So, you’re interested in setting up a new business and you’ve decided to make it a driving school. We often get asked how you set up a driving school business in the UK and make it profitable? So, we’ve decided to put together a list of our top 5 tips in setting up your business.
Obviously in order to teach people how to drive in the UK, you first have to be qualified. The qualification process means you have to pass three exams. These are known as the Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. Once you’ve successfully qualified, you can go full steam ahead and start up your own business.
Do I need to register with the HMRC?
The simple answer to this is yes. If you are trading in the UK then you must register your business with the Inland Revenue. You will be legally responsible for submitting a tax return once a year. You normally trade from one financial year to the next and at the end of the financial year you must declare to the HMRC your accounts.
What are the basic tools for running a driving school business?
Well, without stating the obvious, you definitely need a car. Your car doesn’t have to be a brand new one. It must be legal and road worthy. In order to reduce your overheads and maximise profit, we would probably suggest buying a used car for your first couple of years, therefore minimising your overheads.
You will also need to invest in some teaching materials and tools such as a book of visual aids. There’s loads of apps available now specially catered for the driving school market but you have a choice whether you want to use an app or whether you want to use a more traditional old style teaching tools such as a paper-based visual aids diagram book.
You will also need to have some form of calendar so you can organise a booking system and keep track of dates of your pupils past and future lessons. Again, there’s many apps out there that help you do this. Or you can stick with a traditional paper-based diary. At Superdrive Academy we tend to favour apps.
Do I need dual controls for my car?
Our answer to this is “hell yeah” damn right you do. Learner drivers can be unpredictable and can sometimes do the most random things, some of these can be dangerous. For example, just when you think your learner drive is coming up to a give way junction and you’re assuming they are going to stop to give priority to traffic on the major road, they can emerge out without any warning. Having a set of dual control fitted in your car will help to keep you and others around you safe.
How do I get customers?
When you first start out with your business, we recommend that you tell as many friends and relatives as you can. A lot of your business will come from word of mouth and referrals so getting the word out on the street is vital to your marketing.
If you have children who are at college or university, get them to hand out your business cards for you. All of this is free and helps you to get started, it also keeps your marketing budget down.
Don’t forget to use other marketing channels such as Facebook and Instagram. We recommend to set up a Facebook business page for your business. The advantages are you can do Facebook marketing campaigns should you need to reach more potential customers. Set yourself up with an Instagram business profile too.
What price should I charge?
The answer to this is charge what you think you are worth. However, you’ve got to think about being competitive and not over pricing yourself. If you’re new to the industry, you may want to research some of your local competitors and see what they are charging. If you’re a good instructor, then there’s no reason why you can’t be the most expensive instructor in your area. Be careful though, as some people are just after cheap deals.
If you are thinking about setting up a business as a driving school and have some questions you need answering, then feel free to get in touch.