Everything You Need to Know About Operating a Driving School
February 15 2022 - Driving schools can be profitable. After all, there are over 212 million drivers in the United States. Cars are the primary mode of transportation for most Americans, so the demand for driving skills is high.
A driving school franchise may offer instruction to drivers at all levels. Or, it may specialize. Defensive driving, CDL-license courses, chauffeur training, and motorcycle instruction are all popular specializations.
Driving schools give students the skills to succeed in many facets of life. If you want to run a driving school - or a whole franchise - read on to learn what you'll need to do.
1. Learn Your State's Mandates
Different states impose different legal mandates on driving school owners. These mandates are minimum requirements you must meet to operate your school legally. Most mandates fall into four categories.
Driving school insurance requirements include:
- Per-vehicle coverage
- Minimum mandatory liability insurance
- Worker's comp
Driving schools must pass annual fire inspections. Prepare for fire inspection by reading information published by your state's fire marshall.
Filing & Background Checks
Keep comprehensive records on file. You'll need a filed copy of:
- Instructional materials
- Student contracts
- Records of student progress, certificates of completion
- Instructor licenses
- Insurance certificates
- Assessments of instructors
Subject all staff working with minors to relevant background checks.
Your driving school must abide by your state's mandatory curricula requirements. Develop a syllabus that stays up to date with current highway and traffic laws. Planned curricula must meet educational mandates.
2. Secure and Maintain Mandatory Licenses
Some states require driving school owners to maintain a specific driving school owner's license. Determine what ownership licensure requirements are in your state. You might have to designate yourself as an Authorizing official.
You'll have to establish your business as an LLC or corporation. Read this IRS guide to incorporate your driving lessons business.
3. Register Your Driving School Business
Some states have business registration requirements. To register your business, you may need a "Doing Business As" form. Talk to your state agency or county clerk to complete that paperwork.
You'll also need to obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. Certain states require businesses to register with their Department of Revenue.
4. Secure a Lease
Lease space for your school's classrooms. State laws may require your school's space to meet certain standards, including:
- Zoning codes
- Internet and email access
- Public access during business hours
- Inspection reports and instructor certification displays
Most states require driving school classrooms to maintain seating for at least ten students.
5. Hire Instructors
Driving instructors are a school's most critical staff. In most states, all driving instructors must:
Driving instructors must be licensed and certified in any course they teach. For example, a CDL instructor must have a CDL license for at least two years.
- Be age 21 or older
- Maintain a valid driver's license for the last two years
- Hold a valid high school diploma or GED
Instructors Must Pass Examinations
Every driving school instructor must pass relevant examinations. Legally, you must fill driving school instructor jobs with people who:
- Have attended an official driving instructor course
- Pass all relevant knowledge and skills tests
- Pass a criminal background check
Scrutinize any driving-related misdemeanors on an applicant's record seriously before hiring.
6. Maintain Vehicles
Perform regular, professional maintenance on your school's vehicles. All vehicles must have dual-control breaks. Vehicles must meet state requirements for "student driver" signage.
Skills, Strategies, and More
Now you know what it takes to own and manage a driving school. Ready to learn more? Browse our library to discover more skills, strategies, and life hacks to get you where you want to go in life.
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