It can’t be denied that lesson prices have significantly increased in the past few years – and have almost tripled since our parents first took lessons. This is due in part to an increase in demand, the fact that we’re all earning higher wages and, of course, ever-rising fuel prices. After all, driving instructors have to make a profit like everyone else.
Lesson prices in the UK currently average at £22, with minimum prices hovering at around £17 and maximum charges peaking at £26. This isn’t a bad range, although location has a lot to do with pricing, and you’ll pay more for inner-city and London borough instructors than you might in Cumbria, for instance.
That said, there are several good deals around that anyone, no matter their postcode, can take advantage of.
Most lesson price deals are offered by big-name chain companies, and although many only deal with the first 5 or 6 lessons (out of the potential 30-40 you might eventually take) there are still some bargains to be had.
Lessons with the AA average £24, slightly above the national average. However, if you book your lessons in advance you can save £2 for every lesson – that’s £60-80 over the course of your driving tuition.
Booking your driving lessons in bulk is also a good way to get savings, and if you don’t need them all, you can get a full refund on any unused lesson time.
Bill Plant instructors offer an introductory offer of £56 for 5 lessons – that’s just over £11 a lesson. Not bad, at half the national average, and ideal if you’re starting out.
However, companies which offer similar, cut-price offers can afford to do so because they expect your first 5 lessons to mostly involve learning your way round a car, doing small pieces of driving at 10mph, and possibly learning some of your theory test knowledge.
In other words, it’s an easy lesson for them. If you call up and request this offer but tell them you’ve had previous experience driving, they’re unlikely to give it to you.
Bill Plant do redeem themselves in terms of standard and bulk-buy lesson prices, though. Their normal rate is £21.95 for manual and £23.95 for automatic transmissions, but you can get 10 lessons for a bargain £165.75 (although this does include the 5 for £56 offer) and 20 lessons for £385.25.
BSM lesson prices vary depending on your postcode, and you can only find out what the actual cost will be when you call up your local instructor. However, prices tend to average around the £22 mark, so you shouldn’t be paying much more than this unless you’re in the London borough or city areas.
BSM also offer an introductory rate of 5 lessons for £95 – at less than £20 per lesson, that’s still good value, and the quality of instruction is generally guaranteed to be higher, as BSM instructors are required to provide a good standard of tuition.
What’s more, BSM offer the Fats Pass Guarantee intensive course – 30 or 40 hours of intensive driving tuition, with the aim of getting you a ‘pass’ in your practical in as short a time as possible.
Which leads us nicely into the lesson pricing of…
Intensive crash courses can be an exceptionally good way to save money and time, as long as you have the cash to hand. Most courses are over 1 or 2 weeks and pack 30 to 40 hours of tuition into this time, as well as your practical test.
What’s more, lesson prices for the week start from £600 – which even for 30 hours works out at only £20 an hour, and even less for 40 lessons – and don’t forget that includes the price of your practical test!
However, intensive courses require you to pay up-front, so you’ll need £600 in your bank account before you can even consider doing one.
There are more expensive options, depending on whether you choose to learn away from home (and therefore need a hotel during your tuition as well), and prices can bump up to £1200. However, if you’ve got the money, they’re nearly always a cheaper alternative to standard lessons.
Think about the maxim ‘quality over quantity’. You might pay more for some lessons, but if the quality of the tuition is higher you might also need fewer lessons – which could save you money overall.
Furthermore, if you’re on a budget, consider learning with a trainee ADI (approved driving instructor). These are people that are currently training to be DSA-approved instructors, but who need experience of teaching people to get their qualification. If you’re quite confident already in a car, or you’re low on pocket money, this is a cheaper alternative without compromising too much on quality.