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Jeff Sodeman
01-07-2004, 06:21 PM
Up to now my dojo has been using space in a YMCA a few nights a week for class. Now we're making plans to move out into our own building.

Rather than have the building sit empty during the day when we're not having class, I'd like to try to rent it out to someone like yoga, judo, etc. The extra income would make paying rent much easier for us, and so far we only have plans for our own classes from about 6pm-8:30pm on weekdays.

What kinds of renters do other dojos have for their daytime hours? Is it difficult finding people to rent during the day only (before 5:30pm), and how have you gone about finding someone to rent the space to?

Chris Birke
01-07-2004, 07:35 PM
Try stuff more oriented towards children, like tumbling, gymnastics, or TKD.

01-07-2004, 08:23 PM
Hey Jeff,

I'm in San Diego also. Where is your new Dojo located? I'd like to check it out when it's up and running.


Jeff Sodeman
01-08-2004, 12:20 AM
We've been going since July downtown, directions and schedule are on our website. We haven't signed a lease at the new location yet, but it will probably be close to I-5 and Seaworld Drive.

Kids tumbling would certainly be a good choice, I'm not sure where we'd find an instructor though.

Amelia Smith
01-08-2004, 05:35 AM
Our dojo here is used for yoga sometimes. It seems to work out well, and there seem to be lots of yoga teachers around looking for a good space.


01-08-2004, 06:58 AM
My dojo shares space with a yoga/Pilates teacher, and did with a Tae Kwan Do guy (he did not work out well). I'd love to have Tai Chi or some such art in there as well. You have to be well situated though to attract other teachers. The yoga/Pilates teacher gave my space a go for 8 months, but was never able to attact more than 3 people to a class, where in the next town over she routinely has 20 people in a class. Location, location, location.

01-08-2004, 07:28 AM
If anyone doesn't mind sharing I have always wondered what kind of arrangement is made when renting dojo space out. Does the landlord rent out time - say per hour - or is it more a percentage on the amount of revenue the renting(tenant) instructor(Yoga, Tai Chi, whatever)is able to generate.

I'd imagine it is different for each individual relationship...but I am curious to hear from folks who have such arrangements.



Mark Barlow
01-08-2004, 07:52 AM
I rented space to kyokushin and shinkendo instructors when I operated a Dojo in Birmingham. The small town I'm in now doesn't have much martial arts diversity and I haven't found another style/instructor I'm comfortable sharing space with. During the day, an artist uses the facility. We've provided her with storage for supplies and she has lots of open space, plenty of natural lighting and absolute privacy until the knee-high berserkers show up for class at 5:30pm.

Mark Barlow

01-08-2004, 08:27 AM
If anyone doesn't mind sharing I have always wondered what kind of arrangement is made when renting dojo space out. Does the landlord rent out time - say per hour - or is it more a percentage on the amount of revenue the renting(tenant) instructor(Yoga, Tai Chi, whatever)is able to generate.

I don't mind sharing specifics. My rent is $750 +/- per month plus utilities. The yoga person was paying a flat $200 per month and had classes two evenings a week (cuts into the aikido class time), the TKD person was at $150 a month for one class a week (evenings). Neither of them found it was cost effective because we are in a small town (4,000) and unless it is a destination business, not worth it. I am the one on the lease and stuck with the payments. I run a $500 plus deficit per month :blush: right now, but hope it will get better over time (have gone from 1 student a year ago to 9 now, maybe in another year we'll be up to 20, which would rock!). Personally I'd rather not have anyone sharing the space, as I've found that no one takes as good care of the dojo as we do, and the TKD group constantly left the space a mess.

John Boswell
01-08-2004, 09:20 AM
I don't know if this is possible for Jeff or anyone else, but thought I would mention it:

The owner of the dojo that I workout at also gives private lessons to police officers, doctors, etc. during the day. They pay extra for the one on one attention, but it is benifical to the student of course, and puts the dojo to good use during the slower hours of the day.

Yoga, Aerobics, Jazzercise, Tumbling are all good ideas. Look for athletic oriented people already teaching mid-day hours and start approaching them with the idea to use your facility.

Just a thought! ;)

Good luck with your new dojo, Jeff!

01-08-2004, 11:21 AM
There is another option, it's what we use and it's working very well for us.

A martial arts commune type of thing :D

It was started by some local judo guys who just wanted their own place to train, making money wasn't a consideration. All monies made go directly back into the dojo in some way (we've recently applied for Federal non-profit status). They invited other arts/instructors of like mind to fill some of the schedule. Each class is run independantly but monthly dues are paid to the dojo as a whole, which gives you access to all arts taught.

I don't pay anything to teach there but I don't get paid anyting either. All I have to do is make sure my students pay their dues every month ($25).

Everybody realizes how lucky we are to have such a nice place to train and so we all pitch in what we can for upkeep and whatnot. None of the arts could have a facility like ours if they were on their own.

I started training there as a student 7 yrs ago. In that time we've moved twice each time doubling+ our mat space and even adding a separate non-matted floor for the karate class on the last move. The owner is on another push right now to expand our current location to give us two regulation judo tournament mat areas. All this without ever raising dues past the original $25/month. We want to see a lot of people paying a little money each :)

If you can find reliable instructors of any style that you're comfortable with who just want a place to teach this may be a way to go. Check the local YMCA's and community centers for instructors.

Just a thought.


If you have any questions about how things are run pm me.

Jeff Sodeman
01-08-2004, 02:31 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions so far. The private lessons would be a good way to fill in some extra time here and there. And yoga, tai chi, or tumbling all sound pretty compatible with us. Possibly Nia as well.

When looking for other instructors have people placed ads in the paper, or used word of mouth, or called around to other school? What's worked best for everyone?

We're very excited about the new space. We're planning a 2,350 sq ft (108 zebra tatami) mat, a big step up from what we're on now.

01-08-2004, 03:16 PM
Hi Jeff,

Here's a poll I took a little over a year ago, "How did you find your first aikido school?"


Sounds like you're getting together something pretty exciting! With a large space like that, you might also be able to "rent" the place out for special events (aikido or not), too...

-- Jun

01-08-2004, 03:16 PM
I ran my ad in the local paper. It netted a bunch of loonies (or the ones who actually called) and one good one. She stayed for 8 months, but in the end just couldn't make a go of it. I got one person who solicited me, and I didn't feel good about him, but he was persistant. He never worked out. In three months he never had his rent in on time and each time tried to reduce how much he was paying. I told him to bring the key back tonight!

Hope you have better luck. I like Bronson's idea, but honestly don't know how you would find a benefactor like that. Here you have to pay $12 per square foot rent/minimum, and someone has to be the responsible party.

No one does this for money; it is done for the love of the art. The gymnastics and tumbbling idea is a good one; just make sure they don't make a mess of your dojo!

Mark Barlow
01-08-2004, 03:44 PM
One of my students in Louisiana rents space from a gynmastic school and it works out great while one of our dojo in North Alabama had nothing but problems when they shared space with a few dozen tumbling dervishes at a local gymnastic/cheerleading school. I guess the bottom line is finding like-minded souls and everyone keeping their egos in check so harmony is maintained.

01-08-2004, 05:37 PM
We have a fairly big dojo over here in the UK which we own so it enables us to offer quite a few different things in addition to Aikido classes (which run several times a day, every day).

We have three different rooms in the dojo so we can have several things happening at the same time. In no particular order, the other things we offer are -

Reiki Courses

Reiki Shares

Reiki Clinics

Bowen Technique Clinics



Aerobics (several classes, usually before the Aikido)

Jeff Sodeman
01-09-2004, 05:04 PM
Thanks for the poll Jun.

How has everyone determine what rent to charge other users in their space?

01-09-2004, 10:53 PM
I like Bronson's idea, but honestly don't know how you would find a benefactor like that.
Well thanks but it wasn't mine, remember I just teach there :)

In my case the benefactor was the judo group. The head judo guy is the responsible party for the dojo as a whole. In Jeff's case his group would be the benefactor. Allowing others to teach there "rent free" but taking all dues paid by the students of every art taught and applying them to the dojo as a whole. The teachers make no money but it doesn't cost them anything either.

Hope that made sense :confused:


Josh Bisker
01-10-2004, 08:27 AM
We're a college club and have a lot of resources at our disposal - space, gullible beginners - but funding is always a problem. We recently made an arrangement like Bronson's with a friend who wanted to start a BJJ club. We gave him the use of our mats and he gave us the mat fees he collected, an even trade (although we told him what to charge). This was obviously an easier arrangement for us since we don't have rent to turn in, but a similar idea may appeal to you. Perhaps the web or a phonebook could help you find other groups in similar predicaments, wanting to change their locations or upgrade, and you could partner up with them. You would still be the party in control since they would be your mats and your lease, but perhaps while your space is still starting out this kind of offer would be a good way to draw other instructors.

As far as fundraising goes, you should have yourselves one of them big opening seminar celebrations. Those seem to do pretty well.


01-16-2004, 10:57 AM
You could also approach massage theropists as well. Having received bodywork of the non-ukemi kind at our dojo, I think a dojo provides a good atmosphere for massage.

Teach or find an instructor who can teach practical self defense clinics for the general public that is looking for a means to protect themselves without committing a lifetime to training. Make it two days long and have them a couple time a year or more if the intrest is high.