HOW TO: START A PAINTBALL BUSINESS
Starting any business is a huge feat in and of itself, but choosing to open a paintball business, it truly has to be thought of carefully and with realistic goals.
You have to ask yourself the question, “Why do I want to open up my own paintball field?” If in your heart and soul, you feel strongly that the reason for opening up a field is something you believe in, it will survive. Furthermore, it will work because you’re willing to work hard for it and are prepared to do whatever it takes. Your reason will dictate whether or not your field will thrive for as long as your willingness takes it. Those that already have paintball fields say that it was easy to start the idea of opening a paintball field, however the hard part is keeping it going and making it a worthwhile investment.
Hopefully you’re already passionate about the sport of paintball because you’ve been enthusiastic about it due to your experience at the player level. Be smart about the reality of knowing how to separate your love for the game and learn how to be a business savvy person. Educate yourself and be equipped with the tools you will need to keep the business alive. Of course, who doesn’t want to get rich off the business that they’re taking the time to run, but don’t make the only goal of your business about just making the money. Include that important facet of creating an income for your household, but also make sure that the reason is with the right intentions.
Do your research and carefully study what others have done and why they opened a paintball field in the first place. Google "paintball fields near me" and see how much competition you have in your area, then see what they are doing. Look for paintball field interviews on the internet and see why they were inspired to open up their own field. Some current owners have opened up paintball fields because they were disappointed with the way that they saw their local fields conducted business, too. So, consider how you can open up a field because you’re desire is to create a competitive field that can offer better services and products to that same area’s customer base.
Start out with a business plan and add on to it from there, making careful notes as to how and why the business will succeed. Ask yourself the important questions like why you feel compelled to start this paintball field and why you feel you can do it differently than what already exists, if that’s the case. A business plan will reveal some obstacles you can potentially run into before actually breaking ground and of course having one will help you present your reasons why a bank or investor should loan you the money to get it started. Having a business plan will give you a good idea of truly understanding your market niche and knowing things like how many employees you’ll need, what your overhead expenses and potential revenues will be, and listing expectations of all parties involved.
Creating a business plan also helps you to see what the needs are going to be in terms of how the field will be built, what type of construction will take place, if there will be running water for bathrooms or portables, the type of generator to purchase, how easy the accessibility to the property will be from the road, and even how the business marketing and advertising will be done and what that could potentially cost.
It’s not just what you know, but WHO you know. Knowing the right people makes a difference in how not just getting the field up and running, but thriving. Did you start out as a paintball player first and now you think you can run a paintball field? Perhaps you got to know some manufacturers that will provide you with the materials and equipment needed? Already having a network of people you trust will help make the opening of your new field easier and can help you stay afloat.
SCOPE OUT THE AREA
Continuing on from having the right network of people, be sure to pick an area fairly close to where many people reside. If you pick an area that may be too far away from a major road or somewhat populated city, this could lead to a challenge in building a monthly revenue. Picking out the right location also means knowing where the closest airports, hotels, and even nearby restaurants and if these entities are within a good distance from where you want to put your field. What kind of weather takes place in the area you’ve selected? Are you in a flood-plain zone? And are there a lot of potential players already in that area to pull from? Can that player base get any bigger?
Consider a field that can also host other types of outdoor activities like maybe having an area for “mud runner” races and obstacle courses for military or SWAT teams, an outdoor stage for concerts, maybe even think about having other sporting activities there, too. The idea of having a field that accommodates other activities allows for those enthusiasts to see what paintball is all about. Though not always necessary, doesn't hurt to try and be multi-useful and offer more.
Having a Pro Shop with a built-in gun tech is an added bonus. Also, having concessions or contracting a food truck to come out daily is something to consider to add a little more substance to your business offerings.
When building the field, what kind of fields will be made? What type of bunkers will be used? Airball? Or will you construct your own bunkers in such a way that it sets it apart from what other fields are already doing? Focus on building things that last and will require easy maintenance, or just be prepared for whatever it takes to maintain the field. When starting the field, too, it’s important to be diverse in what types of layouts the fields offer. Having speedball, woods scenes, and then also having imaged, pump days, and even youth groups - being diverse will help capture a large customer base.
Moving beyond just finding the right location, be sure to understand that you need to get the proper permits to build a field, the best insurance to protect your business, and make sure there aren’t a lot of city ordinances that would make it too expensive to run the field. Think about how you would build the netted fields, mark the boundaries, available parking lots, where the staging and vendor tents could potentially go, and will the area selected be sustainable. Check on what the property taxes will be and if there are also any zoning issues. Maybe it would be a good idea to also build some sort of indoor paintball arena on-site for the time when weather will be bad.