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How to Start a Driving School in Wyoming: A Step-by-Step Guide
Here you’ll learn everything you need to start your Driving School in Wyoming
True to her libertarian heritage, Wyoming does not have a rigid regulatory scheme for driving schools. In fact, there is no specific regulation for driving schools, other than the required curriculum for driver’s education.
The state’s curricular requirements are pretty straight-forward, however, and on-line driver’s education is permitted.
Here’s a quick summary of the key things you’ll learn
- Wyoming has no specific requirements to become either a driving instructor or establish a driving school.
- The Wyoming driver education curriculum requires 30 hours of classroom instruction.
- Wyoming also requires 12 hours of laboratory instruction–6 of observation and 6 of behind-the-wheel instruction.
- Wyoming makes it easy to establish a business in the state; your best bet might be a corporation or LLC, but consult your attorney and accountant.
Driving School Information Summary
- The key qualification to create a driving school in Wyoming is to have a curriculum which meets the state’s requirements–as described in the next section. You’ll have be aware of the requirements of Chapter 39 of the state education rules, and complete the program application.
- You’ll need to be able to open and run a business in Wyoming.
- You will need to have taken a driving instruction course from an accredited institution for driver education.
The Driving School Curriculum in Wyoming
Wyoming mandates all of the curriculum for every driving school, both for the in-class as well as the behind-the-wheel portions of driver’s education. You are, of course, free to add information, but you must cover the required topics, and the curriculum you submit to the State with your application must demonstrate compliance.
You must provide at least 30 clock-hours of classroom instruction for your students. Clock-hours do not include breaks, so if you have a session starting at 9 am and ending at noon, with 2 scheduled 15 minute breaks, you have provided 2.5 clock-hours of class time.
Wyoming requires coverage 37 distinct topics over those thirty hours. They all generally fall into the following groups.
- Rules of the Road
- Roadway types, markings, and signs
- Vehicle control, lane changes, turns, and parking
- Intersections, curves, traffic flow, and passing
- Substance abuse issues and adverse conditions
- Trip planning, driver fitness, and collision avoidance.
The full list is covered in Chapter 39 of the rules, section 5.
Wyoming requires driver education courses to provide 12 hours of laboratory instruction. The basic forms of laboratory instruction are behind-the-wheel and observation–6 hours of each are required.
Schools may use either simulators or multiple-car driving ranges–the latter are on closed courses.
Simulator and multi-car range instruction may be substituted for behind-the-wheel instruction time.
- Two hours of multi-car range instruction counts as one hour of behind the wheel, but at least two hours of on-street instruction is required.
- Four hours of simulator time counts as one hour of behind-the-wheel time, but at lseast three hours of behind-the-wheel instruction is required.
- Programs which use both a simulator and multi-car range must provide at least three hours of actual behind-the-wheel instruction, although the other methods translate into behind-the-wheel hours as noted previously.
(We’ll note that the rules have what seems to be an inconsistently in the third item there–it says a minimum of both two and hours are required–we’re playing it save and suggesting you should provide three).
Your must also provide observation time totally 6 hours for your students, which may not be translated by simulators or multi-car range use. You must have at least two students per vehicle during all on-street lessons.
Your laboratory instruction must cover at least 13 topics, organized around the following areas:
- Basic skills of driving.
- Judging your position in the road.
- Setting the travel path.
- Selecting land and time/space awareness.
- Emergencies, space management, and avoiding collisions.
In Wyoming, minors have to complete 50 hours of supervised driving–including 10 hours at night– in addition to time driving as part of driver’s education. Supervised driving requires a licensed driver to be in the front seat next to the driver. The supervising drivers may be driving instructors, parents, guardians, and others. To count as a supervising driver in Wyoming, the person must:
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Have a full, valid driver’s license.
- Sit in the front passenger seat while the minor is driving.
No log is required, but the parent/guardian of the minor driver must certify that those 50 hours have been completed.
Requirements to be a Driving Instructor in Wyoming
As noted, Wyoming does not have specific requirements to be a driving instructor in the state. YOu should have your permit obtained through an accredited school of instruction.
Commercial Driver’s License Instruction
As with instruction for regular driver’s licenses, people wishing to provide instruction towards a CDL do not have to meet any specific, set requirements. In fact, Wyoming does not require any form of instruction preparing people to obtain their CDL.
Obtaining a CDL in Wyoming
To obtain a CDL in Wyoming, a driver needs to start with a Commercial Learner’s Permit. The permit is good for 180 days, and may be renewed for another 180. Before obtaining the permit, you will need to hold a regular license and present the appropriate Federally-required medical certificate. All written tests, including those for any endorsements, must be taken and passed before receiving the permit.
While holding your commercial learner’s permit, you may driver the commercial vehicle only with someone holding the license for that vehicle. Driving schools may certainly provide that driving time, provided the instructor also has a CDL.
A driving school owner could create a strong CDL curriculum given the ability of the permit holder to have a full year to earn the CDL. CDL candidates will need someone to practice driving with, as well as learn the information covered by the written tests.
Starting a Small Business in Wyoming
Your driving school is not just subject to the requirements for driver’s education in Wyoming. You also need to establish your Driving School as a small business, and have to consider a number of factors. The form of business you take up, as well as the procedures, are appropriate topics of conversation with your lawyer and accountant. The considerations we offer here are not legal advice, but should provide you with things to think about as you set up your business.
All businesses need to register in Wyoming, especially the business name—the “doing business as” certificate. Banks may not be willing to set up your account until you have that DBA form. We’ll include where to register in the business structures below.
You will also need to obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number. Banks may need it for your business accounts, and you may be wanting to employ people. To obtain an EIN, go to the IRS website and complete the application form you find linked there.
Owning your own business is the easiest one to set up, but also may open you to liability concerns. As a sole proprietor, your business is simply part of your life. You keep a separate set of books, and complete a Schedule C for your 1040 form every April.
Sole proprietorships can expose the proprietor for full liability, even with insurance. That may mean that if you are sued, you may lose your home and property, as well as your personal bank accounts and other assets. This risk may not be worth the ease and independence.
In Wyoming, you should do the following to set up your sole proprietorship
- Regardless of the name you will use for your driving school, make sure it’s available by searching at the Secretary of State’s site. The Secretary has a convenient guide for business names.
- You will have to open your business under your trade name, and then file the Certificate of Trade Name with the Secretary of State. Note that you have to be in business first–business cards, advertisements, brochures can all be used to establish your business.
- Your locality may require a business license–it is worth heading down to city hall to make sure you know what you need to do.
You may set up a full corporation (“Inc.”) as your business structure. Corporations limit your liability for loss to your investment in it, as a general rule (although banks may require you to be obligated personally if you take out a loan to get your business going). This form of business keeps your personal assets safe.
As an owner of a corporation, you’ll have to set up your driving school consistently with the rules for corporations in Wyoming–those guidelines are available from the state’s Secretary of State. You’ll also have to decide whether to be an S Corporation or a C Corporation. Generally, the S Corporation form is set up for small businesses. It allows income and taxes to pass through to the owners. You will want to discuss these forms with your attorney and accountant.
Corporations in Wyoming are required to register as noted below, as well as submit other forms as noted.
- Make sure you’ve done your name search, as with a sole proprietorship.
- Register with the Wyoming Secretary of State.
Limited Liability Company (LLC)
You may be able to set your driving school up as an LLC in Wyoming. The LLC form provides the same limited liability as a Corporation, but do not have to comply with the corporate formalities most states require, including items like bylaws, required stockholder meetings, and minutes (although minutes of meetings are probably a good idea).
You’ll have to discuss the advantages and disadvantages for the LLC with your attorney and accountant.
The Wyoming LLC may be the best way for you to run your driving school. Your registration requirements are similar to those outlined for both corporations and sole proprietorships.
Now What Do I Do?
Once you’ve complied with all the legal requirements to be both a driving school and a small business in Wyoming, you need to get students.
Getting students requires marketing—largely on the internet. You will need the following systems set up to obtain students:
- A website—focused on the types of students you want to attract, and aimed at your locality.
- The website should also include a blog, which allows you write about a variety topics and engage in Search Engine Optimization—which will drive traffic to your site.
- A Facebook page, linked to your website, to become noticed and drive traffic.
- Getting testimonials from successful students.
Marketing is something you will have to devote time to. DrivingSchool.Marketing can help you get the best bang for your marketing buck.
Disclaimer: This page is part of DrivingSchool.Marketing’s series of state and provincial pages designed to help entrepreneurs like you start driving schools. States change their regulations, or the web pages they host their forms. While we believe these rules are accurate as of the date of publication, we cannot guarantee full accuracy. Please let us know if you spot any problems.
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