View Full Version : Advice on starting.

4th July 2005, 23:03
Hi all,
I just bought a new house w/ a two car garage that I am converting into a dojo. My only competition is another BJJ dojo about 15 min away. He teaches mainly sport BJJ while I concentrate on self-defense.

Any advice on advertising, methods etc would be appreciated. I want to be competative but better than my competition.

Thanks Ed

4th July 2005, 23:58
The first thing I would do is check the local ordinances about running a business out of a residence! You don't want a bunch of neighbors raining on your parade. And insurance, gotta have it, or you risk losing the whole house.

Don't try advertising outside of your immediate area. People are seldom willing to travel more than a few miles for an unknown. Once established, then you can start to expand a bit.

Dark Kendoka
12th July 2005, 05:46
When you do advertise yourself, it would be best to talk about your credentials. People would like to know who they are dealing with.

And definately make yourself open to questions. There is nothing worse than someone who is hard to contact when you have a simple question.

23rd July 2005, 06:59
Look into incorporating as an LLC, and renting your garage to your corporation.
That way, if anyone gets injured, they shouldn't be able to get your house by suing....in addition to the insurance...

In keeping with the "open to questions" get a separate phone line, use an answering machine and return calls. Put up posters or business cards (or both!) on local bulletin boards....

29th July 2005, 20:46
Registering an LLC is a very good idea. It is 100 bucks (in Georgia) to register an LLC plus a yearly registration of $30. It can be a little tricky though. (This is from what I have learned in opening a business, talking to a lawyer, and registering an LLC, I am NOT a lawyer and do NOT know every regulation, also regulations vary from state to state) That said, an LLC will give you "limited liability" coverage, which means someone can only sue the LLC and not you personaly, while at the same time any income will be only taxed once where in a corporation you could be taxed twice for the same money. If you register an LLC you need to make sure you can show it is a seperate entity, for instance apply for a federal id #, open a seperate bank account for the LLC, register by-laws for the LLC, and hold quarterly or yearly meetings, even if you are the only member. It sounds a little crazy, but if someone tries to sue you and they can prove that the LLC is merely a title you registered and not a seperate entity, you can be held liable. Not trying to discourage you, just a little advice. Best of luck.

9th August 2005, 00:43
Which country are you in? The advice here is for USA but some of it is relevant to the UK. I own a company (nothing to do with martial arts) and the reasons for owning a company and not trading as a sole trader were: people sue the company and not me, a company appears bigger, I get a really good tax deal, my company name is protected.

I would find out whether you need planning permission to operate a martial arts school from home. You will also need to pay business rates in the UK which is a much higher rate of council tax.

As has already been mentinoed, does your home insurance cover this? Would your neighbours want a lot of noise and people in their street?

Some people are forbidden from running certain businesses from home this may be one of those.

How about fire regualtions? How many people can you legally have in your garage? Health and safety - is it structurally sound and suitable for the task?

Is the floor suitable? You need a semi sprung wooden floor for most throwing arts and my garage floor is concrete. Again this is health and safety. People are starting to find inadequate flooring causes injuries to the bones even if mats are used.

Maybe it would be better to train just you and your mates at home and find an appropraite commercial premises.

Tim Mailloux
7th September 2005, 21:16
Check your house closing documents, or call your attourny to see if you have a 'Homestead' on your house. It's a very simple legal filing that prevents anyone from being able to sue and take your primary residence.

7th September 2005, 21:38
Aside from all the legal stuff, take into account that your entire house, not just the garage, may be used. You may need an area for changing (bathroom or spare room), people wanting water or drinks (your kitchen). Folks wanting to “hang around”, and places to park. Where do spouses or others wait while someone is working-out? All the little things that a home dojo brings to the picture, not to mention your significant other may get edgy if they have to clean up after others. Not to rain on your parade but, these are all things to think about. These are all the things I have to face (I have done the same thing) on top of it all, due to the smaller space, I can only manage a few students at a time. The list goes on anyway good luck.

P.S. My wife hates the dojo garage set-up.

7th September 2005, 22:40
Holy crap this is an old thread.... You probably all ready know all this... My bad. :rolleyes: