How to start a go kart business

Written by shanika chapman
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How to start a go kart business
Thinking of starting a go-kart business? (Two racing endurance karts image by Nicola Gavin from

Go-kart racing is a fun, family-friendly recreational activity that is popular among people of all ages as either a leisure activity or competitive sport. Tracks may be indoors or out, attached to family entertainment centres or stand-alone and may offer various types of tracks and speed limitations. Due to the speed of the go- karts, safety is of the utmost concern. In addition to constructing an enticing track, you'll need to implement measures to ensure the safety of your patrons. Expect start-up costs to exceed £65,000.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Location
  • Liability insurance
  • Business license
  • Permit or county approval
  • Track
  • Karts
  • Helmets
  • Safety signs
  • Safety rails
  • Website
  • Concession food, cafe or vending machines
  • Employees

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  1. 1

    Conduct market research to determine the viability of establishing a go-kart track in your area. If necessary, develop a feasibility study. Considerations will include whether to house your business indoors or out, whether to operate as a standalone or as part of an entertainment centre, whether to implement single or double pitting, the type of go-karts you will have and whether they will be gas-powered or electric, speed limits and whether you will include a separate arena for youth.

    Determine what you can expect to earn per kart per hour. A reasonable amount to charge for each ride is about £1.90 to £3, depending on your area. Determine how many karts you will need to have and be able to run each hour to ensure profitability, once you've deducted operating costs, such as electricity, insurance costs, equipment wear and tear and payroll. Consider amenities that will help offset the cost, such as an arcade and refreshment bar.

  2. 2

    Contact your licensing department to learn the rules governing go-kart businesses, such as frequency of inspections, fuelling operations, fire safety, employee training, emergency procedures, age requirements of drivers, insurance requirements and general operating and safety requirements.

  3. 3

    Consult with a track design firm or contractor to help you determine your size requirements for the type of track and amenities you want to include. Then secure a location and obtain zoning approval. Most indoor tracks are housed in warehouses. According to Amusement Construction, you can expect to need about 35,000 square feet for a racetrack and 3,000 square feet for a kid kart track. The track firm may also be able to connect you with a liability insurance provider who can provide you with fire insurance and general liability insurance.

  4. 4

    Work alongside the contractor in constructing your track and amenities. Considerations include the slope, surface, turn radius for corners, straightaway length, the pit area, lighting, fencing, safety rails, traffic signs and adequate shading or coverage for an outdoor course. You'll want an efficient course in which customers have a short wait time. The longer a customer has to wait, the less likely they are to return.

    Your design firm may also provide you with the karts, helmets, replacements parts and gloves. Otherwise, contact manufacturers, such as Sodi Kart or Johnson Kart, directly to purchase karts and equipment.

  5. 5

    Purchase concession food and equipment, employee uniforms, T-shirts, hats, arcade games, decor and vending machines. Learn to fix your machines or have someone on hand who can quickly repair them, when necessary.

  6. 6

    Hire at least two employees for up to eight karts. Look for go-kart enthusiasts who understand and appreciate the importance of implementing safety measures at all times. Safety is of the utmost importance within the industry, particularly on courses whose maximum speeds exceed 20mph. Develop safety training and policies for your staff members and a junior driving school for youth drivers. These may include requiring drivers to hold a license or junior license, weight limits, food and drink restrictions, footwear requirements and rules against bumping or blocking.

  7. 7

    Purchase a website for your business. Then take high-quality pictures of your track and create an online portfolio, along with your rates, equipment, safety policies, restrictions, operating hours and events calendar.

Tips and warnings

  • Offer leagues, weekly or monthly specials and corporate or private events.

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