Most airsoft businesses struggle to break even. Startup expenses, recurring overhead, and maintenance costs make it challenging to generate a profit running an airsoft field.
How much money airsoft fields make is determined by field location, local laws or regulations, and general business costs. For instance, if the field is outdoors, income is dependent on nice weather. If laws restrict ownership of airsoft guns to those 18 or older, potential customers are limited.
Some airsoft businesses have been successful. Experts predict market share for gun sales will steadily increase through 2025.
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How Airsoft Fields Make Money
Running an airsoft field is a full-time business, and it requires a lot of moving parts coming together to make a profit. Let’s take a look at some of the ways an airsoft field can make money.
Airsoft businesses charge players an entry fee to use the field based on the amount of time they want to spend playing, daily, monthly, or even hourly. Rates vary depending on the part of the country and additional services provided.
Some businesses offer memberships where a player pays a monthly fee for a certain amount of playtime, whether they use it or not.
Equipment Rental and Retail Sales
Renting guns and protective equipment provides additional revenue. Because they are reusable, there is a low overhead cost. Selling items like Biodegradable Airsoft BB’s, Soft Air Electric Rifles, or Airsoft Masks and Goggles (all available from Amazon.com), along with batteries and other accessories, also add to the bottom line.
Apparel such as this Tactical Combat Shirt and Pants from Amazon.com could also be available in the retail shop.
Including a Pro Shop provides some convenience for your customers. In addition to repairing and upgrading airguns, customers get good advice on which type of gun or other gear they should buy.
Keep your customer at your business longer by selling food and drinks. If running a concession stand is not your thing, partner with an independent food truck operator to provide the service instead.
Events / Tournaments
Airsoft event hosting is another option to bring in additional revenue. A properly planned event could bring in dozens of players and result in revenue from tickets sales, equipment rental, retail and concession sales.
Paintball and laser tag are related to airsoft and use the same type of field. Not only do these game options create additional revenue streams, but paintball also is more popular than airsoft and appeals to a larger audience.
Customers tend to pay more for paintballs than BBs, bringing in more revenue than airsoft.
What It Costs To Open and Run an Airsoft Field
Unfortunately, before any revenue actually turns a profit, a business must first cover all its expenses. And while it may not seem like much, airsoft fields can be somewhat costly to open and run. Let’s look at the common costs associated with opening an airsoft field.
An essential item required to operate an airsoft field is the play area. There are 3 basic categories for a play area: outdoor in open terrain, indoor, or urban terrain.
An outdoor field could be in an open farm field or a large wooded area. What size and terrain you select depends on your budget and the type of play you want to provide. The more open the field is, the more renovation is needed to make it challenging, but a wooded or hilly area would not need much work.
If an indoor play area is preferred, you need to find a large commercial building or warehouse. As with an open outdoor field, an empty warehouse would need renovations. An indoor facility is more versatile in that it allows for games played in the dark or the light.
Urban terrain is usually for more experienced players. Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT) combines field obstacle courses and more realistic buildings than the other types.
Regardless of the type of field, make sure customers have access to restrooms and a place to rest or wait for their team to arrive.
Airsoft is a game prone to injuries. You will need liability insurance to protect your business and is legally required. Insurance can be costly and difficult to obtain if you are starting a business.
Rates vary depending on the number of players attending on weekends, how many months per year you will be open, and if you plan to host tournaments.
It is strongly encouraged new business owners seek the advice of an attorney. They will help ensure your business is protected by settling any legal requirements.
Suppose you plan to rent or sell merchandise. In that case, you must factor into the startup expenses the cost of acquiring an adequate supply to be ready for sales when you open.
Buying items in bulk and at wholesale prices will help reduce this cost. However, you will need to have enough storage area to keep them.
Recurring Overhead Costs
In addition to the cost of opening an airsoft business, there are recurring overhead costs. These are expenses associated with operating your business and cannot be avoided.
It is always a good idea to review your overhead costs regularly. A less expensive option may have become available, or you may find you don’t need a specific service.
Indoor fields require lighting, air conditioning, or heat, so there will be utility charges. Utility charges may also apply to an outdoor area.
A mortgage or rental agreement may require property insurance; make sure you understand all details in the contract. Additional expenses include employee wages and payroll taxes, equipment maintenance or replacement, and advertising.
Determine the days when there are typically more customers; open your business only on those days. Keeping it closed the other days will lower utility and payroll costs. Your payroll costs are also lower if you asked for volunteers to help instead of hiring an entire staff.
Volunteers could referee a game or attend the retail store. In exchange, you could offer free playtime. Selling passes online reduces the time employees spend in sales and would be more available for work such as referring.
Airsoft fields do make money, but how much depends on several factors. Determine the number of potential customers to calculate possible revenue. Make sure there is an accurate picture of all startup costs, including any legal requirements.
Understand what ongoing overhead costs will exist and make adjustments to keep them as low as possible.