Save yourself a ton of money and go with a quality driving school – here’s why

Naturally, you want a great deal on driving lessons, but make sure cheap driving lessons aren’t cheap because they are worthless!  At Rio Driving School, we hear the same thing all the time:

“I went with ‘X’ driving school/instructor because they were quite cheap – but ended up spending a fortune and I wasn’t getting anywhere!”

Are cheap driving lesson really saving you money?

Have you seen those “special offers”?  You know the ones – 10 driving lessons for just £99 or something ridiculous like that!

Ask yourself a question: how can the driving instructor earn a living? This offer equates to 1 lesson costing you £9.90.  Sounds ok?  Well…

If you subtract from this total, the cost of the fuel for the instructor’s journey to you and for the duration of the lesson, he/she is left with very little afterwards.  On top of that, they have to pay for all the maintenance for the vehicle you are using – new tyres, servicing, MOT, Insurance…..

Our point?  To make this offer financially viable for the instructor he/she might have to do a number of other things.

Let’s take a look at some of the things to be wary of:

  • ‘1 lesson = 45min’
    Watch out for this, most people assume a driving lesson is for a full hour.  I am not sure what can be accomplished in just 45 minutes.  After all, you have to drive from your house to the location for the lesson and then often listen to a detailed brief.  Will you be learning a new manoeuvre? Doing dual carriageway work? Practising roundabouts?  How much time will you get practising and perfecting these new skills before it is time to head back home?
    ‘Lessons involve a lot of theory, i.e. not practising how to drive.‘
    In other words – sitting still at the kerb side with the engine switched off (to save fuel!)  Whilst some theory will be necessary to introduce new subjects or remedy serious driving faults, the majority of your driving lesson should be spent actually driving.
  • ‘Piggy-backing’
    This term refers to sharing the car with another pupil.  This practise is still going on.  Would you feel at ease learning to drive with someone else in the car watching over you?  Why does this still happen?  Whilst not illegal it is questionable as to whether it is moral.  The driving instructor who does this reduces his “dead time” – the time travelling from one pupil to the next by getting his novice driver to finish the lesson at the next pupil’s house.  This next lesson begins with the new pupil driving the other pupil home.
    Hmmm – let’s hope they live close to each other or they won’t be learning anything new today!
  • ‘lots of “extra lessons”’
    As the label suggests, you may feel that the instructor is delaying your progress to independent driving.  One way to gauge your test readiness is to simply listen.  Does the instructor say much to you during the lesson? Is he/she still correcting mistakes? If the driving instructor remains quiet a lot of the time you may well already be test-ready.
  • “minimum bookings of 2 lessons combined at one appointment”.  Again, this strategy minimises the “dead time” for the instructor.  If this is forced upon you be wary.  Some special offers have terms built in.  E.g. pay for 5 hours and have them spread over x2 2.5hr lessons.  Having 2 hour lessons is useful for some situations like mock tests, or developing concentration stamina.  During the early days, though, 2 hours can be exhausting and you may struggle to remember everything after an hour or so.

Driving Lesson Costs – The Real Truth

Far too many people choose a driving school because they give ‘cheap’ driving lessons. But look at how in fact, these ‘cheap’ driving lessons can be more expensive:

60 cheap lessons at £16 = £960 + 3 driving test attempts £186 = £1146

35 quality lessons at £24 = £840 + 1 driving test attempt £62 = £902 So the cheap lessons could cost you £244 extra or possibly even more!

Please remember – you are learning a very important life skill.  You are effectively trusting a driving instructor to teach you all the skills and thoroughly and prepare you for the very dangerous road conditions you could face. This is crucially far more important than gaining a pass certificate.  (See our next article ‘How to find the Best Driving Instructor’).

Doing the bare minimum with a “cheap” driving instructor is not going to keep you safe, and as outlined above – will probably cost you more money in the long run, anyway.

One more thing!  35 lessons take less time to teach than 60 lessons – so get the quality driving lessons and you’ll be on the road faster too!

As I see it, cheap driving lessons are very bad for the driving industry as a whole.  They undermine the safety of everyone using the public highway.

LEARN TO DRIVE! …not just pass the test!

To do this means that you have to drive the car as much as possible so that you can learn not only how to control it but how to observe the road ahead and make good decisions about speed, position, signals, etc…

In order for an instructor to keep you moving and learning (and not sitting still at the kerbside), the instructor needs to ensure the following costs are covered:

  • car finance
  • franchise fees
  • fuel
  • tyres
  • wear & tear on the car (brakes, clutch etc)
  • insurance
  • road tax
  • instructors time

Ask yourself a question: how is it possible to do this for £10.00 or even £15.00? – only by cutting corners. (If you’re not moving there are no fuel costs, or tyre wear, or general wear & tear)

Respectable gas engineers charge at least £50.00 per hour and people pay it because not having the gas system installed properly kills people. Why should driving be any different especially when more youngsters die in cars on the road each year than in gas related incidents!

What you are taught should keep you and your passengers safe once you have passed the test and are driving alone.  If you value your life then take quality driving tuition and pay that bit extra more per hour, but be taught correctly from lesson one.

“It’s unwise to pay too much. But it’s worse to pay too little.
When you pay too much, you lose a little money that is all.
When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything,
because the thing you bought was
incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.
The common law of business balance
prohibits paying a little and getting a lot; it can’t be done.
If you deal with the lowest bidder
it’s as well to add something for the risk you run,
and if you can do that you will have enough,
to pay for something better.”

John Rusking (1819 – 1900)

Best of Luck!

Paul J. Fisher, Advanced Driving Instructor

For more information or to book lessons please call
0800 566 8636