How To Start Your Own Paintball Field - Part II
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 Starting A Paintball Field... The Business Side of Things

     If you’re one of the few who already own a patch of land and want to turn it into a paintball field, you’ve got it made!  You can play on it all you want and can turn it into a business if you want.  If you’re like most however, you may owe money on the property you use (either as rent or a loan payment).  For most people, the cost of starting a commercial paintball field will force them into business mode.  If you’ve got the right location, marketing plan and set-up, running a paintball field can be a great money-making business.  Plan ahead and start small!

     Once you’ve gotten a quote on all the equipment, you’ll soon realize how committed you’re going to have to be by the size of the debt that can quickly accumulate.  Initial equipment costs will require a loan for most people; then there’s the ongoing monthly bills you must also consider… a mortgage bill (if you have one), ongoing supplies like paintballs and replacement parts for your guns.  Don’t forget the payments for your liability insurance policy to cover you in case someone gets hurt. 

     With a high level of commitment involved, it’s best to start your paintball field with a clear plan in mind from the very beginning.  Write up a business plan with a mission statement and written goals with timelines.  Come up with an aggressive marketing plan that not only includes initial start-up advertising campaigns but regular ongoing promotional ideas as well. 

     Before embarking on a journey of this magnitude, read everything you can get your hands on regarding this subject.  Take your time in researching companies thoroughly before going into business with them.  Remember – how they treat you is also how one of your customers could be treated in case they have to deal with them.  If possible, travel to several paintball fields in different areas/states to speak with the owner and managers; look around to steal ideas and observe how their operation runs.  Only spend time with the successful fields; see if you can figure out more ways of making money at your own field by copying their successful traits.

     Another great way of making money at your field is by having a Pro-Shop on the premises.  This would be a small store where players can buy paintball guns and equipment from you.  You had to become a dealer anyway to get a better deal on your initial equipment purchase; you might as well try to sell more of their products.  You can sell parts, upgrade kits, markers, masks and even apparel if you want.  Having a pro-shop may also attract new customers to your field.  Sometimes, people who just come to the paintball shop didn’t even know you had a field to play on – they may become patrons of your field as well.

     After you’ve got all the equipment, your course is ready and the doors are open…. The initial success of your paintball field business will depend on one thing – how effective and consistent your marketing is.  Get the word out that you’re a new paintball field open for business every way possible.  Flier campaigns to churches, schools, youth groups, boy/girl scouts; website/landing page and direct mail campaigns are a good start. 

     Get involved with the local community as much as possible.  Sponsor tournaments and organize events to be held at your field.  Sponsor a local team for your field – and put them to work for you marketing your business!  It might even be a wise investment to purchase netting or an inflatable course (with walls) you can travel with to set-up a temporary paintball field/arena wherever you can.  Bringing a paintball event to a community festival, town event or even a block party is a great way to get the word out about your field.

     It’s also a good idea to consider aligning your business plan with a higher cause to affect the greater good.  This means your paintball field is a business to not only make money, but also to help troubled teens, for example (or any other cause you want to help).  Since paintball is mostly played by teenagers, and is a great, safe outlet of energy and exercise – why not pick this group?  Who knows, you might even end helping a troubled teen or two!  Positioning yourself with a cause like this can also help attract new, different clients – who have no interest in paintball whatsoever, but still become patrons to support your cause.

     Starting a paintball field is not difficult, however just like every business - if you fail to plan, you’re really just planning to fail.  The best advice is to open your business with as little money as possible but enough to carry you for numerous months of struggling.  Start small and only upgrade when absolutely necessary.  Consider using your paintball field as a way to help kids by offering a clean, safe, fun environment to let off steam.  Focus on providing good customer service and building a more awesome field.  Good Luck! 
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