If you are considering training as an HGV(LGV) driver then this guide is for you. If you have spent any time looking at the various options available to you, you will no doubt have noticed that there are many companies that offer HGV training courses. But which one is right for you? Do they all offer the same level of service? It can be a minefield, and leave you with more questions than answers. Perhaps you’ve heard of HGV training brokers, if not, read on!
What is an HGV training broker?
A training broker is a company that operates as a ‘middleman’ service. They handle the administration of your training but don’t actually direct provide any of the training itself. Broker companies have contracts in place with independent training schools to whom they send their customers to be trained. Brokers by definition do not own training vehicles or have physical training facilities. They don’t even book driving tests, this is all handled by the 3rd party company they work with.
A broker’s services are limited to handling the payment for the course and arranging a medical and theory training. The actual training is being outsourced to another company. You will in most cases pay more than if you were to just book direct with your local training school. You also will have no choice over which company provides your training. You’ll have no information about the training school until you have already paid. At this point, you will be under contract and unable to claim a full refund if you’re unhappy with the company that has been selected to provide your training.
all training schools will guide you through the process step by step. You do not need to book with a broker to get support and help to get your licence.
Why would anyone use a training broker?
If all the services a broker provides can be booked directly (and usually cheaper) why would anyone choose to book their training this way? Why would someone pay a company money to arrange something that they could easily do themselves? The simple answer is: the vast majority of broker customers do not know they are booking with a broker!
Due to poor regulation of the driver training industry, brokers can advertise as if they are direct training providers. They use computer software to edit photographs of trucks and add their company logo, which gives the impression that they own their own vehicles. They will use carefully chosen wording on their website which makes it appear that they are an actual training school, and you will never see clear information that your training will be passed to another company.
Brokers are also well-known in the industry for making claims that they will help you find work, or that they have a database of unique job vacancies. They also like to tell you that they will help to make it easy for you. While that may be true, you should know that all training schools will guide you through the process step by step. You do not need to book with a broker to get support and help to get your licence.
How to tell if a company is a broker
- Search engines
Brokers often appear at the top of Google searches, in the ‘paid adverts’ section. You may also see genuine training providers appear in this area. The reason that brokers are able to appear at the top of Google consistently is their advertising budgets are so much bigger than that of a training school. Training schools have to pay for vehicles (and space to park them), insurance, fuel, driving instructor wages, off-road training areas, the list goes on. This leaves very little money for advertising, and with Google (and other search engines) being a very expensive way to advertise, it is difficult to compete this way.
- UK coverage
Watch out for companies that claim to cover the whole of the UK. Some claim to have 50, 60 or even 100 training centres. There is no such thing as a training school with branches in that many locations. Our research shows us that even the largest genuine training schools have no more than about 15 locations, and companies of this size are rare. HGV training brokers also often use wording such as ’The UK’s biggest/largest/best’ on their websites.
- Job vacancies
While there are some training schools that have connections in the world of transport and may be able to genuinely help you find work, these are not common and most will not make a big fuss about it on their website. Real training schools do what they do best – train people! If you find a training provider’s website that claims to have hundreds of job vacancies, be wary. Most job vacancies listed on broker’s websites are only the same as you’d find on a national job search site, such as Jobsearch (The JobCentre website). If you find one of these sites, try clicking one of the jobs for more information and see which website you end up on!
- Refusal to allow site visits
At Training Mentor we strongly advise that before you part with any of your hard-earned money you visit a company, have a look at their vehicles and meet an instructor. Not only will you then be able to see what their facilities are like, but you’ll immediately know if you are dealing with a genuine training company or a broker. HGV training brokers don’t own vehicles and their ‘facilities’ are actually owned by someone else. Therefore, they will make any excuse possible to stop you from making a visit before you have paid for your course. We have been told reasons such as ‘you cannot visit as you’re not insured to be on site until you have booked’ or ‘the vehicles are not there all the time so we can’t allow you to visit’. An actual training school will always allow you to visit before you book.
- Pressure selling
Most broker sales staff work on commission, so they can be very keen to get you to book quickly. This means once you’ve left your details, they can be relentless. Some have been known to call daily, asking if you’re ready to book yet. In 2017, Training Mentor called a variety of HGV training brokers to research the information being given to customers. Each time we made it clear that we were NOT looking to book immediately and were seeking information. Every company we called tried hard to get us to sign up immediately, with one even asking for card details.
- Unclear pricing
As brokers have multiple different contracts in place with independent training providers, their prices will vary depending on your area. As such, they are unable to easily display prices and usually leave them off their websites. Often they will ask you to contact them or register to find out current prices. Please remember that some genuine training schools will also not show prices on their websites. Please use the six points in this list to judge whether you’re speaking to a broker or an actual training school.
Finding a genuine training provider
Training Mentor is the UK’s most comprehensive directory of training companies. We don’t list brokers on our site and our goal is to help customers find the best local training. Start your search today and ensure that you get the right training at the right price.