Do you want to start a truck driving school? If YES, here is a detailed guide on how to start a truck driving school business with no money or experience plus a sample truck driving school business plan template.
If you are conversant with driving jobs, you will know that those that make huge money from driving are those that drive trucks/trailers. This is because truck drivers are known to drive for long distances as they transport goods from one city to another.
Driving trucks require extra expertise especially if the truck is a heavy duty truck. So if you intend starting your own truck driving school in any part of the world, you must be ready to work hard and smart.
Starting a truck driving school is capital intensive and it requires accreditation (permit and license) from the government of your country because upon graduation, students from your driving school will apply to obtain Class A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) from your state government.
Starting a truck driving school requires accreditation from the government of your country. You can search for the organization responsible for issuing license (driver’s license, vehicle license, plate number et al) in your country from the internet and apply for accreditation for your school.
The truth is that the facility you have on ground to run your truck driving school will first be inspected before you can get approval to run the school.
If your truck driving school is not accredited by the government of your country, any certificate you issue to grandaunds of your driving school will not be honored and as such they won’t be issued Class A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) when they apply for it.
Lastly, before launching your truck driving school, ensure that you read this article and you will be well equipped. You can start your truck driving school from a small town in the United States and if you are consistent and creative, it won’t be too long before your brand becomes nationally recognized.
Steps to Starting a Truck Driving School Business
1. Understand the Industry
Truck driving school falls under the trade and technical school industry and establishments in the industry offer vocational and technical training in a wide range of technical subjects and trades. The trainings offered by trade and technical schools often lead to job-specific certification.
Instruction may be provided in diverse settings such as the company’s training facilities, the workplace, the home or through distance-learning methods. Key areas in this industry include music schools and musical instrument training, cosmetology and barber schools, flight training, truck driving training, apprenticeship and other technical training.
The Trade and Technical Schools industry that truck driving training school is a part of is indeed a large industry and pretty much active in countries such as United States of America, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Holland, Switzerland, Australia and Canada et al.
Statistics has it that in the united states of America alone, there are about 8,876 registered and licensed trade and technical schools scattered all across the United States responsible for employing about 127,260 people and the industry rakes in a whooping sum of $13 billion annually.
The industry grew at -1.1 percent annual growth within 2011 and 2016. It is important to state that there are no establishments in this industry that have a lion market share.
A recent report released by IBISWorld shows that the industry exhibits a low degree of market share concentration. IBISWorld estimates that only Roadmaster is capable of garnering a noteworthy market share, due largely to their 13 locations across the country.
Beyond Roadmaster, the industry is comprised of many small driving schools operating on a local or regional basis. Driving schools with fewer than 10 employees are estimated to account for over half of all establishments.
With only a few employees, the ability of staff to handle high volumes of students (and increase market share through increased tuition collection) is limited. Further, this type of instruction is usually handled on a one-on-one basis. With the ongoing decline in truck driving as a profession, establishments keep their costs low by hiring only necessary staff.
Due to the fact that it can be somehow stressful to get government accreditation for a standard vocational school in the United States, it will be safe to say the industry is under saturated. It is important to state that entrepreneurs who are into training people on various trades/skills such as how to drive, how to play musical instrument, how to cook and how to dance et al can easily be found without stress.
Some of the factors that encourage entrepreneurs to start their own truck driving training school despite the fact that the business is challenging could be that the business is profitable. Starting a truck driving training school requires professionalism and a good grasp of the skills you want to teach people.
Besides, you would need to get the required certifications and licenses and also meet the standard for such business before you can be allowed to start a standard truck driving training school in the United States. One good thing about truck driving training schools is that there is a readily available market for their services.
So, if you are well positioned and you know how to impart truck driving skills to students, you will always smile to the bank.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who require the services of truck driving training schools cut across male and females who want to learn how to drive trucks.
So, if you are looking towards defining the demographics for your truck driving training school, then you should make it all encompassing; it should include every adult in and around the location where your truck driving training school is located.
3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
It is important to state that there is no niche area in the truck driving training school line of business. This is so because truck driving training school is a niche area in the driving school cum trade and technical schools industry.
The Level of Competition in the Industry
Truck driving school business is a competitive business because it is not difficult to start and any entrepreneur who intends to go into this business should ensure that they carry out thorough feasibility studies and market research so that the risks associated with this type of business can be greatly minimized.
The first thing to consider before launching this business is to know how to secure all the required licenses and permits, the road network in your chosen location, the ideal insurance and the type of trucks needed to run this type of business.
The truth is that no matter the level of competition in an industry, if you have done your due diligence and you brand and promote your business properly, you will always make headway in the industry. Just ensure you are good at imparting truck driving skills, you can deliver excellent customer care services and you know how to attract and reach out to your target market.
There are several truck driving training schools scattered all around the United States. So, if you choose to start your own truck driving training school business in the United States, you will definitely meet competitions amongst other truck driving training schools.
Besides, there are larger truck driving training schools that determine the trends in the industry and you should be ready to compete with them for customers.
4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
In every industry, there are always brands that perform better or are better regarded by the customers and general public than others.
Some of these brands have been in the industry for a long time, while others are best known for how they conduct their businesses and the results they have achieved over the years. These are some of the leading truck driving training schools in the United States of America and also in the globe;
- CDS Tractor Trailer Training
- Vocational Training & Resource Center
- Ozarks Technical Community College Transportation Training Institute
- Katlaw Truck Driving Schools
- United States Truck Driving School, Inc.
- All American Driving School
- The Driving Academy
- R. England trucking company
- CRST’s Training Program
- Stevens trucking
When it comes to starting a truck driving training school, you just have to get your feasibility studies and market research right before venturing into the business. It is good to mention that starting a standard truck driving training school is not for rookies; it is for professionals who have the required experience to train people on how to drive trucks.
Starting this kind of business entails that you acquire the required technical skills, professional certifications, government approval/accreditation and also build good working relationships with stakeholders in the industry. If you are already a major player in the trade and technical schools industry before venturing out to start your own truck driving training school, this might not be an issue.
Depending on the scale you want to start from, you might require as much as multiple thousands of dollars to strike this off and at the same time you might need far less than that if you choose to start the school on a small scale.
You will be expected to hire the services of experts that will help you with a comprehensive economic and cost analysis of the businesses. If you get your economic and cost analysis right before launching the business, you may not have to stay the long before you break even.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
When it comes to starting a business of this nature, it will pay you to buy the franchise of a successful truck driving training school as against starting from the scratch. Even though it is relatively expensive to buy the franchise of an established truck driving training school brand, but it will definitely pay you in the long run.
But then again, if you truly want to build your own brand after you must have proved your worth in the truck driving school industry, then you might just want to start your own business from the scratch. Starting from the scratch will afford you the opportunity to conduct thorough market survey and feasibility studies before choosing a location to launch the business.
It is important to establish that most of the successful truck driving training schools around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand.
It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success and of course you can build your own truck driving training school business to become a successful brand with clients from all across the city where your truck driving training school business is located.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
No matter the part of the world you reside in, if you decide to start your own truck driving training school today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established truck driving training schools and also regular driving school, CDL training schools and freelancers who also teach people how to drive trucks.
The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market; you can start by targeting high school leavers in your immediate community.
Other threats that you are likely going to face as a truck driving training school operating in the United States are unfavorable government policies, the arrival of a competitor within your location of operation and global economic downturn which may affect businesses such as truck driving training school.
There is hardly anything you can do as regards these threats other than to be optimistic that things will continue to work for your good.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
In the business world, if you are considering starting a truck driving training school, the legal entity you choose will go a long way to determine how big the business can grow. You have the option of either choosing a general partnership, or limited liability company for your truck driving training school.
Ordinarily, general partnership should have been the ideal business structure for a small – scale truck driving training school especially if you are just starting out with a moderate capital with less than 4 training trucks, in a small community handling a handful of students per time.
But if your intention is to grow the business and have students from all across the United States of America, then choosing general partnership is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company, LLC will cut it for you. Setting up an LLC protects you from personal liability.
If anything goes wrong in the business, only the money you invested into the limited liability company will be at risk. It is not so for general partnerships. Limited liability companies are simpler and more flexible to operate and you don’t need a board of directors, shareholder meetings and other managerial formalities.
These are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your truck driving training school; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners and investors’ expectation and of course taxes.
If you take your time to critically study the various legal entities to use for your truck driving training school, you will agree that limited liability company is most suitable. You can start this type of business as limited liability company (LLC) and in future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation or an ‘S’ corporation especially when you have the plans of going public.
Upgrading to a ‘C’ corporation or ‘S’ corporation will give you the opportunity to grow your truck driving training school so as to compete with major players in the industry; you will be able to generate capital from venture capital firms, you will enjoy separate tax structure, and you can easily transfer ownership of the company.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name
When it comes to choosing a name for your business, it is expected that you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents. If you are considering starting your own truck driving training school, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;
- Cross Country® Truck Driving Training School, LLC
- ITK® Truck Driving Training School, LLC
- Lionel Noble® Truck Driving Training College
- Allen Dickson™ Truck Driving Training College
- Capital Express® Truck Driving Training Center
- All Nation® Truck Driving Training School
- Golden Trunk® Truck Driving Training School
- Rex Tyson and Sons® Truck Driving Training School
- Mountain Top® Truck Driving Training School
- Delta Force® Truck Driving Training Academy
9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
In the United States of America and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. So, it is imperative to create a budget for insurance policy covers and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your truck driving training school.
Here are some of the basic insurance policy covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own truck driving training school in the United States of America;
- General insurance
- Auto Insurance
- Collision Damage Waiver
- Personal Accident Insurance
- Personal Effects Coverage
- Commercial Auto Liability
- Risk Insurance
- Health insurance
- Liability insurance
- Workers Compensation
- Overhead expense disability insurance
- Business owner’s policy group insurance
- Payment protection insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
If you are considering starting your own truck driving training school, usually you are required to file for intellectual property protection. This is because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to challenge organizations and individuals in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties (training manuals that you produce).
So also, if you want to protect your company’s logo and other documents or software that are unique to you or even jingles and media production concepts, then you can go ahead to file for intellectual property protection. If you want to register your trademark, you are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO. The final approval of your trademark is subjected to the review of attorneys as required by USPTO.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
Irrespective of the results you produce when training your students on how to drive trucks, professional certification is one of the main reasons why some truck driving training schools stand out. If you want to make an impact in the driving school industry, you should work towards acquiring all the needed certifications.
Certification validates your competency and shows that you are highly skilled, committed to your career, and up-to-date in the competitive market. These are some of the certifications you can work towards achieving if you want to run your own truck driving training school;
- Certified Truck Driver – National Safety Council
- Professional Truck Driving Instructor Certification
- Degree or Diploma in Transportation and Logistics Related Courses
Please note that you cannot successfully run a truck driving training school in the United States and in most countries of the world without acquiring professional certifications and business license, even if you have adequate experience cum background in truck driving.
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
The importance of having the necessary documentations in place before launching a business in the United States of America cannot be overemphasized especially a truck driving training school. It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations.
If you do, it won’t be too long before the long arm of the law catches up with you. Here are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own truck driving training school in the United States of America;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Federal Tax Payer’s ID
- State Permit
- Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)
- Accreditation Letter / Certificate
- Business License and Certification
- Business Plan
- Education / Training Curriculum
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Consulting contract documents
- Apostille (for those who intend operating beyond the United States of America)
- Company Bylaws
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
Apart from the required certifications and hands-on experience, starting a truck driving training school can be cost effective. Purchasing training trucks, equipment and tools and paying your employees are part of what will consume a large chunk of your startup capital.
When it comes to financing a business, one of the major factors that you should consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business or to partner with you.
Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for startup capital for your truck driving training school;
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell shares to interested investors
- Applying for Loan from your Bank
- Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from donor organizations and angel investors
- Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
Truck driving training school and most training and educational based type of businesses require that you see physically with your clients hence it must be located in a good location; a location that is prone to both human and vehicular traffic and a location that has an appreciable number of school leavers and growing population if indeed you want to enroll loads of students in your truck driving training school.
It cannot be overemphasized that the location you chose to open your truck training school is key to the success of the business, hence entrepreneurs are willing to rent or lease a facility in a visible location; a location where the demography consists of potential truck drivers who have the purchasing power.
It is important to note that a business facility in good location does not come cheap hence you should be able to allocate enough fund for leasing / renting in your budget.
If you are new to the dynamics of choosing a location for your business, then you should feel free to talk to a business consultant or a realtor who has a full grasp of the city and perhaps country you intend starting your truck driving training school.
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
There are no special technologies or equipment needed to run a truck driving training school, as all you would need are your trucks and training manuals. You will have to decide on how many trucks you intend to start with, bearing in mind that the higher the number of trucks and professional truck drivers your business owns, the more earnings your business makes.
The trucks have to be well maintained so that you can enjoy high turnover. You could decide to contract the maintenance out, or hire your own maintenance staff which could prove more expensive for your start-up business initially.
In order to run a small administrative office, you will definitely need computers, internet facility, telephone, fax machine and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves). These tools and instruments can be purchased as fairly used especially if you have limited finance to meet your budget.
When it comes to choosing between renting and leasing a facility for a truck driving training school, the size of the truck driving training school you want to build, and your entire budget should influence your choice. If you have enough capital to run a standard truck driving training school, then you should consider leasing a facility; when you lease, you will be able to work with long – term planning, structuring and expansion.
As regards the number of employees that you are expected to kick start the business with, you would need to consider your finance before making the decision. Averagely, you would need a Chief Executive Officer/Principal Partner, School Administrator, Instructors/Coaches, Business Developer, Accountant (Bursar), Customer Service Executive/Front Desk Officer.
You would need a minimum of 5 to 10 key staff to effectively run a medium scale but standard truck driving training school. Please note that there will be times when you are expected to go out of your way to hire experts to help you handle some high – profile students especially from huge corporations.
The Services Delivery Process of the Business
Truck driving training school and skill acquisition centers are established with the aim of teaching students technical and trade skill set. A student is expected to enroll in a truck driving training school if they are trade or technical skills he or she wants to acquire.
As it relates to a truck driving training school, any student that enrolls has two basic aims of enrolling in the school. Firstly, they want to learn how to drive trucks, and secondly to be able to obtain their driver’s license. So, when a student pays for the training, they are expected to achieve the above within a stated period.
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
In other to capture a fair share of the available market in your location, you would need strong online presence; a good website and ensure that it is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) compliant. The truth is that your website ensures that your business remains visible to your existing and potential customers.
You can even ensure that your customers get to book and pay online so as to make it more convenient for them.. So, when you are drafting your marketing plans and strategies for your truck driving training school, make sure that you create a compelling personal and company’s profile.
Aside from your qualifications and experience, it is important to clearly state in practical terms what you have been able to achieve in time past as it relates to truck driving and the trade and technical schools industry and the organizations you have trained in time past. This will help boost your chances in the market place when sourcing for students.
Please note that in most cases, when sourcing for clients from corporate organizations and other institutions, you will be called upon to defend your proposal, and so you must be pretty good with presentations. Here are some of the platforms you can utilize to market your truck driving training school;
- Introduce your business by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to all the corporate organizations, haulage companies, transport and logistics companies, trucking companies, high school leavers, local community, aspiring entrepreneurs, and households within and outside the city you are operating in who have the capacity to pay for your services
- Advertise your truck driving training school in relevant magazines, radio and TV stations
- List your truck driving training school on local directories / yellow pages
- Attend international vocational education expos, seminars, and business fairs et al
- Create different packages for different category of students and clients in order to work with their budget
- Leverage on the internet to promote your truck driving training school (when you blog regularly on key issues as it relates to your business, people who consider you an expert in the field)
- Join local chambers of commerce and industries around you with the aim of networking and marketing your services; you are likely going to get referrals from such networks.
- Engage the services of marketing executives and business developers to carry out direct marketing
17. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products
One key factor that will help you offer your truck driving training services at a price that is highly attractive is to ensure that you source your capital from sources that won’t put pressure on you. So also, it is important that you purchase your training equipment, tools, instruments and materials directly from the manufacturers or from wholesale distributor.
If need be, you can purchase these equipment, tools, machines and instruments from fairly used market. It will still save you some bucks.
Another strategy that will help you offer your truck driving training services at the right price is to ensure that you cut operational cost to the barest minimum and channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your brand name. Aside from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, it will also help you get the right pricing for your products and services.
18. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
The trade and technical schools industry and driving school line of business is a competitive industry, and you must come up with unique strategies to be able to outsmart your competitors. Part of what you need to do in order to stay competitive in the industry is to continue to churn out students who will go out there to become professional truck drivers.
Organizations and people will always run to you if they know that you have a better option as it relates to training them on how to drive trucks and easily obtaining the appropriate driver’s license from the issuing authority. Another strategy that you can adopt is to ensure that your organization is well positioned; key members of your team are highly qualified and certified as it relates to their job roles.
19. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers
When it comes to business, no matter the industry that you choose to pitch your tent in, one of the easiest ways to increase customer retention and perhaps attract new customers is to produce results and satisfy your customers always.
If your customers are satisfied with your services delivery, they can hardly source for alternative service provider or products. If you can continue to churn out students who are considered professional commercial truck drivers and your training service delivery is excellent, then you won’t struggle to maintain loyal students and clientele base.
Part of what you need to do to achieve this is to track progress, results or outputs with the aim of improving on them quickly as the case demands. When it comes to managing your customers, and building loyal clientele base, you should purchase a customized CRM software.
With a customized CRM system, you can easily stay in touch with your clients (you can carry out quick surveys, you can introduce new products and prices to them without any hitch, you can felicitate with them on their birthdays and other anniversaries, you can keep track of their progress, you can send bulk sms and customized e – mails and above all, you can easily receive complaints and feedback from them).
20. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
If you are in business and you are not deliberate about boosting you brand awareness and communicating your corporate identity, then you should be ready to take on whatever the society portray your business to be. One of the secrets of larger corporations is that they are willing to spend fortunes to boost their brand awareness and to continue to communicate their corporate identity the way they want people to perceive them.
If your intention of starting a truck driving training school is to grow the school beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national and international brand, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.
In promoting your brand and corporate identity, you should leverage on both print and electronic media and also social media (the internet). As a matter of fact, it is cost effective to use the internet and social media platforms to promote your brands, besides it is pretty much effective and wide reaching.
Below are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand and promote and advertise your truck driving training school;
- Place adverts on educational related magazines and newspapers, radio and TV stations.
- Encourage the use of word of mouth publicity from your loyal customers
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Google+ and other platforms to promote your truck driving training school.
- Ensure that we position your banners and billboards in strategic positions all around your city
- Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas in and around our neighborhood
- Contact corporate organizations, high school leavers, churches and other religious centers, local community, haulage companies, transport and logistics companies, trucking companies, aspiring commercial truck drivers, and households within and outside the city you are operating in who have the capacity to pay for your services by calling them up and informing them of your truck driving training school and the services you offer
- Advertise your truck driving training school in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site
- Brand all your official trucks and ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirt or cap at regular intervals.