Beginner’s Guide on Starting a Surf Shop Business in the United Kingdom

Starting a Surf Shop Business in the United KingdomOne thing Britishers are known for is their love for sports. From football to cricket and rugby, every sport has a great fan following, and the country has also been able to build some of the best teams in the world. However, there are other sports that aren’t talked about more often in the popular media, but they still have a decent interest. One of them is surfing, and today, we discuss why starting a surf shop business is a great idea if you are looking for business opportunities in the United Kingdom.

What is a Surf Shop Business?

A surf shop business sells surf products and equipment such as surfboards, surf gear, swimwear, bodyboards, etc. It can also sell items such as sunglasses, goggles, beach benches, etc. In other words, a surf shop business sells everything that is needed by people who are going to the beach to surf or to relax in general.

One of the greatest things about opening a surf shop is how it allows you to cross-sell and up-sell. As we said, people who surf need to travel to the beach, and honestly, no one just goes to the beach with gear and a surfboard. The surfers will need a mat, umbrella, snacks, etc. In many cases, surf shops have found success in offering food products and other grocery items in general.

Surf Shop Business Trends

If you really are thinking of starting a surfing business, you may want to know about the trends in the industry. Here are some:


These days, it’s not even essential to have a business by the beach if you can use the internet well. E-commerce has been a norm, and especially new startups have been making name and money by creating some splendid buying and selling websites.

Starting a website these days is easier than it has ever been, and you could also hire a professional if you want to become more professional. Furthermore, if you are thinking of doing e-commerce, mastering basic internet marketing concepts such as SEO, Social Media Marketing, etc., will become very useful in the long run.


Many surf shop businesses offer repair services along with new surfboards. After all, surfing is a demanding sport, and sometimes the water can damage the surf material. However, repairing surfboards is also easy these days with various surf repair kits that anybody can use. Well, you can sell those repair kits.


Organizing contests and events on the beach are some trends followed by surf businesses. After it, not only can it help sell your products, but it can also get people talking about your business. You could add music and food festivals; however, remember that contests are done for publicity rather than selling items directly.

Café Shop and Rent Outs

Surfers need to rest. And for people who aren’t professionals, they are on the beach only to have some fun. The primary income source for many surfing businesses is the sale of food items and renting out of the surfing board. After all, not everyone wants to spend a lot of money on a board when they aren’t going to use it too often.

Surfing School

One great way of benefiting from the increasing popularity of surfing is by starting a surfing school. Children and adults both are keen on learning the sport, and you can provide them with surfboards and a trainer. Furthermore, a surfing school can be seasonal, for example, during the summer holidays, making it a great side hustle to carry on with your surfing store.

The Process of Starting a Surfing Shop Business in the United Kingdom

No matter how promising it could be, starting a surfing shop business should be a very calculated process. You can’t just jump in; you have to research the market and ensure full compliance. Here are the steps for starting a surfing shop business in the United Kingdom:

Conduct Market Research

Once you are interested or have decided on the surfing business, it’s time to understand the market. To whom do you want to sell your products? How many competitors are there? You will have to start with Google and, if possible, network with people in your industry. Also, research existing surf shop businesses and e-commerce websites to know the products that may sell.

Choose Your Target Audience

Having a buyer persona in place is essential while starting any kind of business. Of course, you will sell surfing products. However, list the segment of the market that is most likely to buy your products and so you want to market specifically to them. Do you want to sell items for professionals? Or do you want to coach young surfers? Choosing your target audience will also help you to create consistent brand messages.

Research the Competition

Competition research falls under market research, but you must be as detailed as possible. Think of the existing consumer needs not being solved by businesses currently. And think about the products that you want to sell but are already being sold. This will help you to sell new items and create your value proposition in a way that sets you apart from the competition.

Write a Business Plan

A business plan is your roadmap for success. It will help you set your goals, track your progress and outline the things you need to do to reach your goals. Writing a business plan can be tricky, as it needs to be as comprehensive as possible but also not be too hefty till the point it is confusing.

The business plan should include things such as the business summary, target market, products and services, marketing plan, milestones etc. Furthermore, you have to write it in a way that you can update it regularly and also have a plan B for some actions that you deem are risky.

Registering Your Surf Shop Business

After preparing a business plan, the next step is registering your company. Registration could really be confusing if you don’t have prior experience, so it will be easier to take help from United Kingdom company incorporation professionals.

Having said that, here are some things you need to register a company in the United Kingdom:

The Company Type

There are three types of companies in the United Kingdom; sole proprietorship, partnership, and limited liability company. A sole proprietorship is a one-person company, while a partnership has various partners. On the other hand, a limited liability company stands as a legal entity and has no ownership.

Company Name

Coming up with a company name may seem simple but it could take up your time if you don’t know the formalities. The title should be catchy; that’s a no-brainer, but you will also have to make sure your name isn’t the same as other companies. Furthermore, counterfeiting names are not allowed, and your name shouldn’t be offensive or deemed inappropriate by the authorities.

Fulfil the Requirements

A sole proprietorship and partnership don’t have a lot of requirements, but if you are starting a limited liability company, you have to ensure that you have everything in place. Here are the requirements for a limited company in the United Kingdom:

  • You need to appoint a director. The person doesn’t necessarily need to be resident in the UK.
  • A shareholder is needed. Furthermore, the director and the shareholder can be the same person.
  • You need a registered address, which should be a physical address and not just a PO Box Number.
  • After registering your company, you have to register for the Corporation Taxes with HMRC as soon as possible.

Here is a detailed guide to United Kingdom company registration.


What Licences Do I Need to Start a Surf Shop Business in the United Kingdom?

The United Kingdom is very stringent in terms of the licences you need to start a business. There are specific and general licences, and based on your operation, it is essential for you to apply for and get every single license.

It will be better to consult a UK corporate service provider who can help you with the licences you need. Otherwise, you will put your business at serious risk of halting operations or even closing down in the future.

  • Notification to process personal data from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) if you open a website and process the personal data of your customers.
  • Public space surveillance (CCTV) license to install a CCTV camera on your premises.
  • Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Financial Services Authority (FSA)  for carrying out regulated financial activities or offering consumer credit
  • Consumer Credit License to offer credit to your customers.
  • Protected wreck site license for diving, surveying, digging and anchoring near a legally protected wreck in Wales.
  • Permission to award a degree (All UK) for sports coaches.
  • Approval of courses leading to external qualifications.
  • Temporary Events Notice (England and Wales) if you wish to organize surfing events in the future.
  • Premises License to book registered/ unregistered premises for your operations.
  • Goods vehicle operator license (England, Scotland & Wales) to drive a delivery/ supply truck.
  • Pleasure boat license (England, Wales & Northern Ireland).
  • Business boat license (England, Scotland and Wales).
  • Pavement or street display license (England and Wales) to display signs of your surf shop on the streets.
  • NLA Media Access Limited business license to make copies of newspaper articles for business use.
  • Adventure activities license (England, Wales and Scotland) to organize adventure activities for your customers and students.
  • Boat masters license (All UK).
  • Riding establishment license (England, Scotland & Wales).
  • Safety certificates: sports stands (England, Scotland and Wales).
  • Sports ground safety certificate (England, Scotland and Wales).
  • Small commercial vessel certificate (All UK).



Any business related to sports is going to flourish in the United Kingdom if proper planning has gone into it. Furthermore, surfing isn’t as popular as football, rugby, cricket or cycling, but it has a decent number of players, and this also means there isn’t a lot of competition as in other sports. However, starting a surf shop business could be confusing because of the registrar requirements, so you need professional support and advice.

3E Accounting is a leading corporate service provider offering company registration and other business services. Our company was established to help small and medium businesses grow and to help them compete with the leading businesses in the sector. Contact us today to start your business without a hassle and to get possibly every assistance you need for operations.


Starting a Surf Shop Business in the United Kingdom