Indoor range costs


September 29, 2010, 12:55 PM
I am in the process of preparing a business plan to start a indoor shooting range in the urban area I live to help promote shooting sports and gun safety (not to mention hopefully turn a few bucks).

I have worked through a few iterations to project some of the costs to start and operate this business, but I was wondering if anyone out there wouldn't mind sounding off on any costs / revenue that are not as easy to estimate without experience.

Please keep it positive... Thanks!

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September 29, 2010, 01:16 PM
how urban?

September 29, 2010, 01:41 PM
I would suggest a simple digital timer be placed on each range and activated when the shooter takes the lane. Here's the reason.....some ranges around here charge a flat fee for unlimited time, unlimited guns. Others charge $XX per hour PLUS $XX for each extra gun. I can see the advantages in charging by the hour, but I never saw the logic in charging the per-gun charge.
At some of the flat-fee ranges, people come in and wait for a lane for hours and leave disgusted because some shooters will just hang out on the range forever. At the hourly ranges, usually if you are in a lane and there is no one waiting, they will let you keep shooting until someone else shows up and wants the lane, and you get the extra time free (of course, you are still buying ammo and targets, so the range isn't losing anything).
To some people, an hour is not enough,, instead of offering an hour block of shooting time for, say, $11, I would also offer a two-hour block for a slightly discounted price...say it's eighteen dollars, and let folks know that it is a flat fee and not refunded pro-rata if they leave early. Some folks drive a long way to get to the the range, and they'll go for the longer time just to make sure they get to do all they came for, whether they leave early or not.
The timer would let people know that their time has been accounted for honestly and they got their money's worth (as opposed to my watch vs. your watch), and in the case where they get to stay for an extended time, they will be able to see what they have basically gotten for free, and they will appreciate you for it. It would also enable you to tell new customers exactly how long they will need to wait for a lane to be available.
In summary, it prevents arguments, which lead to hard feelings, which leads to loss of business....and it would be cheap to do.
You may also want to set aside a room in the building as a designated "classroom", with tables and chairs, to rent to independent CHL instructors. Charge a flat daily fee for the use of it, and maybe an hourly fee for opening the range outside of regular hours for the students to do their range proficiency portion. This alone could get you a couple of hundred bucks a day.
Good luck,

September 29, 2010, 01:50 PM
how urban? - major city, 1M+ with 2 to 3x that in the metro area.

September 29, 2010, 02:27 PM
Most indoor ranges around here have gone under over the years. I suspect it is due to environmental regulations which put a heavy burden on ranges to the point they cannot make a decent profit.

September 29, 2010, 02:37 PM
Hopefully, since you mentioned a business plan, you have education/experience in the business aspects of a business. Permits/Zoning are going to be some things to consider, gunshot noise and neighbors, and EPA issues will be VERY costly.

Good luck!

September 29, 2010, 03:08 PM
I'm aware that expensive HVAC systems are required and a range maintenance protocol is important to remove lead, unburnt powder, etc., but what major EPA costs are you referring to?

As far as zoning, it's understood that some fees are required and the process is not easy, but the cost is upfront and pretty minimal when compared to purchasing/building a facility.

I agree that zoning / EPA type costs are critical in having on your radar, just wondering if anyone has a little bit more info related to the real cost behind this.

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