How to Open a Country Club In 2023 | A Complete Guide
Country clubs are one of the most luxurious and exclusive resort types. If you stumbled across this article, you're likely wondering how to open a country club. If so, we've got you covered!
Country club and golf course management are slightly different from other businesses. They include unique features and offer varying amenities. Plus, they're starting to use tech solutions popular in the hospitality industry.
How to Open a Country Club
Once you open a country club, you'll have quite a busy schedule. From keeping up with country club food service to managing member benefits, it's vital to complete each task with efficiency.
Here are ten steps to take in order to open a country club:
1. Create a Business Plan
A business plan should always be the first step in launching a new entity. Once you have an idea and name in mind, put all of your plans in an organized document.
The focus of your business plan should revolve around the following factors:
- A competitive analysis
- The target audience
- Pricing models
- Financial projections
- Funding and startup costs
- Technology investments
- Product offerings, including the country club menu
- A marketing and launch plan.
Not only is a business plan vital for a streamlined launch, but it's necessary for funding. Banks and investors require a thoughtful business plan to make smart financial decisions. Plus, it serves as guidance for the business owner.
2. Choose a Legal Entity
Once you have the business plan in place, it's time to decide its legal entity. As a refresher, there are four business entities:
- Limited Liability Company (LLC)
There are various benefits and concerns of each entity. From stellar legal protection to high fees, every entrepreneur must carefully weigh their options.
Country clubs constantly interact with the public. With this in mind, we encourage you to launch an LLC. An LLC will offer vast legal protection, especially considering the liabilities across eateries and amenities.
Another perk of an LLC is that it offers flexible options for expansion. Private clubs and golf courses are extremely profitable. Keeping your options open for future growth is a smart move.
Entrepreneurs can register the business name at the time of legal registration. Check with your state to see if the names you have in mind are available. Then, consider trademarking the name. This step will save you much time and legal fees if you decide to sell merchandise.
While considering legal entities, contemplate whether you'd like the business to be a franchise. Though this will take more steps to launch, there is much more room for growth.
3. Gather Funding for Startup Costs
Country clubs can cost a fortune to launch. This expense can range anywhere from tens of thousands to several million dollars. During the ideation phase, it's vital to determine where you'll get the funds to bring your business plan to fruition.
We recommend looking into business loans, capital venture firms, and grants. Just note that these entities will require a thorough business plan. Ensure that you supply them with in-depth analyses of competitors, your product offerings, and projections.
Projections like cost of goods, inventory forecasting, and ROI are all essential. The first two factors will dictate recurring overhead expenses. However, the ROI meaning refers to the money you make after making investments.
4. Acquire Proper Licenses and Permits
In order to legally operate a country club, you must acquire various licenses and permits. Some will depend on your state and county, so be sure to check such details as soon as possible.
It's also important to check regulations for the usage of various chemicals. For example, there are products that keep the green in good shape. However, such chemicals may not be legal in certain areas.
To start, here are some of the most standard licenses and permits you'll need:
- Business license
- Sales tax permit
- Food service license for country club dining
- Catering license
- Liquor license (see: liquor license cost)
- Employer Verification Number (EIN)
5. Choose a Location
Country clubs usually exist in areas that are quiet, rural, and serene. When you're shopping for property, keep a few things in mind.
First, consider the space you'll need to accommodate guests and amenities. Then, consider the layout of the course. Spacious golf courses are vital to draw country club members. However, the space to install tennis courts, pools, restaurants, and equestrian fields is just as important.
Rent and utilities will be a major expense, regardless of location. Be sure to consider costs to maintain the facilities and grounds, too.
6. Purchase Equipment and Furnishings
You can't welcome guests to your country club until you put all the furnishings in their place. This step might actually be the most detail-oriented part of the process. Equipment and furnishings will help represent your brand. Plus, each and every item is part of the customer experience.
Golf and sporting equipment are must-haves for the amenities. Then, additional items like scoreboards and golf carts should be on your shopping list. A great way to track these items after opening is to use golf course POS features.
Don't forget about investing in beautiful decor. While learning how to open a country club, you want to recognize the importance of luxury. By adding high-quality pieces to the club's design, the aesthetic will match the brand's vision.
7. Onboard Technology Solutions
Hospitality software companies are slowly making their way into the country club space. Food tech, country club management software, and online ordering apps are just a few areas that help streamline country club management operations. As golf course food service becomes more popular, tech adoptions must be more diverse.
If there's one form of tech you onboard, have it be country club POS systems. Without this acquisition, it'd be impossible to conduct business. Plus, it will be the main point of other transaction types.
We also recommend restaurant tech. QR codes and self ordering kiosks are just two convenient and innovative solutions that enhance customer service. Or, perhaps you use restaurant inventory tools to reduce expenses and food spoilage. It's also worth noting that lessening food waste is eco-friendly.
Locally-sourced produce, vegan dishes, and compostable paper goods are other ways to be more sustainable. With the right ordering software, you can always create the perfect menu types while promoting the importance of sustainability.
Country clubs also have a lounge and happy hour. Ensure that you also use a liquor inventory app to always offer a variety. With an app like BinWise, you can always provide stellar options, from wine to popular cocktails.
8. Create Pricing Models
Country clubs operate along the line of subscription models. This means that while learning how to open a country club, consider what each tier will entail.
In general, country club fees include:
- Initiation Fee: More often than not, this is the largest fee a member will encounter.
- Annual Dues: Think of these as maintenance fees to remain a member.
- Additional Fees: Members may have to pay minimums, amenity features, and late fees.
For the most part, fees and annual dues will cover the following costs:
Before charging membership fees, define your niche market. This step is crucial. Acknowledging this information will allow your club to offer product differentiation. Once you find consumer data, such as average income and interests, you'll better understand how to price your memberships.
Membership fees are the primary way country clubs maximize revenue. However, renting out space to the public can also be a strategy to boost profits. Event management has the potential for large cash flow projections. So, consider the pros and cons of hosting events like weddings or other special occasions.
Additional ways to generate revenue include selling club merchandise, sports lessons, golf shops, and gift cards. And of course, don’t forget about the potential of food service.
9. Market the Country Club
Determine the tone of voice and messaging that will resonate with your customers. This will dictate language, voice, and creative efforts. Once you determine these factors, it's time to choose where the marketing efforts will take place.
Marketing high-demand products right away will attract potential members. Do you have a unique golf course? Or, will you be hosting brunch? If so, add it to your social media calendar!
Marketing a country club is effective via SEO, social media, and paid ads. Your budget will play a major role in where you market the business, so consider this decision wisely.
10. Open Your Business
Once you take all the proper steps and precautions, it's time to launch your business. Host a grand opening event where potential members can check out the country club and golf course amenities.
At this event, supply food, beverages, and tours. It's also ideal to create brochures that guests can take home with them. In order to boost the member roster and establish a great country club culture, you must educate your target audience. Then, continue marketing the club and offering it as event space to the public.
Frequently Asked Questions About How to Open a Country Club
Learning how to open a country club is a wise path to take. This sector of hospitality is constantly evolving into a space even more innovative than the years before. Read below to learn more about country clubs.
What Is the Purpose of a Country Club?
The purpose of a country club is to create a space where members can share a community. They also serve as sites of sporting matches, social activities, and exclusive events.
How Do You Run a Successful Country Club?
Business owners can run a successful country club by supplying members with superior service and amenities. Once you learn how to open a country club, successfully running it is essential. So, ensure that you have the best staff and product lines possible.
What Is a Country Club Business?
A country club business is one that offers exclusive access to golf courses and other facilities. They usually require memberships, too.
What Makes a Good Country Club?
Features that make a country club good are stellar service, spacious golf courses, and top-notch facilities. Clean and well-kept landscaping is also ideal for aesthetics.
How Does a Country Club Make Money?
Country clubs make money primarily by charging membership fees. Membership fees typically include access to golf courses, amenities, and restaurants. They also make money by renting out space for events.
Ready to Open a Country Club?
If you're learning how to open a country club, you should be on the right track as of now. Remember that traditional models are becoming obsolete. With this in mind, make every effort to be an innovator in the marketplace. If you can accomplish this, you're golden!