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Old 03-22-2011, 09:59 AM #1
jsnp8nt
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Post Keep in mind the differences

I have taken a lot of thought into who your clientel is and what you refer to them as.
You have tourney players, recreational players, and your occasion players.
Each player is only one of these 90% of the time.
Tourney players are easy, they are usually practicing for upcoming events and to stay in shape for the next tournament. Occasionally playing for other reasons.
You have Recreational players who play woods, speedball, hyperball, and whatever ball they can to have fun.
The two above types usually own their own equipment, and buy new equipment every 2-5 years.
The third type of player is the Occasion player.
These are the people that come out from there church group, for birthday parties, of bachelor parties. They almost always have to rent equipment.
What I don't understand is some fields prices are there to take advantage of the occasion player, but the rec players get caught up with them.
While there is certainly a difference in all three in level of play, it's more of a financial difference in all three.
Tourney players get a price break for playing during team practice times at most fields.
But rec players pay the same as occasion players, but play 5-10 more per year.
The biggest difference is the amount of players out there.
While there's no resource to get accurate #'s I would take a fuss that
60% of players are rec players
20% are occasion players
10% are tourney players
How can we say that $75-90usd per case of paint is a fair price to keep players coming back when that is only what you are charging the rec and occasion players.
From what I've seen, the tourney players are only paying $30-45 a case.
I know that paint is a major source of revenue, but wouldn't it be more profitable to charge a higher entry, air fees.
Don't fields and stores get better pricing for ordering higher volume of paint.
I have not been very understanding of paint prices lately, so I am coming to the field owners to get a better idea and to keep in perspective that it's not just two types, but three types of players.
Let me know what you think.
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Old 03-22-2011, 10:33 AM #2
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You need to keep in mind how much paint the different types of players are shooting. The tourney players will often shoot a case/day. The occasional players, as you call them, will often only shoot a bag of 500 or a little more. How many paintballs do the gear owning regulars shoot? And as a field owner, how many do I want them to shoot? If I sell them paint at tourney player prices, they will probably shoot close to what the tourney players shoot (this is not theory, this can be observed at many fields where this is done). If I sell the gear owning rec players paintballs at occasional players (renters) prices, then they will shoot closer to what the renters shoot.

So as a field owner, I need to decide what kind of atmosphere I want at the field and what kind of players I want to attract. Do I want the kind of gear owning regular players that want to shoot a case or do I want the kind of gear owning regulars that want to shoot and play in an environment where 500-700 paintballs are shot? It becomes a math equation in part. Lowering and raising paint prices will attract different types of players. Which type are there more of and how many of the others will I keep away?

The other big question is not so much a math question but a human behaviour question. Can the two different types of gear owning recreational players (the ones shooting a case and the ones shooting 5-700 paintballs) play side by side without adverse side affects? What would it do to the atmosphere on the field? Will one type inhibit the other type from coming back and being your customers in the future? Will one type of play foster more growth at you field than the other? Is pricing paintballs somewhere in the middle the answer? Do gear owning players ever play on the same fields as renters who might be paying more for paint and therefore shooting less paint?

There are lots of things to consider and a lot of it is dependent on what type of field, what kind of atmosphere and what kind of clientelle the owner wants to attract.

At our field anyone has the ability to purchase a discount card and get approximately a 20-25% discount on paint. We do this to give our regulars a price break, but the paintballs are still priced high enough so we don't attract the type of players that want to shoot a case/day.
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Old 03-22-2011, 12:44 PM #3
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So as an owner, tell me in % how much of your business is:
Tourney
Rec-balled
Occasion player
And how long has your field been in business, and where?
I'm trying to gain some more perspective.
I believe for some fields what you are saying is absolutely true.
But for those small to midsize, or even new fields that may be a bad business move.
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Old 03-22-2011, 01:42 PM #4
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The tournament business model is upside down in general. Tournament players have greater demands than any other segment of paintball.
They require:
  • Cleared and leveled playing field
  • Artificial turf or groomed grass surface
  • 4500 PSI air fills
  • Regulation PSP or NPPL airball field
  • Increased staffing (refs and scoring support) for tournaments
  • Tournament grade paintballs for tournaments

Some of these items carry additional costs with them.
  • Additional equipment (pressure washer, leaf blowers, stakes, etc)
  • Field upgrade kit each year
  • Weekly mowing or turf cleaning
  • Regular setup, cleaning, and tear down of airball field

None of these things are required to meet the needs of the recreational or occasional player. If this industry functioned correctly, the tournament player would be charged a premium to offset their additional costs.
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Old 03-22-2011, 02:06 PM #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsnp8nt View Post
So as an owner, tell me in % how much of your business is:
Tourney
Rec-balled
Occasion player
And how long has your field been in business, and where?
I'm trying to gain some more perspective.
I believe for some fields what you are saying is absolutely true.
But for those small to midsize, or even new fields that may be a bad business move.
For the most part, you show me a small to midsize field that sells cheap paint to tourney players, and I'll show you a future sale of a compressor on ebay.

but everyone is entitled to their opinion, and to price things how they want. But you may want to ask... if everyone does it one way... is it just that those who don't do it that way have gone out of business?
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Old 03-22-2011, 02:08 PM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsnp8nt View Post
So as an owner, tell me in % how much of your business is:
Tourney
Rec-balled
Occasion player
And how long has your field been in business, and where?
I'm trying to gain some more perspective.
I believe for some fields what you are saying is absolutely true.
But for those small to midsize, or even new fields that may be a bad business move.
Tourney ballers: 0% (I don't cater to tournament type play)
Gear owning rec ballers: About 40% (started at about 10% when we first opened 10 years ago)
Renters: 60% (used to be about 90%)

Our paintball pries are quite high compared to local tourney ball prices. Local tourney bal is about $40-$50/case and our prices are int he $120 to $160/case range.

What the changes in percentages over the years at our field has told me is that there is a good demand from gear owning rec players for paintball played with less (higher priced) paintballs. That's not to say there isn't a demand for gear owning rec players that prefer to play with higher volume (lower priced) paintballs. It's just a lot more difficult for a field to do both so I pick the one that there is more demand for. It's much easier for occasional players (renters) to move up to playing with gear owning rec players if they aren't forced to also switch to a much higher volume game. It's a business decision based on attracting the highest number of players, thereby also maximizing profits. Yes, it leaves some players out in the cold (those that don't want to play lower volume paintball), but hopefully they will find a field that caters to their style of play.
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Old 03-22-2011, 03:34 PM #7
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Although you have a grasp on the broad strokes of paintball clientele, there is much more to the equation than simply playing habits.

Some things to consider
First: Most [smaller local] companies, of any business type, with very regular customers do provide some sort of discounts, even if it's not a written/official one. Maybe not large chains, but you could make an argument regarding reward cards, but most smaller companies do.

Second: Although your paint prices vary greatly, that is not a normal cost spread across a single location, so it's not really a fair assessment of rec VS tourney paint prices.

Third: Consumption/Usage effects the environment, pricing effects the consumption. So pricing can be used to effect the environment, as Horizon stated his paint is priced at $120-$160/case, what he didn't mention (this time) is that he doesn't sell paint by the case. Most of his players, including regulars, shoot less than 500rds in a day.


There is not a single right/wrong way to operate, there is just what works/fails, or what you want to do. People tend to forget you don't have to cater to everyone, you can but you don't have to and choosing to do so has it's own challenges.

To answer your question of increased field/air fees I would refer back to the question of environment. If you wish to have (or can accept) a higher consumption of paint, then higher fees with lower paint can work. But if you wish to have lower consumption the higher fees don't work well for people with extremely low consumption. (like pump players)
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Old 03-22-2011, 05:59 PM #8
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So you all believe that charging $90 or more per case is necessary to stay in business for the long haul?
Doesn't that make the sport only viable for the occasional player (2-3 times per year). Or maybe the rich?
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Old 03-22-2011, 06:21 PM #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsnp8nt View Post
So you all believe that charging $90 or more per case is necessary to stay in business for the long haul?
Doesn't that make the sport only viable for the occasional player (2-3 times per year). Or maybe the rich?
As a rec player, I can see how people would equate higher prices as the only way to stay in business. I think it requires a little deeper look to get to ALL the things that influence prices. High gas prices aren't ONLY caused by oil companies trying to make more money (but that's what EVERYONE thinks is happening)

I don't think they're talking about staying in business here. They're talking about using the price of paint to influence how people play (and to a lesser extent who is playing). I think this helps to keep people coming back, no one (especially newbs) wants to get completely blasted all day long by people on unlimited (or 12.5bps) ramp. Higher paint prices help to initiate the idea of trigger control in players, which leads (imho) to a better experience for new players who will then be more likely to return.
The continued life of paintball as a sport depends on people who are new, returning after their first experience, they won't care how cheap it was if they're skin tone is more black and blue than normal the day after playing.
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Old 03-22-2011, 06:58 PM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsnp8nt View Post
So you all believe that charging $90 or more per case is necessary to stay in business for the long haul?
Doesn't that make the sport only viable for the occasional player (2-3 times per year). Or maybe the rich?
It depends on what the field owner wants to get out of his business, and his expenses.

For the guy who runs a small field off of land he owns outright, pays his refs in field fees and paint at cost, doesn't report his earnings, thinks a waiver is enough to keep from getting sued, and is content making a couple hundred a month, probably not.

For the field owners who run their fields as real businesses, absolutely. Owning a paintball field is expensive. Here's a simplified example.

Field A and B both require 10 players to book a private game. Both fields can buy paint for $7.50 a bag. The average player will spend $50 at the field. Here are their pricing structures (admission includes air fills and rentals):

Field A
-------------
Admission $25
500 Paintballs $25

Field B
-------------
Admission $20
500 Paintballs $10

Player at Field A purchases admission & 500 paintballs = $50
Player at Field B purchases admission & 1500 paintballs = $50

Field A's gross profit x 10 players is $425.00
Field B's gross profit x 10 players is $275.00

Both fields had to pay 2 employees (one ref and one cashier). Minimum wage is $7.25. The average private game lasts 4 hours. The staff arrives an hour before the game to set up and spends an hour cleaning up afterward. Labor cost is $87.

Expenses
--------------
$87 labor
$26 payroll taxes and work comp/unemployment insurance (est. 30% of labor cost)
$20 general liability and player medical insurance
$5 supplies (waivers, cleaning supplies, etc)
===========
$138

Field A adjusted gross profit = $287
Field B adjusted gross profit = $137

Sounds like a healthy profit for a day's work, right? Unfortunately, we haven't even scratched the surface when it comes to expenses. There are things like advertising, utilities, and dozens of other things that aren't included. For simplicity sake, let's assume those bills total $3000 a month, or $100 a day.

Take that out of the field's adjusted gross profit and Field A earned $187 off that private game, while Field B only earned $37.

Now let's talk field expansion. Let's assume that the fields have decided to buy a new PSP airball field. Their cost on the field is about $6000. How many private games will the fields need to host to earn that money?

Field A will need to host 33 private games
Field B will need to host 162 private games

Imagine if that $6000 was an unexpected expense, like replacing a worn out compressor. Expenses like those always hit at the worst time.
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Old 03-22-2011, 07:13 PM #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsnp8nt View Post
So you all believe that charging $90 or more per case is necessary to stay in business for the long haul?
Doesn't that make the sport only viable for the occasional player (2-3 times per year). Or maybe the rich?
Instead of asking if people think it will keep you in business for the long haul, find the people that have experienced the long haul and look at what they do. You will see plenty of debate about what will and won't work in the long haul, but until someone succeeds with their given theory it's just a theory. Plus there is still not a single answer, nobody is saying everyone should charge $90/case, people are just saying not everyone should charge $45/case.

So 2 questions.

#1- How much do you think a "reasonable" amount of money is to spend on paint for a day? (from the perspective of a new/rec player)

#2- Is there a mandate stating you have to purchase paint by the case and not by any smaller denomination?

Point is that $90/case paint doesn't have to mean $90 spent, it could equal $50 for 1000 rd, or $25 for 500rd.(plus field fees)

Say I have a customer (or customers) that come out every month, spends $70 (1k/rd+fees) and brings a friend every time. Can you stand in front of me and tell me I'm charging too much money if he shows up every month and brings a friend?? When was the last time you did something monthly that was a ripoff (or costs "too much") and then brought a friend to experience it with you??
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Old 03-22-2011, 08:32 PM #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by generalee72 View Post
Say I have a customer (or customers) that come out every month, spends $70 (1k/rd+fees) and brings a friend every time. Can you stand in front of me and tell me I'm charging too much money if he shows up every month and brings a friend?? When was the last time you did something monthly that was a ripoff (or costs "too much") and then brought a friend to experience it with you??
That's it isn't it? It's really difficult to argue with someone and say they are running their business wrong, when their business is growing. If customers keep coming back and bringing new people with them, one can only assume they felt they got good value. So whichever way a field owner is doing things, if his/her business is growing, they are probably doing alright (assuming they are actually making a profit).
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Old 03-22-2011, 09:20 PM #13
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Originally Posted by TargetIndy View Post
The tournament business model is upside down in general. Tournament players have greater demands than any other segment of paintball.
They require:
  • Cleared and leveled playing field
  • Artificial turf or groomed grass surface
  • 4500 PSI air fills
  • Regulation PSP or NPPL airball field
  • Increased staffing (refs and scoring support) for tournaments
  • Tournament grade paintballs for tournaments

Some of these items carry additional costs with them.
  • Additional equipment (pressure washer, leaf blowers, stakes, etc)
  • Field upgrade kit each year
  • Weekly mowing or turf cleaning
  • Regular setup, cleaning, and tear down of airball field

None of these things are required to meet the needs of the recreational or occasional player. If this industry functioned correctly, the tournament player would be charged a premium to offset their additional costs.
amen to that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsnp8nt View Post
So you all believe that charging $90 or more per case is necessary to stay in business for the long haul?
Doesn't that make the sport only viable for the occasional player (2-3 times per year). Or maybe the rich?
i work for one of the oldest fields (if not the oldest at this point) in georgia. our case prices are currently $80, with a $20 discount with our "rewards" card. so yeah, for the long run, it's necessary. we still have large crowds (100-200 people on saturday) on the weekends and nobody is getting rich. not even close. people think paintball owners are raking in money hand over fist, let me assure you that's not happening.

we also don't cater to tourney players, because it's a losing proposition. they want the world, but to get them to do a team day (help out, ref, whatever) is like pulling teeth. we cater mostly to beginning players, or large groups (church, corporate, etc). we have a few regulars, and that's fine, i like the people who come back to our field, and they seem to like us. we have a bad reputation among the tourney crowd because of our prices, and that's fine too, because we'll still be around after they are done leeching off other fields. most of the people who play with us can split a case with 3 buddies and enjoy a day of paintball.
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Old 03-22-2011, 10:01 PM #14
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Quote:
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.....people think paintball owners are raking in money hand over fist, let me assure you that's not happening......
Well the good ones are raking it in hand over fist, it's just all being raked into an "outgoing" pile.
Quote:
...we also don't cater to tourney players, because it's a losing proposition. they want the world, but to get them to do a team day (help out, ref, whatever) is like pulling teeth.........
Champagne taste and a PBR budget.
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Old 03-22-2011, 10:32 PM #15
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So where I live, the four closest fields have gone out of business. The all charged $60 or more for paint. There is two new fields opening that charge $80-90 a case of paint. The longest running fields in a 100 mile distance from me charge $45-60 for a case of paint depending on grade.
They are also Byop. What would Gage the success for the new fields based on the longest running fields pricing.
Keep in mind, most people will take that drive once a month because of the pricing. And yes I realize the cost of gas, but it's usually groups of three or more going.
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Old 03-22-2011, 11:17 PM #16
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Quote:
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......What would Gage the success for the new fields based on the longest running fields pricing.......
Value


Don't get wrapped around the axis about the price of things. You can't gauge success or failure with only the price. Sure it can have a large contribution into some of the factors, but price in and of itself isn't the issue, there are too many things to consider to make even an educated guess. Just one option is maybe your area isn't a good market for paintball, or they require a different product than what was avaliable.


My wife loves "Tabitha's Salon Takeover" and I'll watch just about anything Gordon Ramsay signs on to do, but "Kitchen Nightmares" is relevant to this scenario. If you have the time, and inclination, try and find a few episodes to watch and really try to analyze whats being said, whats being done and why each is happening. Don't search for right and wrong, just WHY. It amazes me how many people send in a video pleading for a famous & successful person, in their industry, to come "save their business" and then argue with them about what works in business?!?!?! Now granted salons and restaurants, on the surface, don't correlate much into the paintball industry, but business is business and once you can understand why some things work and others don't you can better understand any business. Unfortunately a decent portion of some of the shows is trying to help the owners fix something all ****ed up in their life, which carries over into business, but there are a few that are better for "our" purposes.
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Old 03-23-2011, 10:51 PM #17
RiverValleyPaintball
 
 
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As a field owner I am always asking why the other fields are charging more for paint. The way I see it is like this, Bob pays 3.59 for every gallon of gas, but he only travels 500 miles a month. Bill also pays 3.59 a gallon, but travels 3 times as much. So why wouldn't their be different gas stations with different prices for non travelers, and travelers. Doesn't make sense does it? In my eyes, if the customer wants to shoot 500 rounds a day, let them. But don't charge more for them to do what they want. Again, this is my OPINION, but I honestly believe this is true.
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Old 03-24-2011, 01:15 AM #18
Horizon
 
 
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Victoria, BC, Canada
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Originally Posted by RiverValleyPaintball View Post
As a field owner I am always asking why the other fields are charging more for paint. The way I see it is like this, Bob pays 3.59 for every gallon of gas, but he only travels 500 miles a month. Bill also pays 3.59 a gallon, but travels 3 times as much. So why wouldn't their be different gas stations with different prices for non travelers, and travelers. Doesn't make sense does it? In my eyes, if the customer wants to shoot 500 rounds a day, let them. But don't charge more for them to do what they want. Again, this is my OPINION, but I honestly believe this is true.
Fair enough. That's very logical thinking.

I don't know how much you charge for paint (couldn't find a website), but I'm going to play Devil's Advocate here anyway, assuming you are probably charging in the $50-60/case range. What if all of your customers chose to only shoot 100 paintballs per day? Could you still charge $50-60 (that would be $2.50-$3.00 from each customer less cost of paint)? So you might say, sure, I could just up the entry fee to make up for lost income. And you could.

But what if for some reason, you decided that if all the players only shot 100 paintballs, then that would mean you would get the highest number of players attending and therefore YOU wanted them to only shoot 100 paintballs each, per day? Would charging the $2.50 or $3.00 for a hundred paintballs deter them very much from buying a second 100, or a third 100? Probably not much. A player would think to himself, for $3.00 more I can have twice the firepower of everyone else.

So in my opinion, your thinking is not flawed, but in a case where a field wants to cater to a certain demographic and type of player (in my case those that want to shoot about 500-600 paintballs - because in my opinion that will attract the highest number of participants), your way doesn't work very well.

The big difference in your gas/paintball comparison is of course that Bob and Bill have basically no interaction. Bill driving 3 times as far has no affect on Bob whatsoever. However, Bill shooting three times as many paintballs as Bob, does have an affect during their interaction on the paintball field.

Last edited by Horizon : 03-24-2011 at 01:17 AM.
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Old 03-24-2011, 07:40 AM #19
adam500
 
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
All of the field owners make a good point. I am a rec player and have been playing paintball for 15+ years. From my observations most rec players that play on a weekly or bi monthly term tend to purchase the same amount of paint and play until it is gone. Every time I go to a field I buy a case of paint. I stay as long as I can until the paint is gone. I do this no matter what the field I go to charges for paint. The only thing that happens to me from raising the price of paint is it makes me cut back on the amount I play. This is where I think most of the field owners are missing the picture. Sure you may be able to get 90 dollars a case but why? you end up driving off a lot of potential players or at least limiting the frequency they play. You can get twice the amount of business lowering your paint to 60 dollars a case from 90 dollars a case.

Horizon, I understand are you in Canada and the paintball scene is quite different but most people that rent guns at the fields I have been to stay for 3-5 hours, there is a game every 20 - 30 minutes. Unless they are only playing all pump markers there is no way 100 or even 500 paintballs will last. Most rec players shoot 1000-1500 paintballs in a session. And 100 - 200 Paintballs in a game.
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Old 03-24-2011, 08:32 AM #20
Horizon
 
 
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Originally Posted by adam500 View Post
Horizon, I understand are you in Canada and the paintball scene is quite different but most people that rent guns at the fields I have been to stay for 3-5 hours, there is a game every 20 - 30 minutes. Unless they are only playing all pump markers there is no way 100 or even 500 paintballs will last. Most rec players shoot 1000-1500 paintballs in a session. And 100 - 200 Paintballs in a game.
Thank you for reinforcing what I already know. Paintball fields in Canada that sell paintballs at $50-$60/case are no different than similar ones in the US selling paintballs for the same amount. If there were two fields nearby, one selling for $60/case and the other for $120/case, which field would you, who likes to shoot a case, go to? I'm going to hazard a guess that you would go the field selling paintballs at $60/case. That's proof that selling paintballs at a higher price, keeps away those that want to shoot higher volumes. The field selling at $120/case accomplished what it was trying to do.
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Old 03-24-2011, 11:01 AM #21
adam500
 
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Horizon,

I think you are missing the point this is about 1 hopper per game. This is not shooting 10 pods a game. By no means am I shooting just to shoot. Could you please tell me why you would not want this type of player on your field?

Like I said I have seen players with pump guns shooting 50 - 100 shots per game no much different than what I do with a rental / my own equipment. That means with 10 - 15 games they can go through 1/2 case (with pump guns)

And if you can get people to pay 100+ for a case when there is a field near by with 50 dollar cases good for you.

I normally pay about 45/case for good paint.

I guess I do not understand what the issue is with people shooting 150-200 shots per game? All that I can think is your fields are large wooded areas where it is normally 1 on 1. Most the fields I play at are a mix of woods/hyperball and you can see multiple people the entire game.

Adam
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