Beach Club Start-Up: 7 Important Details to Create a Business Plan
July 5, 2019 | Categories: Blog, Beach, Club Director
When starting a beach club, it's important to do some business planning before you roll out the balls, especially if you'd like your club to be around for a while. To create a business plan there are seven important areas that affect the budget.
Here's a checklist to get your club headed in the right direction.
This takes a little more planning than people think.
Considerations and Recommendations:
Are there courts nearby that are available to rent, courts at a park. church, or in a neighborhood?
- Number of Courts
- The number of courts you have access to will determine the number of athletes you can have in your beach program(s), as well as the duration of each training session.
- Eight to ten athletes per court is ideal for beach training and giving every athlete ample touches.
In order to maximize the usage of the courts, and still be able to keep a good player to coach ratio you will need to plan your programs and training times based on the number of courts you have.
Rent vs Own
Is the long term goal going to be to have your own courts?
If you are building your own courts, you need to consider permits/permissions
The average cost to build one sand court is $15,000-$20,000 if building from scratch.
The hourly or daily rental fee will help determine the fee you will charge your athletes. Hourly court rental is typically $15-$25 per hour. You can also try to negotiate a per player fee rather than an hourly rental fee, which makes it easier to budget because you can build it into the club dues.
- Since you will incur other overhead costs, you do not want to just break even. You need to consider paying your coaches, insurance and additional details listed below.
2. Coaching staff
The coaching staff will typically be the largest monthly cost, unless you own a facility, then the monthly payment for the facility could end up being the largest expense.
Considerations and Recommendations:
- staff roles: ratio of lead coaches to assistants.
- training - master coaching, or does every coach help plan and lead practice?
- ratio of coach to athletes
- Coaching Salary
- hourly pay, per practice pay or monthly stipend.
- Additional opportunities could be clinics and lessons.
- As with any position, it is up to you to take into account the experience of the coach and what is feasible to pay.
- Coaching Classifications - Independent Contractor vs Employee
To attract and retain quality coaches, it's important to take care of your coaches so they feel valued. The more the coaches feel valued the more trust the coaches have in your club, and this will lead to them buying in to the club's goals.
Equipment includes net systems (poles, net, court lines), and beach volleyballs. Ball stops and nets to stop the balls can be an additional expense.
- Net System: A net system will cost about $2,000 if you are building sand courts. You may be able to find some slightly cheaper options, for example using wooden poles in place of metal/aluminum standards. If you are renting courts, the facility should already have the equipment.
- Balls: If you are renting courts your main expense will be balls. The cost for a ball will range from $35-$45/ball. To run an efficient practice, have at least one ball per athlete. So if you have 50 athletes in your club, budget roughly $2,000 for balls. This is a one time cost, and you can anticipate needing to replace a few lost or old balls every year.
There are a couple different ways to manage the cost of balls.
- Purchase balls and store them in large bins at the facility where you train. Take balls with you to other facilities as needed.
- Include a ball in the athlete's gear package and the athlete is responsible for bringing the ball to practice and taking it home. The biggest positive for this method is it makes the players responsible for always bringing their own beach volleyball with them to play. This include tournaments as well, so they become accustomed to always bringing a ball with them.
Insuring your athletes and coaches is critical for every beach club director. The JVA offers low cost program insurance for clubs and there are also supplemental insurance policies you can carry. If your athletes are competing in AAU and/or USAV beach tournaments, you will need to purchase memberships for your athletes and coaches, which also includes insurance to compete in those respective events.
Considerations and Recommendations:
- Does the facility where you train have a minimum requirement for your club to carry?
- Whether you train your athletes at a facility or outdoor sand courts at a park, beach or elsewhere, you will still need insurance.
- Background screening: every coach that is 18 years old or older needs to complete a background screening prior to coaching a practice, camp, clinic or tournament.
5. Apparel Package
Head into season with an apparel package lined up and find a dealer or contact far in advance. Create a gear package and have a per athlete cost. Your club can host a commitment night after tryouts or prior to the start of your practices. At commitment night the athletes can try on gear and make a non-refundable deposit. From there, the director can order gear for the season.
- Gear: the gear package should include a backpack, and a uniform (one or two sets).
- Optional: Hoodie, running shorts, sand socks, tank tops, sport bra/bathing suit tops, bottoms, hat/visor.
- Gear package can run anywhere from $150-$250/player depending on what is included.
- USAV Guidelines now require athletes to wear a tank top and shorts as the uniform. Make sure to check on uniform requirements prior to deciding on the apparel package and apparel provider.
- If a returning player does not need a new backpack or a new ball, consider substituting warm-up pants or discounting their apparel package.
- Spirit wear is a great fundraising opportunity during commitment night. Parents can order additional tanks, long or short sleeve shirts, hoodies, shorts, and club swag, and a percentage of each item purchased will go toward the club to fundraise for unexpected costs that may arise during the season, or to help pay the coaches' travel costs, etc.
- Commitment night is also a great time to sell other items such as beach towels, sunglasses, car magnets, etc.
6. Tournament Schedule
Tournament schedules bring up more questions to answer prior to tryouts.
Considerations and Recommendations:
- Educate yourself on the events that are nearby in your region. Also, figure out how far and how often your athletes will travel. Will you offer a national level team that will fly to tournaments or will you offer a regional level team that will stay within two to three hours, or both? Some parents and athletes will be committed to traveling to find the best competition or to chase after a certain bid. Some are completely happy to stay local and not travel far. Understand your club's niche and limitations.
- Decide how many tournaments per month you and your coaching staff are able to coach. The coaching staff typically plan on coaching two per month, however in the busy part of the season / summertime coaches may need to coach three tournaments per month.
- Finalize which national bids your players will try to chase. If a majority of athletes are trying to qualify for a certain national championship (BVCA, AAU, USAV, etc) then try to compete in those events more often during the season.
- The beach clubs that are trying to compete at the highest level typically travel out of state once per month and stay more local once per month.
- Share a master list of tournaments with everyone. An athlete could compete in a tournament just about every weekend from spring to summer, but it is not realistic to have coaches at every event, so decide which tournaments will be “Coached events” and communicate this with the parents in advance.
- It is optional to offer a 5+event, where if there are a minimum of 5 pairs attending that showcase or out of state event, your club will send a coach with them. This is also another way to help you plan for the next year. An event that easily meets the 5+ requirement could be an event you want to add to your schedule for the next year.
- One important consideration: Always having the players depend on having a coach by their side doesn't encourage growth of the players. Even at the younger ages of competition the non-coached or 'on your own' tournaments provide an opportunity for the players to own their game. This is crucial to help them develop some critical thinking and problem solving skills as it relates to the beach game.
There are three ways to handle travel to and from tournaments.
- A ‘meet you on the beach’ type of philosophy, where athletes travel with their parents and they decide where to stay on their own. You can share deals and information with the families but ultimately they make the decision of where to stay on their own.
- Book team housing and the families all stay at the same hotel. This makes it easier to coordinate meals together and keep everyone on the same schedule. Some families may still decide to make their own arrangements if they have their own beach houses nearby, or have family or friends they are going to stay with. You can designate a parent or two to oversee looking for deals and sharing options with you and the other parents.
- Team travel. Athletes will travel with the coaches either on a team bus or rented vans, or fly together. Athletes will also stay together in a house or hotel. Parents would travel separately and be on their own. If you go this route you would need to most likely build the travel cost into the club dues and figure out the cost per athlete ahead of time. It would require more planning and budgeting for the club director. It also requires the coaching staff and director to be responsible for the athletes and act as chaperones.
This list is a great starting point for planning the start of a beach club. It is a time consuming and taxing venture, but with the proper planning and resources, it can lead to the start of an exciting journey. For related reading for club directors click HERE. For more beach education click HERE.
This article was created in collaboration with S3 Volleyball Director Bryan Jones. S3 Volleyball is located in Emerson, Georgia and is a long time JVA member club. If you are a JVA Club Director, feel free to reach out to Bryan with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.