The business model behind shooting range lane rentals


November 21, 2010, 04:18 PM
After searching through THR for posts about this subject I'm soliciting the board on some business questions regarding the business operations of indoor shooting ranges.

As I understand it indoor shooting ranges are, generally speaking, a less risky business than operating a gun store exclusively because after the build out of the range is depreciated it's a much higher margin business both with renting hourly time and rental of guns/ammo, and there's less inventory to tie up cash.

There also variable and overhead costs with indoor shooting range in that target stands are routinely replaced, trolley mechanisms are fixed, and ventilation systems are maintained. There's also the overhead costs relating to insurance and liability, but that's harder to quantify.

My experience with indoor ranges has been limited to only a half dozen across 3 states, but I've noticed generally the price of a lane for 1 hour ranges from as low as $16 an hour to as high as $20. Some ranges can charge a lot more because they are the only range within 20 miles. What I'd like to know is if this range of prices is pretty standard, and if so what expected margin do the indoor ranges expect to get when they rent out a lane for an hour?

What is the cost of shooting at your range? If you work at a range, how much profit does your store get out of just lane rentals?

I would guess the margins are very high considering most ranges will offer memberships for a few hundred dollars in exchange for near unlimited range time. Now much of the profit in that membership is dependent on how often a member attends the range, but clearly there are cash flow incentives behind selling that annual membership.

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November 21, 2010, 04:36 PM
My local indoor 25 yard range is $8/half hour or $14/hour. Gun rentals are $8/hour. They have an indoor 100 yard rifle range which is more expensive but I don't remember the rates off the top of my head.

IIRC memberships are $180/6 months or $300/year which covers the 25 yard range and reduced rates on the rifle range. Full year membership also includes some other things like cleaning and 10%? off 1000 rounds of pistol caliber reloaded ammo.

I have no idea on the profitability on the lane rentals but I would assume they make their "range" money on the commercially reloaded ammo they sell.

There are two other indoor ranges within 30 miles, but I am not as familiar with them.

November 21, 2010, 04:48 PM
The indoor range I use charges $6 for half an hour. They have eight fifty foot lanes and eight seventy five foot ranges. They rent handguns for $8 and you must use their ammunition for the rental. Their retail firearms are at the high end of local prices. They seem to be pretty busy. I usually go right at opening on Sunday mornings, and the lanes do not take long to fill.

November 21, 2010, 04:51 PM
A new indoor range opened up around here a few months ago that has a lunch hour special between 11am-2pm for only $10; cost of gun rentals, ammo, targets, eyes, ears, etc. are separate, though. I'd say besides lunch specials and ladies shooting for free stuff, the average prices of the indoor rangers around here (Within a 30 mile radius) would probably be maybe around $10-15 per hour, depending on the place and around $15-$20 for unlimited time, depending on place. Nationally, I'd say the average price of using indoor ranges across the country averages around $15-$20. There are also many private owned ranges (Indoor and out) that offer FREE range time, but only that; people have to bring their own guns, ammo, targets, eyes, ears and sometimes even target holders. Still, for free, you can't beat just going outside the city limits or to a more rural area and just shoot for free. I actually like shooting in the rural areas, as opposed to the urban businesses; the fresh air and wide open space is perfect for shooting.

John Wayne
November 21, 2010, 05:00 PM
$10 per hour, $7 per half hour.

Gun rentals are $7 per semiauto, $5 per revolver. You must buy range ammo if you rent a gun.

Otherwise, bring your own ammo, and you can keep your own brass. Range ammo is $12.99 (9mm), $16.99 (.40), $18.99 (.357), and $21.99 (.45 auto) for new factory ammo.

Pistol calibers only, and no rapid fire/full auto. I enjoyed shooting here so much that I bought a membership.

Not far away, there is a range that charges double the rate, requires you to buy their ammo or pay a $5 charge, and makes you leave your brass so that they can sell it or reload it. I am against shooting here on principle. Pay someone else so I can shoot my ammo? No thanks.

November 21, 2010, 05:08 PM
My range is $15/hour. If it is slow, they don't mind if you stay longer with no additional charge. Restrictions on steel cased ammo, aluminum cased okay. Ammo for rental pistols depends upon whom is at the counter, but usually you must buy their ammo.

November 21, 2010, 05:17 PM
My local is $9/half hour, $14/hour. Eye and ear protection is provided if you need it but targets are extra. 25-yard indoor range but you can shoot just about anything up to .50BMG. Yearly membership is $225/single $300/family but I don't get to shoot enough to justify that yet.

Old krow
November 21, 2010, 05:27 PM
A new indoor range opened up around here a few months ago that has a lunch hour special between 11am-2pm for only $10; cost of gun rentals, ammo, targets, eyes, ears, etc. are separate, though.

Same here.

I typically see 3 (on average) in there shooting at a time, or 3 lanes in use. From the what I have seen so far, their labor costs are high. This could be because they're new and have not attracted enough business yet. Ours has 8 lanes, so, I figure if they're renting guns on every lane and keep ALL lanes full for the duration of opening hours they'll make $144 per hour or $1584 in a day. That's not very probable, it's just the most. From the looks of it they keep 3-4 people at the counter, or at least that's been the case every time that I've been there. The gun rentals are $10 and you have to buy their ammo.

I would guess the margins are very high considering most ranges will offer memberships for a few hundred dollars in exchange for near unlimited range time.

Well, that's the issue that our indoor range is going to deal with. It's very possible that you could be comparing a range with a ridiculously low margin to that of a high/higher margin. For instance, our indoor range has to compete with outdoor shooting clubs that run on substantially lower overhead. There is nobody behind the counter, no extra lights on, trolleys maintenance, no HR, no employee insurance, payroll taxes, no overtime, etc.

The membership fees are $150/300 for 6mo/year. The outdoor ranges run from $100-200 for the nicer ones. They opened the indoor in the Fall around the time change, which I thought was smart because of the shorter days. If you want to shoot at 6:00 pm you have to go there. I do not particularly care for the place, but, there one of only a few places that rent guns so I go there. I have no interest in a membership.

November 21, 2010, 06:34 PM
The range I go to is the only indoor one I know of within 30+ miles. A well run place that draws folks of all ages, ethnicities, and nationalities (the grins on the internationals are some of the greatest).

$10/hr for a lane, +$5 for a second shooter. They officially only only two shooters per lane, but if it's not busy a third can join in (for another $5). They only enforce the one hour limit if it's busy/there's a waiting line.

Annual membership is somewhere just shy of $100. Unlimited lane time other than a one hour limit/rotation if it's busy.

Gun rentals are $8 for most, I think it's $10 for the .50 cal pistols, and it's $20 for the full autos and suppressed guns.

They sell a lot of commercial reloads- likely make a lot of their profit there. They charge a $5 hazmat disposal fee if you bring your own (and require jacketed/plated bullets only :mad:). They also keep all of the brass, though you can collect your own (I lose ~25% forward of the line though).

The gun prices are the highest around, at or near MSRP. I guess they sell some guns, but not to me. They've got primers priced at $40/1000 :eek:. I've got to think they're making their money on the range, because they're sure not trying win the retail price game.

November 21, 2010, 06:53 PM
Another benefit of a gun store with a range is the synergy of having both. You may get people who came to look at guns in the store to rent time on the range, and you may get people who were just looking for range time to shop in your store. You get more business per person than you otherwise would have.

November 21, 2010, 07:39 PM
the price of a lane for 1 hour ranges from as low as $16 an hour to as high as $20

The last indoor range I shot at while visiting in SC, was $5 for the whole day

November 21, 2010, 07:43 PM
I've looked into this and spoken with the indoor range owner...we didn't get into specifics or cost, just generalities...and learned quite a bit.

While the range, 20 lanes, is usually full on weekends (even having a waiting list) during the late morning and early evenings, this is certainly not the case during the week. They usually close down half the range during the week and the lands are seldom more than half full. The goal of the income from lane rentals is to pay the overhead. Staffing during the week is one minimum wage clerk at the counter during the day and two in the evening....they are open from 1000-2200hrs.

They make their money selling targets, renting guns, and selling ammo (mandatory with rental guns) and eye and ear protection. They sell reloads for the rentals and charge a lot for factory ammo...also bought a load of hearing protectors from Big 5 for $10 that they sell for $18.

The attached gun store is like a golf Pro Shop. Prices not bad for a brick and mortar store, but they are not trying to undersell anyone.

You'll always make more profit on accessories than guns

Last Knight
November 21, 2010, 07:50 PM
$12, ostensibly for an hour, but I've never been asked to leave for running over time. Women shooting with a male partner get in free (believe it's limit 1, to encourage men to bring their wives/girlfriends, &c). They also provide 5 free range passes if you purchase a firearm with them. :)

John Wayne
November 21, 2010, 10:51 PM
Keep in mind that a lot of people pay an hourly fee and then shoot all their ammo in twenty minutes or less. That same "hour" can be sold two or three times if there is enough demand and people don't stay very long.

November 22, 2010, 12:20 AM
Out of 5-6 local gunstores, only one has an indoor range. I have plenty of spots to shoot, so I don't do indoor ranges, except ccw renewal. I don't know what the costs are, but my observation is they really have a tough time filling the lanes with shooters.

Don't assume that if you build it, they (shooters) will come.

November 22, 2010, 12:36 AM
Most around here are $10-15 an hour and have rules about shooting reloads/cast bullets

The one I go to is $7 per day and you can come and go its a 25yd pistol only range with about 20 lanes or so. Its old but I would not say its run down, a little unprofessional, but the ventilation seems to be pretty good. Their policy is your gun you can shoot whatever and I have never been hassled over keeping my brass and even sweeping up others.

The gunshop rents firearms but the rate is high ~$30 and the gun sales there are around $50-$100 over what you would find online.

November 22, 2010, 02:41 AM
My local indoor range is 50 miles from me and the next closest is 300 away - distances in AK are tough sometimes. Although I hear another is being rebuilt after burning down.

$12 per hour with 2 per lane if you want. They are relaxed about going over on time. I haven't paid much attention to how much they charge for rent on guns, glasses, ear protection, etc.

There are 10 lanes each 50 feet.

November 22, 2010, 08:19 AM
the range near me is $20/hour...

dont really plan on going back...something about having the guy next to you shoot a mosin m44 at an indoor range....even double ear protection wasnt enough....

....should be getting membership at a closer range soon anyhow.....

November 22, 2010, 09:21 AM
There are a couple indoor ranges in Wichita, but one is a lot closer to me than the other and I usually shoot there. They have 10 handgun lanes with electrically operated target carriers. Max distance is 25 yards, min is 3 yards. They also have a 5 lane, 100 yard max indoor rifle range.

Yearly membership is $20 (30 for a family membership). Ladies who are members shoot free all day Wednesdays. Lane rental is $8/hr on the pistol range and $10/hour on the rifle range. Unless they are really busy, they don't enforce the time. Just before and during Deer season they require reservations for the rifle range to accommodate those needing to sight in their hunting rifles.

They don't allow shotguns or black powder guns and because of idiots using steel jacketed/steel core ammo against policy they won't allow AK or SKS rifles at all any more. Rifle calibers can be anything from .17 up to and including .375 H & H and ammo can be anything where the bullet is not attracted to a magnet and they check everyone. They allow handloads and cast bullets.

They have a gun shop and their prices are far better than the big box retail stores and of course, they blow away Dick's or Gander Mountain's prices by many percentage points. Service is knowledgeable and very friendly. Even the local PD officers hang out there off duty (and on duty during breaks sometimes). They do charge a lot for transfers, mainly because they are very busy selling their own firearm inventory and transfers take a lot of time away from that. I can't really blame them for not really wanting to do cheap transfers.

November 22, 2010, 10:01 AM
$20 per day. 50 ft lanes (two 25 yrd for sighting rifles), AC, when you leave, you can come back, just show your receipt for the same day.

November 22, 2010, 10:05 AM
NRA range in Fairfax, VA is the only one in the area. 50 yards--15 lanes.

$14/hour +$8/hour additional (NRA member). Non NRA member are charged $18 for the first hour +$12/hour additional.

One's own ammo is fine. Own targets are fine, etc. They do sell some ammo and targets if you haven't any, however.

Centaur 1
November 22, 2010, 11:07 AM
Where I go they charge $14, and you stay for as long as you want. It's only $8 if you've ever been in the military, law enforcement, or work for NASA or one of their contractors. Gun rentals are $8 for one, and $4 for the second. I always get my moneys worth because in addition to my usual guns I'll bring along a .22 and a bulk box of ammo and I shoot until I don't want to any more.

November 22, 2010, 11:29 AM
The indoor range I use charges a flat $15.00 fee, shoot for 10 minuets or 10 hours the fee is the same.Targets are $1.oo each if you don't bring your own. I have no idea what gun rentals are, except full auto, which is priced at $50.00 first mag and $45.00 for the second or third mag.

In addition to the range they sell ammo and rent guns as well as required safety equipment. As we get quite a few first time shooters I believe this is were the profit margin comes from.

They also have a full line of handguns, rifles, leather, and assorted accessories.

November 22, 2010, 03:24 PM
Here is the one I go to.
Buying membership means you shoot for free and get discounts when you buy stuff. It also comes with 8 free guest passes a year.

November 22, 2010, 08:02 PM
There is an indoor range in my area that charges about $10 per hour to shoot. Their handgun rentals are also about $10 per hour. No one puts you on the clock. If you run over your hour it's still $10 unless you've made a day out of shooting.
Their ammo is high but then again...this is what keeps them in business. The place is very crowded on weekends and some evenings. They offer matches, Ladies Nights and other enticements on the slower nights. The range only goes to 25yds. They've been around forever under several different owners so people know about this place.
Let me tell you about what they do wrong. They have one counter for signing up and buying your ammo. Let's say that 10-15 people are in line and it's a Sat. morning. Every 4th person will most likely be a new or inexperienced shooter. Many are bringing their wifes or girlfriends out to shoot and most have no firearms knowledge. That's admirable but these people bring everything to a complete halt. The shop's layout is not conductive to speedy business. You really can't see the rental guns until you are at the counter. The same can be said for the targets and ammo. Everything is decided once you get to the counter and this can take quiet a while for some people. As the staff explains the operation of a semi auto to a non shooter the line starts to snake throughout the building. I have nothing against new or non shooters coming to the range. My complaint is about the poor setup of this local shop. If they weren't the only game in town they would probably be laying off.
Having an L shaped counter which allows customers to view rental guns, ammo, targets and prices before getting to the register would be a smarter way of doing business.
This range has 25 yd lanes. It's not unusual to set up on a lane and find out that the carriage will not move, the lights are out or the carriages do not stop at the 7, 15 or 25 yd line. This is especially bad on a weekend when you pretty much are stuck at whatever lane you manage to find open.
The range downstairs is a concrete box so it's going to be hot in the summer and cold in the winter. They make a decent effort with fans and heaters but it's not going to be very comfortable if the weather is extreme. Ventilation is decent.
This is the thing. Most shooters that I have observed at this range only buy 1-2 boxes of ammo. How often are they going to wait in line to shoot for 30-60 minutes? Most of the non shooters top up their Glocks and only get a couple of reloads in after blazing away so they are not there for long. If it took them 40 minutes to get through the line then they may not come back for a while.
A poor setup and having 1 register on the weekends has got to be costing this place money.

November 22, 2010, 08:20 PM
The indoor range I go to has a 25 yard pistol range and a 75 yard rifle range. They charge $10 for unlimited range time by yourself with one gun. Then it something like $2 for any extra person up to 3 people all together. Some like $3 per extra gun. I buy a ten time punch card for $130. That let's me have up to 3 guns and a total of 3 people. I also get two targets for free everytime I go. I don't know for sure but I think it is like an extra $3 to use the rifle range. They don't rent guns there. You can pick up your own brass but not other peoples. No steel ammo.

November 23, 2010, 09:23 AM
i would say around $15 on average. i would like to suggest something to think about if you go ahead with this. have classes not just for ccw but just classes to introduce people to propper firearms handling & safety. espically for women who might not have anyone to show them. im not a women but when i got into firearms i didn't haave anyone to show me anything about cleaninng or shooting. i had to learn everything from forums like this (that i found by accident), reading, dvd's, and some youtube videos on how to field strip various firearms. i would have gladly paid some extra money to a gun shop/gun range to learn the basics. plus i would probibly go their first to buy something becuse they would have my ongoing appreciation. just some thoughts as you ponder this idea. i hope this helps and best of luck.

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