If you are considering the launch of a pickleball club, I recommend asking yourself 4 important questions: 1) Are the conditions right in my area to make this a strong and profitable business? 2) Do you have a thorough understanding of what it will take to be successful? 3) Are you cut out to be an entrepreneur? 4) Will running this club be fun?
If the answer is no….to any of these questions, I would say don’t start a club. Let’s take them one at a time:
1) Are the conditions right in my area to make this a strong and profitable business?
For most people, in virtually all parts of the country, the answer to this is yes. Rarely is there such a pervasive phenomena with well documented demand and ongoing growth. In our opinion, unless your location is sandwiched between 2 successful competitors, you could make this work almost anywhere…IF you execute. Which brings us to question #2.
2) Do you have a thorough understanding of what it will take to be successful?
Just because demand is strong and the sport is growing, does not mean you can throw open a club and be successful. As they say “the devil is in the details”. How will you price? How will you market? How will you engage with your community? What skills and staff will be most important? Thorough planning in advance on these issues is important, but you also need to be flexible and willing to pivot based on real world conditions. Which bring us to question #3.
3) Are you cut out to be an entrepreneur?
If you’ve already launched a business (and liked it), skip this section. There are many smart, really good business people who find entrepreneurship too risky, too stressful, too unpredictable and too crazy. In a startup things will go awry….and then you try new things. You’ll often rely on your ‘gut’ versus hard data. You’ll wear virtually every hat and need to be OK with that: HR, finance, marketing, branding, operations, IT….and more. You’ll need to be available 24/7 and be OK with that. You’ll need to change tactics on the fly and be OK with that. You get the idea. If you ARE cut out to be an entrepreneur, you’re more likely to answer yes to question #4
4) Will running a pickleball club be fun?
Every business has its own challenges and stresses. But even if you make money and are a good entrepreneur, you need to like the business. No one wants to be “biz-erable” in a job, its not worth it. Having fun running a club probably means you love to play pickleball, you love the culture and community of pickleball and you enjoy your customer base. Only a true people person is likely to have fun running a pickleball club….if you’re not, be sure you find one to be the face of the business!
Pickleball Business Advisors is brothers Bill and John Pryor. We provide a variety of consulting services based on extensive experience in fitness business development, and research into the fast growing pickleball marketplace. To initiate a feasibility assessment for your pickleball club, or for other consulting, contact us so we can learn about your project.