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Old 08-13-2007, 01:06 AM #1
TargetIndy
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Some hard truths about starting a field

1. Waivers Will Not Protect You From Being Sued
There is no such thing as a perfect waiver. For one thing, people can sue for any reason. When they do, you'll need to hire an attorney. There are plenty of lawyers out there who will take a case even though the plaintiff signed a waiver.

To put it another way; it's the courts that will decide whether or not your waiver is valid. That means you'll still have to hire an attorney to defend yourself. You can't just walk into the court and say, "Your honor, we have a signed waiver," and expect the judge to throw the case out.

In some states, an individual can't sign away their rights, including the right to sue. Just because you have it in a waiver, doesn't make it legally binding.

2. There Is No Cheap Alternative To Paintball Netting
Paintball insurance companies require fields to use netting approved for paintball. Cargo netting, canvas, and tarps are not acceptable substitutes to paintball netting.

Further, it is not a good idea to buy the cheapest netting you can find. This netting typically won't last as long as higher quality, more expensive netting. Get netting that is taped and grommeted. It is far superior to netting that requires netting clips. I've owned four brands of netting and you couldn't pay me to use the cheap stuff.

3. There Is No Cheap Way To Supply High Pressure Air Fills
High pressure air is expensive. The equipment's expensive, the hardware's expensive, and the maintenance is expensive. If you're tight on capital, look into building a cascade system and renting bulk tanks from a gas supply or welding supply company.

4. Starting A Field Is More Expensive Than You Think
Despite the best research, there will be a lot of things that you didn't anticipate. Just getting your field ready will require the purchase or rental of things like, heavy equipment (BobCat, front-end loader, tractor, etc), power tools, hand tools, hardware, cleaning supplies, and labor to help put things together.

I purchased an established field, and I still spent $20,000 more than my initial estimates. My advice is to come up with your best estimate and double it. Then double it again. $50,000 or more isn't an unreasonable estimate--and that doesn't include the cost of land.

Another thing you'll need to plan for is how you're going to pay your bills during the off-season. Most fields have 3-5 months of hot or cold weather that drastically impacts their business. Ideally, you'll want to keep enough cash on-hand to pay your bills for six months. You'll also need to make plans to replenish that cash.

5. Starting A Field And Expecting It To Pay You A Living Wage Is Unrealistic
General business estimates are that it takes a business 3-5 years to break even. If your business is only open during the weekends, or only part of the year, it may well take you longer.

In my opinion, the worst thing you can do to an up-start business is try to draw a reasonable wage from it from the get-go. That money is better spent growing your business. Unfortunately for most this means working a regular job AND working long hours at the field.

6. Selling Things Cheaper Is Not A Good Business Plan
Selling things cheaper means you have to sell more to make the same amount of profit as your competitor. If you're a new company, you likely won't have the customer-base to compete with an established business. Your pricing should be such that when you reach your target market share, you should make enough money to pay yourself, your staff, and have enough money left over to reinvest in your business. That reinvestment may come in the form of new equipment, more advertising, or another employee to handle group sales or daily operations.
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Last edited by TargetIndy : 05-07-2012 at 06:57 PM.
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Old 08-13-2007, 09:16 AM #2
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Old 08-13-2007, 09:27 AM #3
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All very true, unfortunately. One thing to remember also is that even as your field grows in popularity, it might not translate to more customers. Paintball is expensive enough where things like gas prices and the state of the economy will effect your business much more than, say, a restaurant.
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Old 08-13-2007, 07:49 PM #4
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One other hard fact is your playing time is not what it was you will be busy doing thing around the field not playing on it.
Most people only see you sell paint and take in money so it looks easy.
They are not there to see cleaning guns, mask, mowing grass , fixing bunkers moving them to change field checking netting getting tanks and the list goes on and on.
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Old 08-13-2007, 08:03 PM #5
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Old 08-13-2007, 08:41 PM #6
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Very nice post, with some more details, and filler information it should stop some of the useless posts from 14 year olds who think their dads are going to open a paintball field for them. maybe if you had seperate threads to cover each topic, and within this post provide links to those topics, it could be a sticky.
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Old 08-13-2007, 11:15 PM #7
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Originally Posted by Reddawg View Post
One other hard fact is your playing time is not what it was you will be busy doing thing around the field not playing on it.
Most people only see you sell paint and take in money so it looks easy.
They are not there to see cleaning guns, mask, mowing grass , fixing bunkers moving them to change field checking netting getting tanks and the list goes on and on.
I ran a private field with no rentals or co2...don't plan on playing even if you're just running a compressor, fetching paint, burping bunkers, dealing with netting...it won't happen.
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Old 08-13-2007, 11:31 PM #8
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Old 08-14-2007, 12:49 AM #9
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quality thread
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Old 08-14-2007, 01:15 AM #10
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Stickey, but it should be more indepth.
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Old 08-14-2007, 07:18 AM #11
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Excellent advice for would be field owners.
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Old 08-14-2007, 07:58 AM #12
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I remember telling my parents a couple months back the same thing you said in #1 but they didn't believe me. Good 'ol USA, home of the frivolous lawsuits...
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Old 08-14-2007, 12:17 PM #13
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Just as a side note along this track.....We added a new playing field to our existing park a few years ago. We spent $10,000 on clearing and dirt work. The cost of the lumber "wholesale" alone was $36,000. Keep in mind that this is a 2 acre field added to an established park.

Anyone with 2 acres behind their house can open a "paintball field". Those who want to be successful need to invest a minimum of $100,000 that they can afford to lose. "Investors" and bank loans won't work either. They need to be paid back and extra money is something you won't have for a while.

Good post.
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Old 08-15-2007, 01:04 PM #14
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Think of it this way.

if you live in an area where paintball is "growing" will you be willing to pile $75,000 on a table, douse it in lighter fluid, and light it on fire? because it's going to be a minimum of 3-5 years before you ever see it again.

I worked at a feild that had been open for 13-15 years, and one day big don came in and said: "Oh, by the way, we're shutting down in 2 weeks" this place had been jumpin for years, then a few months of bad business and bang, it's gone.

Paintball is a very volitle business still, and it will stay that way for a long time
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Old 08-16-2007, 10:51 PM #15
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Quote:
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Stickey, but it should be more indepth.
Agreed.

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Old 08-21-2007, 05:27 PM #16
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There seems to be the notion that because you know how to play, you must know how to run a good paintball field. Not so. I would rather trust my money with a good businessman than a good paintball player, even if the businessman knew nothing at all about paintball. It's a lot easier to learn the paintball business than it is to learn how to run a business in general. Running a paintball business can be very tricky, fun, risky, etc... What it isn't, is an opportunity to get cheaper prices and support your habit. I never play. I don't have time. Even if I did have time I wouldn't, because after a long day of work in the sun I am too wrecked to go out and run around playing.

Good posts.
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Old 08-23-2007, 01:28 AM #17
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very good points. Another point is that worker retention may be harder for paintball fields. Sure you can find young people that are eager to work at a paintball field, but you have to be sure they can provide you with quality work and be ready for them to leave for events for school and college eventually.
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Old 08-23-2007, 12:56 PM #18
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What's even more fun is having a driving range, and a fishing lake as well. Lotta cutting of the grass now as well as picking up garbage, picking up golf balls, and all the other paintball related cleaning and repairs. Anyone want to send me money? I do love being my own boss though no matter how hard the work is.
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Old 08-23-2007, 11:27 PM #19
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Very well written, great job sir.
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Old 08-24-2007, 12:46 AM #20
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Question

Are these truths...coming from someone who actually owns a field..?..and secondly it seems it has to be somewhat profitable or no one would open a paintball field...and last but not least w/ paintball growing to 2nd in the extreme sports.. if it cost that much and be that much of a hassle ,how did this sport where it is today..
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Old 08-24-2007, 01:00 AM #21
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Very good post, though it still does not detur me from wanting to start my own field (in about 20 years -_-)
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