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how to run a martial arts business

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  • how to run a martial arts business

    could someone plz tell everything on what it takes to establish a dojo like finaces,initial cost, manteniece, equipment, how much you charge, if you require a contract, and stuff like that. i would like to hear from people who have exsisting dojo and from anyone who is knowledgeable about this.

    by the way srry about not being about to post lately my fan broke and my power supply went out on my comp. so i got another one

  • #2
    Having been involved with (administration worker) commercial TKD in Australia, I believe the question should be asked: Why do you want to do this? Do you want to make money, or do you wish to this for the love and glory of your art? If money is your primary motivation, then I believe you should re-think what you're doing. All that the students get is a watered down sport, as opposed to learning an art. Should you genuinely want to teach the art for what it is, then fee structure, hall hire, strict uniform requirements etc, don't really matter. Comfortable clothes in the park or backyard will do nicely, for whatever it costs the local council for the use of the park. I understand that when my Sifu ran Tai Chi in the park, all proceeds went to charity.


    • #3
      My sifu teaches tai chi and donates the profit for charity too.What does he look like he might be the same


      • #4

        iof you are starting out from scratch then it is vital you produce a good business plan. accounting for all your perceived costs and incomes.

        Most banks will provide you with software for this if you approach them for an account or information.

        Your business plan will tell you what your charges need to be and that will depend on your location and costs, etc.

        So if you are in a major city and your rents are high then depending on the size of the property and the number of students you can comfortably accomodate then you can work out the level of charges.

        Research your location and proerty well as this will have a major factor in your memberships....spare no expense on thnings like surveys, leagl advice, marketing advice.

        If you have a background in running a business then this will help....its important to maximise your income (incremental sales) and minimise your out goings. Small things like tea, coffe, toilet rolls...all add up and can affect your profit/loss quite a bit.

        Also, a good understanding of marketing will help. Using different media and being able to measure the result from each so you can guage when and where is best to spend your money on advertising.

        for instance if you place an add in the local paper on a monday night but get no response you may find that the same add on a thurs night will produce more? This will vary from area to area and is very difficult to judge.

        also, when you recieve any enquiries it is very important to make sure they are processed proffessionally and any potential member is properly inducted and sold into the idea of training. ( create desire and then show affordability)

        and theres soooo much more....

        it's a minefield but the result of running your own business, teaching the art that you love is worth all the hassle.....



        • #5
          yes cue ball i would be doing it for a good reason. but thats really my agenda whether or not i do it for money or love.

          so all that stuff really depends on your location, like if i do it in california it will be a lot more difficult then if i do it in like florida.

          so do you think its better to start somewhere small like having a partnership with some company to help their employees or in return for using a facility you give some of your profit to whoever owns the facility. and progressevly save money for you to go solo.?

          i believe i shouldn't even waste my time on spending money for advertising. i think you can always get students by just printing out flyers and telling people to pass the message.

          i'd like to descuss this in a little more depth


          • #6
            no, what i mean about location is that you must make sure your business plan reflects the location of your property. If you want to rent a place in the centre of town make sure it had enough capacity to return the required revenue. Partnerships are never a good idea unless you really cant do it on your own. its worse than working for somebody.

            Advertising is essential in any business. Printing flyers is only a small part of it and it still costs you in time, paper, cartridges, etc.

            I have a place in the uk. i distribute around 10,000 flyers per month. i advertise on radio and in local leaflets are distributed through three local schools, and i have two national press lsitings.

            i change the adverts regularly and monitor the returns.

            Only a small percentage of people practice martial arts, i believe its in the region of 1-2%....look at the local population and guage how large your target audience will be?

            are you teaching just now?

            do you have any students you can take with you?

            remeber advetrising is only one aspect. take time to research everything in detail so you know what you are getting into.....

            and good luck!


            • #7

              right now im in a kickboxing club and the teacher is just in it for the money.
              he charges too much and takes money whenever he can.
              im 16 right now but when im a little older my cousin and i are going to start our own club. however this one is one of the biggest in the country.
              is there any way i can compete.


              • #8
                okay plat here's the info you asked for

                I've had a school for 10 years. I'll tell you what you need and then tell you what I did because they are totally different.

                Startup money around 30,000 to 100,000.
                Know how to negotiate a lease well. Minimum square footage is usually 2000 square feet.

                Equipment cost should be minimal. probably around 2 to 5K. But if you want to go big time you could easily drop 10K at wholesale price not retail.

                Price structure is dependant on expenses.

                Like this.

                How much do you want to make = A (say 500 dollars a month)
                Plus rent=B (say 1000 a month)
                Plus expenses =C (say 500 a month (phone, water, electric insurance))
                Plus advertising=D (say 200)

                Add them together= 2200

                now divide that number by the amount of expected students. say 50

                That tell you that to meet the above numbers you must charge no less that 44 dollars a month.

                The problem is you don't start off with 50 students. usually you start with 0. So find a place that will let you use it for free or rent it by the hour. Build up a few students there. Then Go and start doing demonstrations. (fancy stuff that looks cool. No body cares if it looks realistic) Demos=entertainment not teaching.

                Then when you hit the magic number where you think you are viable go get the building and open up.

                Start off inexpensively as you can otherwise you will go broke.

                Plan for things to go wrong, they will.

                Figure out how much it's going to cost you, then double that amount. It's going to take twice as much time and money as you think it is.

                I started my first school with $200. It was rough, I made lots of mistakes and about put myself out of business every other week. I opened my second school after learning from my first for $800 and a hell of a lot of work. Within weeks I had 35 students and was supporting the school off tuition and my paycheck. ( don't do that, it gets old.)

                I started charging $35 a month the going rate in the area. It almost killed me. I raised it to $65 and doubled my students and the quality of the people as well.

                I later closed my first school and since they were close enough just told the students they would have to go to the main school.

                I used demos, flyers, phone books, coupons a restraunts, radio, newspaper, dropboxes.

                The main problem I had was I was under capitalized the whole time. So I was not always able to take advantage of everything I needed to to get my school to grow.

                So that is why I said minimum 30K.

                I opened my new gym with 20K and blew through it in 2 months. Then I got smart and got creative.

                Don't trust luck, or skill. Whether you are a great martial artists has very little to do with your skill as a business owner. It all comes down to the bottom line.

                so many people will sign up at 20 a month and so many at 100 a month

                you need to find the right number at the right price that gives you the most cash, because that is what keeps the school running.


                • #9
                  You bring up something I've been curious about. Does it seem to any of you that some people correlate high tuition with good instruction? (the more they pay, the better they think the school is) There seems to be alot of that here. I see alot of people paying ridiculous tuition and getting crappy instruction. One guys strongest point was that they did a lot of jumping jacks! at $150 a month! Another lady has her kid in a TKD school, a crappy one to boot, pays $120 or so a month, another $100 a month to be on a sparring team (they spar the other school on Saturdays) and another $100 to be on a demo team! I went and watched a class, the usual WTF monthly belt rank (I didn't even ask about monthly testing fees) crap. We've actually considered raising tuition and seeing what happens. Any thoughts!


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by fullcircle
                    Does it seem to any of you that some people correlate high tuition with good instruction?

                    I think that it is typical consumerism. Most peopel assume if it copst more it is inherantly better. Most would assume that a watch that costs $3000 is better than a watch that cost $100, but is it. They both give accurate time and the $100 watch maybe more accurate.

                    With MA most judge by the appearance of the Dojo. Personally I have seen the chains dojos and I would rather train with one instructor one location in teh basement of a building, no frills. Than most of these pretty places. Now I am not saying that clean and modern schools should be dismissed or are not providing quality teaching. But as you stated people associate the price with more material items than with the quality of instruction IMHO


                    • #11
                      How to Open and Operate a Successful Martial Arts School

                      The e-book How to Open and Operate a Successful Martial Arts School would be a great place to start. It's available in the Instructors Resources area of for $19.99

                      My new organization, The Martial Arts Teachers' Association is also a terrific resource for instructors.




                      • #12
                        Originally posted by yo asikura
                        right now im in a kickboxing club and the teacher is just in it for the money.
                        he charges too much and takes money whenever he can.
                        im 16 right now but when im a little older my cousin and i are going to start our own club. however this one is one of the biggest in the country.
                        is there any way i can compete.
                        You are too young.
                        In Kickboxing, you will only atrack 'students' once you start winning some serouis competition.
                        The problem with guys wanting to start their own MA is that they do not realize or judge their own achievement.
                        They are genuine about their art but paying customers meaning students are mostly attracted to their instructor achievement.
                        Location and fees might counter-balance the lack of 'achievement' but students are known to travel an extra mile to get closer to a more sucessfull club.
                        so promoting and being cuccesfull in your MA competition within your own MA is the most important asset for me.