Multi-car driving school, or independent instructor:
We include this page because it is often thought that learning to drive with a big organisation provides a better quality experience. However, in our opinion this is not necessarily the case, although we may be biased.
What we have learnt over many years in the driver training industry is that multi-car driving schools generally have less experienced instructors working for them, because this is how most instructors learn their trade. When the instructors have enough experience, and have built up a reputation, they leave - to avoid the franchise costs, or other associated fees, and start-up on their own. This means that the most experienced instructors are usually independent.
Most multi-car driving schools operate as a booking agency, they advertise, and then when they get prospective pupils they pass the pupil’s details on to a self-employed instructor. Their instructors will usually pay the school / agency a regular fee, which is sometimes a formal franchise agreement, so that they are considered for work when it is available. When the instructor is working for the school they will normally be required to display the school’s roof-sign, or advertising. Usually the instructor will also have to pay an additional fee for each pupil supplied.
The way that this set-up affects the customer is that although the booking is through the school, the contract for lessons is solely between the pupil and the individual self-employed instructor, as usually stated in the school’s terms and conditions. This limits the school’s responsibility, and means that any disputes that arise, are usually the responsibility of the instructor to sort out with the customer.
Although the school allocates the instructor they are unlikely to provide any specific details about them, such as their qualifications or experience, or if they are a trainee PDI instructor. All the customer has is generalised information from the school’s advertising that says that they have some highly qualified and experienced instructors. Exactly what those qualifications are, whether they are relevant, and what type of experience they have, is usually not disclosed or elaborated upon. And even if they do have one or two excellent, relevantly highly qualified, experienced instructors – it may not be one of them that turns up.
So the only way that you can be sure of learning to drive with a fully qualified ADI instructor, who relies on their individual reputation, and takes full responsibility for the service they provide; is to book with an independent instructor, like Alan. Someone who has all the relevant experience and qualifications, provides you with all the information you need to make an informed decision before you call, and gives you the opportunity to do a no-obligation trial lesson before you commit yourself to anything further.
To find out more please see the following links:
BBC article about trainee instructors
Franchises available to trainee or newly qualified instructors
AA terms and conditions