The Worst Advice We’ve Ever Heard About Driver Training
Acquiring your HGV licence is both a serious business and a sizable investment. So, doing your driver training can be nerve racking. Not only because of the cost, but because the internet on this topic is full of horror stories.
So, we’ve put together this list of some of the worst advice we’ve ever heard about driver training, and how to avoid falling into the same traps as those unfortunate souls that are now lost to haunt the web.
#1 “Use an Agent to Book your Training.”
We’re starting big. This is a problem for a lot of people, if you don’t know any better, an agent might look like the best option with 0% credit, nationwide coverage, and sometimes they even ‘guarantee’ you a job at the end.
However, agents inflate prices. In fact they inflate them by anything up to 250% of the real cost. For example, your training course might be £1,500 but the agency charges £3,400, pocketing the difference.
A lot of people don’t realise this, are attracted by the “low monthly payments” and end up paying way more than they need to.
To help you avoid paying above and beyond here are a few red flags:
- They advertise national coverage. Very few providers genuinely offer this
- They have a very generic company name, for example, The HGV Training Centre
- Their head office is somewhere like London
- They offer loans or finance on training
- They advertise “guaranteed jobs” after you complete your training
- They don’t want you to come in, meet the instructors, or have an assessment lesson
#2 “You Don’t Need to do an Assessment Lesson”
You wouldn’t spend £1,500 on a sofa without sitting on it first. So, why would you commit to spending this much money without first testing whether or not this was the right option and fit for you.
Make absolutely certain that this is the school and teacher that you want to use, before you part with any money.
If you’re not absolutely sure you can always try out a different school or two, but if you’ve already paid the full price of the lessons you are stuck with them until the end, and if they aren’t the right fit this could lead you to paying more money than you need to with extra lessons and failed tests.
Finding the right school and the right instructor is vital to passing your test and getting ahead in your new career.
#3 “Where you do your Test Doesn’t Make a Difference”
There are a number of things that you should consider when choosing a school and doing your training. One of them is the test centre that you will be going to. You don’t want to have to go to one that is really far away, for example. Also, some test centres use tougher test routes, or have a reputation for extra vigilant examiners.
If you’re unsure, join a couple of forums such as the TruckNet UK RoundTable and ask around, there are a lot of people with both positive and negative experiences that you can learn from.
#4 “DVSA Approval Doesn’t Matter”
Whilst DVSA approval isn’t mandatory for HGV instructors, it is important and should be one of your 1st questions to any training provider. Why? Because the DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) offers a recognised standard within the HGV training industry. It confirms an instructor’s competence and demonstrates an investment by his employer (the training company). It makes perfect sense to go with a company that goes the extra mile and invests in recognition rather than one that doesn’t.
When it comes to choosing your training company, the more research you do, and time you invest in actually talking to the centre the better.
Once you have found a likely training company, one that employs DVSA approved Instructors and is in your area, we recommended visiting them first.
Any reputable training company will welcome your visit with open arms. If they don’t want you to visit them, or seem put off by the suggestion, you need to ask – why? And wonder if they are hiding something. It isn’t a whole day out, after half an hour or less you will get the feel of the company and should know if it is right for you or not.
A few useful questions to ask the training centre to help you get the best possible training experience:
- How long have they been in business?
- What is their average pass rate?
- Can you meet an instructor?
- Can you have a look at the training vehicles?
These are likely not going to be anything special, but you want to make sure you’ll be training in an adequate vehicle.
- Which test centre will be used?
You don’t want to travel 2 hours to the nearest centre, for example. And sometimes it is worth checking out whether that centre is the best option.
- What happens if you don’t pass?
Some centres will offer “pass insurance” – this is usually around £2-300 and covers the cost of training and a re-test if you don’t pass first time. It’s not essential but it can save you some money in the long-run. However, if you do pass first time, you won’t get this money back.
- Do they also provide Driver CPC training?
If you’re looking to use your licence for “hire or reward” once you’ve passed, you’ll probably need Driver CPC. Depending on when you passed your car test, you will need either Initial or Periodic training – use our CPC checker to find out which one you need.
Hopefully armed with this knowledge and these questions you will be able to avoid these bad advice scenarios and be one step closer to getting on the road!
To find out more about developing your HGV driving career, take a look at some of the great benefits we offer our elite drivers on our Platinum Field Staff Partners scheme. Then make sure you get in touch with your nearest branch.