With the transport and logistics sector being such a key part of our economy, you’d be forgiven for thinking that companies that provide HGV training are heavily regulated and the chance of getting caught out by a dodgy company would be an unlikely thing. Sadly however, this is not the case. The HGV training industry is barely regulated at all. Therefore, it can be tricky to find a good quality training company who has your best interests at heart. Fear not though, our list of 10 mistakes when booking HGV training will help ensure you don’t waste your money, and that you get the licence you need with the minimum fuss and stress.
Shop around by enquiring with a few local companies, ask for a trial/assessment drive, and meet an instructor if possible.
At this point you might be thinking: ‘why should I trust what you say?’ If there are so many unscrupulous companies out there, what makes us trustworthy? Quite simply, protecting customers is our aim at TrainingMentor.co.uk. We don’t sell HGV courses so we’re not looking to make money from you. All our advice is impartial and written by industry experts with years of experience. We’re here to help you, the trainee.
Don’t sign up over the phone
THE NUMBER ONE PIECE OF ADVICE WHEN LOOKING FOR HGV TRAINING! Don’t be tempted to book an HGV training course over the phone before you’ve been to visit the company in person. Many of the best looking companies you’ll find on the internet do not actually train you and will only make the booking on your behalf, taking a commission in the process. These are known as brokers, and they will choose the training school they send you to which may not even be near you. We have written a guide specifically on this subject. Don’t get caught out, always visit the training school yourself to ensure they actually own vehicles and employ instructors.
Don’t just consider companies with qualified instructors
There are two national qualifications for HGV instructors: the NRI and the NVDIR, however, being included on these is not mandatory. This means the majority of instructors are not listed on either register. Booking with a qualified instructor can give you some assurance into the quality of training you’ll receive. However, there are many instructors who are not registered who are extremely experienced and very good at their job. Your best option is to use customer feedback to get the best understanding of the quality of an instructor or training company – read on for more information about review sites.
Don’t just look for the cheapest option
HGV training courses don’t come cheap. On average, to gain a Category C licence you’re going to be spending £1500-£2000, including theory tests, medical etc. It can therefore be tempting to look for the cheapest option. Make sure you do your research though, if you book with a company based on price alone, you may end up failing your test multiple times and have to pay out for re-tests – in the region of £350-£400 each time. Buy the best HGV training course you can afford and use trusted customer feedback to find the best companies in your area.
Make sure to shop around
HGV training companies can vary massively. Different businesses will own different vehicles and facilities, and have instructors with very different styles. What might be best for someone else might not be best for you. Shop around by enquiring with a few local companies, ask for a trial/assessment drive, and meet an instructor if possible.
Don’t assume that passing your HGV test in an automatic will mean you can only drive automatic trucks.
In January 2014 the requirement for an 8-speed manual vehicle for test was abolished. You can now take your test in an automatic truck, and providing you hold a manual car licence, you will be able to drive manual trucks after you pass.
Don’t try to rush to save money
As mentioned in Point 3, the cost of a re-test can be substantial. Give yourself the best chance of passing first time by booking the right length course for your needs. If the biggest thing you’ve ever driven is a car, you would be best looking at around 18-20 hours. This includes the test. If you have some experience with large vans or 7.5t vehicles, you may be OK with 16 hours. If you’re not sure, ask a reputable training company for an assessment.
Be wary of long training sessions
For example: a 16 hour course taken in two 8-hour sessions over two days, is NOT the same as spreading the 16 hour course over four days, with 4 hours training on each. You will be learning and improving many skills during your courses. Subsequently, doing shorter sessions will improve your ability to retain the new information and put it into practice. Some companies will try to condense your training into less time to suit themselves. Don’t overload yourself.
Don’t book with a company just based on their ‘pass-rate’
Test pass rates are a controversial topic in the industry for a number of reasons. First, different people calculate rates in different ways, meaning some advertised rates are not what they seem. Equally, keeping a high pass rate depends a lot on the quality of the driver, not just the instructor. This is something which is out of the control of the training school. We recommend you don’t book based only on the pass rate a company advertises. Also, be aware that the national average for HGV test passes is around 50%, with the best performing companies being able to push that up to around 75%. If you find a company advertising pass rates of 90%+, ask for proof. Very few companies can genuinely hit a 90% first time pass rate.
Be wary using Google to search for the best HGV training company
Using Google (and other search engines) is a risky way to search for HGV training. At the top of search results you’ll often find companies calling themselves ’The UK’s best’ or ‘The UK’s biggest’. Remember, the top results in search engines are there because companies have paid to be there. Sure, you may find a good quality training company at the top too, but don’t assume this means they’re reputable. Search for a training company on www.trainingmentor.co.uk. We only list genuine training companies here – no brokers/middlemen.
Don’t trust all online reviews
Unfortunately, many online review sites display fake reviews. This can mean some poor quality companies will have 5-star ratings. The only way to get a trusted rating of an HGV training company is to search through www.trainingmentor.co.uk. We’re the only industry review site who check reviews for authenticity. Any reviews that cannot be verified are not shown on the website. Another trick we’ve seen brokers play with review sites is they request a review from the trainee immediately after signing up. They will give advice and set the trainee up with theory practice software and then say “Hey, if you’re happy with what we’ve done, would you leave us a 5 star review?” A lot of reviews for brokers will not mention the actual driving course for this reason.