Instructors starting out need to figure a few things out and can acquire a lot additional items over time for their classroom
The first requirement is determine what certifications you need (or have) and come up with a name for the training. You make already have certs to get your company going or you may need to complete a USCCA or NRA course to become certified. For the name of your business it be Joe’s Firearm Training or you could decide to come up with a different kind of name like American Defense Training. Remember that the name should describe the business you are in and not just one piece of it. i.e. we chose to go with ‘Training’ versus ‘Firearms or Guns’ because we try to offer defense training no matter what it is.
Next you’ll need to find a place to hold you classes. If you have access to a room then you are in pretty good shape. If you don’t check with churches, local businesses, or local hotels. All probably have space that you can rent to hold your classes. Just make sure they are ok with you have firearms in their facility
The hardest piece to find is a range. Yes, you may have a bunch of ranges around you but how many of them are going to allow you to bring a class in to use their range. Commercial ranges can have reservations because you could be competing with their classes. Your best bet is to find a local club who will allow you to use their range and expose your students to their club. Make sure the range that you use is safe and you know what they will and will not allow.
When you are arranging for a classroom and range one item that will help in your negotiations is letting know you have instructor insurance. This covers you in case of an accident and also gives the property owner coverage too. One place to look for coverage is the NRA Instructor Insurance from LockIn.
Online branding is essential to find customers and to present a professional appearance:
Facebook fan page – anyone can create a fan page and you can manage it from your personal Facebook page. There doesn’t have to be a lot on your page but it gives you students a chance to see you have a online presence and also leave you a review
Website – Not as important beginning out as a Facebook page but something you should look to setup once you are established because it will give you more of an identify online and you can customize it much more than Facebook. Checkout GoDaddy.com and their WordPress offerings.
Business Card / Flyers – Although we are in the electronic age you’ll also need something that you can hand to someone if they ask about your classes so they can remember your website address or something to leave at a local business for people to pick up. If you don’t know a printer to help you out check out Vistaprint.com
You’ll be collecting money from students and you should setup a separate checking account so you can track your income and expense separate from any other checking account.
One item you should definitely invest in before starting is a quality first aid kit. You’ll use it mainly for when someone skins a knee or scraps a knuckle but you’ll want to have it one hand and know how to use it in case you have someone accidentally shot on your range. Knowing how to slow the loss of blood with a tourniquet will make a big difference before professional care arrives.
Something not to overlook as you start training is what are your state’s requirements? The best way to find out is contact your sheriff or state’s Attorney General. If you teach in Ohio we’ve complied the latest information into a handy article here.
Additional training aids to invest in over time include blue guns, laser (SIRT) pistols, empty shell cases, remote control for computer, laptop, projector, posters, books, and a stock of various targets. Not all of these are required on day one but you should look into reinvesting in your training as you teach.