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Starting Out

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STARTING OUT

Opening Up Your First Martial Arts Club?

When opening up a martial art school whether it be as a hobby or to make an income the approach should be the same. When you are dealing with the public or the corporate sector you want to appear and indeed act with the professionalism of a qualified instructor as you are a representative of the martial arts industry.

Now we are not going into a lot of detail here in explaining the best way to start up a martial arts school because we will need lots of pages and the best way is to work with a Business Mentor (more about that later).

Check List:
Qualifications - Minimum Martial Arts at least 4-5 years experience
Qualifications - Minimum Sports Coaching NCAS or AMACS higher ideally Cert III or Cert IV
Qualifications - Other options Cert III or Cert IV in Fitness - Personal Trainer Course 
Qualifications - Get better skills from Cert IV Trainer & Assessor (TAA)
Qualifications - The ultimate is to get a Teaching Degree from university
Qualifications - Senior First Aid often done with a Cert Course but should be kept current 
Police check - Often required for working at schools/corporations - promotes confidence
Working with Children Check / Blue Card - Compulsory for teaching children 
Weapons Licence - Compulsory if you are using prohibited weapons in training or have in your possession
Registration to an Industry Body - Professional Membership is expected by students 

Specialty Martial Arts Insurance for Public Liability, Professional Indemnity & Player Accident etc - Operating a school without it leaves the instructor and anyone associated with the school unprotected in the event of an inccident. 

Waiver - To be inform students of the risks in training and to create an additional layer of protection. Students should be asked to sign one.

Policies & Procedures - Things like risk management (blood, pregnancy, harassment, injury, sparring, use of equipment policies) help minimize injuries

Venue Hire - It is now rare that a venue will cover you under their insurance so this will be the normal requirement of the hire. There may even want to see your qualifications and registration to an industry body. Some may request a bond and or 4 weeks rent in advance. Check if they have secure storage for your equipment as this saves the hassle of dragging it around with you.

Advertising - You can be the most experience master in town and indeed the best teacher but if NO ONE KNOWS YOU ARE THERE you will not have any students to teach. Make sure you map out a good advertising campaign well in advance.

Student Projections - It can be hit or miss in calculating how many students you will have but there are some sure steps to get results by working with professional mentors who have done it all before very successfully. Be realistic and conservative so you don't get disappointed if you don't get the turn out you dreamed of in the first few months.

Work under your instructor - Learn the ropes from your teacher, see if you can keep your relationship going with him/her because they can be your business mentor. They will expect a percentage for this help and you should be happy to give it to them as there are many unseen benefits to this relationship. If you don't have an instructor or you have broken away with no intention of asking for their help we can help you find a mentor or get you some resources.

Budget - You need cash to start any business and running a club/school is a business so if you haven't got it don't do it. If you don't have the money you will cut corners on everything including risk management, flyers, curriculum, advertising and possibly insurance. What will happen is your total focus will be on getting the bills paid and distract you from your teaching. 

INCOME - What are you going to charge? The cheapest price to get them in? NO! 

You have to charge a fair price for your experience / qualifications / facilities. The price you should charge them irrespective whether you are doing this as a hobby is what you are worth and to cover your overheads.

Membership Fees - This can help pay for insurance $25 - $100 per year 
Uniforms - by at wholesale sell at retail 20%-40% margin 
Protective equipment - by at wholesale sell at retail 20%-40% margin 
Casual Fees - Not recommended (at least $10 but should be upwards of $15 per class)
Monthly Fees - (twice per week upwards of $80 but anything up to $200 or more if you add Coaching qualification)
Term Fees - (are basically monthly fees multiplied by two and a half to three times monthly fees) many schools take term breaks too
Grading Fees - (are anything from $25 - $500 depending on the grade and the age group)
Capital Investment - Will be the amount of money you are going to put in to start your school off and cover the costs
Cash Flow - Will be a combination of your investment balance and the income to cover on going costs and drawings.

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