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Have you seen an instructor attempt / pull off living in the dojo?
went fine cause he made sure to...
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went poorly for the following reasons...
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White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 09 Jan 2020
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2020 12:35 pm    Post subject: opening new dojo - living there to save rent? Reply with quote

Hi folks,
I'm a 2nd dan karate instructor aspiring to open a branch studio of the school where I currently teach and train. I've seen 2 common refrains I've heard across several discussion boards about starting up a studio:

1) start small by renting a room per hour in say a school, gym, or church to build up numbers before signing a lease for dedicated store space. This totally makes sense from a cash flow perspective - paying for capacity you're not in position to use is just burning through savings.

2) the most cost-effective way to draw in more clientele is location conducive to foot traffic with compelling signage. Ideally next to an anchor like a supermarket or bookstore

Unfortunately (1) and (2) seems to contradict one another, since a rented room in a school/gym/church limits you on both foot traffic and signage.

One method I've heard of squaring that circle is where the studio has a back room or attic space where the instructor actually lives in order to save on rent. I wouldn't want to do this long term, but could imagine doing it for the first year or so of operations while the business is finding its legs and getting enrollment numbers up.

Can anyone comment on the concerns with regards to legality, logistics, ethics, and perception in such an arrangement? Anecdotes of both successful and failed instances, and what were decisive (and perhaps unforeseen) factors would be great.


PS: I'm mindful of the fact that, given the recent bankruptcy of Boy Scouts of America, there is an added need for vigilance against any form of impropriety where kids are involved. The space will be marked Private, remain locked during all business hours, and accessible to only myself.
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KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 15153
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sun Feb 23, 2020 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many laws and such prohibit anyone from livinginside their business. There are exceptions, but they're few, far, and in-between exceptions. I've known of many who have lived right above their business, but that building was built that way, and for the most part, these buildings were built when the town was first founded and/or as it grew.

I've also seen where the business was built in the front and the house they lived in was built in the back/behind. How an area is zoned is key to its possibility!! If the city finds out that you're living in the dojo, and it's against the law, you might find yourself is some hot water. So much so that you could lose your dojo and your place to live at the same time.

Best to do some serious research before you decide to live in your dojo. If there's a way, the city will find out that you are living in your business. I've lived in my dojo before, and it was quite unsettling, and mainly because, one slip up, the city would've came down on me like a ton of bricks.

**Proof is on the floor!!!
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