free 6 months ends you’re on a 24 month contract at £80 a month. Worse still, you could sign up and then find out you’re tied into something you hadn’t noticed in the small print.
Offers like that really annoy me. Those companies treat you like you’re stupid and are tricking you into being with them because they know they can only attract work by being cheap. Nobody would choose to be with them otherwise.
I’d rather choose a company that doesn’t hide their real prices behind gimmicky introductory offers. I’d rather choose them because they’re good, not cheap.
Learn to drive with me and you’ll always know how much each lesson is going to cost from start to finish. You can see my clear and simple pricing by clicking here
If you want driving lessons in Birmingham then click here to contact me.