Training brokers: why you should ALWAYS avoid them!
First things first, you may not have heard of a training broker, or even know what one is – but they do exist and, if you’re not careful, they could end up costing you thousands of pounds!
What is a training broker?
Training brokers are companies that do not provide driver training themselves, but sell training that is provided by a third party (the training provider).
Typically they will offer some (or all) of the following “benefits” or “services”:
- Interest free credit on the cost of training
- “UK-wide training centres”
- RHA and/or FTA and/or JAUPT “accreditation”
- “Dedicated Recruitment Centres” or “Guaranteed Jobs”
- Advice on training and the law on licences/training requirements
We’ll take a look at each of these individually and highlight exactly why you need to be careful when dealing with these companies.
Interest Free Credit
This feature seems to be disappearing with some of the main brokers no longer offering it as an option. For those that do, however, it’s clear that whilst the interest on the loan agreement might be set to 0%, it’s by no means free.
Brokers will make up for the lack of loan interest by charging vastly more for training than the actual cost of what they are providing. Here’s a breakdown for comparison:
- Driver medical: ~£60
- Theory test (mod. 1): £26
- Case studies (mod. 2): £23
- Practical test (mod. 3): £115
- Practical demonstration (mod. 4): £55
- Mod. 4 training/vehicle hire: ~£150
- Revision materials: ~£20
- Training (16hrs 1:1 / 32hrs 2:1): ~£1080
- TOTAL: ~£1,529.00
A typical broker will offer a package including the items detailed above for around £4,000.
Yes, you read that right. Four. Thousand. Pounds.
Even if you only need the training and the practical test (e.g. upgrading a Class 2 licence to Class 1), they’ll still sting you. We were quoted over £1,500 by a broker. When we spoke to Dave Robbins, a reputable training provider based in Exeter, they said they’d charge just over £1,200.
UK-Wide Training Centres
This, in most cases, is just a straightforward lie.
Brokers very rarely offer any training themselves. In fact, we’re not aware of any that do. They take enquiries from members of the public and use – often unsuspecting – training providers to deliver the training on their behalf, pocketing the quite considerable difference between what the provider charges and what the broker charges the individual.
We once called a broker to ask what “they” had available in the Plymouth area, and they proceeded to give us the details of a course we were running ourselves!
When we asked them how much a 35 hour course would cost, they quoted us just short of £700. We charge £348.
RHA / FTA / JAUPT Accreditation
This is one of the main tricks that brokers will use to give a false sense of credibility.
Typically, they will join such organisations as affiliate members – essentially paying a fee so that they can display the relevant logo on their website. They will then claim to be accredited by the relevant organisation, when in fact that organisation has never assessed, audited or verified the quality of the training they offer. Even if they tried, they’d have a hard job given they don’t actually provide the training themselves!
In some cases, these sites are displaying the logos without permission. We recently contacted JAUPT to report this and the site in question has now removed the JAUPT logo. Win!
Dedicated Recruitment Teams / Guaranteed Jobs
Again, this is just a downright lie in the majority of cases.
What these companies actually do is link trainees with recruitment agencies on completion of their training. They don’t actually offer any recruitment service themselves.
See for yourself: if you’ve visited the website of a broker – try calling the number they list to “apply” for a job. It’s almost guaranteed that the person you speak to won’t be able to give you any information about the job being advertised. This is because the job either doesn’t exist at all, or – if it does – they have nothing to do with it themselves.
Frustratingly, we’ve yet to find a broker who will offer their “recruitment services” to anyone that doesn’t complete one of their vastly overpriced training packages first.
We are happy to help people who are looking for work and we won’t charge you a penny to do so. Nor will we insist that you pay for training with us first!
Advice & Information
We’ve saved the worst ’til last here.
There is a lot of information available on the websites of these brokers. We presume that this is primarily intended to generate some credibility and to steer people towards buying training through them.
Unfortunately, much of the information that they put out there is either misleading or, in many cases, simply not correct.
We ran a Twitter thread on it recently, where we highlighted the misleading and incorrect information that they were offering:
THREAD: Beware of companies such as @HGVTC @EasyAsHGV @hgvtrainingteam – they charge vastly more than market rate for training that they do not deliver themselves. We were quoted by one over £600 for a #DriverCPC course that, at the time, we charged less than £300 for.— Backline Logistics (@BacklineHGV) July 9, 2019
As you can see – we got through quite a lot of highlighter!
How to beat the brokers?
If you want to make sure you don’t fall victim to the scandalous prices charged by these brokers for seemingly little to no benefit whatsoever, there are a few steps that you can take.
- Ask lots of questions. You should satisfy yourself that the company you book your training with knows what they are talking about and – perhaps most importantly – that they deliver the training themselves. Genuine training providers will be happy to answer your questions.
- Shop around. Just doing something as simple as getting quotes from a few different companies should allow you to check whether what you’ve been quoted is reasonable or not.
- Beware of “one-stop-shops”. Everything under one roof often means you’ll end up paying through the roof.
By going direct to the training provider, you’ll save money and get a better overall service than you would do otherwise.