Do you want to start a laser tag game center? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a laser tag game center business with NO money and no experience.
Okay, so we have provided you an in-depth sample laser tag game center business plan template. We also took it further by analyzing and drafting a sample laser tag game center marketing plan backed up by actionable guerrilla marketing ideas for laser tag game centers. In this article, we will be considering all the requirements for starting a laser tag game center business. So put on your entrepreneurial hat and let’s proceed.
Table of Content
- Why Start a Laser Tag Game Center Business?
- 1. Understand the Industry
- 2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- 3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
- 4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
- 5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
- 6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
- 7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
- 8. Choose a Catchy Business Name
- 9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
- 10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
- 11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
- 12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
- 13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
- 14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
- 15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
- 16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
- 17. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
Why Start a Laser Tag Game Center Business?
Starting a laser tag arena business in an area that has loads of laser tag/game lovers and socialites, but fewer laser tag and video game centers can be very lucrative. Laser tag is a global sport and people who love the game will always look for ways to play the game much more than watching people play it.
The real deal in starting a laser tag arena, whether outdoor or indoor, is securing a big facility that is large enough to contain a full – sized laser tag arena including spectator’s stand, changing room and enough parking space. Also, it has to be in a location that may attract the kind of clients that would pay to make use of your laser tag arena for other social events. It might take you months to get an ideal facility and you may even pay through your nose, so it is better that you inform your real estate agent in advance to help you with the search.
Despite the fact that opening a laser tag arena is capital intensive, if you are able to conduct thorough feasibility studies and market survey and you also know how to manage the business, you are sure of making huge returns on your investment especially if you have been an active video game cum laser tag player in your community and even in your country.
Starting your own private laser tag arena business is not an easy task to accomplish. It requires a complete project team and solid capital base to be able to achieve your dream of opening your own private laser tag arena. As a matter of fact, it requires long term planning to successfully build a laser tag or similar games facility from the scratch to finish. But if you don’t have enough time to spend, you can as well source for a laser tag arena or any similar game center that is put up for sale. One of the draw backs of buying over such center is that you can’t change the location.
So, if you are serious about starting your own private laser tag arena business, all you need do is to read this article and you will be well equipped. You can start your own private laser tag arena business from a small town in the United States and if you are consistent and creative, it wouldn’t be too long before your brand becomes nationally recognized and your business network spreads across the length and breadth of the United States of America.
Starting a Laser Tag Game Center Business – A Complete Guide
1. Understand the Industry
Laser tag is a kind of tag game that is played with lasers. In playing laser tag, infrared – sensitive targets are commonly worn by each player and they are in most cases, integrated within the arena in which the game is played; every player has a laser tag gun and wears a sensor headband.
Each player tries to hit players of the opposing team by shooting at their sensors; it is indeed an action-packed game where players wear electronic vests and ‘tag’ each other. In its simplest form, the laser tag game can be described as a competitive shooting game which is similar in principle to a conventional video game, but of course it is by far more interactive than video games. The Laser Tag Arenas Industry operates indoor and outdoor recreational laser tag facilities.
It is a fact that the Laser Tag Arenas industry has been experiencing positive growth in recent time due to rising consumer interest in laser tag games. So also, the number of laser tag arenas has increased tremendously resulting in unwavering revenue growth and an increase in consumer preference which is caused by expectations of strong income growth and declining unemployment leading to an increase in consumer spending on laser tag games.
The Laser Tag Arenas industry is indeed a very large industry and pretty much thriving in all parts of the world especially in developed countries such as United States of America, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia and Italy et al.
Statistics has it that in the united states of America alone, there are about 1,032 licensed and registered laser tag arenas responsible for employing about 6,960 employees and the industry rakes in a whooping sum of $409 million annually with an annual growth rate projected at 1.1 percent. It is important to state that the available market for the industry is open to all and no company can boast of having a lion share of the available market.
The Laser Tag Arenas industry has a relatively moderate level of capital intensity. It is a known fact that the start-up capital costs for a standard laser tag arena and video games facility is high, as aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start this business are required to lease a big facility in a good location, buy laser tag equipment, arena obstacles, video games, kitchen equipment and vending machines et al.
Some of the factors that encourage entrepreneurs to start their own private laser tag arena business could be that the business is a profitable venture that is open to fair competition amongst players in the industry.
Over and above, starting a laser tag arena business in the United States of America can be somewhat stressful, as it requires enough cash to acquire a standard facility in a centralized area large enough to accommodate a standard laser tag arena and parking, and also cash required to equip the facility to meet the standard expected by potential users.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who patronize private laser tag arenas cut across groups and individuals hence the demographic composition of a private laser tag arena is all encompassing. The truth is that when it comes to private laser tag arenas, there is indeed a wide range of available customers; every adult both male and female are potential clients.
Hence, if you are thinking of starting a private laser tag arena business, then you should make your target demographics all encompassing. It should include working class adults, sport clubs, video games lovers, school leavers, sports men and women and college students et al within the location where your laser tag arena is located.
3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
There is no niche area in the laser tag arenas industry; players in the industry are involved in providing secured and comfortable arena where people come to play laser tag games. In the industry, a laser tag arena can provide both standard Indoor laser tag and outdoor laser tag recreation facility.
It is common to find laser tag arenas engage in providing facility for laser tag activities, video games, selling food, alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, providing laser tag, miniature golf and other games and selling laser tag supplies in pro shops et al.
The Level of Competition in the Industry
The truth is that no matter the level of competition in an industry, if you have done all the necessary things that needed to be done by branding and promoting your services or business properly, you will always make headway in the industry. Just ensure that you provide a highly secured and safe laser tag arena for your clients and you know how to attract and reach out to your target market.
But over and above, there are several laser tag arenas scattered all around the United States of America. So, if you choose to open your own laser tag arena in the United States, you will definitely meet stiff competition amongst laser tag arenas and also other players in the alternative leisure games and sports industry who also provide laser tag games in your city or country. Besides, there are larger laser tag arenas that determine the trends in the industry and you should be ready to compete with them for customers.
4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
In every industry, there are always brands that perform better or are better regarded by customers and the general public than others. Some of these brands are those that have been in the industry for a long time, 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 laser tag arenas in the United States of America and in the globe;
- Outdoor Laser Tag, USA
- Sportime USA
- Laser Quest Laser Tag Center
- Laserzone Laser Tag Center
- Stratum Laser Tag | Birthday Party Place
- Funtime America
- WonderWorks Destiny
- iPlay America
- CMP Tactical Lazer Tag Milwaukee – Laser Tag Arena
- Grand Slam USA
- Team Combat Laser Tag Center
- The Fun Spot
- Fun Station USA
- Battle Blast Laser Tag
- Elite 6 Ops Laser Tag Center
- Superplay USA
- Laser Tag of Santa Rosa
- Adventure Family Fun Center
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.
The laser tag arena 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 laser tag arenas when you go out there sourcing for a facility where you can play laser tag games.
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 laser tag arena, secure the required gaming tools and equipment and also the running cost to successfully run the business.
Over and above, if you are considering starting a laser tag arena, 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 laser tag gaming 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.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
If you are looking towards starting a laser tag arena business, you would have to start from the very scratch because you can hardly get the franchise of a laser tag business to buy except you want to buy over an existing laser tag arena that is put up for sale.
Besides starting a laser tag arena from the scratch is straightforward when compared to other businesses that have to do with games and amusement. With a laser tag arena, you should just try as much as possible to get the right business license and permits, secure a standard and secured facility, get the required laser tag gaming tools and equipment, build business relationship with key stakeholders and then leverage on every marketing tool within your disposal to market your services.
Please note that most of the big and successful laser tag arenas 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.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
If you decide to start your own laser tag arena today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established laser tag arenas and other players in the alternate leisure gaming 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 and unfavorable government policies. There is nothing you can do as regards these threats and challenges other than to stay positive that things will work well for you.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
- Best legal entity to use for this type of business
When considering starting a laser tag arena, the legal entity you choose will go a long way to determine how big the business can grow; some laser tag arenas design their business for city wide market, while others for state market and others for national market.
You can either choose a general partnership, Limited Liability Company or even a sole proprietorship for a laser tag arena business. Ordinarily, sole proprietorship should have been the ideal business structure for a small – scale laser tag arena especially if you are just starting out with a moderate start – up capital and covering just a city.
But 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 proprietorship 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. It is not so for sole proprietorships and general partnerships. 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 laser tag arena; 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 to use for your laser tag arena that has the ability to offer 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.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name
As it relates Choosing a name for your business, you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents. Usually it is the norm for people to follow the trend in the industry they intend operating from when naming their business.
If you are considering starting your own laser tag game center, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;
- Carson Banks® Laser Tag Arena
- Hankins Dave™ Laser Tag Facility
- Corner Parks© Laser Tag Arena
- High Point® Laser Tag Gaming Facility
- Pro Games© Laser Tag Gaming Center
- Boston Tag Team® Laser Tag Gaming Center
- Lemon Branch™ Laser Tag Gaming Center
- Green Floor© Laser Tag Gaming Center
- Light Weave® Laser Tag Gaming Center
- All Starlets® Laser Tag Gaming Center
9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
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 laser tag game center.
Here are some of the basic insurance covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own laser tag game center 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
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
If you are considering starting your own laser tag game center, 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.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
Aside from your ability to give instructions as it relates to laser tag game practices and training, professional certification is one of the main reasons why some laser tag game center businesses stand out. If you want to make an impact in the laser tag game center 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 the market. These are some of the certifications you can work towards achieving if you want to run your own laser tag game center;
- Laser Tag Safety Certification
- Meggitt Training Systems’ small arms trainer certification
Please note that you cannot successfully run a laser tag game center 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 laser tag game arenas industry.
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
The essence of having the necessary documentations 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 arm 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 laser tag game center in the United States of America;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License
- Tax Payer’s ID/Tax Identification Number
- Business Plan
- Non – disclosure Agreement
- Employee Handbook
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Company Bylaws
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
- Contract Document
- Franchise or Trademark License (optional)
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
Starting a laser tag game center 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 a standard and well – equipped facility and over a handful of full time employees, then you would need to source for fund to finance the business because it is expensive to start a standard large scale laser tag game center.
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 startup capital for your laser tag game center;
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell of 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
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
It cannot be overemphasized that the location you chose to start your laser tag game center 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 love laser tag games and who have the required purchasing power and lifestyle.
If you make the mistake of starting your laser tag game center in an area where you will find it difficult to secure the required license, and accessing those who know how to play laser tag game, you will struggle to grow the business because you will spend more in promoting the business.
Most importantly, before choosing a location for your laser tag game center, ensure that you first conduct thorough feasibility studies and market survey. The possibility of you coming across similar business that just closed shop in the location you want to open yours can’t be ruled out. It is for this reason that it is very important to gather as much facts and figures before choosing a location to setup your own laser tag game center.
These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your laser tag game center;
- The demography of the location
- The demand for gaming services in the location
- The purchasing power of the residents of the location
- Accessibility of the location
- The number of laser tag game centers and related services in the leisure gaming and sports industry in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community/state
- Traffic, parking and security et al
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
On the average, there are no special technology/equipment needed to run this type of business except for laser tag guns, electronic vests and sensor headbands, inventory-management software and other relevant software applications. So also, you will definitely need computers, internet facility, telephone, fax machine and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves) amongst others and all these can be gotten as fairly used.
As regards leasing or outright purchase of a laser tag game 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 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.
When it comes to hiring employees for a standard laser tag game facility, you should make plans to hire a competent Chief Executive Officer/Manager (you can occupy this role), Admin and Human Resources Manager, Professional Laser Tag Game Instructors and Trainers, Sales and Marketing Officers, 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 laser tag game facility.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
The business services process as it relates to laser tag game facilities is straightforward and in most cases clearly defined. It is the duty of laser tag game instructors and trainers to help their clients safely play the laser tag game. They help their clients develop capability, capacity, productivity and performance as it relates to shooting skills et al.
Once a client enrolls in the laser tag game 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 and they can freely compete or play laser tag game with other people.
It is important to state that a laser tag game facility may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them efficiency and flexibility; the above stated laser tag game facility business process is not cast on stone.
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
- 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 laser tag game center 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 the laser tag game industry.
People and organizations will hire your services or make use of your laser tag game 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 laser tag game facility, 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.
Businesses these days are aware of the power of the internet and which is why they will do all they can to maximize the internet to market their services. In other words, a larger percentage of your marketing effort will be directed to internet users. Here are some of the platforms we will utilize to market your laser tag game facility;
- Introduce your laser tag game facility by sending introductory letters alongside our brochure to households, security companies, military, police, schools and other key stake holders within the location where your laser tag game facility is located
- Advertise your laser tag game facility in relevant business magazines, newspapers, TV and radio stations
- List your laser tag game facility on yellow pages ads (local directories)
- Attend relevant international and local expos, seminars, and business fairs et al
- Create different packages for different category of clients in order to work with their budgets and still help them acquire shooting skills
- Leverage on the internet to promote your laser tag game facility
- Join local chambers of commerce around you with the main aim of networking and marketing your laser tag game facility; you are likely going to get referrals from such networks
- Engage the services of marketing executives and business developers to carry out direct marketing
17. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
If your intention of starting a laser tag game 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 laser tag game facility;
- Place adverts on both print (newspapers and magazines) and electronic media platforms
- Sponsor relevant community based events
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your laser tag game facility
- 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 for your laser tag game facility
- Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
- Contact households, security companies, military, police and key stakeholders within the location where your laser tag game facility is located informing them about your business and the laser tag game facility services you offer
- List your laser tag game center facility in local directories
- Advertise your laser tag game 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 laser tag game facility is located
- Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles are branded with your company logo et al.
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