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Help With Airsoft Field Startup


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#1
Jake117

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Hello, Im 17 and currently studying business studies at A level as my ambition is to start up my own business when I leave college. I was introduced to airsoft about two years ago and ever since I have loved it but have always struggled to get the funds to go regularly as I have also been learning to drive and now have to pay for insurance.

Anyway, enough about my background. About two weeks ago I had the great idea of starting my own airsoft field as it kills two birds with one stone. I was just wondering if anyone would have any relivent information, tips or and other kind of help that could be usefull to me. If possible I would like to know things such as:

. Amount of players, on average, per airsoft game and how many hire guns and gear (very important)
. What kind of terrain do you play in? (woodland, urban)
. Price of gun hire, kit hire and just attending
. Averave spend per airsoft day
. Average airsoft days per month or year
. Size of local airsoft field (If known , dont mind estimates)
. What you spend your money on at airsoft (eg I buy quite a few flash bangs)
. Any dislikes of current airsoft fields that could be improved (mine has a limit of 325fps for AEG's and 400 for Snipers)
. Any other information that you think may be helpful (you would be suprised what can be useful such as what food and drink is for sale)

I dont plan on actually starting up for at least another two years and at the moment I am just running a bit of market research to see if it is financially viable for me to actually do this because I'm sure I would really enjoy it.

Anyway thanks for any information that you do provide and hopefully I might see some of you in two years time :D

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#2
Devastator

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The biggest thing you need to take into account with this is insurance. Not too sure who you'd go to for it, certainly worth a Google.

#3
Indieboi918

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One of the biggest things you should research is the No. of airsofters in your proposed location and the proximity to already successful sites. You want to make sure that you set up close to as many airsofters as possible (difficult because we seem to be dotted all over the place) and not so close to an already successful site that they get all of your business.

#4
G-Force

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1) The site I play at sometimes has a about 100 people turning up but usualy about 70. Some smaller CQB sites only have 30 players but the gameplay is still good. Bigger CQB sites have the same ammount as woodland. The ammount of players depends greatly on the type of site, where it is ect...

2) Both woodland and Urban areas can be used for an airsoft site. I play at both. Ive played in woods, underground tunnels and hopefully in a hospitol soon. If you get a woodland site please please please add some decent buildings and fortifications. One site I go to, AWA has the potential to be a really good site but lacks any good defensive positions. Elite actions games dorking on the other hand have an amazing site although I still like AWA ai its where I started. Take a look at this. CQB sites can be underground tunnels, hospitols, factories, wharehouses or even a collection of buildings. Adding barricades and extra details will help.

3) Most sites prices: walk on 20-25
Hire 40-45 Why not do a special membership scheme with deals and stuff? :)

4) Most sites play once on the weekend every two weeks. Saturdays are more convient for me personally but I don't know about other people.

5) Don't know for sure. The woods need to be quite big (I think 12 acres not sure). CQB can be small or big. Depends on the area.

6) Grenades will sell eaislly and spare ammunition is good. Try to get an on site shop selling guns and stuff. This can be run by another airsoft retailer.

7) For woodland I would say 350 FPS on AEG's and 400 on snipers. At CQB 325 on AEGs is probably better.

8) Make your games unique and different to other sites and try to have special event days, milsims and themed airsoft.

Hope this helped, feel free to ask anymore questions ;)
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#5
G-Force

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The biggest thing you need to take into account with this is insurance. Not too sure who you'd go to for it, certainly worth a Google.

Sorry to double post only just saw this as you guys posted as I was writing my very long oversized post :lol: I believe there is a company that specializes in airsoft and paintball insurance which I will try to find later. Getting insurance from normal companies might be hard, when talking to them you would need to emphazize that its not dangerous as long as people follow the rules. Say its simmilar to paint ball as no one seems to have a problem with paintball <_< I also think that you only have to pay insurance for one site if you have two sites as long as the games are played on different days. I'll find the link to the insurance company later ;)

EDIT: found it here: airsoft insurance
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http://www.youtube.c...ft?feature=mhee

#6
Jake117

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The biggest thing you need to take into account with this is insurance. Not too sure who you'd go to for it, certainly worth a Google.


So far I've found no places that will insure an airsoft field but I've only had a quick look. Im not too sure about the legal isues but I might be able to make the players sign a disclaimer (I've seen cases in other fields where this happens). I have another year at college and might take law to get a better understanding on the matter. Also I think the biggest issue I may have is the price of woodland at the moment. Its between 3 - 8k and even with a perfect business plan I doubt a bank would loan 300k + to a 19 year old :(

My local airsoft field (Combat South Woodland) has 90 acres! but it is huge and I'm hoping that I wont need that much land or I could run into the 500k area which is way too much.

I think were I set up will mostly be determined on how much the land will be and how many airsoft fields are already near as Its bad for business to have too much competition and also I wouldnt feel right "stealing" customers if it can be avioded. Im hoping to just "bomb" local cities with leaflets before purchasing to get a bit of feedback to do with numbers turning up and as an insentive give them a 5 or 10 off their first game because after the first game I was completly hooked :)

Combat South (my local field) is 20 walk on and an extra 17 for a gun and 11 for kit. You also NEED to bring an extra 7 for bb's if you dona have any. I think these are reasonable prices and would probably charge about the same.

To do with the shop I think it would be nessicary to open one as it would compliment the field nicely. Im sure there are more legal issues and I would need to be UKARA registered but I can do all of that closer to the time.

Thanks for the usefull feedback so far especially alex :)

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#7
G-Force

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most sites rent the woods rather than buy them because they're too expensive.
Saxon Airsoft's Youtube Channel:
http://www.youtube.c...ft?feature=mhee

#8
Jake117

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most sites rent the woods rather than buy them because their too expensive.


I think that is probably the only way to go becuase the land is extremely expensive! The only problem with renting would be that they might mind me setting up buildings and that is one of those things that make the experience just that bit better. Hopfully they wont.

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#9
G-Force

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I found that most people who own woods are usually happy for you to build stuff as they usually aren't doing anything with the woods.
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#10
Jake117

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I found that most people who own woods are usually happy for you to build stuff as they usually aren't doing anything with the woods.


Thats good :) In all honesty, now that Ive got ridden of that huge 200k startup this is looking very promising. Just trying to find out how much it is to rent woodland at the moment and then should get an idea on the figures :D

Edit: The only other thing that comes to mind is what qualifications would the martials need? The only thing I can think of is that at least one, if not all of them would have to be first aid trained but I doubt there is anything else. Im sure I can find some airsoft players that wouldnt mind being payed to be a martial a 2 - 4 days a month and if I get a few then they wont need to be there every week as there could be a rotary system.

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#11
G-Force

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Its best to have as many first aid qualified marshalls as possible however you only need one, but remember if he/she can't turn up that day and no other martials are first aid trainned your in the #### :P IF you want people under the age of 18 (or 16, can't remember) to be able to play on your site without their parents having to be present the whole day then all your marshalls will have to have a special check done to make sure their not pedos or whatever. However children can play on the site as long as their parents are there if your marshalls don't get the check done. I don't know exactly how this works but its best to contact an insurance company or something and ask them how it works.
Saxon Airsoft's Youtube Channel:
http://www.youtube.c...ft?feature=mhee

#12
Matt!

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For a student coming out of A level to suddently start to get an airsoft site up cant really see it imho,

First off your going to need the land! don't think people would let you riddle there wood with BB's without paying a rent fee unless you knew them well.
Most wood's are used for hunting which is most likley run on weekends! (I know this because i go)

Next thing is insurance, if you want your site open to people younger than 18 it is gonna cost.
Getting hire guns ready is going to cost a bomb, as you want something reliable as its going to get used and abused. and about 10 of them. (300 for a CA x 10 - 3000)

you will also need marshall's however most are happy to help for if you give them free games / few quid there way / beer

Getting people to come play will be easy, put a good promotion on like a discount, getting people to stay should be your main concern, keeping regular game modes innovative and fun to play isnt easy week after week.

Its going to rough for you just coming out of school, you will be lucky to get it off the ground and break even within a few years!

dont mean to sound negative but without money i cant see how you could justify the idea :huh:

Get some money in your back pocket. then think about it when you get put some thought processes about it and see if its still worth the risk!

That said, get your own burger van and you will make a killing.

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#13
G-Force

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To be fair matt has a point, this is going to cost alot. On the long term I think making it possible for under 18's would pay off as you would have a larger base of players. Keeping the players there is the most important thing. If you varry the games you play and offer a unique experiance with special days as well im certian people will stay. If you do exactly the same thing all the time people will get bored.
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#14
Devastator

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Just out of interest how were predicting a 300k - 500k set up? Picking woodland which can't be used for much, i.e. lots of steep hills etc. should in theory (I don't know if it's the case) lower the value as people aren't going to be able to come along, wipe out the trees and build houses there.

#15
Matt!

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As long as theres a woodland, pheasant will live there proving food is laid out, pheasant = shoot. can use land for anything, if your a farmer keeping livestock will put them anywhere!

And dev, You don't know the price of land do you? :P

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#16
Jake117

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Those are all good points Matt. Luckily I wont have to raise all of that money myself. If you produce a detailed business plan (detailed as in detailing every possible cost, break even charts possible problems ect) the banks should loan you the money that is required.

Im not sure If I'm going to start this straight after college but I dont think Uni is for me as I am very knowledgeable in business alread and have another year and a half left :D. I think I will probably have to save up a certain deposit to secure the loan but I can hopfully get a job for a year or so and save. I see it this way: The best way to get money is to own a successful business but seeing as it hard to have a successful business I may as well try as soon as possible seeing as I will have more time to recover if the worst doen happen.

The startup capital for this is actually rather low in terms of business as I think I wouldnt need more than 20,000 but i could be wrong. The main costs are the rent, buying the guns, ammo, grenades, food and drinks ect.

Anyway If I need to work a couple of years to raise the money, as long as it looks like it will make money, I will happily start this up.

As to sounding negative I think your just thinking realisticly but hopefully I will be able to raise the money and it will do well :D
(Thats one of the major benefits of starting a business you enjoy, if it doesnt do amazingly you can still be happy with what youve got)

EDIT: Also most businesses dont break even for about 3 years. One quality to being successful in business is to know that you will live skint for the first couple of years to ensure the business does well, instead of you doing well at that point. Luckily being a student Im used to being skint ;)

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#17
Matt!

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Loan a kid just out school 20k ? Don't think so :P (i think that's a rather low estimate as well)

You would have to produce a VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY good plan to even have a hope in hell !

You would also need a good solid credit rating so you best start now :)

However, if you feel this passionate about it then by all means go for it,

Just the stereotype we get (just look at car insurance)

But I would also prepare for this dream to be put on hold for a few years :P

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#18
Jake117

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I think you're probably right :( I will try at the banks but I think its doubtful. Probably have to work and save for a year first then :/

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#19
sarni307

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You say you are already pretty well clued up on business if this was the case you should know that even with a bullet proof business plan you have next to no chance of getting a bank loan. They are not stupid they know that we are in one of the worst rescissions to hit this country, they also know that the first thing people cut back on when watching Money is leasure thus making the idea of investing in a start up business in the leasure sector a massive no no
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#20
Matt!

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however once you finish college and get a few years of work on you we SHOULD be out and we will be in a economical boom. Should be a good time start then :)

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