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Starting a Gun Shooting Range Business – A Complete Guide

Do you want to start an indoor shooting range? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a gun shooting range business with NO money and no experience.

Okay, so we have provided you an in-depth sample gun shooting range business plan template. We also took it further by analyzing and drafting a sample gun shooting range marketing plan backed up by actionable guerrilla marketing ideas for gun shooting ranges. In this article, we will be considering all the requirements for starting a gun shooting range business. So put on your entrepreneurial hat and let’s proceed.

Why Start a Gun Shooting Range Business?

There are several business opportunities that an aspiring entrepreneur who lives in the United States can successfully start and one of such businesses is a gun shooting range. It is one business that has continued to yield profits because of the lucrative nature of the business and the legislature that still favors it. Hence, it wouldn’t be an over statement to say that the gun shooting range or any gun and ammunition related business is a money spinner for those that engage in it.

If you live in the United States of America or in some developed countries of the world, you will agree that loads of people (the civilian populace) take out time to patronize gun shooting ranges. This is because in the United States, any individual who can afford a gun can easily get one and go ahead to secure license for the gun. In order to learn how to shoot, they go to shooting ranges.

So, if you are serious about starting your own gun shooting range business, all you need do is to read this article and you will be well equipped. You can start your gun shooting range business from a small town in the United States and if you are consistent and creative, it won’t be too long before your brand becomes a nationally recognized brand.

Starting a Gun Shooting Range Business – A Complete Guide

  • Industry Overview

The Shooting Range industry provides indoor and outdoor targets for firing weapons such as handguns, shotguns, rifles and other arms. Handgun ranges typically have their own indoor stations, while rifles can be shot at disks and a variety of other targets. It is the norm for a standard gun shooting range facility to engage in providing target practice, shooting lessons, gun rentals and protective equipment rentals.

In recent years, the Shooting Range industry in the United States of America has swiftly recovered due to increased enthusiasm for firearms fueled by fears of stricter gun control in the wake of several high-profile shootings. For instance, a report released by IBISWorld shows that gun and ammunition sales surged following tragedies in Aurora, CA, and Newton, CT, which has driven demand for shooting ranges from consumers who purchased firearms ahead of anticipated gun control measures.

Such legislation never materialized at the federal level, and demand for industry services began to normalize, declining from its 2012 surge, but nonetheless remaining high. Subsequently, the revenue generated by players in the industry will grow at a slower pace over the next half decade.

The Shooting Range industry is indeed a thriving industry in the United States of America and in some developed countries. Statistics has it that the Shooting Range industry in the United States of America is worth $1bn, with an estimated growth rate of 4.5 percent.

There are about 2,523 registered and licensed shooting range facilities scattered all across the United States and an estimated 16,000 to 18,000 indoor firing ranges are in operation in the United States. Indoor ranges differ in construction, depending on the type of weapons to be fired. Shooting ranges are responsible for employing about 17,448 people. No company can boast of dominating the market; every player in the industry can comfortably compete in the industry.

A recent research publication released by IBISWorld shows that the vast majority of people who come to shooting ranges do so to fire either a handgun or rifle. The report stated that handgun shooting alone accounts for 41.2 percent of industry revenue. Handguns are smaller and usually easier to handle than rifles.

As a result, they are the most fired type of firearm at ranges, especially by novices. Moreover, handguns are less expensive to rent and own, making them more popular to use. Lastly, the report further stated that many shooting ranges (especially in urban areas or in regions with stricter gun control laws) only provide handgun shooting, thereby limiting the other product categories. Rifle shooting is the second – largest industry service category, accounting for an estimated 37.0 percent of industry revenue.

The Shooting Range industry will continue to blossom because people and organizations (security related organizations) will not relent in ensuring that they and their staff members have the required skills needed to perform their duty especially for the purpose of security, hunting and sports. Despite the fact that the industry seems over – regulated, there is still room big enough to accommodate aspiring entrepreneurs who intend opening their own gun shooting range facilities.

Over and above, gun shooting range businesses all over the world are still enjoying good patronage particularly if they are well positioned and if they know how to network with stakeholders and reach out to their target market (individuals who want to learn and practice how to shoot guns and security companies who want to train their staff members on how to handle and how to shoot guns).

Starting a Gun Shooting Range Business – Market Research and Feasibility Studies

  • Demographics and Psychographics

The demographic and psychographic composition of those who need the services of gun shooting range facilities cut across businesses and individuals hence the demographic composition for a gun shooting range facility is all encompassing. The truth is that when it comes to gun shooting range facilities, there is indeed a wide range of available customers; every adult both male and female are potential clients.

So, if you are thinking of starting a gun shooting range business then you should make target demographics all encompassing. It should include individuals, hunters, security companies, military, police and every organization that own guns and firearms within the location where your company is located.

List of Niche ideas Within the Gun Shooting Range Business That You Can Specialize in

Most gun shooting range facilities tend to carry out services that have to do with providing secured facility where people practice how to shoot guns, and also operate general services carried out by standard gun shooting range facilities. That is why it seem that there are no niche areas in the industry.

But on the other hand, some gun shooting facilities may decide to major in some key areas such as;

  • Providing target practice
  • Providing shooting lessons
  • Providing gun rentals
  • Providing protective equipment rentals
  • General merchandize of guns, firearms and ammunitions and also help their clients secure license for their guns and firearms

The Level of Competition in the Gun Shooting Ranges Industry

The truth is that no matter the level of competition in an industry, if you brand and promote your services or business properly, you will always make headway in the industry. Just ensure that you provide highly secured and safe gun shooting range facility for your clients and you know how to attract and reach out to your target market.

But over and above, there are several guns shooting range facilities scattered all around the United States of America. So, if you choose to open your own gun shooting range facility in the United States, you will definitely meet stiff competitions amongst other players in the gun shooting range industry who also provide gun shooting range facilities in your city or country. Besides, there are larger gun shooting range facilities that determine the trends in the industry and you should be ready to compete with them for customers.

List of Well – Known Brands in the Gun Shooting Range Industry

In every industry, there are always brands who perform better or are better regarded by the customers and general public than the others. Some of these brands are those that have been in the industry for a long while and so are known for that, while others are best known for how they conduct their businesses and the results they have achieved over the years.

These are some of the leading gun shooting range facilities in the United States of America and in the globe;

  • Colonial Shooting Academy
  • Waterloo Rifle & Pistol Club
  • Sand & Sage Rifle and Pistol Club
  • Ben Avery Shooting Facility
  • Athena Gun Club
  • Diamondback Shooters
  • Bird’s Landing Hunting Preserve
  • Top Gun Shooting Sports
  • Sage Hill Clay Sports
  • Autrey’s Armory
  • Tucson Trap & Skeet Club
  • Elm Fork Shooting Sports
  • Great Guns Sporting
  • Inrange
  • Machine Gun Vegas
  • Knob Creek Gun Range
  • Indian River County Shooting Range
  • Range USA, Inc.
  • Six Machine Gun Shooting Ranges

Economic Analysis

If you are looking towards successfully launching a business and maximizing profits, then you need to ensure that you get your economic and cost analysis right and try as much as possible to adopt best practices in the industry you choose to build a business in.

Gun shooting range business has been in existence for a while and it is indeed a competitive business, as a matter of fact, you will come across several gun shooting range facilities when you go out there sourcing for a facility where you can practice how to shoot various guns and firearms.

So, if you are mapping out your economic and cost analysis, you should carry out thorough market survey and costing of the required amount needed to build a standard multipurpose gun shooting range facility, secure the required tools and equipment and also the running cost to successfully run the business.

Over and above, if you are considering starting a gun shooting range facility, then your concern should not be limited to the cost of registering the business, securing the required license, leasing and equipping the facility, purchasing the needed work – tools, but also on branding and on how to build a robust clientele base. The truth is that if you are able to build a robust clientele base and far reaching business network, you are sure going to maximize profits in the business.

Starting Your Gun Shooting Range Facility from Scratch vs Buying a Franchise

If you are looking towards starting a gun shooting range facility, you would have to start from the very scratch simply because you can hardly get a franchise of a gun shooting range facility to buy. It is a business that is open to all and sundry.

Besides starting a gun shooting range facility from the scratch is straightforward when compared to other businesses that have to do with ammunition and firearms which usually require detailed groundwork before launching the business.

With a gun shooting range facility, you should try as much as possible to get the right business license and permits, secure a standard and secured facility, the required tools and equipment, build business relationship with key stakeholders and then leverage on every marketing tool within your disposal especially the internet when it comes to marketing your services.

Please note that most of the big and successful gun shooting range facilities around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success.

Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face When Starting a Gun Shooting Range Facility

If you decide to start your own gun shooting range facility today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established gun shooting range facilities and other players in the alternate leisure and sports industry that also offer same services as you do. The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market.

Some other challenges and threats that you are likely going to face is economic downturn; if the economy is in bad shape, history has it that businesses such as gun shooting range facility and the likes usually struggle to maintain their old customers or even welcome new customers.

So also, unfavorable government policies can also hamper the growth of your gun shooting range facility. There is nothing you can do as regards these threats and challenges other than to stay positive that things will work out well for you.

Starting a Gun Shooting Range Business – Legal Matters

  • Best legal entity to use for this type of business

You have the option of either choosing a general partnership, limited liability company which is commonly called an LLC, or even a sole proprietorship for a business such as gun shooting range facility. Ordinarily, sole proprietorship should have been the ideal business structure for a small – scale gun shooting range facility especially if you are just starting out with a moderate start – up capital and covering just a city.

But people prefer limited liability Company for obvious reasons. As a matter of fact, if your intention is to grow the business and offer your services to customers all across your state and throughout the United States of America, then choosing sole proprietor is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company, LLC or even general partnership will cut it for you.

Setting up an LLC protects you from personal liability. If anything goes wrong in the business, it is only the money that you invested into the limited liability company that will be at risk. Limited liability companies are simpler and more flexible to operate and you don’t need a board of directors, shareholders meetings and other managerial formalities.

These are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your gun shooting range facility; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners, investors’ expectation and of course taxes.

If you take your time to critically study the various legal entities available for your gun shooting range facility with the ability to offer your services to customers all across the city and state that you operate and throughout the United States of America, you will agree that limited liability company; an LLC is most suitable. You can start this type of business as limited liability company (LLC) and in future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation or an ‘S’ corporation especially when you have the plans of going public.

Catchy Business Name ideas Suitable for a Gun Shooting Range Facility

If you are considering starting your own gun shooting range facility, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;

  • James Bridge® Gun Shooting Range Company
  • Point Target™ Gun Shooting Range Company, LLC
  • Bruno Pence© Gun Shooting Range Company, Inc.
  • Hardware Point® Gun Shooting Range Company
  • Green Field© Gun Shootings Range Company, Inc.
  • Texas Brothers® Gun Shooting Range Company, Inc.
  • Out of the Woods™ Gun Shooting Range Facility, Inc.
  • Brother’s Keeper© Gun Shooting Range Facility, LLC
  • Ian Bennie & Sons Gun Shooting Range Facility, Inc.
  • Ultimate Cowboy® Gun Shooting Range Company, Inc.

Insurance Policies

In the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. So, it is important to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your gun shooting range facility.

Here are some of the basic insurance covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own gun shooting range facility in the United States of America;

  • General insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Liability insurance
  • Risk insurance
  • Firearm Insurance
  • Workers compensation
  • Overhead expense disability insurance
  • Business owner’s policy group insurance
  • Payment protection insurance

Intellectual Property Protection/Trademark

If you are considering starting your own gun shooting range facility, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection/trademark. This is so because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run the business without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.

But if you just want to protect your company’s logo and other documents or software that are unique to you or even jingles and media production concepts, then you can go ahead to file for intellectual property protection. If you want to register your trademark, you are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO. The final approval of your trademark is subjected to the review of attorneys as required by USPTO.

Is Professional Certification Needed to Run a Gun Shooting Range Business?

Asides from your ability to give instructions as it relates to gun shooting practices and training on how to effectively handle guns and firearms, professional certification is one of the main reasons why some gun shooting range businesses stand out.

If you want to make an impact in the gun shooting range industry, you should work towards acquiring all the needed certifications in your area of specialization. Certification validates your competency and shows that you are highly skilled, committed to your career and up-to-date in this competitive market.

These are some of the certifications you can work towards achieving if you want to run your own gun shooting range facility;

  • Range Safety Certification
  • Meggitt Training Systems’ small arms trainer certification

Please note that you cannot successfully run a gun shooting range facility in the United States and in most countries of the world without acquiring professional certifications and business license even if you have adequate experience cum background in the gun shooting range industry.

List of Legal Documents You Need to Run a Gun Shooting Range Facility

The essence of having the necessary documentation in place before launching a business in the United States of America cannot be overemphasized. It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations. If you do, it won’t be too long before the long hand of the law catches up with you.

These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own gun shooting range facility in the United States of America;

  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Business License / Firearm handling license
  • Shooting Range Approval – National Firearms Association
  • Tax Payer’s ID / Tax Identification Number
  • Business Plan
  • Non – disclosure Agreement
  • Employee Handbook
  • Employment Agreement (offer letters)
  • Operating Agreement for LLCs
  • Insurance Policy
  • Online Terms of Use (since you operate online)
  • Online Privacy Policy Document (basically for online payment portal)
  • Company Bylaws
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
  • Contract Document
  • Franchise or Trademark License (optional)

Financing Your Gun Shooting Range Facility

Starting a gun shooting range facility can be capital intensive even if you choose to start on a small scale. If you choose to start the business on a large scale with standard and well – equipped facility and over a handful of full time employees, then you would need to go source for fund to finance the business because it is expensive to start a standard large scale gun shooting range facility.

No doubt when it comes to financing a business, one of the first things you should consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business.

Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for start – up capital for your gun shooting range facility;

  • Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
  • Raising money from investors and business partners
  • Sell shares to interested investors
  • Applying for loan from your bank
  • Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from donor organizations and angel investors
  • Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends.

Choosing a Suitable Location for a Gun Shooting Range Facility

It cannot be overemphasized that the location you chose to start your gun shooting range facility is key to the success of the business, hence entrepreneurs are willing to rent or lease a facility in a visible location; a location where the demography consists of people who own guns and other firearms.

If you make the mistake of starting your gun shooting range facility in an area where you will find it difficult to secure the required license, and accessing those who own guns, you will struggle to grow the business because you will spend more in promoting the business.

These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your gun shooting range facility;

  • The demography of the location as it relates to the number of households and corporate organizations that own guns and other firearms
  • The demand for the services of gun shooting range facilities related businesses in the location
  • The purchasing power of the residents of the location
  • Accessibility of the location
  • The number of gun shooting range facilities and related services in the leisure and sports industry in the location
  • The local laws and regulations in the community
  • Traffic, parking and security et al

Starting a Gun Shooting Range Business – Technical & Manpower Details

On the average, there are no special technology/equipment needed to run this type of business except for guns and other firearms, shooting range equipment and tools, inventory-management software and other relevant software applications. You will definitely need computers/laptops, internet facility, telephone, fax machine and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves) amongst other and all these can be gotten as fairly used.

As regard leasing or outright purchase of a range facility, the choice is dependent on your financial standing, but the truth is that to be on the safe side, it is advisable to start off with a short – term rent/lease while test running the business in the location. If things work out as planned, then you go on a long – term lease or outright purchase of the property but if not, then move on and source for other ideal location/facility for such business.

When it comes to hiring employees for a standard gun shooting range facility, you should make plans to hire a competent Chief Executive Officer/Manager (you can occupy this role), Admin and Human Resources Manager, Professional Shooting Instructors and Trainers, Sales and Marketing Officer, Accounting Clerk and Front Desk Officer. These are some of the key employees that you can work with. On the average, you will need a minimum of 5 to 10 key staff members to run a medium scale but standard gun shooting range facility.

The Services Process Involved in a Gun Shooting Range Facility

The business services process as it relates to gun shooting range facilities is straightforward and in most cases clearly defined. It is the duty of professional shooting instructors and trainers to help their clients acquire shooting and weapon handling skills and knowledge. They help their clients develop capability, capacity, productivity and performance as it relates to guns and weapon handling.

Once a client enrolls in the gun shooting range facility, they agree on the end result of the training and the weeks or months required for the training. Contract document is signed, part payment made and the training commences as required. At the end of the training session, the client is accessed and when he or she is satisfied, the balance of the payment is made.

It is important to state that a gun shooting range facility may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them efficiency and flexibility; the above stated gun shooting range facility business process is not cast on stone.

Starting a Gun Shooting Range Business – The Marketing Plan

  • Marketing ideas and strategies

Generally, running a business requires that you should be proactive when it comes to marketing your goods or services. If you choose to launch a gun shooting range facility, then you must go all out to employ strategies that will help you attract customers or else you will likely struggle with the business because there are well – known brands determining the market direction for gun shooting range industry.

People and organizations will hire your services or make use of your facility if they know that they are going to get value for their money.

As a matter of fact, your marketing strategy will center on reliability, swiftness, safety, pricing, secured payment platform, and above all excellent customer service. You should ensure that whenever your customers hire your services or make use of your facility, they should be rest assured that they will get excellent service and it will show in the skills they have acquired. The truth is that if you are able to put the above stated in place, you won’t struggle to retain your old customers and at the same time win over new customers.

Here are some of the platforms we will utilize to market your gun shooting range facility;

  • Introduce your gun shooting range facility by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to the public sector; government ministries, agencies and parastatals, organized private sector, households, security companies, military, police and every organization that own guns and firearms within the location where your gun shooting range facility is located
  • Advertise your gun shooting range facility in relevant business magazines, newspapers, TV and radio stations.
  • List your gun shooting range facility on yellow pages ads (local directories)
  • Attend relevant international and local expos, seminars, and business fairs
  • Create different packages for different category of clients in order to work with their budgets and still help them acquire shooting and weapon handling skills
  • Leverage on the internet to promote your gun shooting range facility
  • Join local chambers of commerce around you with the main aim of networking and marketing your services; you are likely going to get referrals from such networks
  • Engage the services of marketing executives and business developers to carry out direct marketing

Strategies to Boost Your Shooting Range Brand Awareness and Create Your Corporate Identity

If your intention of starting a gun shooting range facility is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national and international brand, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.

No matter the industry you belong to, the truth is that the market is dynamic and it requires consistent brand awareness and brand boosting cum promotion to continue to appeal to your target market. Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create corporate identity for your gun shooting range facility;

  • Place adverts on both print (newspapers and magazines) and electronic media platforms
  • Sponsor relevant community based events/programs
  • Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your services
  • Install your billboards in strategic locations all around your city or state
  • Engage in roadshows from time to time in targeted neighborhoods to create awareness of your gun shooting range facility
  • Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
  • Contact the public sector; government ministries, agencies and parastatals, organized private sector, households, security companies, military, police and every organization that own guns and firearms within the location where your gun shooting range facility is located informing them about your business and the gun shooting range facility services you offer
  • List your gun shooting range facility in local directories/yellow pages
  • Advertise your gun shooting range facility in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site.
  • Position your Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the location where your gun shooting range facility is located.
  • Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles and trucks/vans are well branded with your company logo et al.
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