Finding Your Prime Martial Arts School Location
OK. So you've decided you want to open a martial arts school, and you're in the market for a location. You think you have an idea of where you want to locate your school. However, choosing the ideal location for your martial arts school involves a lot of factors to consider, not the least of which, is cost.
Even if money "is no object", you must keep in mind that the higher the investment and monthly expenses are, the higher profit margin you will need to pay property taxes and other expenses. There may be repairs necessary, and equipment. In addition, you will still have to meet your external living expenses of home, car, etc.
Here's a general list of concerns you may have to consider:
• Not every town needs or WANTS a martial arts school! Invest in a good, reliable demographics analysis. Make sure it confirms that the area population will support your business. What kind of population lives locally, and in the surrounding communities? Are there competitive businesses? Are there lots of families but no real service businesses that provide childcare for working parents? A good market research will provide that information.
• Structural concerns — The building may require some modifications to allow for the several studios you'll need for teens, kids, adults, and maybe one or two for special functions. Hopefully, your schedule will include more than a few classes each day, so you'll need to accommodate that, or at least be able to expand if you need to. Get an idea of how much area space you'll need for your growing business, and get estimates for accurate costs ahead of time. Make sure your landlord and/or town hall will allow for your expansion.
• Street traffic — Is it located at a busy intersection, or in an area where passing traffic and pedestrians will see your business? You would be doing well with a building on a two-way street. Two-way traffic means that a good portion of the traffic will be traveling one way in the morning, and in the opposite direction later on. That will ensure that you get double exposure on most days. The pedestrian path in front should be clear for
people to pass, enter, and leave your business.
• Will you have parking spaces? — If not, there should be room for at least a few dozen of your customers to park nearby. Your clientele may not want to walk blocks. If it's a large rural community, you might even consider a building in a rural setting where you can have a large parking lot.
• Is there public transportation available? — In a downtown setting, it could be crucial to have public transportation available, especially if limited parking is an issue. If there is a bus stop close to your place of business, better yet! The easier it is for your patrons to get to, into, and out of your business, the better off your business will be.
• Security — Will your business be located in a high crime area? Generally, that will dissuade many potential customers from patronizing your school. In addition, the high costs of theft and vandalism can break a business, very easily.
You will want to get accurate insurance estimates before signing any papers. If crime has any impact on the neighborhood, insurance against fire, theft, vandalism, liability, and other pertinent situations may be too exorbitant for your pocketbook. After all is said and done, you'll still want to add a good security system.
• Zoning Laws — Be up to date on zoning laws for your establishment. They can impose restrictions on traffic, parking, hours of business, and other important issues that will affect your business. Do your homework!
• Location History — Do a little more homework here to discover what, if any, businesses were previously located where you want to locate. What kind of business was it? Why did it leave? Was it successful while it was there?
• Competition — Scope out the competition. Are there competitors nearby, or locally? That's not necessarily a bad thing! Have you ever noticed that near the Burger King, there will also be a McDonald's, and perhaps a KFC, or Wendy's? That's no mistake.
Your business must be able to stand on its own! Your ability to draw customers from another business is limited only by your desire and services. The close proximity of another martial arts school may help your business, especially if it has a large clientele. It means the community is really into martial arts! It means that awareness is high. You can capitalize on that.
If your business is quality, providing the kind of professionalism it should, you could benefit from your competition. Your goal, then, is to provide a better program, special events, or more FUN! Advertise! Promote!
Competition or no competition, your goal is to provide quality martial arts education. Do the best you can with sincerity, honesty, friendliness, and integrity, (and your homework!), and you'll have the BEST chances of making your martial arts school a success!
For professional advice on your leap into a martial arts school, prepare yourself with a visit to the martial arts Guru, Greg Silva at http://www.unitedprofessionals.com . Greg Silva has advice and decades of successful experience opening and growing martial arts schools!