Five things you need to know before setting up a driving school
Setting up your own driving school can be a rewarding and lucrative step forward in your working life. It will give you the opportunity to meet lots of people from all walks of life, and to have a significant impact on their lives. You’ll also being doing your bit to make the roads a safer place, and your coaching will hopefully stay with learners for the rest of their driving life. Setting up a driving school can also give you the financial independence you crave, allow you to set your own hours and do business your way. Before you begin though, there are five things about setting up a driving school that you need to know.
1. It can take time to get qualified – Though anyone who has held a full driving license for at least three years can teach a learner to drive, if you’re going to receive payment for it you must be a qualified Approved Driving Instructor (ADI). In order to become qualified you will need to apply via the Driving Standards Agency, and then complete a test in three parts. This test is comprised of a theory examination, an examination of your driving abilities, and a test of your abilities as an instructor.
2. You need a vehicle suited to driver training – Though it is not a mandatory requirement for instructors’ vehicles to have dual controls fitted, it is generally considered to be standard for driving instructors for a number of reasons. Firstly, many learners, particularly in the early stages, are not comfortable taking full control of the vehicle and would prefer to have that ‘safety net’ there. As the vast majority of driving instructors have dual controls, you may find it difficult to compete for business if you do not. It’s also worth thinking about the safety implications of taking learners out in your vehicle without having access to your own set of controls.
3. You’ll be responsible for your own tax and national insurance contributions – As with all self-employed people and business owners, when you start your own driving school you become responsible for your own finances. As well as managing your money to ensure that you stay afloat, this also means that you are required to submit an annual tax return and arrange your national insurance contributions. Though it may be some time before you pay your first tax bill depending on when you start your business in relation to the tax year, you do need to notify HMRC within three months of doing so.
4. Your ordinary car insurance will not cover your for driving instruction – Driving instructors are subject to different risks than ordinary drivers, so you will need specialist driving instructor insurance, or ADI insurance. In addition to covering your business activities with the vehicle and its use for instruction, it may also be prudent to obtain driving instructor insurance with optional extras such as breakdown and replacement car cover.
5. If you’re employing additional instructors, you’ll need employer’s liability insurance – All employers, regardless of their trade, must have employer’s liability insurance by law. This is to cover you financially in the event that one of your driving instructors sues you for compensation following an accident or injury in the course of their work duties. As well as being mandatory, such insurance is essential for safeguarding your business financially from litigation.
Bearing these five things in mind will put you in good stead as you pursue your goal of starting a driving school. Best of luck in your endeavours!