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Starting a Paintball Field

Fore-warning

In these pages, I'm going to tell the real story about starting a paintball field, and paintball store - and for some that think they can make a million dollars in paintball because they "love paintball", I'm going to give you a reality check. Maybe you'll simply learn from this that you should not try to open a paintball field - and that's fine. Or maybe you'll think I don't have a clue - and that's fine too. But I'm going to put it down as I see it.

This will almost be more of a Business Blog than a book, and depending on when you visit - there may not be much info here... it's a work in progress, and I will probably be going back, editing, adding, and re-arranging this information as I go through this process.

Foreword

I have owned an indoor paintball field for 8 years now. When I was getting ready to start my indoor paintball field, it seemed as though there was not a lot of handy information available on how to go about doing this. I found some good resources on some paintball forums, like PBNation.com Field/Store Owners and starting posting there, asking questions, and offering thoughts on what I was doing. Unfortunately, it turned out that a lot of the folks posting there - did not really know much. As with a lot of internet forums, you have to weed out information that is coming from someone who knows what they are talking about, and a 12 year old kid that is talking a big story, and pretending to know much more than he does.

Having a pretty extensive business background, I was able to sort through the trash and treasures, and glean some good information. As I went through my startup, I also posted many comments on our progress and learning process. I received many comments from other field owners, and individuals who were trying to start fields, that thanked me for my insight and information.

I offered a standing invitation to anyone to visit our facility that was contemplating opening an indoor field - and I leave that offer on the table, and have had several people take me up on it - stopping by to see how our facility was run, and the different procedures we have put in place from staging, security, cleaning, etc. I also receive numerous emails and personal messages from people asking questions, and have had several ask if I have compiled all my posts into one place that they could go through to learn from our success and mistakes.

If is from these requests, that I have decided to write these pages, and post them as I go. I want to point out that I do not claim to know it all when it comes to paintball. This is not about paintball. This is about business. In fact, I've played very little paintball myself. Perhaps a few dozen games in my life. Going in to this business I knew I did not have a vast paintball background - but being able to look at a business model from an outside view may have helped - not hurt our success. And I made sure I hired guys that knew paintball to work for me, and I learned a lot - and used their information and advice when creating the business.

And while I'm going to concentrate on our indoor paintball field, a lot of the information I'm going to talk about could be applied to an outdoor field, and for that matter - a lot can translate to any business.

As I said, "It's business." And that I have experience in. So a here's a quick section on:

About the Author - Larry Dague



So going back in history, after graduating high school, I took a stab at college... lasted about a year and a half, and decided instead to be a full time traveling road musician. I did that for 6 years, then settled in Dallas. Soon after, I realized, no one wanted to hire someone with no degree whose work experience on a resume consisted of "Played Guitar and Bass" so I started my own business. I had a referral service for musicians - helping guys find a guitarist, or singer, etc. Then started a rehearsal studio where bands could practice. About 4 years later, since I was a Scuba Diver, I invented a little scuba product called a Scuba Tool and filed a patent on it and started a manufacturing company making and selling it. I sold that company after 3 years, then a short stint working corporate america as a computer tech support guy (the one you'd call when your new computer wouldn't boot) and quit that after about 7 months.

Since I was still into the scuba thing, I got a job working at a dive shop, where the customer service was so bad, I decided I could do better, so I opened up my own dive shop. Starting that on a shoe string budget ($5,000) it has grown to one of the largest dedicated dive shops in the country ScubaToys.com, with annual sales in the 5+ million range. Because of the success of the dive shop, I won Cisco's Growing with Technology Award for Sales & Marketing, been written up in Business Week, Entrepreuneur Magazine, UPS Magazine, The Dallas Business Journal, and The Wall Street Journal to name a few.

Presently, I own both ScubaToys.com, and GatSplat.com, and run several other websites. I also do work for companies in Search Engine Optomization and do speaking and consulting for different companies and organizations on customer service, business, and internet stratagies for businesses, both domestically, and as far away as Australia (where I'm heading next week).


I welcome your comments and suggestions as I go through this - and if you would like to send a note with your thoughts or comments - good or bad, feel free. You can reach me at Info@GatSplat.com.

So here comes the big question...

Can I learn enough about this and start my own?? Or should I buy a franchise?








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