Starting a business requires more than a passion for the industry you’re looking to enter, which is valid for beginning an airsoft field business. It’s especially true with airsoft because it’s a niche and often costly sport to take part in regularly.
You need a detailed plan of action so that you can start, build, and have a successful long-term business venture in a sport that you love.
Detailed below are the steps required and additional research you’ll need to do to see if opening an airsoft business will be suitable or even possible for you.
Airsoft is a team-competitive sport in which participants shoot spherical non-metallic pellets fired from replica rifles. It is played in a manner similar to paintball. It pits players against one another in a tactical setting.
There are two key areas you need to research before starting an airsoft business. First, you need to know if there are similar businesses in your area. Second, you need to know if existing enthusiasts can draw to your new business.
A good step is to consider how many airsoft fields are already running in your area during your research. Having existing businesses can be good and bad depending on how many people live close to your business.
If you have too many fields already running in a small area, then it’s going to be tough to attract enough customers regularly to make money on your new venture. You will need to find some way to differentiate yourself. If you haven’t been already, you may need to visit some existing locations to see how many people utilize the fields.
If there are existing businesses and you feel the market isn’t saturated, you need to consider how you’ll draw the players to your location. Will you be offering just another field that they can choose? Will there be anything unique or different about your playing area?
As an example, if your town already has a large forest area for players, perhaps you need to look into opening an indoor or urban airsoft field for players to compete on. This way, you’re finding your niche and differentiating your business from the other locations.
Another consideration is creating an all-in-one solution for players. That way, even if one of your competitors creates more fields, you’re still ahead of the game.
Creating a plan for your business will be crucial to ensure you aren’t throwing your money into something that won’t work or just hoping to make money instantly. Unfortunately, this is not often realistic and is why many businesses fail.
To help create your plan, there are several things to consider.
You need to know how much money will be required even to open the doors for your new business. Plan out your initial costs, which would involve:
● A location for your field.
● Rental equipment such as guns, pellets, protective gear.
● Business startup costs such as licensing, insurance, employees.
You need to know how much your ongoing business costs will be to see how much money you need to make. If your expenses are going to be extremely high, you need a way to make that money and profit. Ongoing costs would include:
● Location rental
● Equipment resupply
● Employee wages
● Utilities such as power, internet, and maintenance costs
The actual costs for each item will depend on your location, so this is something you will need to investigate and find the best prices possible.
You know how much your initial investment will be and your ongoing costs; how will you pay your ongoing expenses?
You can make money in many ways from an airsoft field, and you’ll need to offer all options and at prices that will cover your costs and make you profit in the long term. It's all about your return on investment.
● Entry fees from your regularly scheduled open games.
● Venue rental from teams or even businesses doing team building.
● Equipment rental for people without their gear.
● Airsoft store, selling guns, ammo, safety equipment, and clothing.
● Food and drink. If you’re in a remote location, make sure you can offer food and drink as you’ll be the only option available.
With your research done and your business plan ready, your next step will be to form your business and start working towards your opening day.
Airsoft can be a dangerous sport. As the business owner, you could be sued for anything, whether you personally, an employee, or even participants that cause issues. Therefore, you need to ensure you are personally safe from being sued, which means registering a business as a limited liability company.
Your business can be sued, but you will not be held personally liable, so your home and other assets will be safe.
You will want to discuss your options with an accountant who can help you understand your tax requirements in your local area. There are federal tax requirements, and you’ll need to register with the IRS, but there will also be state and local states that you need to consider.
You absolutely need to get insurance, and some insurance companies may even have specific options for airsoft fields. While your business is an LLC and you can’t personally be held liable for issues, you will need insurance to help your business pay for issues that arise.
Whether that’s being sued or injuries that can occur on your field, you may be responsible for paying them. Without insurance, your new business could go bankrupt, and that will be the end of your new venture.
You will need to investigate what permits and licenses you to need to operate your business in your city.
Determining what permits you need should be part of your initial investigation to know what areas you can even open an airsoft field in. Your city may restrict the locations you can open your business.
Start marketing your airsoft business before you’re even open, build anticipation and start building a contact list of people interested in coming to use your new field. Having customers anxiously awaiting the launch of your new field is one reason why digital marketing is important for small businesses.
You must have a website and you must be adding your location to any directories, forums, or other websites that airsoft enthusiasts visit. Start searching google for airsoft sites, especially in your local area.
Hit the streets and start handing out flyers, which could even include discounts, to anybody interested.
You may even want to approach local businesses and see if they’re interested in team building venue hire. You could even promote cross-business competitions where plumbing companies do battle against electricians.
Just having the money to start an airsoft business won’t succeed. You need to plan out your costs, how much you can make, and even what kind of competition is out there.
Set yourself apart from any competition with unique features, offers, or anything that sets you apart from them.
One of your biggest challenges will be promoting your new airsoft location, as it’s a niche sport that can be difficult to get into. In addition, because new places don’t open often, people aren’t actively looking for new locations.