Why do driving instructors charge for tests?
There are various ways that driving instructors charge you for the day of your driving tests. Some charge you the same as a normal lesson and some can add on as much as £100 extra.
Let me explain why some charge more and why the reasons they give for doing so are rubbish.
Update – As of 2023, the DVSA is taking strong action against instructors who charge pupils excessive and unfair fees for driving tests. This includes removing driving instructors from the register if they are found to be charging extra for booking tests without making pupils aware or otherwise acting unethically. I’m delighted this change has happened and like to think this page and my work played a part in achieving this 😀 Read the changes here in a document from the DVSA and look under section 2. Get started using the service.
Charging more for tests isn’t the only funny thing driving instructors do!
Why driving instructors charge more for driving tests
Driving instructors charge more for your driving test so they can make more money.
It’s pretty simple and very obvious but I’m going to deep dive into some of the excuses…err I mean reasons why some driving instructors charge more.
Some of these are pretty funny. It never ceases to amaze me the extent to which people will go to rip learners off instead of just being honest.
First of all though, let’s look at just how much extra they can charge and if it’s always a bad thing.
How much extra do driving instructors charge for driving tests?
It’s quite common to be hit with a fee of £100 on the day of your driving test.
I remember one occasion when I was sitting inside Kings Heath driving test centre and another instructor walked in with their pupil.
They remembered that they hadn’t taken payment for that lesson and asked for £100.
The pupil said “What? £100? Why is it so much?”.
The instructor said it was the standard test fee that all instructors charge. No it isn’t!
He marched the pupil out to a cashpoint at a bank which was right outside the test centre.
The pupil was made to withdraw £100 or else the instructor wouldn’t take them on their test.
What a rip off!
Is it always bad to charge extra for a driving test?
No, there are times when it can be justified but not very many.
I once had a pupil that was desperate for a driving test and found one available a test centre that was miles out of my area. It wasn’t just a bit out the way, it was a half hour drive up the motorway from a point that was already on the edge of the areas of Birmingham I cover.
I said that I could do it but they’d have to pay for an extra hour because it would take us an extra half an hour there and another extra half an hour to get back.
That is fair and it was agreed in advance.
What isn’t fair is when instructors shove extra amounts on for not doing anything extra.
It’s often a way of getting the money back that they lost on introductory driving lesson offers.
You get the first 5 lessons cheap and then you pay it all back when you go for a driving test!
If you agree ahead to pay extra for a test and there’s a good reason such as in my example above then it’s fine.
Let’s look at some reasons instructors have charged extra for driving tests which are not what I would call acceptable.
Reasons for charging more for driving tests
Here are some of the excuses…I mean REASONS (I’ve done it again!) for driving schools charging more to take you on test.
It takes more skill
This is the funniest one I ever heard of.
You might be able to still find it, it was on a driving instructor forum where instructors were talking about how much to charge for driving tests.
One instructor was being blasted by all the others for saying he charges £100 on top of the normal lesson price.
The reason for this? I’ll never forget what he wrote:
“Sitting in the back of a car on a driving test uses every ounce of my skill as an instructor”.
If sitting in the back of a car saying and doing nothing uses every ounce of his skill as a driving instructor then he’s obviously an awful instructor!
The driving test lesson is longer
Oh come on.
I always do 2 hour driving lessons and it’s no different on the day of the driving test.
I pick pupils up an hour before the test begins. The driving test is then about 40 minutes, a few minutes chatting to the examiner and I have 15 to 20 minutes to drive them home.
I never charge more. Who cares if it takes 5 or 10 minutes longer to drive them home and the lesson ends up being 2 hours and 10 minutes long? I’m not going to charge extra for that!
Sometimes, as in my example above, it may be much longer and that’s understandable but charging for a few minutes extra is nonsense.
The car is turned off for 10 minutes anyway when you’re at the test centre waiting to start. If they’ve saved money on 10 minutes of fuel then there is no need to charge you more.
The insurance costs more for tests
No it doesn’t. What a load of balls.
It doesn’t cost any extra to insure a driving school car for a driving test. I don’t have to go online and pay extra each time I do a test – it’s all the same!
I’ve even heard of pupils paying extra for mock driving tests for this reason.
One of my pupils sent me through a payment for £16 more than usual after we’d done a mock test. I asked why she’d paid more and she said her last instructor charged £16 extra for a mock driving test. Why? It’s just part of a normal lesson.
So why do driving instructors charge more for tests?
Because they can and they have you over a barrel. You have to pay it or they can refuse the use of their car.
Please understand that most driving instructors don’t use underhand tactics like this. There are always the ones that do though.
You should make sure to agree the cost of the driving test lesson when you first start lessons. I don’t use contracts but if you do get one to sign from another instructor or school then make sure you read it thoroughly and check to see what it says about paying extra for driving tests.
More answers to your questions
To discover more answers like this visit the pages in the menu which are under Help>why?
You’ll enjoy my pages on why do driving instructors wave at each other and why does car insurance go up when you pass your test?
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