The 5 Big Expenses to Expect as a New Martial Arts School

The 5 Big Expenses to Expect as a New Martial Arts School

Opening a martial arts school can be the ultimate goal for many dedicated martial artists. Having your own business—especially one revolving around your passion—can be extremely rewarding: you answer to no one and you share your practice with the world in a way you believe. Along with the rewards, however, there are costs.

There’s a lot of capital needed to start your own martial arts school. But just how much money do you need to start a martial arts business? Between rent, insurance, marketing, and other costs, it may be more than you first thought. However, these costs are worthwhile investments into a thriving, successful martial arts school. Here are 5 big expenses to keep in mind when calculating the costs you will need to start a martial arts school.

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Rent is one of the biggest operating costs of any independent business, and not just martial arts schools. Many property owners require you pay a deposit when you come to an agreement, which can feel like a large amount of money, especially since you’re paying it before you can even build the interior. You’ll also have to factor in the long term cost of the lease, as you’ll have to sign a contract that cannot be broken—even if you decide to close your business.


One thing to remember is that longer term leases tend to have more leeway. When negotiating your lease, request that your first years are at a lower cost, especially if you will be making upgrades to the building. Your building owner or manager should understand that a good tenant improves their business longterm, just as a great building owner can help your school sustain itself. All of this is good to keep in mind, on top of how much the rental will cost per month.



Another one of the greater martial arts business costs is insurance. Insurance isn’t something to skimp on. One accident and your school could have serious issues, if you’re not lucky. There are a number of different factors influencing how much this will cost in the end, but you need to ensure you’re covered on risks. A lot of insurance providers will even have specialised insurance packages for martial arts businesses. Check out our previous blog post on how much martial arts insurance costs, so you can anticipate your true start up costs for your martial arts school.

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Depending on the style of martial arts you practice, you’ll need different sorts of equipment. You can definitely accumulate more equipment as your school grows, but you’ll also want to build a good foundation early on, so you can attract quality students. Make a comprehensive list of all equipment that you would have, if money was not an issue and then prioritise the list. Doing so will reveal the order of how you should purchase your equipment, while keeping in mind the return on investment.



Marketing is a big part of a martial arts start up. Without students, you won’t be able to keep paying the bills, so attracting students should be near the top of your priority list. There are many ways to market your school but be smart about what kind of marketing you should use. Make a list of all marketing opportunities, along with their costs.

Anything that is free or inexpensive should be done and then you can start prioritising the more costly ones. Do some research on how effective various forms of marketing are in your area, and approximate the return on investment for each marketing opportunity. Our academy section has a wealth of free blogs and webinars, to help you learn the ropes, whether you’re new to the industry or a seasoned veteran. Learn more about marketing automation, SEO and social media for your school.


Permits and Licenses

The start up cost for a martial arts school will vary wildly, depending on your location and the state of the building itself. Your country, state/province and city will have various permits and licenses you’ll need to acquire to do business legally. These can add up fast. Make sure you do some research in your local area to see what you’ll need to get and factor that into your financial planning, to avoid headaches early on. Here’s a a resource on business licenses and permits from the US Small Business Administration, to help get you started.


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