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A first aid training center offers instruction and certification in first aid and related skills. This includes AED (Automated External Defibrillator), first aid, blood-borne pathogens, CPR (including pediatric), and instructor training.
Whether in the classroom, at the grocery store, or on a job site, there’s always the potential that someone could need immediate, life saving medical assistance. Many SCA victims require defibrillation within 4 minutes of an attack, yet it takes emergency medical personnel 8-12 minutes to arrive after an emergency call is placed. Your assistance in training individuals and workplace teams will, undoubtedly, save someone’s life.
Who is this business right for?
If you have an entrepreneurial spirit and thrive on helping others, owning a first aid training school is a profitable and rewarding career. Those who enjoy working with and around others, as well as communicating to an audience, are ideal for this career.
What happens during a typical day at a first aid training business?
While not a requirement, most owners enter the “classroom” and teach the courses they offer. Your first aid training business will also involve a number of other activities to keep you busy throughout the day.
Most days will include the following activities:
- Marketing your business
- Attending additional certification classes to ensure your school is on top of the latest changes in first aid
- Answering the telephone and emails
- Scheduling upcoming classes
- Updating and maintaining student records and issuing certificates for offered courses
At least weekly, you’ll also need to restock inventory/supplies for classes and pay any unpaid invoices.
Once you’ve built a team, you can delegate the administrative duties to your staff. This will allow you to shift your focus towards managing your team and maintaining your marketing strategy.
What is the target market?
Your customers are anyone in need of certification. This ranges from teenagers looking to babysit, to teachers and coaches, as well as warehousing and distribution companies. Many expecting parents now include pediatric CPR training in their baby preparation strategy.
Before building a marketing strategy, conduct research to determine if there are any specific groups of professionals you should be targeting. Find out what kind of training your area is lacking and what courses are already being taught. Knowing who needs your courses and what their unique needs are offers insight into how courses should be designed and who you should market to.
How does a first aid training business make money?
Your first aid training school generates revenue for every individual scheduled for each class. Many trainers offer both in class and online courses, depending upon the class and how much hands-on experience is needed.
What is the growth potential for a first aid training business?
Whether you envision a small school, with you as the only instructor, or wish to lead multiple instructors, ultimately offering franchise opportunities, the opportunities are there. More information is learned every day about the intricacies of the human body, as well as on-the-job safety, ensuring this is a career that will always be in demand.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful first aid training business?
Even if you don’t plan to take on the role of instructor, it’s a good idea to obtain certifications on each subject you plan to offer, as well as the instructor certification. The American Red Cross and the American Heart Association both offer well-structured courses. You might even want to attend a few different schools. This would offer valuable insight into various instructor methods and how different target groups respond.
One skill this profession requires is speaking in front of large groups of people with finesse. You’ll be required to speak confidently about what your school offers over the competition, and offer details to back it up.
Running a successful first aid training business isn’t just about being in the classroom. It requires commitment and strong business management skills. You’ll need to be patient and educated in a variety of different teaching methods so that each of your employees and students walk away with the knowledge and skills they’re seeking.
What are the costs involved in opening a first aid training business?
You’ll first need to write a business plan that outlines how you plan to structure the school. Will you offer a neutral classroom setting or would you rather travel to your students, working out of your client’s conference rooms? If your vision includes a classroom, the first thing you’ll need to do is find an office space and sign a lease.
Regardless of where you intend to instruct, there are a few items you’ll need to invest in:
- Mannequins: adult, child and infant - $1,800 for a classroom pack
- AED training kits - $1,800 - $3,000
- Accompanying safety and training supplies - $1,000
- Marketing materials, including a comprehensive and interactive website, business cards, and brochures - $10,000 - $15,000
- Learning management system, such as Otis Learning Management System, which will help manage everything from administrative duties to organizing your class material
What are the steps to start a first aid training business?
Once you're ready to start your first aid training business, follow these steps to ensure that your business is legally compliant and avoid wasting time and money as your business grows:
- Plan your business. A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. A few important topics to consider are your initial costs, your target market, and how long it will take you to break even.
- Form a legal entity. Establishing a legal business entity prevents you from being personally liable if your first aid training business is sued.
- Register for taxes. You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
- Open a business bank account. A dedicated checking account for your first aid training business keeps your finances organized and makes your business appear more professional to your customers.
- Set up business accounting. Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
- Obtain necessary permits and licenses. Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
- Get business insurance. Insurance is highly recommended for all business owners. If you hire employees, workers compensation insurance may be a legal requirement in your state.
- Define your brand. Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
- Establish a web presence. A business website allows customers to learn more about your company and the products or services you offer. You can also use social media to attract new clients or customers.
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Where can I find a business mentor?
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a first aid training business?
- Purchase an existing first aid training school. This will help ensure a shorter time to realize a return on your investment.
- Work at the American Red Cross prior to starting your own school to get a feel for the industry.
- Make sure your school is OSHA-compliant and approved by multiple state and federal agencies, such as state emergency medical services departments, educational boards, and the U.S. Department of Labor.
- If speaking in front of people isn’t one of your strengths, take a public speaking course at your local college.
How to promote & market a first aid training business
One of your most valued investments will be your website. While this can set you back tens of thousands of dollars, it’s not a part of your budget you want to skimp on. Your clients should be able to contact you, sign up for classes, and gain access to the information they need regarding the services you offer. If you plan to offer online classes, the site should have the capability of handling that as well.
Once your website is built, consider publishing a blog regularly and sharing it on social media sites. If your material is informative and well thought-out, readers will share the blog, allowing you to reach a broader audience and attracting more prospective students.
Unlike many businesses of today, brochures will still be an integral part of your marketing strategy. The advantages of traditional advertising techniques like ads in business publications and on television will also prove beneficial. Your strongest marketing technique, however, will be in personal visits to HR departments, hospitals, etc. Many large organizations require that members of their workforce and key personnel maintain various safety certifications to ensure industry compliance. Don’t assume they already have someone caring for their needs; be prepared to show them why your school is a step above the rest.
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How to keep customers coming back
Most certifications require recertification every two years, offering you a unique opportunity to build a strong customer base of repeat students. Retain these clients by offering consistently high quality service, instruction, and training material at a competitive price.
How and when to build a team
You can grow a successful business, whether you decide to be the only instructor, or hire a team. Whichever route you take, consider hiring an attorney and an accountant to assist you in navigating through the intricacies and compliance standards of owning such a business.
If and when you decide to grow your team, keep in mind who your audience is. Professionals who have left the boardroom to learn in your classroom are more apt to respect a teacher who is older and wiser. Team members who are experienced in various classroom techniques and interacting with different social and professional classes will more effectively convey the material.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a CPR training business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.
In addition, certain local licensing or regulatory requirements may apply. For more information about local licenses and permits:
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources
Maintain Personal Asset Protection
Don’t think that just forming an LLC, or any other type of business, will save your personal assets in case of a lawsuit or other matter by itself.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your LLC is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Two of the simplest steps that will protect your business, and yourself, are to:
Open a business bank account
- This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Get a business credit card
- This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
Certificate of Occupancy
A clothing boutique may be run out of a physical location instead of online. Businesses operating out of a physical location typically require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met.
- If you plan to lease a location:
- It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO.
- Before leasing, confirm that your landlord has or can obtain a valid CO that is applicable to a CPR instruction business.
- After a major renovation, a new CO often needs to be issued. If your place of business will be renovated before opening, it is recommended to include language in your lease agreement stating that lease payments will not commence until a valid CO is issued.
It is advisable to provide individuals seeking first aid training with informed consent agreements to decrease legal liability and encourage transparency.
- More information on informed consent agreements can be found here.
A first-aid training business should provide students with a service agreement, which should outline the techniques students will learn, the price of the class, and whether or not students will be certified after training. If you do plan to offer certification, you will need to earn a first-aid instructor’s certification through a program like the Red Cross’.
How much can you charge customers?
Instructor led classes range anywhere from $70 to $300, depending upon the course and location. Proficient instructors certify approximately 150 students per month.
What are the ongoing expenses for a first aid training business?
Ongoing expenses include printing of marketing materials, brochures, and classroom material, as well as sustained website maintenance. Since part of your day will be spent traveling meet with prospective customers and for off-premises classes, regular maintenance and fuel costs should be allocated for in your monthly budget. If you have a physical location, you’ll also face the standard overhead costs of rent and utilities.
How much profit can a first aid training business make?
While it will take some time to build your business, successful businesses that focus on teaching first-aid training have the potential to realize a profit of more than $100,000 annually.
How can you make your business more profitable?
The following are a few strategies you can implement to ensure a more profitable business:
- Offer refresher/recertification courses at a discounted price to ensure student retention.
- For classes that don’t require hands-on experience, offer online classes.
- Consumers have become reliant on accessing videos for just about everything. Consider offering videos for those in need.
- Include training courses for instructors. You’ll realize a greater profit and you might just find your next team member along the way.
- Partner up with your local hospitals. Their employees are required to take a certain number of hours to renew their license and many offer CPR and first-aid courses for their patients as well.
- Offer additional classes geared toward workplace safety, team building, and specialized first aid techniques.
- Offer inspection services for local businesses. Tour their facility and offer advice regarding how their first aid program could be improved.
- Focus on courses that can be taught at the customer’s workplace to keep cost per student down and business volume up.
- There are few franchising opportunities out there, so consider set up a franchise as your business starts to grow.