If you have almost decided to open a “Sexually Orientated Business” (SOB), for example; a strip club but would like to be sure about what is needed before taking the final plunge, the following guidelines could help you on your way.
Opening any business, including a strip club involves compliance with rules, regulations and restrictions, that vary significantly between cities and counties. Therefore, it is in your interest to conduct some serious and in depth research on the location you are considering.
The first aspects to be aware of are the applicable zoning laws, various regulations and alcohol restrictions that are unique to an SOB, such as local strip club laws. They usually prohibit this type of business locating near schools or churches, complete nudity shows or banning the sale of alcohol.
Violations of zoning laws
Zoning laws are designed to regulate the site where a given type of business may be prohibited from being established and are pertinent to residential, industrial and a variety of other enterprises. A United States Supreme Court ruling has determined that local ordinances have the power of regulating the time, location, and manner in which businesses, such as strip clubs are operated without a violation of the First Amendment.
The laws that particularly apply to businesses such as a strip club are intended to minimize any negative effects of these businesses on the area; for example, reduced property values or use of drugs. In addition, to ensure they are not motivated only by any adult content, a violation of the First Amendment!
The SOB factor
However, there are within the defined parameters of the zoning laws for an SOB, significant mitigating factors, frequently including the prevailing cultural sentiments of the community itself. Another related factor is seen in the zoning laws of New York City for example; where allowance is made for businesses to operate anywhere in the city, providing less than 40% of the allotted space or inventory, is designated for sexually explicit activities.
Various zoning laws may target advertising related to a strip club, such as one in Missouri, effectively banning SOB billboards on state highways.
In general, an SOB is required to meet similar zoning rules as other bars and clubs. Usual requirements include them being a minimum of 1,000 feet, or approximately 2.5 blocks, from churches, schools, daycare centers, playgrounds and parks.
Strip club operation
Operating a profit oriented strip club is like any other form of business, if you want to be successful. Therefore you should consider, not only what is needed to generate audiences, within the laws and local regulations, but the personnel and equipment required. The clientele you attract and how your club is perceived in the area will be determined by a variety of aspects; including:
• Premises, licenses, decor, girls, security staff, bar and stage construction, seating
Your support and behind the scenes mechanism is also critical:
• Business and liquor licenses, Insurance, audio and lighting systems, bar computers and registers, accounting and business records system, changing room/lockers and a cleaning crew, promotions and attorney fees!
Determine your market niche
Perhaps expanding on the most critical aspect of starting your club has been left to the last! Depending on the ambitions you have for your strip club will determine the quality of the performers and the clientele you want to attract. This factor is one that could be significantly influenced by the amount of start-up capital you have available!
Are you focusing on the up-market, real money spenders of the corporate world, businessperson and international male traveler, or do want to enter the rough and tumble club world of “the boys” and the weekend wannabe big spenders?
Whichever one you choose, make sure you get all the rules and regulations in order first. This will at least start you on the right track and provide the foundation for your solid strip club business; but, seek some good advice as go along!