Want to know the cost of getting your lorry licence – but how can you tell you are speaking to a proper HGV driver training school?
It’s tempting to go on line and contact the first company listed on Google.
But Beware - they may be a Broker or an Agent and not a genuine Training School
- They maybe at the top but it doesn't mean they are the best?
- They may offer finance but could they be getting commission on pushing you to take a loan?
- Their website shows pictures of plenty of nice looking, modern, vehicles but who do they belong to?
- Photos of happy, welcoming, office staff and instructors but are they really their employees?
- They say their instructors are qualified but are they listed on the Accredited Bodies Website?
- They seem to have loads of branches but they are just passing your booking on the a third party?
- They appear to have good ratings but are they 'after' the driving course is completed or just after the theory?
- They say they've hotline to the best paid driving jobs around but are they just referring you to an Agency?
Regrettably, unless your dealing direct with the school, there are some 'Red Flags' that you need to be aware of.
Top of the List?
Yes, but only because they’ve paid more than anyone else for an advert on Google.
Try looking past the first few listings, maybe go further down page 1 or even page 3 or 3 to find a listing from a local school who's not just spending a ‘marketing budget’ to get into the first few position on Google. Wouldn’t you prefer to pay less and have your money go to training, not paying for someone’s Adverts or Salesman Commission.
Offering Finance (especially, 0% finance)?
They are probably “loading” the interest charges into the booking fees and hiding the true details and cost of your training. And if you are being pushed really hard to take out a loan they could be thinking about the extra commission they’ll get from the finance company to persuade you to take on a loan.
Slick looking, single colour and non-SignWritten fleet of vehicles?
Probably it's a stock photos, bought from a website that sells artistic pictures of trucks or other vehicles. You’d be wise to visit the school and take a look at the actual training vehicle(s). Perhaps their website only shows working vehicles maybe because they haven’t got any training vehicles at all
Stock photo websites also sell pictures of good looking models with Call Centre headsets or staged photos of hunky guys standing and posing by vehicles. Real booking staff and instructors maybe so pretty, but they know how to help you arrange your training, teach you to drive a truck and get you through your test.
Qualified & Accredited?
The DVSA don’t hold a register anymore. Don’t be fooled by seeing RHA or FTA/UK Logistics logo’s it just means someone has paid for their membership and these bodies don’t regulate the quality of driver training. Visit NRI & NVDIR websites to find schools and instructors who hold genuine HGV/LGV training qualifications.
How long have they been trading?
Genuine schools websites show their Registered Office Address and their Company Registration Number (and if you’ve really got to search hard to find the details in the small print of their Terms what else are they hiding?). Go to Companies House website and search. See if you can find them? How long they’ve been in business? If they’ve only been around for a short while could they really have grown to be such a big school overnight? Could you visit them (or is it just a Serviced Office) and talk to their office staff or an instructor in person and get in their vehicles?
35, 50 or 100 branches?
Sorry, but there isn’t any national HGV/LGV schools. So this statement means they are a Call Centre, a brokerage or agents that will re-sell your booking on to a local instructor. Why not go directly to your local instructor and save yourself Salesman’s Commission!
If you ever watched the video about some guys who made fake food and got their friends to add fantastic reviews get top ratings for their mock restaurant website (and hide the bad reviews), then you’d never believe Trust Pilot and such review platforms again.
OK some reviews training schools may be genuine, but perhaps they only relate to learning the theory? Surely it’s the ratings of the whole booking, including the driving that you want to know about.
Yes, there is a shortage of drivers but being newly qualified you’re probably not going to walk into a top jobs right away. Be realistic, get some experience and build up your skills. Don’t be lured by grand, unrealistic promises from Broker Salesmen. Genuine schools are always being approached by companies looking to take on new drivers because the employers know the school and instructors have an excellent reputation. Employers are happy to help newly qualified drivers from a ‘good training’ background.
What can I do to protect myself?
Ask drivers or your transport manager for local recommendations. They’ll know which training schools have been around for years and who’s got a good reputation.
Phone the school in office hours, or ask for an appointment to visit them.
Don’t be lured by promises of quick dates for training and tests, good schools have waiting lists.
If you get pestered, with several call backs, and asked to spend large amounts of money (or repeatedly asked to take out a loan) then alarm bells should start ringing