When you’re running a firearms business, image is everything! You need to commit to serving your customers with the utmost professional standards.
When you become a firearms instructor, you accept a certain amount of responsibility for those you train.
Appearance. You never have another opportunity to make a great first impression. Remember, you are a professional trainer; there’s no reason to have unkept facial hair or greasy hair. Dress appropriately. If running a basic pistol class, consider your student’s feelings, and don’t dress like a cop or in fatigues. Dress comfortably and give a nice first impression. If you’re running a tactical class, then, by all means, look the part.
Ethics. Be true to yourself, and what you promise to deliver. Don’t overstate your abilities, don’t jeopardize your integrity. Be honest and respectful to others at all times.
Offer assistance to new instructors. Remember, you were once there. Helping new instructors establishes you as a mentor, not the competition.
Ensure you have a professional training environment in which you teach. First impressions are important. If you’re conducting classes in your living room, you might want to think of your impression on your students.
Indoor or Outdoor range. Aside from weather conditions being a factor, train at an outdoor range whenever possible. Give your students a professional, relaxing environment in which they can learn.
Be positive, upbeat, and energetic when you teach, both in the classroom and at the range.
Never criticize a student, especially if other students are present.
If a student is struggling, emphasize and support their strong skills. Offer them to come back for a private lesson. By remaining professional, your other students will see you as an excellent instructor. You can count on them to spread the news to friends, family, and social media.
Offer a free gun seminar. Remember, it’s a seminar, not a class. It’s a community service you are providing for those who are new to guns and are curious about how they work or what different types are available. Cover the essentials: Safe Gun Handling Rules, Differences between revolvers and semi-automatic pistols, and how to store the firearm to prevent unauthorized access safely.
Marketing Materials are essential to your success. Be sure they are professionally prepared, printed on nice cardstock (think VistaPrint, not flyers), and have all social media channels listed with your website, email, and telephone number. Remember, you are a business person first! Be sure you have access to professional business materials.
Your image is everything. You are always under scrutiny from the first moment a student meets you to the last goodbye. Make the most of this opportunity to make a lasting impression! If you succeed, your practice will grow, and you’ll soon be looking for assistant instructors.
David Streb is the co-founder of Level 1 Firearms Training LLC. When he's not training at the range or new instructors, Mr. Streb enjoys spending time with his wife Nicki as they travel across the U.S. discovering new destinations. His hobbies include writing, photography, fishing, and four-wheeling.