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TomYeo

Starting an indoor airsoft site.

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I have no idea which category to put this in so if its in the wrong place could a Admin move it? Thanks.

 

Right so Ive wanted to do this for a while now, I live in Barnstaple North Devon and the nearest airsoft site is outdoors and is for less of a better term, A muddy shitehole.

So I believe that making an indoor airsoft site here would be lucrative but I need advice so here I am all I have is ideas and I could use a hand to make them a bit more realistic.

 

My initial thought was to go on commercial property sites and search for warehouses there are a few for rent around here that range from 5,000sq to some 10,000sq plus.

Im aware of insurance and other bills but my only worry would be the funding I need to make an airtight business plan to take to the bank as I have no property of my own to act as collateral which could create in an issue in actually acquiring the loan.

 

So the main thing im asking is, does anyone have any experience creating an indoor airsoft site and would 5,000sq be enough for a 10v10 and again any advice would be great thanks guys.

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Hi Tom

 

No experience in this myself, but on the surface it's a great idea, especially now the winter is approaching. There are some excellent examples of indoor 'kill house' style airsoft venues in the US I've seen.

 

In the past I've looked at rental prices of large Warehouses in Kent and they are extreme to say the least, so much so that you'd never make a profit, you'd be lucky to break even in fact. That's always been the problem facing me, however if you've got so far as writing a business plan you've obviously found a place that's cost effective to run.

 

Have a look at some videos on youtube to see what numbers play out well indoors - can't remember the name of the US one, think it was in California somewhere.

 

Good luck :-)

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I would suggest finding some industrial/commercial spaces that have been empty for some time and go speak to the landlord. If the site is left empty they'll be paying rates on it. If you can suggest that you use it on a temporary basis that would allow him to make some return on the place rather than just paying to keep the place empty it may be an easier route than outright renting/buying a site. That's how The Malls operates at least.

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yeah, outright renting a commercial warehouse is megabucks, if you can find somewhere that's unused and costing someone money then you'll probably be able to come to some kind of arrangement with them about being able to temporarily occupy it for a smaller fee on the basis of them being able to give you the boot when they find someone to use it for the full rate.

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Good points from the chaps above. From looking at similar 5,000sq properties I would say it's a little on the small side for 10 v 10 but difficult to say till you've actually tried it.

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All the sites I have been too so far that have rented the space most of the time tend to be running paintball and lasertag for their primary income. With airsoft only being a smaller part of their business. Dedicated airsoft sites (so far at least) have tended to be run on otherwise useless land, be it derelict grounds (TWA Urban) or unused woods between two fields (TWA woodland). That isn't to say you have to do it that way and as I understand it places like the school (NW London) and the mall (reading) are both dedicated airsoft sites. The mall runs itself bi weekly. Epsom bunker is also dedicated airsoft and it too runs itself with a weekly game and also on Wednesdays instead of the bi weekly I have seen on the other dedicated sites. I have been told the bi weekly thing is to do with taxation, but I also suspect its to do with classification of the land and change of use legislation. I think (you'll need to check) that if you only do it twice a month the original classification doesn't change and you don't need to apply for a change of the land use and hence planning permission, which is why a lot of the sites run bi weekly and skip under the expensive taxes and development radar.

 

I actually had a look into this myself a few weeks ago, looking at the likely rental price of a run down mill in east london and a warehouse. For me at least I couldn't see the income covering the costs of a dedicated site even if I did fill it every weekend. Just do the numbers and make sure its going to be worth the time and money invested. However looking into some derelict buildings I did find one that looked at least to be suitable, and very much on the future demolishing list and hence might actually work as a temporary airsoft site and paying the owners for the use until that would happen might very well end up economically sound.

 

You have a lot of research ahead of you but if you have the local player base it could well be worth doing, just bare in mind you'll probably never play as you will spend your time managing the site. If what you want is a business then go for it, but if what you want is an indoor airsoft site you will most likely find its not really going to be somewhere you can play with the general public.

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Great idea and very interesting and relevant points from all above! I believe that the sport is growing and there are opportunities there for dedicated indoor air soft sites, to run skirmish, training and private/corporate bookings and given the weather in the UK, they should be able to run all year round!

I know it's a bit of a trek from North Devon, but check these guys out, Halo Mill, http://www.halomill.com/

Believe it or not, they open 7 days a week! It's a great indoor site, not huge, but very well equipped, with lights, sound effects, smoke, some move-able doors and windows, to rearrange the layout, an automated re-gen/scoring system and a really good electronic target CQM range.

I'm also told that the local police tactical firearms teams use it for training!

It's dedicated for air soft use, has great facilities and is also affiliated to a very well stocked local store http://www.patrolbase.co.uk/

If you're looking for a great example of how to do it, look no further!

And no, i'm not on commission! lol Just like to see good businesses promoting our sport!

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Nice looking site and money making potential, do you know what's the square footage is? Get 20 players all renting pistols and you've made £240 in 2 hours

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Sorry, I don't, I'd be guessing but I'd have to say it's at least 60m x 50m and can easily accommodate 30-40 players. I agree with you, venues like these should be very profitable and provide excellent venues for first timers, teams wishing to train, or just a good old CQB skirmish!

It would never replace good outdoor venues, of all types, but I think there is a place in the market for specialist venues such as this.

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The mall runs itself bi weekly. Epsom bunker is also dedicated airsoft and it too runs itself with a weekly game and also on Wednesdays instead of the bi weekly I have seen on the other dedicated sites. I have been told the bi weekly thing is to do with taxation, but I also suspect its to do with classification of the land and change of use legislation. I think (you'll need to check) that if you only do it twice a month the original classification doesn't change and you don't need to apply for a change of the land use and hence planning permission, which is why a lot of the sites run bi weekly and skip under the expensive taxes and development radar.

 

 

 

Sorry, but you're wrong there. The Mall runs games every Sunday and every other Thursday evening. During the week they run the Zed Adventures Zombie Experiences. http://www.zedadventures.co.uk/calendar/

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I must say the entrepreneur in me has thought of this already....

 

But, as mentioned it has never crossed my mind to buy/rent a space for a permanant basis.

 

I would try out your hand at leasing a derelict space as previously mentioned and even if you had to move spaces once or twice it would be experience and money to ultimately find a proper home/space in the long term.

 

As the sizes of a space I have no idea.

 

Internally I would research youtube as much as you can for other indoor sites and take the best designs from each for your own.

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£240 for 2 hrs AK? Lose a quarter of that to the taxman, who knows how much in rent, utilities, maintainable, bank payments, wages and so on and before you know it you have made very little.

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Snowy you are aware of the EDIT button right? :-)

 

I understand what you're saying, and it's a good point. The key to success is keeping your overheads as low as possible.

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Firstly, you need to have a good idea of the basics costs of running say one full day and possibly one evening event. Once you know the costs you can then look at the minimum amount of players needed to cover these costs. Once this has been worked out you then need to understand how much the site would be to rent, which would give you an idea of how many events you need to run to cover that cost, and if you have to upwardly adjust the amount if players needed.

 

One of the biggest costs, after the site rental, would be insurance... this is really not cheap, so that may be worth looking into first before you find a site.

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You will also need to consider advertising and the likelihood of there being airsofters - or potential airsofters - in your proposed catchment area to whom you will target that advertising. Needless to say, a website, e-shots, forums, social media, youtube and the like can cover much of this, but even with this costing little in monetary terms, don't forget that it also takes time and ability, and if you are not skilled in that area, you may have to find someone who is. And you can reckon on any decent freelance advertising designer charging you at least 50 quid an hour. A solution might be to find some like minded partners to share the venture (and the risk), who could also help with volunteering to marshall, make brews, take money, maintain gear, shift props etc, and who may also bring other skills to the table, such as maybe the ability to design websites or whatever, because there is no way you could do all of this yourself, and if you don't have partners who have a vested interest in doing this, then you'll have wages to pay.

 

Not trying to put you off, merely pointing out that starting a business up requires a lot of work, I know because I've done it before and I was able to keep costs down in having quite a wide range of skills. Without that, I'd have been into a crapload more money to get it up and running. Anyway, good luck with it, but be sure to go in with your eyes fully open to not only the plus points, but also the tricky stuff.

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Snowy you are aware of the EDIT button right? :-)

 

I understand what you're saying, and it's a good point. The key to success is keeping your overheads as low as possible.

Now I am! Thanks, hadn't had my morning coffee at that point though!

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as much as the idea appeals to me as a player, I would base this one a once a week event so how much is 6 days dormant costing you? The site I use runs 1 game every 2 weeks. The site owner works full Tim and long hours so the profit margin must be very low even if he is taking 50 - 60 players per game day. That's £15 each player every 14 days not including rentals. He does sell supplies but at cost and even refreshments are reasonable. A can of coke etc is 50p.

my point is that most airsoft sites seem to lie unused during the week so as a sole source of income I just cant see a business plan that does not lose a lot of money. It is a sideline at best in my opinion

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It all depends on how much it would cost to run/maintain and rent surely? If you can find a place which is in a good location, you know lots of players will go for the first time, you can buy supplies in for a cheap cost and run a good little shop, if you are prepared to put the work in, and of course if you listen to what people recommend for the future, and soon lots of people come, start renting, then you would be in the money. Lots of people have tried, some succeed but I bet you lots fail. If you think you can do it, go for it

 

just remember 50% for us :D (joking)

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My local site is Halo Mill. It's small but they definitely do alright. I'd imagine the success is down to the fact they are open so much. Though, obviously being open all week is a huge commitment and you would need to prepared to hire staff. If you see a gap in the market and there's potential locally then that's a good reason to try though. Probably wouldn't be such a good idea opening one up here in West Yorkshire for example as there are actually a lot of sites around (at least, easy for me to get to in around an hour or under)

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after reading this, id like to add a couple of nuggets in.

 

with a indoor site, you have the options of lazer tag, in door paintball that you can run in the same area, and i dontthink its break thebank money to hire the kit instead of buying it...You may want to look for a old warhouse in town, after all kids love war and are more likely to do these things in the week/ weekend mornin/day time

 

also if you are starting as self employed breaking even is a good thing from a tax point of view...

 

after all one room in house is now your office and a element of the house hold bills are now tax deductable you personnal mobile is now partly a business phone...etc etc, even asmall lose is benefical as you can offset the loss in term of tax against full time employment i wont bore you with the details but if you know a accountant locally have them pass an eye over the plan.

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How about going to the local council and asking if you can use specific areas and just organise a meeting, you could always turn it into a club and have a small membership fee for a year, if its possible then you can rent a church hall to have meetings, work out a calendar of events, have demos where the more experienced guys can talk about all things airsoft

 

you'll need public liability insurance aswell which means all your members are insured and you can pretty much do what you want and when you want

 

You could do open days to encourage other people to come along and have a a go with the weapons shooting at targets

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Hmm. Possibly a silly idea but I wonder if there is any spare space at the Cobbaton Combat collection? http://www.cobbatoncombat.co.uk/index.htm

It would boost their army surplus sales and groups going to the museum might be interested in a couple of hours shooting each other into a package deal. You could even make the hire guns more unusual by using Stens and MP40's :D

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