Volleyball is one of the most popular sports in the U.S at the youth and high school levels. There are always new opportunities for highly competitive clubs, one-on-one training, offseason or introductory camps, and recreational leagues.
Clubs can exist and as non-profits or for profit businesses, and as full-time employment or part-time ventures. New organizations are popping up each year, and while each club is unique, they generally face similar challenges when deciding how to start a volleyball club.
Whether you want to have highly competitive teams and train future collegiate players, or just start a smaller rec program and introduce the sport to younger players, there is a lot to think about when you're starting a new organization. Below we'll help answer the most important question as you get started - how much does it cost to start a volleyball club?
What you'll need to start a volleyball club
The first thing you'll need is a place to practice and train. If you're going to need availability 3-4 nights per week for practice, expect to pay between $100-1,000 per week depending on the facility and the amount of total hours you need.
Start researching facilities in your area that might work well for rentals. Find and compare prices (remember you can use several different facilities if needed). Don't sign any long-term contracts at first, because you never know how your needs might change over the next few years.
You can always start small with your facility, and you can also save a bit in facility rental by having several teams practice at the same time.
Long-term if you have 15+ teams, buying your own volleyball specific facility or permanently leasing space can be the most cost effective option so you no longer have to pay rental fees. And if your club doesn't need all of the court time throughout the year, you can rent your facility to other volleyball clubs or for other sports.
Tournament Registration Fees
Tournament entry fees can vary depending on if you're registering for National, Regional, or Local events. It's important to decide a rough estimate on total tournament costs before deciding upon player fees for the year so you can make sure you'll be able to comfortably cover the costs of tournament entry.
Smaller tournaments may just cost around $100, while larger full weekend events can run up to $1,000. So make sure you get a good feel for which events you'll be registering for so you have a solid estimate on total tournament fees for all of your teams well in advance.
Logo & Branding
A strong logo and branding are important for credibility for your club. The good news is you don't have to have art skills to get a professional logo. We'd recommend using a freelancing service like www.freelancer.com or www.upwork.com. Just make a post detailing the type of logo you're looking for, and you'll get applications to create the logo. It's likely you can get a professionally designed logo in less than a week for $50-100.
Want a logo for free quickly? You might have success reaching out to local high school or college students that are looking for items to put on their resume. Logos are typically pretty simple to make, and you might be able to convince a local student to create a logo for free to put in their portfolio.
A Professional Website
It's critical to have a website that players and parents can access to find information about your club, tryout dates, tournament schedules, and to register and make payments. A strong website can add major credibility to your new club, while a weak web presence can turn new participants away before you get the chance to meet them.
It's pretty simple to set up and create a website, and shouldn't cost you more than $50 per month at first. If you want to add more features to your website (like notifications & messaging or custom artwork) you can always add them at a later date your costs may increase over time, but you can start small. The first step is to purchase a Domain Name (or address like www.example.com) of for your website. Domains are typically just $10-15 per year and you can get them from a provider like domains.google in a minute or two.
Never set up a website before? No worries, it's easier than ever to set up and maintain websites to promote your club (you can give Jersey Watch a shot here -> https://app.jerseywatch.com/org/sign_up)
Teams need coaches, and you probably don't have the time to coach all of the teams yourself. If you're just starting out and you just have a few teams, try to get coaches on a volunteer basis instead of paying coaches up front, especially if you don't have a large amount of player commitments yet.
As you grow, paying a few experienced coaches can go a long way toward attracting new players to your club. The more experienced the coach, the more they're going to cost, but their ability to draw more players to your club can be worth the price.
Experienced coaches may request $5,000+ to coach a few of your teams and help run your club. First time coaches or students may volunteer or just ask for $50/week to help cover their expenses.
Uniforms & Gear
Research vendors and potential sponsors before making any purchases. You can also survey players and parents to see what they'd like to see available for each player during tryouts. You should expect that in total each player's required uniforms and gear will cost you at least $50, and up to $200, although with some simple math you can get a very accurate estimate once you decide exactly what each player will need.
TIP - You'll want to make sure you make it clear that participants need to pay in full, or at least make a significant deposit well in advance of the time your uniforms are needed. That way you can easily cover the costs of everything you need to order.
Trying to coach, promote your club, answer questions from parents, collect payments, and manage budgets is too tough for one person to do. Plus, you aren't starting a club to make your life more stressful. Figure out which aspects of running the club you enjoy most (and which are most important) and delegate the rest to someone else.
If you're just getting started don't try doing everything alone; the work will add up and you'll wind up staring at your computer and answering emails at 2AM on a Sunday. By just asking around you might be able to find some part time help (like from a parent in the program) to help with accounting, marketing, or player registration. A few hours of help a week can go a long way to freeing you up to spend time on more important items, and might only cost $50-100 per week. As you grow you can look at hiring a full-time administrator to run the club if you have 20+ teams.
Your club needs insurance in case a player gets hurt or an unforeseen accident takes place at an event. Most facilities will also require that your club have insurance before you can begin practicing in their space. The good news is it's easy to get an insurance policy when you register your club with Junior Volleyball Association, AAU Volleyball, or USA Volleyball. Insurance is typically included in the cost of your annual membership and will be a few dollars per player.
If your club will be for adults or is just a very small rec program, you may not need to join one of the organizations listed above, and it may be easier to obtain insurance separately. Insurance policies for sports programs are often based on the number of total participants or total teams that your organization has. Just Google "Get insurance for my volleyball program" and you'll stumble upon information. You can expect to pay about $50 per team each year depending on the type of policy you decide on.
What's the total cost going to be?
Total cost will vary widely depending on the level of your club, how much facility time you need, etc. There's no easy answer here :), but by building out a quick budget you can start to get an accurate feel for your total costs in your first year.
But if you're just getting started with 3-5 teams, and your teams will just be playing locally and regionally at first you can expect total cost to be $10,000-$20,000 in the first year. As your club grows, total expenses can grow to $100,000+ quickly.
BONUS: A few ways to keep costs down and generate more revenue
1. Run a few camps. Many clubs offer camps and group training throughout the year to help raise revenue. You can run camps during the summer months leading up to high school tryouts and charge $100 or so for several 1 hour sessions. Get a few dozen players to register and you've made a dent in your costs for next season, and introduced your club to new participants for your next round of tryouts.
2. Find as many volunteers as possible. To keep costs down, consider hiring volunteer coaches from local high schools or colleges. At first you might be able to get all of your coaching on a volunteer basis and just cover the costs for their basic expenses.
3. Start an apparel store. Make sure you have an online apparel store that is easy to access for parents and supporters of your club. Parents love to buy stuff for their kids' sports teams - so make sure you provide them easy opportunities - you'll make some extra money and have loyal supporters wearing your apparel.
Need help getting started?
At Jersey Watch we help volleyball clubs manage their websites, registration, online payments, and communication. If you'd like to learn more or get started you can visit our website at www.jerseywatch.com, or send us a message at email@example.com.