Finding and leasing a facility

What to Consider

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Welcome to the wrestling IQ academy in this short course we will discuss choosing the right facility. One of the major things that has a lot of smaller and larger clubs. I end up going out of business or struggling to pay their bills, or even to just make enough of a profit to, have it be sustainable for the owner or the leadership, or if it’s a rec program, have it also not just sync them on facility costs.

There seems to be this idea in wrestling that you have to have your own standalone space. It trickles down from high school programs, having their own space and being able to walk in, open the wrestling room and train whenever they want. However, if you look at other sports soccer, for example, Tell me how many soccer academies own their own field? It’s almost none. They all book field time. How many hockey teams own their own rink. Almost none. The all book ice time. So the challenge that exists in our sport, especially in high cost of living areas, like I’m in New Jersey. Or California, or the east coast generally, is to have a facility. That can sustain your program is typically very expensive, especially if you’re paying rent on that facility, 24  7 or mortgage. When you’re finding a facility at especially as you’re getting started in your level one program. You should look for space that you can just roll out mats or they are already rolled out. Like could you do to academy where you can book mat space and by the hour you put together, what’s called a license agreement. Or even as simple as an MOU for the use of the space, it’s not a sublet. It’s just a license agreement for the use of the space. I’ll link to a couple of templates in the description on this course.

Once you get your hours set, it’s best to do six months, 12 months, you can do seasonal three month. Bookings at your facility. Just know that after those three months you have zero right to that facility. So the longer you can lock a facility in typically the better, if you know you’re going to be building a program. You want to obviously book your standard set schedule and then find somebody that’s willing to work with you. If you want to add match nights or you want to add camps or different events. So try to find a space that is really desiring extra revenue. What we have found to be really good with that is parishes, churches, or different types of religious centers. They have a gym space or recreation space that is typically under utilized and there’s a lot of availability and they love to have the additional revenue. And because they’re not necessarily profit generating organizations, they’re relatively affordable. Other good options include VFW halls, Fireman’s halls. Think a little bit outside of the traditional sports space.

The challenge with working with high schools, and any public school, at this point is if you’re an outside program, there’s a lot of additional compliance that you have to go through. You got to get the sanitation engineers there. You have to have the facility’s open and closed on the school schedule. There’s a little bit less flexibility. It’s not like the old days when you just get a key and you can you know, have your wrestling program come on in. Then in addition to that, the costs are becoming pretty astronomical. A lot of these schools are utilizing their facilities to generate revenue. And in addition to paying sanitation engineers, custodians, and groundskeepers to open up the facility, you’ve got facility costs as well. So a lot of rec programs are renting back their spaces. There’s still a number of private clubs that operate out of schools, some have a sweetheart deal where they don’t have to pay anything. And some of them are paying 80 to $160 an hour. So I would recommend finding a space. They’re starting to be more and more spaces too, that are set up as mat spaces. That people can rent and so make sure that you’re not over committing yourself to 1. too much square footage early and 2. too much of an ongoing recurring cost with too long term of the lease. More flexible you can be early on the better, the lower cost it can be always is better.

Remember, You’re getting into this to impact the lives of kids, right? You’re not getting into this too. Maybe coach 300 or 400 kids. And if you have a facility where you’re paying five to $7,000 a month, you’ve got to coach a hundred to 120 kids at a hundred dollars a month or $200 a month before you even breakeven. Then you’re using that space maybe 12 to 18 hours a week and so find a space that you can activate in the evening and keep your cost down. As far as, once you move to the point where you want a full-time lease, I will do a separate course on that. It’s going to talk about triple net lease, double net lease and things to look out for and making sure that we don’t get shut down by the town, making sure that we have the right zoning and that we’re working with the town for everything to be approved. And then we can do a third course on purchasing a building and using your business or your nonprofit entity to buy a permanent facility. Please feel free to email me jeff@wrestlingiq.com if you have any further questions about license agreements, MOU’s, temporary space that you’re booking by the hour as other sports do. This is the best route for a level one program to go.