Finding a good driving instructor doesn’t need to be down to luck or aimlessly trawling through Google with no idea of what to look for.
Finding a good instructor is the second step towards passing your test after getting your provisional licence and many learners hear horror stories of driving instructors either not being good teachers, or worse, crossing the line between a professional student and pupil relationship.
We’ve put together a handy guide to help you find a good local driving instructor who will have you test ready in no time.
Word of Mouth
Good old fashioned word of mouth. In a world full of search engines, apps and social media, you’ll probably be surprised to hear that word of mouth recommendation is the best way to find a good driving instructor. But word of mouth relies on believing the review and verdict of your most trusted friends or family members, as opposed to solely relying on reviews online.
If you have a friend or family member who has given a particular driving instructor or driving school rave reviews, then you’re probably on to a winner. Take word of mouth reviews as the most trustworthy review of a driving instructor in this article.
There is a reason why marketing and customer service surveys always have the same leading question. “How likely you are to recommend a service to a friend.” This works both ways too. If somebody you trust tells you to avoid a particular driving school, then you’d do well to follow their advice. Ask around and see who your friends and family have heard good things about.
Trustpilot and Other Review Sites
If you don’t have a word of mouth recommendation to rely on, then the next best thing is verified online reviews. There are a lot of review websites but the secret to knowing which reviews to trust relies on the looking at the detail. Businesses using a review platform like Trustpilot with up to date and recent positive reviews can be a good indication of how good the driving school could be.
Furthermore, websites like TrustPilot often have a feature that shows whether or not the review was from a verified customer. See a screenshot from our Trustpilot account below and notice the verified order icon next to the review.
Once you’re confident that the reviews are verified and up to date, then you can be confident that the instructor will be good. It doesn’t take much to spot bad driving schools by way of reviews either. If you see driving schools with consistently poor reviews, then avoid like the plague.
Customer Service Quality
When you decide to contact a driving school and pick up the phone to book your first lesson, notice how the conversation goes. For a start, did they even pick up the phone? Of course it’s normal for a business to not pick the phone up if they are busy, however if you need to chase them repeatedly in order to have a conversation to get prices or availability, then that is a bad sign. Either they have poor customer service, or it isn’t their fault and they are simply too busy.
In either case poor customer service should set off an alarm bell and being too busy should tell you that no matter how good their school may be, they simply don’t have the capacity for you as a pupil.
If you do manage to get through, see if it’s possible to speak directly with the person who would be teaching you. For independent instructors, this is easy, but if you’re contacting a big franchise, then it may be more difficult to speak to your instructor ahead of booking a lesson.
Check That They Are Approved by the DVSA
No matter how good the referrals, reviews or customer service is, if the instructor is not approved by the DVSA then you should avoid them at all costs. You will be surprised how many rogue operators there are across the UK who are unapproved by the DVSA.
You can check and see if the instructor you have in mind is approved by the DVSA by searching the DVSA approved driving instructor database
The database will also show you which instructors are signed up to the ADI code of practice, which is a framework that approved driving instructors can volunteer to sign up to which states a number of rules of conduct covering conduct in lessons, the quality of the car, and standards of business. Because the scheme is voluntary it doesn’t necessarily mean that the instructors not signed up aren’t good at their job, but it can provide extra comfort when booking. The main takeaway from this point is that the instructor needs to be approved by the DVSA.
Finding a good instructor can be tough, but luckily here at Collingwood, we work with hundreds of approved ADI’s. You can use our handy find an instructor tool to help you get started. We also provide insurance for learner drivers who want to do private practice in addition to lessons.