Expanding Your Services as a Driving School Owner

Richard Chidester

“To achieve goals you’ve never achieved before, you need to start doing things you’ve never done before.” - Stephen Covey

In this fluctuating environment, the need to evaluate your current business model has never been greater. Challenges such as low revenue, justifying keeping staff, and of course…just keeping the doors open, all weigh heavily on driving school owners.

A question that frequently comes up when speaking with school owners is, “I need to generate more revenue. How can I diversify my course offerings, with the least amount of expense?” 

Now, I wish there were a one-size-fits-all answer to this question, but we all know there is not. One option could be senior refresher courses.

According to NHTSA, in 2018 some 52.4 million people—16 percent of the total U.S. population—were 65 and older. The population of people 65 and older increased by 32 percent from 2009 to 2018. Older drivers made up 20 percent of all licensed drivers in 2018 and 14 percent of drivers involved in fatal traffic crashes in 2018.

The need for refresher courses and/or driving evaluation is evident.  

By offering senior refresher courses, driving schools can use existing staff and resources to generate new revenue with minimal expense. Nationally-recognized programs are already available, with only slight modifications needed to meet any potential specific state requirements.

Senior courses are currently being offered in the traditional classroom format.  Within the aforementioned “fluctuating environment,” many schools have successfully incorporated online and virtual training options for seniors. 

Another service driving schools can offer is a Driving Check-up, or an evaluation of current driving skills.  The Driving Check-up is a model program for driving schools intended to provide in-vehicle driving evaluations of older adults.  It is designed for healthy older adults living and driving in the community who seek objective information about their driving skills and knowledge; it is not an evaluation of driver fitness.

Senior driving programs can help benefit your driving school by:

  1. Increasing the visibility of the driving school in the community by providing a service to older drivers.
  2. Providing a service that highlights the expertise of driving instructors to assess current driving skills and knowledge.
  3. Providing an information gateway for older drivers and/or families to enhance safe driving.
  4. Providing access to the most appropriate services for older adult drivers whose medical condition is a source of concern.
  5. Expanding enrollment in driving-school services based on outcomes from the Driving Check-Up.

The ability to adapt to a changing environment is a hallmark of leadership. Offering training options such as senior courses can help your driving school achieve both financial and community goals.