What car do you use to teach in?
I use a manual 6 speed gear box 1.6 turbo diesel 2013 Kia Cee’d. My current students love driving it. It is a good sized car with good visibility and enough power for novice drivers. I hope to upgrade to a newer model later in the year.
How many lessons will it take me to pass my test?
Basically, it comes down to this – every student is different with different needs. Some people learn very quickly while others take longer. You have to learn at your own pace in order to progress.
But my dad says he only needed 10 lessons!
That may or may not be the case. Some people are lucky enough to get some private practice with mum or dad between lessons, in which case I might only see them a handful of times. Others only ever drive their instructor’s car which means I usually see them every week for several months. It is also worth noting that driving in general has changed considerably over the years. We now have a lot more traffic, pedestrian crossings, cycle lanes and boxes, bus lanes, box junctions, roundabouts and traffic lights, all for safety and also to keep the traffic flowing. These may have been minimal when mum or dad was learning to drive.
Is it true that Driving Examiners have to fail so many people each week?
This rumour has been doing the rounds since before I was a learner. What it boils down to is this – if you show the Examiner you can drive safely you should pass. If you do something that could endanger yourself or other road users, you will most likely fail. They understand that you might be nervous and most Examiners will take this into account.
Which car do I sit my test in?
I always recommend that you take your test in the car with which you are most comfortable. Some people who regularly drive their own or their parents’ car might prefer that one. Just be sure to supply an extra interior mirror for the Examiner and also make sure your insurance covers you. If you mostly drive your instructor’s car then I recommend that one. Most students I have found prefer to take my car because of the dual controls.
Who books my test?
The student is normally responsible for booking their own theory and practical tests. Some instructors prefer to book practical tests for their students as they know when their own car is available. Just be sure to book through the legitimate website – .gov.uk – as there are a few websites claiming to offer a free retest if you fail. These are usually a scam and it can be difficult to get your money back.
Why is your standard hourly rate £22 when I can book 5 hours for £50 or 10 hours for £99 elsewhere?
Fair point. These deals usually come with clauses so please ensure you read the small print. If you choose a deal like this you will often find that you will need to pay in full up front. You will then most likely only get half of the lessons – the other half might be ‘held back’ for when you are at test standard and may include a mock test and a practice hour before test and then the hire of the car for the test itself. Any hours in between will usually have to be paid to your instructor at their own rate, which could be a minimum of £22 an hour. I also have special offers and discounts for block bookings but without the small print. The price you are quoted is the price you will pay!
Isn’t £22 still quite expensive for just for one hour?
Not really when you break down the overall cost. The car itself needs paid for, as does the fuel, servicing and insurance. I also have to pay for the dual controls and extra mirrors. I have to buy teaching and advertising materials. I also pay for my DVSA licence which is a legal requirement. I also have to recoup the cost of my ADI training and make a decent living.For example, say my income for one week is £300. If my total outgoings comes to £150 for the same week, I am in profit by £150. If I have done 20 hours that week, I have worked for £7.50 an hour. Is that a fair wage?
Can I make it a bit more affordable?
You can make you lessons cheaper by two ways. Firstly, buy block bookings and pay up front. Secondly, refer a friend who takes at least 2 hours and I will give you another discount.
Why do you have a cancellation policy?
Most of the larger, national driving schools have a 48 hour minimum cancellation policy and will charge you if you don’t notify them within that period. All I ask is 24 hours notice. Let’s turn this around. Say you had a lesson booked and I called you an hour or 2 before to say I couldn’t do it – would you be happy with this? If you had known earlier you could have made other plans. It is the same for me. As long as I know well in advance if you can’t do your lesson, I can try and fit someone else into that slot. Cancellation charges are discretionary but repeat offenders will be required to pay a deposit or possibly find another instructor.