How to Start a Profitable Martial Arts School with Little Money

Are you a martial arts professional? And you want to start a martial arts school with a small startup budget? Here is this post, we put every detail and resource on how to start a small-scale martial arts studio. Check it out.

Revenue wise martial arts school business is very lucrative. As it focuses on specialized instruction. Martial arts is a unique way of protecting yourself with free hands. Simply, you can say, it is an art to physically defeat opponents and defend against threats.

It is a form of self-defense or attack and is a popular sport globally. Even it is a  well-accepted form of workout. Among the different types of arts, mixed martial art is the most popular.  Although the industry serves a demographically diverse clientele, we can expect a potential market in the industry. The major portion of clientele includes males and youth.

Different Types of Martial Arts

There are five distinct categories in the industry. These are stand-up or striking styles, grappling styles, low impact styles, weapons-based styles, and MMA (A Hybrid Sports Style).

Striking or Stand-Up Styles

  • Boxing
  • Karate
  • Krav Maga
  • Kung Fu
  • Kickboxing
  • Tae Kwon Do

Grappling or Ground Fighting Styles

  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
  • Russian Sambo
  • Shootfighting
  • Wrestling

Throwing or Takedown Styles

  • Aikido
  • Judo
  • Hapkido
  • Shuai Jiao

Weapons Based Styles

  • Iaido
  • Kali
  • Kendo

Low Impact or Meditative Styles

  • Baguazhang
  • Tai Chi
  • Chi Gong based styles

MMA- A Hybrid Sports Style

Finally, this is the most popular. In addition, it gives better revenue. This is a mixed martial art.

10 Steps to Start A Martial Arts School

1. Get Expertise & Skill

Check whether you have the proper qualification or not. You must have the necessary qualifications. However, they vary depending on the province you are starting a martial arts school. Having a master arts black belt is a must for starting a school. Generally, a black belt is at least very proficient in a style’s techniques.

In many cases, true experts may have degrees attached to their black belts (2nd-degree black belt, for example) or are actually called masters of their art.

2. Craft Business Plan

Alike any business, creating a business plan is most important. You will need to decide how much are you require. Determine your target demographic. In addition, how you will attract clients. What will be your marketing strategy? Set your business goal and plan to reach there. Furthermore, determine your business objective.

You must craft the financial part also. Calculate the startup budget with the working capital cost. And calculate an expected ROI with cash flow. Some of the basic topics that must be addressed in your martial arts studio plan document are as follows:

  • Initial and recurring costs.
  • Target customers.
  • Pricing plan.
  • How do you plan to sell your training services?

3. Register your Business

It is essential to register your martial arts school for running a legally compliant business. Talk to the local competent authority or a professional and select the proper business structure under which you are going to run the business.

For example, if you are from the United States, the most popular types of business structures are sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation. Choosing an LLC or a corporation will not only help in protecting your personal assets and facilitates ease of filing annual taxes.

After registering your business, apply for the necessary taxes and permits required to operate a martial arts school in the proposed locality.

4. Name your Martial Arts School

It is without saying, a catchy and relatable business name goes a long way to create a reputed brand in the industry. Also, don’t forget to check the domain availability of a similar website domain name. Check our guide on how to name a business to learn more.

5. Procure Licenses for Martial Arts School

The license requirements to run a martial arts studio vary from state to state, country to country.  It is advised to talk to the local government authority and procure the licenses needed.

If you are planning to start a martial arts school in the United States, visit SBA’s official site to learn more about the license requirements.

6. Selecting Location & Setting up Martial Arts Studio

You must find a location to start your school. It is better to establish near the posh residential area. According to your requirement secure a space. However, there are certain space requirements for setting up a dojo. Don’t go for purchasing a space. Start with rental space.

First of all, you must offer a professional and comfortable interior for your clients. Ask an interior designer to craft a floor plan. Secure space for waiting and changing room. Decorate the inside walls with large mirrors and martial arts-related paintings. Have a notice board to fix the schedule of classes or tournaments. Concentrate on the flooring. In addition, get them full matting. Display a belt rack.

7. Cost & Investment

The costs of establishing a martial arts training studio will depend on the size of the training center and the equipment procured. Broadly the startup investment will include rent cost, insurance cost, equipment expenses, registration, license costs, and marketing costs.

Equipment costs will depend on the type of training being provided to students. Some basic equipment one needs to buy to open a martial art/ Taekwondo training school are mats, ring for one-to-one sparring, kick pads, strike shields, uniforms, sparring gloves, sparing foot protectors, head guards, shin pads, and body armor.

The approximate cost of opening a full-fledged martial arts school will be around $50,000 in the United States.

8. Fix Pricing

Fix the charges carefully. However, you can offer free sessions to attract new customers. Common forms of martial arts classes include karate, Tae Kwon Do, Kung Fu, Aikido, and Judo. There is little cost variance among the different types. However, you can offer different charges for children and adults.

The pricing model of a martial arts school is generally membership type. It can be a monthly or annual membership. Before setting the membership fees, it is advised to check competitor’s pricing and the facilities provided by them to the students.

9. Staffing

According to your plan hire employees. However, your instructors must have proficient knowledge of the subject. And of course, a passion for teaching others.

10. Create a Marketing Plan

Advertising and promotion are musts. The first thing to do is to create a logo. Create visiting cards, brochures, and pamphlets with the logo printed on them and distribute them to your prospective customers.

Promote your school offline and online. Have your own website. Promote on social media. Find a relevant team, school, or group to sponsor. You’ll need to do a cost-benefit analysis. However, this can make your school look really good in your community and boost your presence.

If you want to start your own martial arts school, we will recommend you to read the book ‘Small Dojo Big Profits.’  This is the classic text on starting a martial arts school – the martial arts business plan trusted by thousands of martial arts school owners for over a decade. The author of this book Mike Massie has shared the valuable detailed guide to starting a successful martial arts school of your own.

Have some printed stickers. They are really very effective tools to boost awareness. In addition, you can offer an after-school program for the children. Offer free demonstrations at local schools. Try every possible option for promoting your martial art school online. Some of the most potential options are a Facebook advertisement, Google Adwords, etc.