Considering profit in a pickleball business: two models.

How much revenue (and profit) should you project from a pickleball club? That depends. In the business plan for a pickleball club or center, different assumptions on the type of facility can result in dramatically different projections. There are multiple potential business models for this type of business. Here are two examples, one is a business driven by one primary success factor: filling courts. Another option is a large pickleball center where court revenue and court occupancy is one part of a larger concept involving multiple activities, often major food and beverage. Bigger is not necessarily better, there are pluses and minuses to each approach.

Starting a small community pickleball club based on filling courts

8-12 dedicated courts with creative emphasis on play. This is a small court-driven model with limited retail and food and beverage. In this model, the total monthly revenue can be projected by assessing a number of variables around court occupancy and pricing. Important note: creative programming can dramatically impact the revenue driven from courts. This is an area of considerable research by our team.

Revenue potential depends

Court Rental factors:
X courts available X hours per day
X% occupancy rate
Other court usages and fees
Average hourly court rental fee
Other programming fees

Membership factors:
X members paying $XX per month
Levels of membership?
Benefits of membership?
Policies for cancel and change

Other Revenue Streams?
These could be critical especially if the court rental and membership fees don’t reliably cover your costs. Several owners have described surprising sources of revenue that weren’t in the origin plan. We’ve researched them and identified them.

A larger ‘lifestyle’ pickleball club

10-20 courts as part of complex with food & beverage and other activities. A large court and entertainment-driven model with significant other amenities: This model is driven more by food and beverage sales than by innovative Pickleball programming.

In this model, pickleball may play 2nd fiddle to the true driver of the business: revenues from food & alcohol surrounding an experience. This is less about fitness and more about dining, entertainment and significant non-court activity.

Profitability for different types of pickleball centers

Projecting pickleball revenue is one piece of the puzzle. In the end it is about profit. In the smaller, court-driven community pickleball center outlined above, the revenue is low, but so are expenses. It is also a much simpler business to run. Real estate costs and staffing costs, the 2 largest expense areas are much lower than operating a large facility to accommodate courts plus a full bar and restaurant. Net operating profit for the small center might be 20-35% of revenue….granted on a very small revenue base.

The larger pickleball / restaurant complex outlined above would expect much higher revenue, but also higher overhead, more staff, and the complexities of running a food and beverage operation. Profit potential here is more in the 15% to 20% range, but on a much larger revenue base.

To be successful with either model (or any model in between) still requires strong execution — Projecting revenue is one step….how to actually drive that revenue is the main operating strategy. Our specialty here is how to maximize revenue from courts, we believe strong niche fitness businesses can be built without the complexity of restaurant operations.

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.

For updates on new blog posts and new ideas for pickleball club development:

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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