Opening a pickleball club. Questions

Questions, concerns, tips and issues

Location.  You’re building a business that people visit multiple times per week or per month.  Be sure to analyze the demographics of the area you hope to draw from, and be sure the population density of folks that can easily get there is sufficient.  Other considerations:  parking and other attractive commercial neighbors that complement your club. The good news is that there is a huge number of communities with no dedicated pickleball facilities.

The courts.  How many?  Cushioning?  Durability? Color?  Indoor versus Outdoor? Lighting, visibility, and climate control need to be great for people to pay to play.  What about viewing areas and sightlines?

Pricing. Relationship between memberships and court fees.  Different levels of members?  Optimizing court time between open play, reservations, lessons, clinics, tournaments, and special events. How best to create simple pricing options and automated booking and payment?

Ancillary revenue. How much to focus on special events, tournaments, retail, food and beverage, clinics, lessons, camps, and youth programs? A huge issue here is food and beverage which can dramatically impact the scope and potential profitability of your club.

Online booking and reservation system.  Automating this process is critical, and there are multiple ways to configure access for your regulars, for newcomers and for visitors.  Reports from these systems also provide important data for analyzing and refining the business. Who are the best suppliers here?

Nurturing long term relationships.  Programs that welcome and educate new players will be important tools to assure a growing base of loyal participants. 

Marketing.  Some combination of SEO, online presence, social media, publicity, and community building through local partnerships will need to be organized and managed to kick start word of mouth. Since pickleball has broad appeal to multiple ages and abilities, diverse efforts are important.

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.

Author: Bill

Passionate pickler, entrepreneur, experienced fitness industry executive, startup specialist, business model consultant, mentor and advisor. Contact me to brainstorm, discuss or commiserate! .

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