Teaching at Home or in a Commercial Space??? Thoughts...

Yuen Kay Jun

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As I have mentioned in a previous and separate post, I am working toward re-opening my kung fu school in a new area that I have moved to.

i am currently looking for a new home to purchase and one of my "wants" is to have a space or outbuilding that I can use for training and possibly teaching.

I would like to start the discussion to ask what is the consensus, concerns, successes and downfalls of teaching out of your home.

I have done this in the past and been successful in building a small base of student, prior to moving into a commercial space.

But I thought I would ask my friends here, so that I have a better and more rounded mindset on which way to go.

Start-up out of your home OR start-up in a commercial space?
 

Buka

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I consider a dojo as a place where Martial Arts are taught. Be it in a backyard, an Elks club, a part time rented space, a YMCA, a cellar, a room in a part time Yoga studio, a huge commercial Karate dojo, a boxing gym, an MMA place, a basement in a Police Station, a Muay Thai jungle gym, an attic, under a bowling alley, in the mountains, by the river, in a public school's gym, in a realtors office after hours, whatever... and then there is the etcetera. Much etcetera.

Depending what and how it's taught, it's all good.

That being said, what's the goal? And what are your resources?
 
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Yuen Kay Jun

Yuen Kay Jun

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My goal is to have a commercial school, public. My means are fair. I plan to self-fund it (I'm cheap by nature), no loans!

But I do not want to pay a stupid amount of money for a start-up (nice space) and a 1-3 year lease contract w/o some sort of student base.
 

yak sao

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I agree with Buka.
The school is where you and the students come together.
Financially, it makes good sense to start up training in your house or a park somewhere to build up your student base, then find a place to rent.
 

yak sao

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BTW Buka, why do I have the feeling that all of those places you named are places where you've taught?
 

Flying Crane

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Make sure you carry appropriate liability insurance. If you run a business out of your home, where you are getting paid, then your typical homeowners insurance will not cover you. Talk with your insurance provider.
 

Tez3

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Make sure you carry appropriate liability insurance. If you run a business out of your home, where you are getting paid, then your typical homeowners insurance will not cover you. Talk with your insurance provider.

Ha! I was scrolling down just to write the same thing! Insurance is so important. I don't know about where you live but here there's often prohibitions on running businesses from homes, depending on what it is. Usually parking and nuisance to neighbours is cited as reasons that businesses aren't desirable. Otherwise starting in your home sounds a good idea, seeing how it goes before committing to a large expensive has to be a good idea.
 

DanT

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I have several si-hings who have opened schools out of their own homes. The advantages are obvious. Even if you have zero students, you're not going to close down. One si-hing teaches out of his basement, it's a walk out basement so it's great as the personal living space isn't intruded. Furthermore it grants easy access to the backyard for outdoor training. In his basement he has: 5 hanging bags, a bunch of wall bags, and 2 wooden dummies, plus some weight equipment. If you're looking for a new home and you want to teach in it, walk out basements are great. I also have another si-hing who has a nice sized garage, put a couple of space heaters for winter time, and trains people in there.
 
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Yuen Kay Jun

Yuen Kay Jun

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Thanks for the comments y'all.

We do not have basements here on the Georgia coast. Wish we did.

Liability insurance was a great add on. Thanks

What about waivers? Are they truly worth the time? Do they work and hold up?

I will not be teaching children if starting in my home. Primarily young adults and adults. Thinking 16 and up
 

Tez3

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I will not be teaching children if starting in my home. Primarily young adults and adults. Thinking 16 and up

That's wise, too many child protection issues to make it viable and comfortable for you. I would go with over 18s for the same reason though I don't know what age 'children' are considered adults where you are, here it's 18, they can then sign documents, etc for themselves and don't need parental permission for anything.
 

Flying Crane

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Waivers are a good practice, have one drawn up by a good attorney, but they are far from bullet-proof. Still, better to have it than to not have it. It shows that the student was informed of the physical nature of the activity, that that injuries can result, and that helps your case if you get sued.
 

Bill Mattocks

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I also agree with the comments about getting proper licensing, checking zoning laws, and liability insurance. You may also want to consider creating an LLC or similar arrangement to separate your personal liability from that of the training facility. You don't want to get sued for an injury, etc, and lose your home as a result. I'm not a lawyer, this is not legal advice. Suggest consulting with an attorney.
 

gpseymour

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As I have mentioned in a previous and separate post, I am working toward re-opening my kung fu school in a new area that I have moved to.

i am currently looking for a new home to purchase and one of my "wants" is to have a space or outbuilding that I can use for training and possibly teaching.

I would like to start the discussion to ask what is the consensus, concerns, successes and downfalls of teaching out of your home.

I have done this in the past and been successful in building a small base of student, prior to moving into a commercial space.

But I thought I would ask my friends here, so that I have a better and more rounded mindset on which way to go.

Start-up out of your home OR start-up in a commercial space?
I think anyplace you can build your student base is useful. I know several instructors who started that way (usually in their garage), some who started their programs in YMCA's or recreation centers (like mine), and a few who jumped directly into a commercial space (IMO, risky). If you do start at home, consider how likely you are to find a commercial space nearby. The farther the move (from home to commercial location), the more students you're likely to lose. Also consider the liability risk. I'd definitely want an LLC or other entity to be leasing the space for its use, to reduce liability - see a lawyer about this risk. There's a perceived risk that if you dismiss a student, they obviously know where you live, but I've seen that be an issue even when the school isn't near the home (my instructor's house got "egged" by some alleged adults). Also, make sure you won't be violating any zoning, licensing, or HOA restrictions.

There is a difference in perception by potential students, based upon where you teach. Whether that difference is good or bad depends upon the audience. There are some (probably a minority) who see something special in being trained in an informal space at the instructor's home. Many in the US have an expectation that a "good instructor" has a "school" (read: commercial space). I think it's generally easier to attract students to a commercial space, though I've not had the opportunity to try yet.
 

Andrew Green

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It's going to come with it's own set of issues. You might be able to get a way with a few people, but if you start growing you could run into zoning issues. Plus a entire set of liability issues. You will also lack much in terms of advertising ability and a lot of people will see you as sub-standard based on teaching out of your basement. If you are looking at kids parents that don't already know you aren't likely to drop their kids off at a strangers house.

But, as a way to get started without a budget it can definitely work... But if you're end goal is to go commercial you might be better of starting in a rented space a couple nights per week. Or even in a local park over the summer to get some followers. But somewhere more "public" will make it easier to get people you don't know to show up.
 

CB Jones

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If any neighbors complain just tell them with this economy you need extra income and it was either start a Martial Arts School or a Meth Lab at the house but if they preferred you would reconsider your choice. ;)
 

jks9199

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Thanks for the comments y'all.

We do not have basements here on the Georgia coast. Wish we did.

Liability insurance was a great add on. Thanks

What about waivers? Are they truly worth the time? Do they work and hold up?

I will not be teaching children if starting in my home. Primarily young adults and adults. Thinking 16 and up
Waivers is a legal question, and should be handled by consulting a lawyer.

Interacting with children is interacting with children, whether in your home or a commercial space. For that matter -- so is the opposite sex. You can get in trouble if you don't have solid procedures, practices, and policies. Again, you need good guidance.
 

JowGaWolf

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As I have mentioned in a previous and separate post, I am working toward re-opening my kung fu school in a new area that I have moved to.

i am currently looking for a new home to purchase and one of my "wants" is to have a space or outbuilding that I can use for training and possibly teaching.

I would like to start the discussion to ask what is the consensus, concerns, successes and downfalls of teaching out of your home.

I have done this in the past and been successful in building a small base of student, prior to moving into a commercial space.

But I thought I would ask my friends here, so that I have a better and more rounded mindset on which way to go.

Start-up out of your home OR start-up in a commercial space?
Start in a commercial area park, school, gym, etc. It may be possible to rent space without going into a lease. Check out private special needs school, churches, recreation centers, and other organization that may have a room that you can rent for cheap. You'll need the indoor space for when it is too cold or rainy. Check with some of the local business networking groups in your area to help with your search efforts.

Also check with small fitness centers who might welcome a martial arts class to add to their services. You can move to your own building after you build up your student base.

Good Luck. Kung Fu Schools aren't the easiest start ups.
 

JowGaWolf

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Thanks for the comments y'all.

We do not have basements here on the Georgia coast. Wish we did.

Liability insurance was a great add on. Thanks

What about waivers? Are they truly worth the time? Do they work and hold up?

I will not be teaching children if starting in my home. Primarily young adults and adults. Thinking 16 and up
Waivers are necessary but won't cover everything. It let's the student know what they are getting into and what injuries they may get. Basically the student is agreeing to be hurt within reason and they are going to sue you for bruises or broken bones from good training and accidents. Anything that is done out of negligence or abuse will still allow the student to sue you. This is where the insurance will help but only if you are set up as an LLC.
 

JowGaWolf

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I also agree with the comments about getting proper licensing, checking zoning laws, and liability insurance. You may also want to consider creating an LLC or similar arrangement to separate your personal liability from that of the training facility. You don't want to get sued for an injury, etc, and lose your home as a result. I'm not a lawyer, this is not legal advice. Suggest consulting with an attorney.
You don't have to be a lawyer for this one. This one falls under business start up advice. This is just sound business advice.
 

Buka

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BTW Buka, why do I have the feeling that all of those places you named are places where you've taught?

You see right through me, bro. :)
All places I've learned, taught in some, too.
 
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