How Much Does It Cost to Open a Martial Arts School (2024)

If you are thinking of opening your own martial arts training place, but don’t know how much it would cost, stay with us.

In this article we are going to:

  • compare franchise vs. own brand, 
  • list the costs of opening own martial arts schools,
  • give ideas to reduce the costs.

How Much Does a New Martial Arts School Cost?

Initial Investment:
The average cost to open a martial arts dojo is estimated to be between $30,000 and $100,000. (The Studio Director)​​ (FinModelsLab)​.

 If you have a ‘go big or go home’ approach, you probably want to have:

  • a high student enrollment 
  • 3,000 to 5,000 square feet or more
  • multiple training areas
  • large changing rooms
  • a reception area, offices, storage
  • additional amenities like a pro shop or a fitness area

If so, be prepared for costs in the $800,000 range.

Main costs when opening a martial arts place

Experienced martial arts studio owners list these items as the most important ones you need to consider. Factor them into your budget when planning martial arts academy startup costs:

  • Construction or renovation
  • Building official documentation and local government acceptance
  • Lease
  • Rent
  • Utilities: bonds and connecting
  • Photography, banners, neons, etc.
  • Martial arts equipment
  • Computers, reception equipment, office supplies
  • Martial Arts Studio Software
  • Legal, accounting costs
  • Property insurance, liability insurance
  • Marketing costs: branding and graphic design, printing promotional materials
  • Website development
  • Staff recruitment, training & wages
  • Uniforms
  • Pre-launch marketing campaigns and staff costs

1. Choosing a martial arts academy brand

Decide whether you want to operate under your own brand or open a franchise. Having your own business with a martial arts studio name that you came up with is very rewarding. However, remember that it takes about 2 years for your brand to become recognizable and profitable.

Visual identification created from the beginning is another additional cost. If you are starting to implement a completely new idea, it will also cost you to create a good financial plan (as a part of a school of martial arts business plan).

Initial franchise fee

Consider opening a franchise branch if it is important for you to have ready-made and proven solutions. The initial investment typically starts here from $49,500.

Members of martial arts youth school.

2. Choosing the right location

Locating a place for martial arts classes in a densely populated area can increase visibility and potential client base, but on the other hand it results in higher rental expenses.

Access to public transportation can enhance accessibility for clients and instructors, potentially mitigating the need for extensive parking facilities.

Cost:
Commercial rent for a martial arts academy varies significantly based on location. The cost can range from $15 to $50 per square foot annually. For a 3,000-square-foot facility, this amounts to $45,000 to $150,000 per year​ (Gymdesk)​​ (Combat Sports Insurance)​.

Location of martial arts classes, why not on a beach this time?

3. Building/ Renovation /Adapting

The biggest cost would be to build the entire studio from scratch as a new building. Most often, however, it is possible to find large rooms or an entire floor suitable for martial arts classes. 

These rooms can be purchased or rented long-term. Your initial cost will then be the renovation and the first installment of rent or mortgage payments. 

Try to minimize renovation costs by:

  • working with the team along, 
  • buying materials of good quality but not the most expensive ones, etc.

Renovation and build-out costs to prepare the training space can range from $20 to $100 per square foot. For a 3,000-square-foot facility, the total could be between $60,000 and $300,000​ (Gymdesk)​.

4. Martial Arts Equipment

Essential martial arts equipment, such as mats, bags, and protective gear, can cost between $5,000 and $20,000 initially. Premium flooring systems for a 1,500-square-foot area can cost up to $10,000, and wall padding can add another $2,500 to $9,360​ (Gymdesk)​​ (Combat Sports Insurance)​.

Of course, the equipment will be different for Brazilian jiu jitsu, kung fu or mma classes and other specialized training sessions. You know what you need the most. But remember about other small accessories too. Exercise balls, straps, cubes and other equipment will be necessary e. g. for stretching. 

Every kind of martial art requires different equipment - here: kendo swords.

5. Furniture for your place

Here is a breakdown of furniture approximate costs:

Reception desk and chairs: $ 1,000
Stereo system: $ 1,000
Mirrors: $ 2,500 – 7,000
Flooring: $ 2,000 – 8,000

The waiting room at the Martial Arts academy in a minimalist style.

6. Martial Arts Instructors and Other Important People

For your school you need to hire not only instructors, but also front desk staff, and cleaning service.

Hiring qualified instructors and administrative staff is crucial. Monthly salaries for staff can range from $10,000 to $30,000, depending on the number of employees and their experience​ (Kicksite)​​ (FinModelsLab)​.

  • The hiring process: Job vacancy advertisement can cost $0.10 to $5 per click.
  • Martial arts instructors can earn different amounts of money, widely based on experience, expertise, and location, varying from $20 to $100 or more per class session.
  • Cleaners earn on average $15.76 per hour.
  • Front desk staff: $23.15 per hour.
  • Additionally you can hire an assistant, cleaning company, bookkeeper, social media manager etc. 
  • If you want to cut down on staff costs, implement Martial Arts Place Software, which saves time and money. Approximately 30 minutes per participant per month!

7. Martial Arts Academy Software

Take your load off with intuitive, efficient, and affordable management software. All-in-one martial arts school software consist of many useful features, helping conduct sport studios like:

  • task automation
  • dedicated mobile app
  • website integration
  • CRM
  • and others

WodGuru is the most frequently recommended software for martial arts schools and martial arts instructors.

WodGuru is a recommended club management system.

You get an unlimited trial! Register your account and see how WodGuru can help you run your club.

8. Taxes

To your start up costs you have to add taxes. 

  • Business taxes: 
  • Employee withholding: 
  • Sales tax

Most cities and states will require you to pay registration fees when you start a martial arts training place. For example, in New York City, the registration fees for a school cost between $250-$500, and you’ll also need to get a Department of Consumer Affairs Registering Business Certificate for 50 $.

9. Insurance, Accounting

The cost of accounting and insurance for a martial arts studio in the USA can vary widely depending on several factors:

  • location of the studio, 
  • its size, 
  • the specific services offered, 
  • the number of employees, 
  • the level of coverage desired. 

For accounting services, you might expect to pay anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars per year, depending on whether you hire a bookkeeper, accountant, or CPA, and the complexity of your financial situation.

As for insurance, martial arts schools typically need a combination of liability insurance, property insurance, and possibly other types of coverage such as workers’ compensation insurance. The cost of insurance can vary significantly based on factors such as the size of the studio, the number of clients served, the types of equipment used, and the coverage limits desired. 

On average, you might expect to pay anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars per year for insurance coverage for a martial arts center in the USA. It’s best to consult with insurance providers and accountants who specialize in serving businesses in the fitness industry to get accurate quotes based on your specific needs and circumstances.

Liability insurance for a martial arts schools  typically costs between $1,000 and $5,000 annually, depending on the size of the school and the number of students​ (Combat Sports Insurance)​​ (FinModelsLab)

10. Maintenance

  • Cleaning Services: Hiring professionals can cost $25-$75/hour, essential for meeting health standards​.
  • Cleaning Supplies: Annual costs range from $500-$1,000 for essential supplies like disinfectants and mops​.
  • Repairs and Upkeep: Budget for routine maintenance of studio infrastructure to avoid larger future expenses; costs vary based on usage​.

Ongoing Operational Costs: Monthly operational costs, including rent, utilities, salaries, and miscellaneous expenses, can range from $15,000 to $50,000, depending on the size and scope of the school​ (The Studio Director)​​ (Combat Sports Insurance)​.

11. Clean and Safe Martial Arts Center

Your priority should be the safety and well-being of the students and those who teach. You have to keep each square foot of your school clean and safe.

Cleaning spray for martial arts area hygiene.

Examples of items you will need to buy:

  • Cleaning supplies: $50 to $200 per month.
  • Mat cleaning: Manual sprays and wipes may cost $30 to $100 monthly, automated mat washer systems can range from $500 to $2000.
  • Fire extinguisher: $20 to $100 each.
  • First aid kits: $30 to $100.
  • Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors: $10 to $50 for smoke alarms; $20 to $50 for carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Emergency lighting and exit signs: $20 to $200 per fixture.

12. Marketing Initial Costs

When opening a martial arts center, marketing costs can vary depending on the scale of your promotional efforts. For local advertising and traditional marketing materials like leaflets, banners, and neon signs, expenses typically include design, printing, and installation costs. 

  • Leaflets: The cost of designing and printing leaflets can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on the quality, quantity, and complexity of the design.
  • Banners: Large banners for outdoor or indoor advertising may cost anywhere from a hundred to a few hundred dollars each, depending on size and material.
  • Neon signs: Neon signs can be more expensive, ranging from several hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on size, complexity, and whether they are custom-made.
Neon sign “You’re doing great”, uplifting for the martial arts students.

Marketing and Advertising: Initial marketing campaigns to attract new students can cost from $5,000 to $20,000. Ongoing monthly marketing expenses might range from $500 to $2,000​ (Kicksite)​.

When launching a martial arts center, other expenses can contribute to various strategies generating buzz and attracting clients.

  • Buzz Marketing: This involves creating excitement and anticipation through word-of-mouth, community involvement, and influencer partnerships. Costs may include hosting free introductory sessions, community events, collaborating with local businesses for cross-promotion, and organizing special events to generate buzz.
  • Social Media: Utilizing social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can be cost-effective for reaching potential clients. Expenses might include content creation, advertising, and influencer collaborations to increase visibility and engagement.
  • First-Week Promotions: Offering special promotions during the first week can incentivize people to try out your studio. Costs may include discounted class packages, referral incentives, and promotional materials to spread the word about the offer.
  • Grand Opening Event: Hosting a grand opening event can attract attention and create a sense of excitement in the community. Expenses might include venue rental, catering, entertainment, and promotional materials like banners, flyers, and signage.

14. Keep everything in line with the law

Paperwork may not be the most thrilling action… Yet, it’s a necessary step before diving into the more stimulating aspects of launching a martial arts studio. 

Depending on your location, acquiring the appropriate permits to operate the studio may be required. Ensure compliance by consulting resources like the Small Business Administration (SBA) website for detailed guidelines tailored to your state.

The process of officially establishing your business entity differs based on your studio location. That’s why it’s so important to research the specific regulations applicable in your area. 

Generally, there are various legal structures available, each with its advantages and considerations. Choose the one that aligns best with your objectives and resources. 

Check out this sample form for instructors in Las Vegas, Nevada:
Martial-Arts-Web-Instruction-Sheet.pdf

Overall costs of establishing a martial arts classes place

The average cost to open a martial arts training place ranges from $50,000 to $100,000, depending on factors such as location, size, and amenities. (Source: NAPPI)

Download a table in which you enter your real costs for each category. You can use the table when writing your business plan. You can also initially check the profitability of your idea of ​​starting a martial arts business. 

You can be sure that you won’t miss any important purchases. Why? Thanks to the detailed design of the table by our marketing specialists from WodGuru.

Initial martial arts business costs summary.

Downloadable sheet here

Create a business plan

Don’t get surprised by the costs! Create a business plan and be prepared for both good and bad scenarios.

The cost of preparing a business plan for a martial arts school in the USA can vary depending on several factors such as:

  • the complexity of the plan, 
  • whether you hire a professional BP writer or consultant, 
  • the extent of research,
  • market analysis required. 

On average, you might expect to pay anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars for a comprehensive business plan tailored to your studio. This cost may include research, market analysis, financial plan and projections, and writing services.

However, it’s also possible to create a basic BP on your own using free or low-cost resources available online. Templates and guides provided by organizations like the Small Business Administration (SBA) or SCORE can help you outline your business strategy without incurring significant expenses.

Remember!
Although it’s possible, do not outsource writing a business plan to external companies. This will be your business, your life and your work! It is better to ask an experienced martial arts instructor or an external company but only as a consultant for the ideas.

An experienced martial arts instructor as a consultant for a beginner’s ideas.

How Much Does a Martial Arts Business Owner Make?

A martial arts school owner can earn between $30,000 and over $100,000 annually, influenced by critical factors such as the school’s location, the number of students, class pricing, and the owner’s business skills.

Martial arts classes - an instructor tying a student's belt.

Final Thoughts:

1. Cost Considerations: Opening a martial arts academy can cost anywhere from $50,000 to $500,000 or more, depending on factors like location, size, and amenities.

2. Main Costs: Main expenses include construction or renovation, equipment purchases, legal and accounting costs, insurance, marketing expenses, and staffing.

3. Franchise vs. Independent: Choose between operating under your own brand or buying into a franchise, each with its own set of costs and benefits.

4. Location Costs: Premium locations with high foot traffic can command rents as high as $15,000 to $20,000 per month, significantly impacting operating expenses.

5. Equipment Costs: It is possible to buy martial arts equipment from $50 – $100. Depending on the type of martial art, you will need: protective gears, weapons, protective equipment sets, mats, but also stretching accessories.

6. Staffing Expenses: Hiring martial arts instructors, administrative staff, and cleaners can comprise a significant portion of operating costs, with salaries ranging widely based on experience and location.

7. Legal and Insurance: Costs for permits, licenses, accounting, and insurance can vary widely depending on location and specific business needs.

8. Marketing Expenses: Marketing costs can range from traditional methods like leaflets and banners to modern strategies like social media advertising, with budgets ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 or more.

FAQs

How much money do I need to open a martial arts academy?

Opening a martial arts academy typically requires an initial investment ranging from $10,000 to $50,000, depending on factors like location, facility size, equipment, and marketing costs. These expenses cover essentials such as rent, renovations, equipment, insurance, and initial advertising. If you’re embarking on starting your own business, it’s crucial to undertake this groundwork and develop a comprehensive business plan.

Is owning a martial arts school profitable?

Owning a martial arts school can be profitable, with potential earnings ranging from $30,000 to over $100,000 per year. Profitability depends on factors such as location, student enrollment, class pricing, and the owner’s business expertise. Remember no to open your new business in a place where there already are many martial arts schools.

How much capital to start a martial arts school?

Starting a martial arts school typically requires capital ranging from $10,000 to $50,000. This estimate covers expenses like rent, renovations, equipment, insurance, and initial marketing costs.

How to start a martial arts school?

Plan and research, secure your funding, find a good location, meet all the legal requirements. After that: set up the facility, hire staff or work independently, invest in marketing and promotion. Finally, launch your school!

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