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Increasing Martial Arts School Income
With Pro Shop Sales Part 2

By Paul Reavlin

As I mentioned previously, this series of articles will cover how to start a martial arts school pro shop from scratch. I will be listing a number of the steps you can take to do this. You will find that you can mix and match the order of the steps slightly and still accomplish the same goal. In essence, you should realize that you really need to do all of these things at the same time.

One of the first things you need to do is to establish the sales tax laws for your state. In California for example it is required that you charge sales tax of 8.25% from your customers on items you sell and remit the money to the state with a quarterly sales tax return.

For example, in order to start this process in the state of California the state requires that you apply for a resale license. If you do not have this resale license you may be declined when you try to open an account with some vendors or suppliers in California. Please make sure you have an understanding of the tax laws in your state if they will be applicable.

Additionally you should make sure you have a correct business license. You will probably have to have this anyway to open your facility, however, prospective vendors/suppliers will ask you for this if you want to set up a wholesale account them.

Next make a VERY detailed list of all the items your students NEED to train at your facility. Please take the time to think this through completely. Your list should include every possible item that a student might need at some point in their training. If it helps to think of what students need at different levels of training, that is OK, simply break up your list by level or program. We will come back to this list, however, I want you to start brainstorming about it now.

At this point you will need to determine how much space you want to allocate to your operation and where that space is going to be. The amount of space you allocate for your pro shop will vary depending on the limitations of your floor layout. However, I can suggest that a space 8 ft. x 10 ft. is a really good start. Some of you may not have that kind of space available but we can address that later.

Additionally, it is important to put the pro shop at a location where the foot traffic is the highest. Some gyms that have a lot of space build their pro shop so that students must pass through the shop as they enter and exit the gym.

It is important to note that you want students to see the products as many times as possible. They may need to see an item 8 - 10 times before they choose to buy something. It will help you make money if you have to spend less time and effort trying to funnel people into your pro shop. If you place the shop near the entrance/exit they will be exposed to the products automatically.

On a side note, please make sure your drink machine is the last thing students see before they leave your location. Beverages are an impulse item and students are more apt to purchase these items if they see the machines on the way out the door after a workout.

I have seen many gyms that place these machines off to the side, or in the back of their location. These machines will under-perform. Many gym owners are concerned with the aesthetics of the machine placed right near the front door and what it may do to window space. It is easy to use signage over the back of machines or dress them up so that they do not work against you

The final note to mention in this segment is to begin setting up accounts with your vendors and requesting catalogues/price lists. When you go to purchase your opening inventory, it will be helpful to have taken care of this before hand so you do not experience any delays.


Paul Reavlin is the president of in Burbank, California. supplies martial arts equipment and products to over 3,000 schools across the U.S. Paul is a CPA and has a black belt in Krav Maga. He can be contacted with questions or comments at or 800-767-8288.


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