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  • Starting my own school

    I have been teaching martial arts for 4 years now and I would like to have my own school one day.

    How do I get started?
    should I teach out of a fitness center to get students of my own?
    what is the best way to attract students?

  • #2
    Do what works best for you

    There are a lot of different ways to get started.

    If you belong to a local church you can see about renting space from them to start your program. They may even allow you to tell the church members about your program (free advertising).

    You could also visit a local gym or health club and see if they are willing to rent space to you. this type of space is usually limited and can cost a lot depending on the club environment. I have stared organizations both ways. The church route was much easier and the church actually helped to promote our program. We have since moved from the church and are in our own 4000 sqare foot facility.

    Finding a space is just one thing to take into consideration. You also need to think about insurance, forming a corporation or other legal entity , advirtsing and a great deal more. Far too often a good teacher will start a school and fail because they don't understand everything that goes into the business side of running a school. Find a mentor or someone who can help you think through your plans and give you advice. This way you can learn from their mistakes and not make them on your own.

    Gary

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    • #3
      thanks for the advise. I used to take martial arts through my church when I was a kid before I switched to the school I am at now. Maybe that is the best rought for me.

      how much money can I expect to make in the first year?
      what should I charge?
      should I supply epuiptment or have them by their own?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by kazon33 View Post
        thanks for the advise. I used to take martial arts through my church when I was a kid before I switched to the school I am at now. Maybe that is the best rought for me.

        how much money can I expect to make in the first year?
        what should I charge?
        should I supply epuiptment or have them by their own?
        I'm just curious, what's your Rank?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Hardball View Post
          I'm just curious, what's your Rank?
          I have been training for about 10 years and have reached the 2nd degree in tae kwon do. I also have some training in chinees martial arts and Brazilian Ju Jitsu as well as weapons.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by kazon33 View Post
            I have been training for about 10 years and have reached the 2nd degree in tae kwon do. I also have some training in chinees martial arts and Brazilian Ju Jitsu as well as weapons.
            In that case you would have no problem promoting a student to 1st degree Black Belt. After that, the student would have to go elsewhere unless you get your Third degree. I'm in the same boat, I'm 2nd degree in JJJ.

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            • #7
              I ran a part-time program through a YMCA for about 5 years and had a great experience doing it. The issue of insurance and also liability waivers for students are very important on the "business" side. Also, I think you have to actively recruit students and raise awareness about your program.

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              • #8
                I think of the martial arts as one of the most important things in my life. I like the physical as well as mental benefits it provides and on top of that it is fun for me.

                I have noticed that many students are not as motivated as I am to improve themselves. If anyone has any insite on what motivates people to work hard and what techniques you use to keep their enthusiasm level up let me know.

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                • #9
                  I started in a fitness club and would highly recommend doing this approach.

                  Clubs tend to look at things in an hourly rate scenario. My first place was a flat monthly rate. The second did the hourly thing but offered a cap to the spend; which worked in my favor as I was able to teach more hours there without it costing more.

                  You may have a hard time getting the facility to commit to a long term contract as they like keeping their options open. I was able to get one in the first location but not the second. That said, I was able to teach for about four years in first location and another four in the second. It ended up working out for me but think I got lucky in the second location.

                  It all comes down to how much time you need their floor space and when. Securing desirable times and days can prove difficult depending on if they have classes already running in the group fitness room when you want to be there. If you're just starting out this might not be a big deal. For those with existing classes at certain times and days it might turn into one.

                  Find out the name of the manager and speak with them. If possible, go direct to the owner. Whomever you talk to be sure to walk in with a plan, know what you want to pay (see what they offer first), what times and days you want, and be ready to negotiate.

                  Good luck!

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                  • #10
                    p.s. To answer your second question: This forum offers a lot of great marketing ideas to help attract students. You can also do a search for something like "martial arts marketing" in Google to find additional resources. One main idea I would suggest is building a website that is easily found in the search engines. Hope it helps!
                    Last edited by Ryan Wheaton; 11-20-2008, 02:33 PM. Reason: forgot to include an idea

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                    • #11
                      thoughs are some good Ideas. I currently have a membership at Life Time Fitness and I am part of a Church. One of thoughs places might rent me some space.

                      What about public schools? are they usually willing to rent space out?

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                      • #12
                        Liability...and I'm not a lawyer...but to me it means the possibility of you or
                        the owners of your training facility getting sued over an injury is a very real possibility. That's why the liability waivers are important.

                        Try to use any and all of the connections you have if you need a place to teach.

                        Motivating students can be difficult. Try to keep your enthusiasm and positive attitude up. Understand that not everyone will be as "into" martial arts as you are. However, if you treat everyone fairly and let students leave on good terms with you (don't get mad if they quit), then you'll have some success. Good luck!!

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                        • #13
                          I have not heard of people renting out a public school to teach out of, no. Not saying it's not possible, I just haven't seen that done yet. My guess is that it will be very difficult to accomplish.

                          I know a lot of martial arts school owners set up shop around schools so they can offer after school programs, but never in them.

                          Another approach is to start teaching out of a college. Every college around me, including community colleges, has multiple martial arts programs for credit. The downside is the school pays you, not the students directly, but is an option. There are also continuing education programs you could also try and teach; especially over the summer.

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                          • #14
                            I know some people that do teach at a high school and i've seen some make boxing or a tae kwon do program as part of there coriculum. But, also checking with a colledge would be a good idea as well. Try and make that part of there program. You could also talk to your city council and see if they have any open buildings. You might did up a building that way. Might get one pretty cheap.

                            You could start off with personally training, then when you get a building you expand your program.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by kazon33 View Post
                              I have been teaching martial arts for 4 years now and I would like to have my own school one day.

                              How do I get started?
                              should I teach out of a fitness center to get students of my own?
                              what is the best way to attract students?
                              Take an 7-8 week long course in Small Business Management.
                              Grow a reputation for integrity. Long term contracts are a flop of an idea.
                              Don't over hype your school/stye. Never try and trash the competition.
                              Do work hard with the young kids.

                              I am speaking from the platform of a Gym member and former amateur boxer, Engineer, and car/truck salesman. Most people over 25 are wise to over-hype.

                              No doubt someone else here is better qualified to help you get rolling though
                              Good luck

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