How to Start a Tennis Shop

A tennis shop sells a variety of different accessories and equipment to tennis players. They may also provide different services, such as racket restringing. Tennis shops may have a pro available to either help answer questions or potentially arrange games or lessons for shoppers.

Learn how to start your own Tennis Shop and whether it is the right fit for you.

Ready to form your LLC? Check out the Top LLC Formation Services.

Start a tennis shop by following these 10 steps:

  1. Plan your Tennis Shop
  2. Form your Tennis Shop into a Legal Entity
  3. Register your Tennis Shop for Taxes
  4. Open a Business Bank Account & Credit Card
  5. Set up Accounting for your Tennis Shop
  6. Get the Necessary Permits & Licenses for your Tennis Shop
  7. Get Tennis Shop Insurance
  8. Define your Tennis Shop Brand
  9. Create your Tennis Shop Website
  10. Set up your Business Phone System

We have put together this simple guide to starting your tennis shop. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.

Exploring your options? Check out other small business ideas.

STEP 1: Plan your business

A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:

Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.

What will you name your business?

Choosing the right name is important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our Tennis Shop Name Generator

If you operate a sole proprietorship, you might want to operate under a business name other than your own name. Visit our DBA guide to learn more.

When registering a business name, we recommend researching your business name by checking:

  • Your state's business records
  • Federal and state trademark records
  • Social media platforms
  • Web domain availability.

It's very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.

Want some help naming your tennis shop?

Business Name Generator

What are the costs involved in opening a tennis shop?

The major cost to get started will be that of inventory. Owners need to find the right balance between the brands they stock and the customers they serve. They'll also need to budget for the cost of the space they'll be using, as well as any marketing efforts they need to attract customers to their business. Finally, owners will need commercial insurance to protect themselves against liability disputes.

What are the ongoing expenses for a tennis shop?

Ongoing expenses include rent/mortgage, salaries, insurance, and merchandise.

Who is the target market?

The target market tends to be those with plenty of disposable income. Tennis is one of the more expensive sports a person can take up, especially if opening up shop in a colder climate.

How does a tennis shop make money?

Tennis shops charge a markup on all of their products, as well as fees for general services they may perform.

How much can you charge customers?

People are willing to pay for quality merchandise when it comes to their tennis equipment. A quality racket can easily run a person $300 – $400. Tennis shoes can be $100 or more, and even tennis bags can cost over $100.

How much profit can a tennis shop make?

Profit margins can be excellent for tennis shops, whether they're restringing rackets or selling gear. Owners can charge up to 3 times the raw cost of materials to restring a racket and up to two times the wholesale cost of the rackets. Owners can charge up to $100 an hour (or sometimes more) for lessons with a pro, which can substantially increase profit margins.

How can you make your business more profitable?

Continue to look for specific things that the community isn't receiving from other retailers or instructors. You may also want to expand into other types of racket sports. For example, selling squash or racquetball equipment if there's a need for it. You can also consider selling your inventory online to further expose people to your name. This is especially recommended if you happen to have an exclusive contract or make your own gear.

Want a more guided approach? Access TRUiC's free Small Business Startup Guide - a step-by-step course for turning your business idea into reality. Get started today!

STEP 2: Form a legal entity

The most common business structure types are the sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation.

Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your tennis shop is sued.

Form Your LLC

Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC

Have a Professional Service Form your LLC for You

Two such reliable services:

You can form an LLC yourself and pay only the minimal state LLC costs or hire one of the Best LLC Services for a small, additional fee.

Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.

STEP 3: Register for taxes

You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.

In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!

You can acquire your EIN through the IRS website. If you would like to learn more about EINs, read our article, What is an EIN?

There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.

STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card

Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.

When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.

Open a business bank account

Besides being a requirement when applying for business loans, opening a business bank account:

  • Separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
  • Makes accounting and tax filing easier.

Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank or credit union.

Get a business credit card

Getting a business credit card helps you:

  • Separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
  • Build your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money later on.

Recommended: Apply for an easy approval business credit card from BILL and build your business credit quickly.

STEP 5: Set up business accounting

Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.

Make LLC accounting easy with our LLC Expenses Cheat Sheet.

STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses

Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.

State & Local Business Licensing Requirements

Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a tennis shop business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.

Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.

Certificate of Occupancy

A tennis shop business is generally run out of a storefront. Businesses operating out of a physical location typically require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO).  A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met.

  • If you plan to lease a location:
    • It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO.
    • Before leasing, confirm that your landlord has or can obtain a valid CO that is applicable to a tennis shop business.
    • After a major renovation, a new CO often needs to be issued. If your place of business will be renovated before opening, it is recommended to include language in your lease agreement stating that lease payments will not commence until a valid CO is issued.
  • If you plan to purchase or build a location:
    • You will be responsible for obtaining a valid CO from a local government authority.
    • Review all building codes and zoning requirements for your business’ location to ensure your tennis shop business will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.

STEP 7: Get business insurance

Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.

There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.

Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.

FInd out what types of insurance your Tennis Shop needs and how much it will cost you by reading our guide Business Insurance for Tennis Shop.

STEP 8: Define your brand

Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.

If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.

Recommended: Get a logo using Truic's free logo Generator no email or sign up required, or use a Premium Logo Maker.

If you already have a logo, you can also add it to a QR code with our Free QR Code Generator. Choose from 13 QR code types to create a code for your business cards and publications, or to help spread awareness for your new website.

How to promote & market a tennis shop

The first place to start will be tennis courts of every kind. Whether in a public park or a private country club, these are the people who will care about the shoes, apparels and gear you have to offer. Consider holding a themed party or even a tennis tournament with in-demand prizes to spread the word. You can also find specialized community groups on sites such as Facebook or Craigslist. It’s a good place to find people discussing their tennis game, so you can let them know how they can make it even better.

How to keep customers coming back

Stocking and arranging the right inventory can go a long way toward getting people into the shop. Once they're inside, the staff needs to zero in on the customer’s reason for coming in and give them the advice they need to get better results on the court. Any equipment sold needs to be of excellent quality so that people come to associate your name with excellence.

STEP 9: Create your business website

After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.

While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.

Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:

  • All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
  • Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
  • Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.

Recommended: Get started today using our recommended website builder or check out our review of the Best Website Builders.

Other popular website builders are: WordPress, WIX, Weebly, Squarespace, and Shopify.

STEP 10: Set up your business phone system

Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.

There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use. Check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2023 to find the best phone service for your small business.

Recommended Business Phone Service: is our top choice for small business phone numbers because of all the features it offers for small businesses and it's fair pricing.

Is this Business Right For You?

Those who have an inherent love of the sport and a genuine interest in how different equipment can improve a person's game. Tennis is an excellent way to keep fit, and a welcome change from traditional team sports.

Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?

Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!

Entrepreneurship Quiz

What happens during a typical day at a tennis shop?

A general day will be spent handling customers, but shop owners also need to devote time to marketing, inventory, and researching new brands and trends in tennis gear.

What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful tennis shop?

Owners should have at least some experience in specialty retail stores, as well as at least a general understanding of the game. Whether they played in college or took the sport up in their 30s, they'll want to be able to relate to customers who are serious about becoming the best player they can be.

What is the growth potential for a tennis shop?

Growth potential can be significant for those who open in the right area. While people may be able to find equipment online cheaper than the prices of your shop, customers still find value in talking to a salesperson who can help them improve their game.

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Take the Next Step

Find a business mentor

One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.

Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.

Learn from other business owners

Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.

Resources to Help Women in Business

There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:

  • Funding
  • Events
  • Guides
  • Support

If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.

What are some insider tips for jump starting a tennis shop?

One of the biggest hurdles to cross will be that of finding the right location for the shop. You’ll need to look for a relatively wealthy neighborhood that either doesn’t already have a shop in the area or that is being underserved by the current choices. It's entirely possible to open a shop in a solidly middle-class area, but tennis pros and equipment can be expensive enough that the profit margins won’t be worth it. Visit the competition to see what they're doing and make notes as to how you would do it better. Design a layout for your customers that is neither too cluttered nor too bare, so they can browse without stress.

Look for ways to give customers value above and beyond what they’re used to getting. Going online to put together a tennis outfit, restring a racket, or buy a new bag isn't nearly as satisfying as the instant gratification that comes from visiting a single shop with knowledgeable salespeople. Owners should also make it a point to get to know the people of the area. In the electronic era, it’s becoming harder and harder to spark loyalty in customers. Putting in the extra effort for everyone who steps into the store will give you a better idea of what the community cares about, so you can better tailor your services to them.

Finally, look for different angles you can use to set yourself apart. Maybe you’ve hired a savvy pro with incredible credentials. Maybe you’re stocking brands that no other store carries. Maybe you make your own rackets and sell them exclusively at your store. If you’re opening up in a colder climate, make sure community members are aware of available indoor areas so they can keep their game sharp. Consider offering group lessons so people don’t have to pay for a private instructor.

How and when to build a team

The team should be built sooner rather than later. Look for sales associates who play the game already and who understand the art of customer services. Be prepared to pay for the most qualified candidates! The other option is for a pro to open a shop on their own and keep limited hours. In this case, the owner could consider doing a ‘By Appointment Only’ store where they service individuals based on their specific requests.

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