How to Start a Traffic School in California
The first thing to do is go to the California DMV website, dmv.ca.gov. I will add links so you can find the information easily, as the DMV website can be a bit difficult to navigate. (AB2499 is the new CA legislation for traffic schools that was implemented on 9.1.2012) Covers all rules and regulations as well as necessary owner, operator and instructor qualifications.
After reviewing the information, you’ll want to print out the Traffic School Owner’s Checklist, it will come in handy for checking off each thing you need to complete.
Opening a school for traffic violators can be a long and tedious task; there are many requirements that must be met before the DMV will approve you.
I will list some of the steps involved in opening your school:
1) The first thing the DMV requires is to submit a traffic school lesson plan along with a fee of $800.00 for your original review of an online course, $800.00 for a home study course review, or $475.00 for a face-to-face course to send with your form OL764. You will have to wait up to 120 days for the DMV to run a background check on you and wait for your approval or rejection of your course. If you prefer you can buy a pre-approved lesson plan which is probably easier than writing your own which is a 6 month to a year project. Also, you will receive your DMV approval letter in about a week and only have to pay a $25.00 fee to use a pre-approved course.
2) The DMV must approve your traffic school name before you can proceed with the rest of your application, you will need to fill out the OL 612 form, but before you waste time buying your domain name for an online traffic school , you can call DMV and see if the name you want to use is available at the time of your call (916) 229-3126. If your name is similar to another name in use, your domain name will be rejected. If the name is available, you can submit the form to the DMV via priority mail, they will send you an approval for your chosen name via US mail, which is free marketing to you.
Some additional DMV requirements are: live fingerprinting, securing a bond, paying required fees, submitting a certificate of insurance, purchasing a DMV-approved lesson plan, or writing your own, renting a space office in which to run your business without and take your classes for traffic offenders if you want to teach a face-to-face course. FYI… DMV makes no distinction between a classroom traffic school or online traffic school course in terms of the application process, DMV wants you to have office space even if you only have an online course . They state that students should be able to get into the business they have chosen to take their traffic school course.
Your application must also have: Guarantee of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Verification of use of the property. If you incorporate or elect to have a limited liability company or limited liability partnership: You will need a copy of the articles of incorporation, corporate minutes, or other document filed with the Secretary of State, identifying the officers, shareholders, and managers. An interest in the business is required.
A copy of your business license
Copy of your fictitious name statement
Copy of your lease or lease for all offices and classrooms or use form OL 144, School Room Lease or Lease Agreement for Traffic Violators.
A California traffic school consists of an owner or owners, an operator who oversees the operation of the school, and the traffic school instructor who will teach the classes. The operator must take an 8 hour course either online or in class as part of their application process if they have never been a DMV licensed operator before. If he has previously been a DMV licensed operator, he only needs to take a 4 hour online or face-to-face course. After the class, they will receive a certificate that can be taken to the DMV with their application package. After the operator has taken his initial course, either 4 or 8 hours, he will be required to take a mandatory 4 hour class each year. The owner does not have to take a DMV test, but the operator and instructor do. The written exam will consist of traffic laws, safe driving practices, knowledge of teaching methods and techniques. The operator will also have additional test questions on statutes and regulations, office procedures, and record keeping.
These are just a few of the requirements I have listed above, please read the information on the DMV website before deciding if you want to proceed with opening your school. In my future articles, I will go over the requirements in more depth for the operator and instructor, as well as for promoting yourself on the internet.
To see the forms and fees along with the traffic school owner application requirements, the link below will show you all the information on one page.