Running Your Own Driving School Business
Running a driving school is the ultimate dream for many ADI instructors, but what’s really involved in owning your own business? If you’re unsure of where to begin, here are a few steps and factors to take into consideration when planning to launch your own driving school business in Ireland:
One of the major differences between operating a franchise and owning your own driving school business is overheads. While many overheads will be covered by a franchise, if you’re going it alone you will be responsible for ensuring you’re financially prepared to operate a professional, friendly, and legal driving school. Overheads include the cost of the vehicle (or vehicle leasing if you’re opting for a dual control car), insurance, road tax, breakdown cover, and a business mobile. These overheads are all fixed and can be easy to calculate on a year-on-year basis. Other overheads are variable, and can change significantly from month to month depending on your schedule. These include fuel costs, annual servicing, and any necessary wear and tear maintenance.
Sourcing Students & Determining Rates
Again, a main difference between operating a franchise and running your own driving school is how you source students and determine your per-hour rates. If you’re running your own business, it’s advisable to have a strong marketing plan in place to increase visibility of your brand and improve awareness to target demographics in the local area. A knowledge of SEO - or a willingness to work with an SEO expert - can have a significant effect on your advertising and marketing success. You’ll also need to set you own rates that are competitive within the market - enough to ensure a good driving instructor salary, but affordable enough to entice learners. According to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, €33 per hour is the average rate in Ireland, although learners are typically willing to pay the highest rates in urban areas.
Getting started as a driving instructor is very quick and simple, and once you’ve completed the ADI registration process with the RSA you can begin advertising your services. If you plan to trade under a business name, rather than your own name, you will need to remember to register the company with the Companies Registration Office - you can register your business for €40 by sending in an application form, or for €20 by completing the registration online through the CPO website.