If you’re thinking about getting your LGV licence then the topic of how much your LGV driving course will cost will be one of your primary considerations.
There are many, many (many!) factors that can effect how much you will pay to get qualified as a lorry driver.
We will discuss them in depth as the article progresses, but the main factors are:
- The type of licence you want to get
- Trainer to student ratio
- Hours included in the course
- Facilities at the training centre
- The market position of the HGV training company, budget vs premium
So let’s dive deep into the cost of LGV training courses, find out exactly what the cheapest LGV driving schools do differently to the expensive ones, and why price is definitely not the most important thing to look at when deciding on the best LGV training school near you.
Lets’s start with the different course available. Check out our article about understanding the different LGV driving licence categories to understand the different LGV licences and what they allow you to drive.
If you are looking for a provider to help you get your C1 driving licence then you will be pleased to know that the price for a C1 driving course could be just a few hundred pounds.
Most training companies use 5 tonne vans for their C1 licence training. These are easier to drive and significantly cheaper to run than a full sized lorry. So a shorter course is much more viable for a C1 licence.
Yet if you want to get a class 1 driving licence (category C+E) the price could be several times that. Driving a lorry is much more complex than driving a car or van. You’ll need to consider the difference in performance, size and handling which will be completely different in a lorry. And that takes time to get used to.
Generally, the larger the vehicle, the longer the course will be and the more it will cost.
Running a lorry is also incredibly expensive. The cost to fill up an artic with diesel and AdBlue is approaching £1,000. When climbing a hill the MPG of a loaded artic is 1. Yes, you read that correctly! 1 mile to the gallon!
Then consider the cost of routine maintenance with tyres and brakes all costing many times more than they would for a car or van, plus insurance and VED for a lorry and you can see how the price quickly ads up.
Other factors that influence the pricing of lorry driving courses are the trainer to student ratio. If there are 2 students per lorry and instructor then the price will likely be cheaper. Whilst you will get the benefit of a cheaper course you won’t spend as much time driving as half your time will be spent watching the other student drive. You can expect to pay more if you have a lorry and instructor all to yourself on a one to one basis.
The length of the course you are taking is also to be considered. It stands to reason that a 2 day course will be cheaper than a 2 week course! But you will need to ensure the course you choose gives you sufficient time to practice the techniques needed to drive a lorry and gives you all the skills needed so you stand a good chance of passing your test.
It can often be difficult to compare LGV training companies on a like for like basis. A good example of this is when looking at how many days your course will be. In the LGV training world a day can be anything from 3 hours to 8! It’s wise to check a school’s definition of a day and add up the amount of hours on offer. And don’t forget to halve them if the training is 2-to-1.
Choosing the shortest course you can find irrespective of your experience is a recipe for going into the test under prepared, failing and spending more money in the long run on retests and additional training.
Another factor that can dramatically affect the price of LGV training is the facilities at the training centre. In 2021 the DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) who oversee driving tests, allowed training companies to conduct the 3a driving test. This is the test of reversing and coupling/uncoupling a trailer if applicable. The requirements of the test are quite strict, in order to be approved the training centre needs to have a properly surfaced and marked out reversing test area. Most large LGV training companies will have a reversing area for you to practice and do your test. Some smaller operators won’t have these facilities.
Whilst being able to train and do your test in the same area is a huge benefit to the person doing the training, it does mean increased costs as the land has to be paid for. If the training company does not have their own reversing area they will likely be able to provide cheaper training, BUT you should ask where their reversing practice area is. If they do not have their own area then you could be expected to reverse in (often busy) services or round the back of industrial estates. This can bring legal problems because in law, anywhere the public has access to is classed as a public place, even if it is privately owned. This means that traffic laws still apply. If you are in the vehicle without a supervising driver then you could be prosecuted for driving otherwise in accordance with your licence. So it pays to use a provider that has their own private area where the public are prevented access by a fence and/or gate. Be careful!
The price for LGV driver training can also vary depending on the area of the country you are in. As with many things, prices in the south east will be more expensive than elsewhere. It may even be cheaper for you to travel out of your area, find a budget hotel and do your training outside of your immediate area.
Other ways lorry driving schools can cut the price of their training courses include only having self employed instructors, rather than employing them on PAYE properly. This is to avoid paying their tax, National Insurance and holiday pay. Since the introduction of IR35 this practice has been reduced, but is still common. Larger, more reputable schools will likely have their instructors on the payroll and meet their legal obligations relating to tax and National Insurance etc. Many smaller schools won’t.
If you’ve found a particularly cheap provider you should ask yourself why they are so much cheaper than the competition. Have they got plenty of referrals from happy customers keeping their diary busy? Or are they quiet because none of their previous customers would ever send their friends there and they are desperate for work?
There are many reasons that the price of HGV driving courses can vary so much between providers. And it is really important to stress that just because you’ve found the cheapest HGV training company in the UK, it does NOT mean they are no good! Just as the most expensive is not automatically excellent either.
Do your due diligence when choosing a company. Speak to them, ask questions. How responsive and helpful are they? How many reviews do they have? How helpful is their website? What is your gut instinct? Do they pressure you to buy on the first contact with them (this should ring alarm bells!)? Or are they happy if they say you want to think about it? Are they happy for you to visit them and see their facilities and vehicles? If not, what are they hiding? How do you feel they would react if there was a problem and you complained? Do they seem trustworthy and approachable?
Don’t just choose based on price alone, that is a recipe for disappointment.
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