Written By: Jason Hiland (Owner Diamondtour.com)
My journey started back in 1995, this is when I started my first golf shop Diamond Tour Golf. Over the past few years we've grown from a one-man shop to a business that employs over 25 people. Diamond Tour Golf is very proud of being able to provide the highest quality components and offer them at a very affordable price. Well enough about me...I am here to tell all of you that are interested in starting your own pro shop the proper steps it takes to get one going.
How To Start A Custom Shop
Location...this is important....really important....find a spot that has very high traffic flow and is in a town or area where the niche is not being itched. It does not have to be the newest area for the retail spot, some of those are so high on rent that its makes the overhead to costly to ever be profitable. So look for an area that has enough income from the people living there to support a custom shop. In these times, the non-essentials are being somewhat effected but if the area is affluent enough, they are not going to give up golf!
How Many Square Feet Should I Get
Somewhere around (1500 sq. ft) is perfect for starting out. It will give you enough room for a repair area, custom fitting net, etc etc. To keep your overhead in check, look for used club racks, club repair equipment, launch monitors etc...EBAY is a great place for these items when you are starting out. There are tons of shops trying to get rid of their extras. Try to keep your overhead as low as you can without sacrificing quality and image.
Inventory and Mission of the Store
For your inventory...you need to find out what niche you are going after in the custom club arena...There are basically three choices here:
- Custom Clubs (ex. DiamondTour.com)
- High-End Components (Wishon Golf)
- Name Brand Store (Edwin Watts)
The price points vary on all 3 as well as the flexibility you have with selling the products. You are also going to need soft goods, grips, shafts etc. Try to build a relationship with a company to buy your grips and shafts...most golf component companies have a better pricing program for frequent buyers, you should use this to your advantage. I would also suggest coming up with a mission statement about what you do and what you are going to provide to your clients..In other words, what is going to set you apart. Maybe talk about the benefits of custom fitting and how that improves your game over just buying off the rack....this mission statement should enter into your thoughts on where the company is going and are your decisions correlating with your statement...its simple but powerful!
Grand Opening and Marketing
We'll your business is finally here and you are ready to open in a few months. Since this is going to be a local business I would suggest a simple website and working with a local web marketing person to develop a marketing plan for PPC (pay-per-click advertising). I would also look to join a local business club or rotary club to get your business in front of people that can help you out. Also radio is a good method to get out your message....local stations are fairly reasonably priced. Give them a reason to come in...free labor on re-gripping...free 15 minute lesson...grab their attention....also radio stations will at times trade radio spots for prizes to give away to listeners...this could be a way to cut down on your marketing expense...I would make my marketing budget at about 5-7% of gross sales for the first year.
Now that the business is up and running...you are going to need people to help you. Always look for people smarter than you are...dont be afaid of that....its good they are smarter....listen to ideas....give people a bonus system or stake in the companies success. Also find out what you do well and don't do well and the things you don't do well find people who can cover your weaknesses. As the business matures get a plan together of goals and where you want to go. As the head honcho you can lead that vision and get information from the others and put that plan into shape. It's important that all key employess have a say on this. That way they have control of their divisions..its always works best to make them apart of the team.
Expansion into other areas
Last, always look to see if there is new businesess that fits in you core of knowledge. or expand your shop into another community with the same demographics. If you are at 200K in sales, maybe your business is maxed out at that point in that particular market...but there may be other markets you can apply the same knowledge to. Always keep moving forward with ideas and concepts and never think that b/c you did 200K and made more than the previous year that that is good enough...look over every thing you do and find out how it can be improved.
At the end of every year or half year..look at all areas of the business and see what can be improved. Get outside opinions from other business owners in your area and see what methods of marketing have worked well for them. Also keep looking for better ways to satisfy your clients needs.
Today’s article is part of a Two-Week series on “How To Get Your Dream Golf Job”:
SERIES - Week One:
- “How To Become a Tour Pro” (Monday)
- “How To Own and Run a ProShop” (Tuesday)
- “How To Become Golf Club Designer” (Wednesday)
- “How To Become A Golf Sales Rep” (Thursday)
- “How To Become a Professional Long Driver” (Friday)