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How to Start a Virginia Driver Improvement School

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The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires drivers who are involved in a car accident to participate in a driver improvement clinic. These eight-hour programs teach defensive-driving techniques in either a computer-based or classroom setting. Before you can establish a driver improvement course of your own, you must fulfill the requirements for opening a small business as specified in the Virginia Administrative Code, develop a computer-based and/or classroom-based course, and receive course certification from the Virginia DMV (See References 1).

Obtain all necessary safety and driver training education as mandated by the Virginia DMV. This will include a valid Virginia driver's license, your driver’s education instructor license and program certificate and a copy of your driving record (See References 1).

Find a suitable location for classroom-based instruction. Decide whether you want to operate from an independent premises or one located on a college or university campus. If the location is independent, you will need to follow all necessary business licensing, zoning, safety and accessibility requirements (See References 1).

Obtain DMV approval for the program (See References 1). Take all necessary steps to obtain all needed small business licenses, permits and registrations. You must first determine the legal structure of your business, create it as a legal entity and file any required registration forms with the state of Virginia and your local municipality (See References 3).

Create the course program structure. Follow Virginia state requirements regarding course content and certification. The style of instruction, advertising and management can be developed by following other successful business models in this field (See References 2). If you wish to offer computer-based training, you will need to choose a computer application that fulfills Virginia DMV requirements.

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Tip offers free start-up and management information and training, as well as advice and information on the legal structure required for establishing a driver improvement course.

The Virginia DMV website has specific information on state requirements for a driver improvement program.


Obtain excellent insurance for your business, covering the business itself and most potential liabilities resulting from running a driver instructor course.