Beginner’s Guide on Starting a Driving School Business in the United Kingdom
If you happen to have a driving license, you must have had experience with a driving instructor. But have you ever thought of having your own driving school and instructing other upcoming drivers? Well, starting a driving school business in the United Kingdom is one of the ventures you can explore. This is because hundreds of thousands of people are keen on getting their hands on the steering wheel. Every year in the UK, there are more than 1.5 million driving tests which mean that the demand is high.
Here’s a guide on starting a driving school business in the United Kingdom.
1. Industry Practice
When you decide on starting a driving school business in the United Kingdom, there are certain factors you must consider. As a professional instructor, you must first pass the three-stage exam, undertake lots of literature and spend some money to be qualified. The business is highly competitive, with suppliers having a great deal of power in negotiating their prices.
Again, the barrier to entry is considerably low with many competitors, setting the pricing very competitive. Driving school business means you’re going to hire trained and certified instructors to provide all the teaching services. The business also requires you to have cars (both manual and automatic transmission) and computer simulators for training clients. Some of the services may range from the adult evening and noon classes for working-class individuals, safe street courses and brush up courses, among others.
The general aim of a driving school is to provide the learner with relevant information, skills and approaches in their driving proficiency. By delivering an effective curriculum both in class and behind the wheel, driving schools make a difference. This type of business is preferable to those who held a full driving license for a minimum of four years before registering as an instructor.
Subsequently, it is crucial to exhibit patience, service knowledge, and a high sense of humour as different learners possess varying personalities. Data protection is vital, especially if your business keeps computerized records of individuals; personal details.
2. Business Registration Process
Starting a driving school in the United Kingdom is profitable if you get it right from the start. But before you begin, first understand the industry and its regulations.
Incorporate Your Business
Any business cannot operate without going through the legal process of registration. Before you decide on company registration in the United Kingdom, you must choose the most suitable structure. In the UK, we have the sole trader, partnership, and company. Besides, your business has to have a legal business name before registration. Begin by registering your business name with the Companies House. Within the same department, you’ll need to have all the legal documents to incorporate a limited company or partnership.
For a limited company, you must have the Memorandum and Articles of Association and the details of directors and shareholders. The UK company incorporation process will be complete once you’ve fulfilled all the requirements.
Choose Your Niche
Depending on your area of qualification, skills, and training, you can decide which niche to concentrate on. For instance, we have large goods vehicles, passenger-carrying vehicles, and motorcycle tuition. Now, with the range of driving tuition services available, you can also choose from the following examples:
- Remedial training for traffic offenders and UK license conversion
- Advanced driving course
- Post-test advance training, for instance, improves courses like Pass Plus and refresher courses.
- Training in special driving skills, for instance, skid-pan, off-road, and much more.
Do Your Market Research
As you plan on starting a driving school business in the United Kingdom, knowing the demand for your services is vital. Therefore, it is critical to conduct market research within the area that you’ll be operating. As most of your customers will be young adults and teenagers, find out the demography of your potential market.
The moment you have established the extent of your market, the next thing is determining the level of competition. Usually, a UK corporate service provider can help you in finding out whether your competitors have any specialist training services or the type of cars they use. Get to know the number of local BSM, AA Driving School or Red franchised instructors. Remember, market research is a continuous process. Your learners will offer you more information about what the competitors are doing out there.
When starting a driving school business in the United Kingdom, you can do with an insurance policy. This is because you are teaching inexperienced drivers who might sometimes cause accidents. And for you to cover your business and protect clients from huge liabilities, you must secure insurance policies. Some of the common insurance policies include the following:
- Motor Vehicle Insurance
This policy covers any damages or theft of the vehicles used in operating your driving school business.
- Approved Driving Instructor Insurance (ADI)
This policy covers several things, including off-road tuition, negligent tuition, loss of earnings, and personal liability if your business gets sued for compensation.
- Public Liability Insurance
This covers any eventuality to a public member’s injury or loss due to your business activities.
- Employer’s Liability Insurance
If you consider employing other people to help run your business, then it’s right to secure this type of insurance policy.
Hiring Experienced Instructors
As a beginner, you can start with one vehicle and have more when you get more clients. This means that you’ll have to hire additional instructors to help you in running the business. Most of the driving school vehicles are specially designed to permit the instructor to always be in control. Therefore, you must hire qualified instructors to make your work easier and avoid unnecessary common mistakes.
Have a Marketing Plan Strategy
The success of your driving school will depend on how you market your business to the target market. For you to get the attention of potential clients, you must be aggressive in your advertising strategies. You can begin by designing a website and putting all the relevant information about your services. Then you can optimize your site with SEOs so that people can easily reach out to your services. Again, having social media platforms where you put out your content is a way of attracting people to your business. Clients’ testimonials and reviews will be of great help to you as you spread the word out there.
Choose a Suitable Location
Before you choose a location for your driving school, ensure that you have a clear idea of your competition, the type of service, and the incentives they offer. It is advisable to go to areas with high numbers of community colleges, high schools, or community organizations. You can go as far as partnering with such institutions to offer driving education services. Remember, your target and your competitors will determine how you’ll price your services.
3. Licenses, Permits, and Regulations
In the UK, there exist various pieces of legislation that apply to driving school business while some to driving instruction. When you plan on starting a driving school business in the United Kingdom, you must find out which licenses apply to driving schools. Let’s have a look at some of the licenses.
The law in Britain requires a professional driving instructor to register with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). You’ll now be an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI), having completed and passed a special three-part test. The fee cost for taking the three tests sums up to approximately 300 pounds (inclusive of any amount spent on ADI training). As a professional instructor, you’ll also need a valid driving license for the category of vehicle you teach in. Again, you must be fit and in the right mind to give driving tuition.
To be declared fit means that you have to undertake a compulsory enhanced level criminal record check. At this point is when you’ll apply to become an ADI and when renewing your registration. The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is the department that carries out criminal checks.
After the completion of the ADI training, you can apply for a Trainee License (PDI). The license is only valid for six months and will be awarded to you only if a fully qualified ADI sponsors you. The registration fee charged by the DVSA and DVA is 300 pounds which runs for four years. At the point of renewing your registration, you’ll only pay a similar amount. The trainee licenses only cost 140 pounds.
Note that instructors who offer tuition in large goods vehicles and passenger carrying vehicles are exempt from registering with the DVSA. If you need any further assistance about permits, you can always contact 3E Accounting.