Once you get up and running and successfully position your business in your area, success is almost inevitable.
Of course, it takes work, but these 10 tips for starting your Bi-lingual driving school will help you. This is based on a proven formula of looking at the success of driving schools in North America and Europe.
10 steps to start your driving school:
1. Research the driving school licensing requirements in your state.
Each state has its own requirements, usually on the state's Department of Motor Vehicles website (here's New York, for example). Other states may call this the Department of Licensing or other names. Ultimately, you want to find out if (a) you need to declare a workplace, (b) take a separate exam to become an instructor, and © you need your vehicle (s) to meet a certain form of inspection.
Because state requirements vary widely (for example, some do not require a physical location to represent the state of your business, some do), you'll want to know this ahead of time. It will affect your costs to start the business.
2. Create a budget for a driving school start-up.
Now that you know the state requirements, you will need to create a budget. If you have a vehicle that works for your business, your budget should include money for rent (if you need a location), advertising, vehicle maintenance, and gas. If you plan to hire an instructor or administrative help to get started (most new driving schools don't do this), budget for that, too.
3. Research the driving school competition.
Since everyone needs to learn to drive, most locations already have some way to provide driver education to the local community, which is good! Assessing the competition will give you a path to business victory.
You want to know (1) who the other driving schools are in the area, (2) what services they offer and what the prices are for those services, and (3) local high schools, churches, or other community organizations provide free education services vial for the community.
4. Create your driving school services and price list.
You already know what the competition offers as you completed Step 3. You may find, for example, offering behind-the-wheel driving lessons is a better opportunity for you than offering defensive driving classes in the classroom, especially if there are more schools. defensive driving in your area.
Regardless, for your new driving school, try to choose a price that you think is competitive and that you can afford. You want to start getting customers, but you should also be making money from day one. Don't just give business lessons at too low a price.
5. Get your driving instructor license.
At this point, you should know all the basics about your driving school: the services on offer, the location if you need it, the area where your customers are located, and the budget you plan to start with. When you finally get your driving instructor license, you are ready to go to work!
6. Develop a lesson plan and curriculum.
Whether you offer just behind-the-wheel lessons or a full suite or classroom and behind-the-wheel services, you'll want to know what you plan to teach your students.
For classroom services, you can purchase packaged lesson materials from the list of DMV-approved vendors. Some national providers, like AAA, provide a good co-branding opportunity for your school. Imagine telling parents that your driving school uses direct lessons from AAA, it sounds pretty good right? You can learn more about them here.
Your behind-the-wheel lesson plan should include routes that are safe for the student and, over time, allow them to experience different road and traffic conditions. If you can, try to learn the practical test route provided by the local DMV; training for the test will help you and your students know that the fundamentals are being covered.
7. Advertise your driving school!
Exciting! You are an entrepreneur and the sky is the limit for your new business, and now is the time to land your first client. DrivingSchool.Marketing is the world's leading provider of Internet advertising services for driving schools; We've also written about driving school advertising as a two-part series. Bottom line: website, Google, local high school connections, social media, and additional associations such as hospitals and court systems. Call us if you want help solving this problem.
8. Improve your driving school's online presence.
Teenagers are on their phones constantly, just like their parents. In the past, word of mouth was enough to grow a business, but now people stop at Google on their way to finding a local business. Make sure your driving school can be found online when someone tries to find you by name and when someone just Google "driving school + your location" and related word combinations. That is a guaranteed business opportunity.
9. Ask your customers for testimonials and reviews.
As you build your brand, keep in mind that online reviews will help you. Ask parents, teens, seniors, defensive driving students, and any other customers you have for a positive review online. Improving your reputation online will help you persuade more and more customers to choose you over the competition. Also, as your online reviews improve, you can increase your prices; after all, you are the premium driving school in town!
10. Organize your administrative systems - then grow your driving school!
Once you get to this point, you are well on your way to success. Different states have different requirements for record keeping related to students meeting classroom and driving requirements. Know your state's requirements and keep clean records from the start. There are software solutions to help you with this. This will also help you at tax time when clean records will save you a ton of money.
And that is! We work with driving schools with 1 employee (the business owner!) And others that are multi-million dollar businesses. Starting a driving school may not be easy, but the rewards are incredible once you get your business done right. For example, unsafe driving practices are the leading causes of teen death in the United States. If at the same time you can help keep our families safe and have an honest and financially rewarding life for yourself and your family ... well that's amazing!