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How Do I Start A Driving School?

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

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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.

Related: 7 Rules To Master Your Start-Up Success This Year

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.

Related: 21 Steps To Start-Up

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.

Related: How To Start A Business With No Money

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:


Related: The Definitive List Of South African Business Incubators For Start-Ups

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Start-up Industry Specific

How Do I Start A Transport Or Logistics Business?

An all in one guide to starting a transport and logistics business.

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Thinking about starting a transport business?

Forecasts indicate that the demand for freight transport will grow in South Africa by between 200% and 250% over the 15 to 20 years.

Some corridors, (high volume transport routes that connect major centres), such as the corridors between Gauteng and Cape Town (which amount to 50% of all corridor transport) will increase even faster.

The scope in the transport and logistics industry is varied – from a one-man show using a small truck to transport goods and offer services, to a fleet of transport vehicles which travel the length and breadth of South Africa’s roads.

Road transportation includes commuter transport from taxis to bus transportation.

It can be a tough industry and there are many threats facing transport businesses but if you get it right, you can build a successful business.

What is covered in this guide:

  1. How to start your transport and logistics business
  2. How to get funding for your transport business
  3. What are the costs involved
  4. Finding customers and getting transport contracts
  5. Getting onto suppliers lists
  6. Buying trucks and employing drivers
  7. What are the regulations and risks
  8. Where to find guidance to start your business.

Ready to get going? Click the arrow button to learn how to start your own transport business.

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How To Start A Farming Business

Keep these nine points in mind when launching your new farming business.

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Start-up Industry Specific

How does one go about starting a distribution business? Or how do you become a seller for an international company locally (SA)?

How to register an international product nationally.

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If you already have a particular product you are thinking of distributing, your best option would be to contact that company and find out what the requirements are to distribute their products. Each company will have different criteria.

Here is some advice however on starting a wholesale distribution business:

So you want to start a wholesale distributorship. Whether you’re currently a white-collar professional, a manager worried about being downsized, or bored with your current job, this may be the right business for you. Much like the merchant traders of the 18th century, you’ll be trading goods for profit.

And while the romantic notion of standing on a dock in the dead of night haggling over a tea shipment may be a bit far-fetched, the modern-day wholesale distributor evolved from those hardy traders who bought and sold goods hundreds of years ago.

The Distributor’s Role

As you probably know, manufacturers produce products and retailers sell them to end users. A can of motor oil, for example, is manufactured and packaged, then sold to automobile owners through retail outlets and/or repair shops.

In between, however, there are a few key operators-also known as distributors-that serve to move the product from manufacturer to market. Some are retail distributors, the kind that sell directly to consumers (end users).

Others are known as merchant wholesale distributors; they buy products from the manufacturer or other source, then move them from their warehouses to companies that either want to resell the products to end users or use them in their own operations.

Three types of operations can perform the functions of wholesale trade: wholesale distributors; manufacturers’ sales branches and offices; and agents, brokers and commission agents. As a wholesale distributor, you will probably run an independently owned and operated firm that buys and sells products of which you have taken ownership.

Generally, such operations are run from one or more warehouses where inventory goods are received and later shipped to customers.

Put simply, as the owner of a wholesale distributorship, you will be buying goods to sell at a profit, much like a retailer would. The only difference is that you’ll be working in a business-to-business realm by selling to retail companies and other wholesale firms like your own, and not to the buying public.

This is, however, somewhat of a traditional definition. The traditional wholesale distributor is still the one who buys “from the source” and sells to a reseller.

Getting Into the Game

The field of wholesale distribution is a true buying and selling game-one that requires good negotiation skills, a nose for sniffing out the next “hot” item in your particular category, and keen salesmanship. The idea is to buy the product at a low price, then make a profit by tacking on an amount that still makes the deal attractive to your customer.

Experts agree that to succeed in the wholesale distribution business, an individual should possess a varied job background. Most experts feel a sales background is necessary, as are the “people skills” that go with being an outside salesperson who hits the streets and/or picks up the phone and goes on a cold-calling spree to search for new customers.

In addition to sales skills, the owner of a new wholesale distribution company will need the operational skills necessary for running such a company. For example, finance and business management skills and experience are necessary, as is the ability to handle the “back end” (those activities that go on behind the scenes, like warehouse setup and organization, shipping and receiving, customer service, etc.).

Of course, these back-end functions can also be handled by employees with experience in these areas if your budget allows.

Setting Up Shop

When it comes to setting up shop, your needs will vary according to what type of product you choose to specialize in. Someone could conceivably run a successful wholesale distribution business from their home, but storage needs would eventually hamper the company’s success.

Starting Out

For entrepreneurs looking to start their own wholesale distributorship, there are basically three avenues to choose from: buy an existing business, start from scratch or buy into a business opportunity. Buying an existing business can be costly and may even be risky, depending on the level of success and reputation of the distributorship you want to buy.

The positive side of buying a business is that you can probably tap into the seller’s knowledge bank, and you may even inherit his or her existing client base, which could prove extremely valuable.

The second option, starting from scratch, can also be costly, but it allows for a true “make or break it yourself” scenario that is guaranteed not to be preceded by an existing owner’s reputation. On the downside, you will be building a reputation from scratch, which means lots of sales and marketing for at least the first two years or until your client base is large enough to reach critical mass.

The last option is perhaps the most risky, as all business opportunities must be thoroughly explored before any money or precious time is invested. However, the right opportunity can mean support, training and quick success if the originating company has already proven itself to be profitable, reputable and durable.

During the startup process, you’ll also need to assess your own financial situation and decide if you’re going to start your business on a full- or part-time basis. A full-time commitment probably means quicker success, mainly because you will be devoting all your time to the new company’s success.

Like most startups, the average wholesale distributor will need to be in business two to five years to be profitable. There are exceptions, of course. Take, for example, the ambitious entrepreneur who sets up his garage as a warehouse to stock full of small hand tools.

Using his own vehicle and relying on the low overhead that his home provides, he could conceivably start making money within six to 12 months.

Operations

A wholesale distributor’s initial steps when venturing into the entrepreneurial landscape include defining a customer base and locating reliable sources of product. The latter will soon become commonly known as your “vendors” or “suppliers.”

The cornerstone of every distribution cycle, however, is the basic flow of product from manufacturer to distributor to customer. As a wholesale distributor, your position on that supply chain (a supply chain is a set of resources and processes that begins with the sourcing of raw material and extends through the delivery of items to the final consumer) will involve matching up the manufacturer and customer by obtaining quality products at a reasonable price and then selling them to the companies that need them.

In its simplest form, distribution means purchasing a product from a source-usually a manufacturer, but sometimes another distributor-and selling it to your customer. As a wholesale distributor, you will specialize in selling to customers-and even other distributors-who are in the business of selling to end users (usually the general public).

It’s one of the purest examples of the business-to-business function, as opposed to a business-to-consumer function, in which companies sell to the general public.

Weighing It Out: Operating Costs

No two distribution companies are alike, and each has its own unique needs. The entrepreneur who is selling closeout T-shirts from his basement, for example, has very different startup financial needs than the one selling power tools from a warehouse in the middle of an industrial park.

Regardless of where a distributor sets up shop, some basic operating costs apply across the board. For starters, necessities like office space, a telephone, fax machine and personal computer will make up the core of your business. This means an office rental fee if you’re working from anywhere but home, a telephone bill and ISP fees for getting on the internet.

No matter what type of products you plan to carry, you’ll need some type of warehouse or storage space in which to store them; this means a leasing fee. Remember that if you lease a warehouse that has room for office space, you can combine both on one bill. If you’re delivering locally, you’ll also need an adequate vehicle to get around in.

The Day-to-Day Routine

Like many other businesses, wholesale distributors perform sales and marketing, accounting, shipping and receiving, and customer service functions on a daily basis.

They also handle tasks like contacting existing and prospective customers, processing orders, supporting customers who need help with problems that may crop up, and doing market research (for example, who better than the “in the trenches” distributor to find out if a manufacturer’s new product will be viable in a particular market?).

To handle all these tasks and whatever else may come their way during the course of the day, most distributors rely on specialized software packages that tackle such functions as inventory control, shipping and receiving, accounting, client management, and bar-coding.

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