How do I start a driving school?

How do I start a driving school?

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Starting a driving school or any new business for that matter requires a great deal of planning. To ensure that the business is viable, you need to prepare a comprehensive business plan.

Driving School requirements

Driving instructors teach novice drivers, train truck drivers and public bus drivers and provide refresher courses for senior drivers.

Credibility counts for everything

There are currently a vast number of unregistered driving schools offering training while using vehicles without dual controls or qualified instructors. Trying to cut corners is a practice that may well end badly.

The Southern African Institute of Driving Instructors (SAIDA) is the umbrella body for Driving Instructors in South Africa and only accepts properly qualified driving instructors into the organisation. Their aim is to promote better working conditions for companies and instructors directly involved in the training of motor vehicle drivers.

“We are working very hard to regulate the industry and are putting an enormous amount of pressure on the government to regulate the driving school industry. There are a number of laws relating to driving instructors, but there is no proper regulation”, explains Pat Allen, National President of SAIDI.

The first step to becoming a driving instructor

Any person who wants to be a driving instructor applies at their local testing centre to become an instructor. The applicant will re-write their learners licence and then re-do a more difficult driving test. Once they pass these tests they can then apply for a driving instructor’s certificate.

A person who wishes to be a driving instructor can only teach the class of motor vehicles he or she has been licensed to drive. The instructor’s certificate is valid for one year.

How to apply

Apply at any driver’s licence testing centre for an instructor’s certificate. Complete an RI Application to registration as a driving instructor. You also must provide a medical certificate that you are in good health. Along with the medical certificate, you need to obtain a report from your nearest police station showing that you do not have a criminal record. Once you have applied to the testing centre and completed the test they will refer your application to the MEC for approval.

The process can take a few months. Once approved, the testing centre will issue the permit. You will then be required to pay the prescribed fees:

Gauteng R250
Free State R168
Eastern Cape R294
KwaZulu-Natal R350
Limpopo R244
Mpumalanga R525
Northern Cape R300
North West R163
Western Cape R150

(These may change without notice and are a guideline only)

Driving School laws

The driving school must conduct lessons in motor vehicles with dual controls. A brake (on the passenger/instructor side of the car) is the minimum and is necessary when an instructor is faced with an emergency the instructor will be able to control the vehicle.

The motor vehicle must bear the name of the driving school or instructor for identification purposes. This will also warn the public that the vehicle is possibly being driven by a learner driver.

Record keeping is vital

The instructor or driving school must keep records of each learner driver separately. The records must be available for one year after the learner has completed his lessons.

  • Name, identity number and address of learner
  • Period of lesson, with details of dates and hours per day instructed
  • Fees paid to the driving school
  • Number of hours driving lessons received in city or town
  • Number of hourly lessons received outside or in town
  • The date of which tested by registering authority and result of test

A driving school can’t be without insurance

Driving instructor insurance usually covers vehicles maintained by a driving school, with insurance coverage, including liability, theft and damage caused by collisions.

This specialised insurance product also covers a car when it is being driven by a student driver, even though the driver is not specifically named on the policy. This means that if the student is involved in traffic incident, financial coverage is available.

There are a number of specialist insurance companies and brokers, such as Livingstone Brokers, Reef Insurers and Blue Disa Insurance brokers who will be able to prepare suitable packages.

More information:

For more information contact Southern African Institute of Driving Instructors:

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