Owning a car in Zimbabwe has become a necessity. It gives you the liberty to move across borders and towns in a matter of hours. Travel needs have grown so much that owning a car can reduce travelling expenses and inconveniences with time. A lot of people are therefore enrolling at driving schools in order to learn and be able to get a driver’s license. Starting a driving school business in Zimbabwe is profitable. In order for one to drive in Zimbabwe, a license has to be acquired from the Vehicle Inspection Department and thus one needs to acquire the basics of how to drive a car. The road test is very tricky and it requires plentiful lessons and time. You need to carry out market research and have a good driving school business plan before venturing into the driving school business.
What you need
DRIVING SCHOOL BUSINESS PREMISES
You require a small office space where students can come and register for lessons. Having a location helps to legitimize this business. This may boost your business in case you have walk in clients who might have an interest in your business. In Harare areas close to Speke Avenue, Ruzende, Inez Terrace heading towards downtown there a lot of cheaper offices to rent. Above all these areas have a lot of people and this could be useful in getting a market for your business.
You are going to need furniture, desks, a computer and perhaps a simulator which you can use to test the students before they get to do their lessons on the road.
DRIVING INSTRUCTORS AND LICENCES
You need driving instructors for your driving school business. All your driving instructors should have valid licenses, defensive certificates and should have acquired an instructor’s certificate. They should have enrolled for the Driving school instructor’s courses with the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe. Your driving school should be registered with the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe. The Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe is the body which control and regulate driving schools and persons who provide instruction in the driving of vehicles on roads in Zimbabwe.
Register your driving school and maintain a good reputation from the onset. Don’t take an unnecessary risk by operating without a proper license or even using a motor vehicle that is road worthy.
MOTOR VEHICLE REQUIREMENTS
After purchasing your motor vehicle, it has to be installed with a two way brake system for control and safety purposes. The vehicle has to have the required learners plate showing that a learner is driving the vehicle. Your vehicles can market your driving school business, thus they should be branded with the details of your driving school and the contact details.
INSURANCE FOR YOUR DRIVING SCHOOL BUSINESS
It’s also better to take fully comprehensive insurance for your driving school business. This is the most extensive and complete form of motor insurance cover, which covers third party insurance, fire and theft, and also provides accidental damage to the policyholder’s vehicle. It is important to protect all of the assets of the driving school business. This is especially true given the case that you are always on the road and your car is being driven by someone still acquiring road knowledge. There are reckless motorists out there and you cannot take any chances. Appropriate and adequate insurance coverage is an important part of this. Insurance cover can be arranged through an insurance company directly, through an agent of an insurance company, or through an insurance broker. There are many insurance companies in Zimbabwe.
MAINTENANCE OF RECORDS
Record progresses made by students, maintain details on lessons, identification, address, hours done and dates. These details will be required when the student goes for the road test.
In Zimbabwe there is a large market of people looking for driving jobs and even those with a hope to buy a car later in future. Some college graduates are getting job opportunities which require a driver’s license. Know how to reach out to all the different age groups in order to tap in and have many students enrolling at your driving school.
MARKETING YOUR DRIVING SCHOOL BUSINESS
The learning population is large but it may hard to get clients if you do not market the driving school business. You need to design fliers, posters and even create a website. The biggest part of marketing the business will come through referrals. Make you your service is superb in order to get recommendations from your students. People are different and you may face challenges as some students may be slow learners but its important that you stay calm and be patient with all your students.
CAPITAL FOR DRIVING SCHOOL BUSINESS
You need vehicles for your driving school business. The amount of capital you need to start your driving school business will depend on the size of your driving school, and the kind of vehicles you need. There are different classes of motor vehicles. You can offer lessons for all classes. However if you are starting with little capital, you can concentrate on class 4 driving lessons only. You will require more capital for a class 2 driving school. This is because you will need to purchase lorries which bare more expensive.
You can buy vehicles top start your driving school business online from Japan. Beforward is the popular Japanese website where people buy cars from. For a class four driving school, you can budget $4000 per car. You can also purchase vehicles for your driving school from car sales in South Africa, or locally in Harare.
PROFITABILITY AND COSTS
After start up, costs would relate to fuel, marketing, rentals, salaries, car servicing and maintenance. Driving lessons in Zimbabwe for class 4 cost $3-4 per lesson (30 minutes lessons). Getting many customers will ensure that your cars will not lie idle during the day. Thus why it is important to have a robust marketing strategy. The driving instructors should be motivated to bring customers to the business. The salary paid to the instructors should be tied to the amount of customers they bring to the business, by including a commission component in their remuneration package.
Ensure that you regularly service your vehicles so that they are always in road worthy condition. Failure to service your cars is a disaster to your driving school business. Students don’t want to train driving in vehicles which are not in a good condition. You will be chasing customers away if you fail to service your vehicles. Also the life span of your vehicles will be greatly reduced.
You should also offer oral lessons for your driving school. Many students struggle to pass the provisional licence. The oral lessons will attract clients to your business, who can then start driving lessons after passing the provisional license test. The profitability of your driving school business will be directly related to the number of students you get.
WHY SHOULD YOU OPEN A DRIVING SCHOOL BUSINESS?
The initial capital costs are manageable and can be minimized. There is a ready market which does not deplete. The law requires a license and there is no shortcut around that. The income stream is also steady especially if you market the business well and get a large clientele base. The business allows flexibility and it is not too demanding. The work pace may be even more relaxed after the students know what is expected of them and how to drive. Even with a lot of driving school registered, the market still is open for new instructors and you have a chance to make it in the driving school business.