Can driving school associations help your business grow?

Can driving school associations help your business grow?

Can driving school associations benefit your own driving school business? All driving school owners across the country have several things in common. They want to drive sales and reduce expenses. So, the answer to the question is a resounding, “Yes!”

What are driving school associations?

An association is a group of people banded together for a specific purpose. Therefore, a driving school association is a group of driving school owners and people involved in the industry who join together to improve their business.

How can I join a driving school association?

join driving school associations

There are many local and state driving associations. If you’re opening a new school or just have some questions about local and state laws, a local driving school association is a perfect resource. A simple google search with “driving school association + your state” should get you to the right place.

Are there any national driving school associations?

DSAA driving school associations

The granddaddy of all driving school associations is DSAA (Driving School Association of the Americas). Their membership is comprised of driving school owners, including entrepreneurs, public and private school teachers, former examiners, transportation and safety experts. Most work across the United States and Canada, though several other countries have been represented over the years.

Founded in 1973, DSAA offers regional seminars, webinars and an international convention that brings together traffic safety professionals and owners to review best practices within the industry. In addition, it partners with many leading companies and organizations to reduce traffic deaths and increase driver competence.

DSAA Member Benefits

  • Member discounts on all DSAA events
  • Exclusive insurance program with significant savings on car insurance
  • Unbeatable savings on merchant services
  • Free subscription to DSAA’s official newsletter
  • Advocacy through state governments
  • Relationship building with others in the driving school and traffic safety industries

The next DSAA national conference will take place October 10- 13, 2018 in Baltimore.

What are the benefits of joining a driving school association?

Benefits road sign

Are you stuck in the daily grind of running your driving school? If so, you’re working IN your business, not ON it. To run a growing and successful driving school, it’s critical to set goals, drive sales and reduce expenses.

Driving school associations can get you on the right track. It also has many other benefits.

Benefits of a driving school association:

If you aren’t taking advantage of joining an association, you’re missing the boat. That’s because driving school associations can provide mentors, advice, tips, networking and support. Below are even more reasons to join a professional association from Entrepreneur.

  • Provides access to valuable resources
  • Networking opportunities get you out of the office
  • Your company gets exposure
  • You can learn new perspectives and best practices
  • Learn from successful leaders in your industry

Driving school associations and conventions

Many driving school associations hold annual conferences. I spoke at the DSAC (Driving School Association of California) conference on June 1-2, 2018 held at the gorgeous Miramonte Indian Wells Resort and Spa in Palm Springs.

Attending a convention or conference not only gives your driving school exposure, but it also lets you talk face-to-face with leaders from across the industry. You can listen to the key speakers and attend breakout sessions.

What is DSAC?

driving school associations

Founded in 1953, the Driving School Association of California (DSAC) is a not-for-profit corporation. It includes driving school owners, operators, instructors, and other concerned parties throughout the State of California. The Association is dedicated to the principle of “Progress Through Cooperation” in the field of Driver Education and Traffic Safety.

The DSAC is the oldest association of its kind and remains one of the largest and most influential group of driving educators in the world. Head to the DSAC website for more information about how to join.

Takeaways from the DSAC Annual Convention

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of speaking as well as sponsoring the Driving School Association of California annual business convention. It was time and money well spent! Below are my top five takeaways from the convention that I want to share with all driving school owners.

Takeaway #1: Get involved!

get involved

Driving school associations provide great resources and networking opportunities for driving school owners. In fact, most states have similar driving school associations. I strongly recommend seeking out your local association.

Being involved in these types of organizations provides a great opportunity to spend time working “on” your business instead of “in” the day-to-day operations of your business.

I also recommend attending the national DSAA annual convention. Check out the details here.

Takeaway #2: Start thinking “I am” and not “I will be”

Chef Anton opened the conference with his amazing “I am” 11-step transformation system. At first glance, I was thinking Magician / Motivational Speaker / Pro Pool Play – who is this guy? His 90-minute presentation focused on how to achieve you most challenging business and personal goals.

After listening intently to his presentation, my biggest takeaway was his constant reminder to think in the “present tense” or his “I am” approach. One practice he recommended was eliminating words such “I hope” and “I think” which can often sabotage one’s path toward achievement. Visit Chef Anton’s website for more tricks of the trade.

Takeaway #3: 5 Do’s and Don’ts to increase driving school profit

do's and don'ts road sign

As the owner of Drive Scout, I was invited to be one of the key speakers. My speech focused on the five tips below.

  1. Don’t ignore your website
  2. Do automate whenever possible
  3. Don’t continue marketing efforts that produce minimal results
  4. Do limit your services and build a unique brand
  5. Do strive for operational excellence

Here a few highlights from my presentation.

  • 80% of Americans made an online purchase last month
  • 97% of local business are found online
  • Leverage your website to be a 24/7 virtual assistant who handles payments, customer service through FAQs and scheduling
  • Set up Google Analytics for your website, followed by conversion tracking on Google AdWords + Facebook.  This allows you to hold your marketing agency or director accountable to a “Return on Ad Spend” figure instead of “clicks” or “impressions.” These are meaningless unless someone actually makes a purchase.
  • How to maximize fleet utilization
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Takeaway #4: How to recruit amazing instructors

recruitment management

Kris Kluis, the Assistant Regional Operations Manager for DriversEd.com spoke about how to recruit amazing instructors. This turned into one of the highlights of the convention for many attendees. Every driving school in the country wants to improve their recruiting efforts, so having this open discussion was invaluable to attendees.

Below are few of my takeaways from his presentation.

  1. Follow a structured process
    1. Reinventing the wheel every time you hire an instructor is inefficient and risky.
    2. Hiring is incredibly important, so you need to set up a standard operating procedure that’s updated each year with best practices.
  2. Read between the lines
    1. Most candidates are going to say they are “OK” with driving 30+ miles to your office, but these individuals tend to turnover far more than those who live closer to your office or vehicle.
    2. Listen intently and ask thought provoking questions to truly gauge the candidate’s motivation.
  3. Convince them not to take the job
    1. Tell them that being a driving instructor is hard. However, someone who is truly patient and loves to teach will succeed.
    2. Set this expectation up front and try to convince them they’re not right for the job. This helps protect your upfront investment in case they are “not the right fit.”

Takeaway #5: Protect yourself and your assets

driving school insurance Drive Scout

Brian Dolewski from Arachas Group was the keynote speaker on the topic of insuring your success. He is an insurance expert who understands the driving school business to a tee.

Brian currently insures 50+ driving schools and writes over $750,000 in annual driving school premiums. More importantly, he understands and constantly evaluates the needs of driving schools across the country. Below were a few of the recommendations he made during the convention.

  • Choose a $1,000,000 policy at a minimum. Umbrella policies for additional coverage are a great idea for driving schools. These umbrella policies are especially important for driving schools that run a fleet of five or more cars.
  • There is no “one size fits all” insurance option for driving schools. Because the line item for insurance is so high, Brian suggests that you do your homework and review your policies on an annual basis.

I would personally recommend talking to Brian Dolewski, the only agent in the country that specializes in insuring driving schools. You can reach him by email at bdolewski@arachasgroup.com or by phone at (630) 673-3084

Driving school associations in review

Whether you own one or ten driving schools, researching driving school associations and joining one can help drive sales. Through mentors, conventions, and networking with other successful driving school owners, you’ll gain the tools needed to move your own school forward.

The key to success is learning from the success and failures of others. Plus, there is power in numbers.

If you don’t already belong to one, I highly recommend researching driving school associations.


About the Author: Steve Jones, CEO at Drive Scout

In 2009, I opened my first driving school with a $15,000 loan, used office equipment and my Honda Accord from college. Within three years, we hit one million in sales and were growing rapidly. After being unable to find a customized software solution to help us scale, I partnered with a brilliant engineer and built Drive Scout. Soon thereafter, I stepped down as CEO and started working full time on Drive Scout. I created this blog to share my experiences (both good and bad) to hopefully help your company become more profitable and easier to manage. Enjoy and thanks for reading!

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