How to Start a Paintball Field Business

Just like any business, a commercial paintball field will take perseverance, patience and (unfortunately), a fairly significant amount of start up capital. You can save a lot money and time however, with proper planning and an exact list of the best quality bulk paintball supplies for the cheapest prices. Overspending from buying too much equipment in the beginning can put too much pressure on a brand new business. On the contrary, starting a business without enough working capital can also lead to its death.

Starting a paintball field business is not as easy as simply setting up a fence, a few bunkers and collecting money at the door. The location of the field is your first concern. If you don’t already own the land, it’s very rare for a start-up paintball field to generate enough money to pay a mortgage. Rather than taking out a huge loan for real estate, your best bet is to go into business with someone who owns land; you can possibly rent the land or consider offering a percentage of the business to the landowner.

If you’re starting your own field, there are certain paintball supplies that will be essential. The best advice is to start small and add more equipment as you need. When starting a business, you will want to have a clear goal in mind about how big you plan to get; but don’t let your delusions of grandeur ruin your math skills. Keep a close tally of all costs from the very beginning, starting with the first quote on paintball gear.

Before you start gathering paintball equipment quotes, there are obvious steps you will have to take that are the same for starting any business. Setting up your business entity and getting a local business license will be necessary beginning steps to becoming a retail dealer. Every penny counts when starting a business, so getting dealer prices for your equipment quotes is a must; this is a mandatory first step. The equipment you will need to start a new paintball field business can become exhaustive quickly, however start with the bare minimum.

Don’t start by building the paintball field of your dreams right off the bat; open your business with the bare minimum and build into a larger operation with more equipment as your clientele list grows. You will need bunkers, paintball guns with hoppers, air tanks, and plenty of paintballs. At first, you can save money on buying only a few paintball markers for people who don’t have one, or you can allow players to bring their own. A ‘bring your own’ field is a great way to save money however is somewhat impractical.

One the problems with a BYOPG field is you will get complaints about players who have unfair advantages with totally decked out paintball guns. Another disadvantage of allowing players to bring their own markers is you will be missing out on renting/making money on an essential piece of gear – without a paintball gun, you can’t play. To save money on your initial equipment investment, however, “bring your own” policies will let you get by with a smaller number of guns for your first purchase.

Perhaps the largest equipment costs for a start-up paintball field is the air tank refill station. This will require a commercial sized air compressor; depending on the size, these can cost between $4500-$14000. You will also need one (if not several) industrial bulk sized air tanks to store the air you produce from the compressor. Finally, you will need a fill station scale and air tank refill kit to transfer the air from the bulk sized tank to the smaller paintball gun air tanks.

While your air tank refill station may be one of your more expensive equipment commitments, it’s also a definite regular income source of every paintball field. Eventually this investment will pay off – everyone at your field will need air tank refills and will have to pay what you ask if they want to keep playing. If there are a lot of paintballers in your area, you can also sell tank refills to anyone with an empty tank even if they’re not field customers.

Other essential equipment when starting a paintball field are bunkers for players to hide behind during battle. Fortunately, bunkers can be made of just about anything and still be effective. Old cars, stacks of tires, barrels, and even rock piles work great. In some cases the land itself may provide natural bunkers with hills, old barns or buildings, trees or different elevations. You can also purchase inflatable bunkers of all shapes and sizes for your paintball field. Shapes available include large triangles, rectangles, and cylinders that provide great cover while playing.

Another method of making money with your field is by renting out the paintball equipment your customers use when playing. This equipment will consist of a paintball gun, mask, hopper and air tank. You can also offer various protective equipment like chest or groin protectors, helmets or even tactical vests. After your field has a positive cash flow, you can upgrade your equipment rentals with better masks or more expensive guns (offered at higher fees).

Decide on the types of paintball guns you’re going to offer as a rental based on cost, performance, durability and support. Choose paintball guns that are lightweight, easy to shoot and hardly break down. Basic models of top name brands (like Tippmann or Kingman Spyder) are very affordable, durable and easy to maintain. Make sure the paintball markers you choose have plenty of available parts and upgrades as well as solid warranties.

Another mandatory piece of equipment is protective gear. To provide the most fun at your field, you must ensure proper safety at all times – industry approved paintball masks or goggles must be worn by every player. Choose goggles that are sturdy and offer the most protection for the cheapest price. Other equipment like paintball gun CO2 or compressed air tanks, remote lines and pod harnesses can also become a significant portion of your budget if you don’t do proper price shopping.

Another part of your initial ‘must-have’ equipment inventory is paintballs. Make paintballs a “must buy” policy at your establishment – “if you want to play on our field, you must use house paintballs.” Your ability to make money selling paintballs will depend heavily on how good of a deal you can get. Unfortunately, paintballs are expensive and you’re only going to get the best price markdowns unless you purchase palettes of paintballs (50+ cases).

This also presents the small dilemma of where you’re going to store your paintball stash. Paintballs must be stored in climate controlled air or they will go bad, warp and not shoot right. If you plan on storing your paintballs in the old barn on your field, you’re going to waste a lot of money, not to mention hurt your business. If the paintballs you sell at your field break inside player’s guns or won’t fly straight because they’ve gone bad, people will not have the best time at your park and won’t want to come back.

Before jumping right in, take your time researching this paintball business and even more time shopping for the cheapest priced gear and best discount package. Study every aspect of what it takes to be successful in your business before opening. Remember to include room in your budget for an extensive advertising plan to market your new business for several seasons. Finally, once you’ve bought your equipment and set everything up, give your field a field test – make sure it’s fun to play on!