I said this is just for Flight Instructors so stop reading now Private Pilot person! Just kidding, please do read especially if one day you hope to be teaching in the cockpit.
I recently had the experience here in Utah of dealing with the Department of Consumer Affairs. Now this was not a negative experience by all means but a learning experience for me. I hope to pass on this information to help other instructors/future instructors be prepared.
I am a contracted, independent instructor. That means that flight schools, flying clubs, aircraft owners, etc, hire me to teach in their planes. As an instructor, I take my job seriously and therefore professionally as well. Thus I have a LLC entity as my business structure. I also have things that every instructor should have: a specific business email (not a personal one that all my friends have), a website, blog (optional), a dedicated phone number and a business banking account (it’s much harder to write off pilot supplies when you purchase them via your personal account).
Recently the Utah Department of Consumer Affairs sent me a letter thinking I was a flight school that charge tuition and took up front fees. Keep in mind that as I write this, every state may be different on their regulations. They were pleasant to work with and I simply had to fill out an exempt application stating I was not a Part 141 school that accepted payments in advance for training. Here in Utah we have had some shoddy flight schools file bankruptcy and get sued after accepting tens of thousands of students’ loan money and not providing the training they promised.
So in a nut shell, if you are a current CFI or planning on becoming one, check with your local government to see where you would fall under and if you may need to establish your position in the aviation training community.