Most volleyball clubs start out practicing on the rented courts of school gyms, health clubs, or multi-sport complexes.
However, if you have the capital or have been running a well-established club for a while, you might be considering finding a place for your club to call its own.
Running a facility with multiple indoor courts requires a relatively large space. That means you need a big upfront investment and a solid plan to stay profitable.
First, let’s consider whether you really need to open your own volleyball facility, and then we can start taking steps to making it a reality.
The Benefits of Volleyball Facility Ownership
Owning your space definitely has appeal. Among the benefits:
- More control. When you have ownership and exclusivity, you have the power to manage your facility’s schedule, noise level, cleanliness, accessibility and more. You can essentially customize the space for your own needs, which is usually the main appeal for club owners.
- Better branding. You can use club colors and logos throughout your facility’s decor and signage, which helps with marketing and recruiting for your volleyball club. You can also do more to make the atmosphere comfortable for your players and their families, which can boost player retention.
- More ways to make money. When you have full access to a reliable space, it’s easier to offer additional services such as private volleyball lessons, skill-specific training, team parties or even retail sales. Making that extra money might allow you to hire full-time coaches, which in turn improves your club’s quality.
- Easier to add teams. Relying on rented court space for your club’s practices can limit the number of teams your club can host each year. Having your pick of scheduling hours and courts could allow you to grow more easily.
- More consistency for your players. Being in charge of your space means you won’t be at the mercy of last-minute scheduling changes, closings, or price changes from your landlord.
However, all of those benefits are not cheap. You’ll have high to cover overhead costs every single month, which is why I often advise new volleyball clubs to hold off on the investment of property for as long as possible. The steep costs can cause cash flow problems that result in facility doors closing.
Research and Planning for Your Volleyball Facility
To avoid those cash-flow disasters and make sure your volleyball facility has a shot at viability, you need a business plan.
Use this post on how to start a volleyball club to take you through the steps to creating it.
You’ll quickly figure out that getting profitable requires lots of scheduled activities in each part of your facility for as many hours each day as possible.
For that reason, many businesses choose to offer their courts for use to other sports, rent space to local teams, or change their business model a bit to appeal to more customers.
If you’ve finished your business plan and are confident that you can cover your monthly costs, you can start to estimate how much money you’ll need upfront.
How Much Capital Do You Need?
First, you’ll need to estimate how much you’ll need for your property, whether you decide to build a new, buy existing, or lease existing and install the courts and other infrastructure.
You’ll also need to estimate the costs for office furniture and computers, seating for spectators, signage, and plenty of volleyballs and netting. If you plan to sell retail, there are often large minimum order requirements to make before you can stock a pro shop. (Related: Best Practices for Running a Pro Shop at Your Sports Facility)
Finally, you’ll need operating cash. For facilities focusing on seasonal sports in seasonal climates, I suggest having 9 months worth of operating cash to start. You can read this post for details on how I came up with that figure.
Adding up all these estimated costs (space, equipment, operating cash) will give you an idea of the big number that you’ll need to get your ideal volleyball facility up and running. Armed with that number and hopefully with an idea of how much capital you have available, you can start to look for specific locations in your price range.
Hunting for Your Volleyball Facility Location
Even if you already have a solid player base and a detailed business plan, your facility won’t fly if you can’t find a space that will work with your vision.
Finding the perfect location for a volleyball facility can be tough. Volleyball facilities need to be much wider and taller than boutique fitness and training facilities, which means they can be limited to industrial parts of town that can lack curb appeal and easy access.
Keep in mind that although you might not get the location that’s perfect in every way, you’ll probably find one that’s more than good enough for most of your club’s needs. Plus, the downsides of an out-of-the-way location can usually be fixed with strong marketing tactics.
For more details on choosing a location, check out the full post on the topic.
Once you’ve found a location that could work and you have general approval from members and staff, adjust your business plan with the new numbers. You can then use that plan to recruit potential partners and investors. (Related: Financing Your Sports Facility)
No business plan can predict the challenges you’ll face when your volleyball facility is actually operating. Business plans are living documents, and you’ll have to adapt constantly. Don’t be afraid to challenge assumptions, get creative, and rework your business plan now, before you’ve invested thousands of dollars and years of your life.
If you want to discuss more about opening a volleyball facility, contact me directly.