Nuther 'wanna build an indoor range' question

This is a discussion on Nuther 'wanna build an indoor range' question within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Not a frequent poster but I do read this forum quite a bit. I've been kicking around the idea of a FOR PROFIT indoor range. ...

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Thread: Nuther 'wanna build an indoor range' question

  1. #1
    New Member Array JumboShrimp's Avatar
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    Nuther 'wanna build an indoor range' question

    Not a frequent poster but I do read this forum quite a bit.

    I've been kicking around the idea of a FOR PROFIT indoor range. There are TONS of posts on all the forums (& I've been reading 'em for weeks!) about what a bad idea it is. Most talk about just how much it costs to do it right (several million) but there is no mention of how profitable it can be.

    Some of the High end / High Dollar ranges in major Metro areas are just short of palaces - beautiful, high tech works of art! I can't see how an investor or group of investors could have the 'stones' to build some of these and NOT be getting a significant R.O.I.

    I realize ya have to 'spend money to make money' but how much CAN ya make?

    And... If you could build THE perfect indoor range (club) what kinds of features SHOULD it have to attract as many customers as possible (Food?, Child care?, Retail store?, Classrooms?, Target systems?, LEO training areas?, ect, etc...)

    Thanks for any help -
    JS

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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array Smitty901's Avatar
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    First you need to check your local and state regs. Some have so many requirements for venting and clean up it is almost imposable to open a new one.
    You might be better off finding a Gun shop with a range to buy many cases they are grandfathered .
    Look at the ones Gander Mountain has opened nice set up but I hate to see the price tag.
    They offer a Wisconsin 6 hour CC class with range time for 100 bucks hard to compete with that.

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    I would start with 'market research' on successful indoor ranges and see what makes them attractive, and what they charge. Out here, I can think of two that are pretty successful - Scottsdale Gun Club (high end and pricey, but thriving) and Caswells in Mesa (AZ; pretty basic but always busy.)
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    New Member Array JumboShrimp's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replys
    I'm in the research phase now. My issue is that there are NO indoor ranges in my area. I'll either have to travel or call an owner & hope he's generous enough to give me some insider info.
    I've been in business for 33 years and 'understand' the things involved in running a business AS A BUSINESS. I've read a lot of stories where ... a guy likes shooting, retires, spends a bunch o money - Then treats it like a hobby. Seems to be a recipe for failure that happens all to often. If I'm gonna do this I need to be on top of it, be the best around, and give customers some value for their dollars - all while making sure I can pay the bills and put something in my pocket (or back into the business). That's why I asked for a 'wish list'.
    I noticed that this was my 1st post here - even though I joined in '09. So...
    My name's Mike, I EDC a CZ-PCR in a CB SuperTuck and I don't like where the USA is headed!

    I LOVE this forum! There's so many out there but this is one that is worth spending time on!
    Thanks again - any more input??

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    Quote Originally Posted by JumboShrimp View Post
    Not a frequent poster but I do read this forum quite a bit.

    I've been kicking around the idea of a FOR PROFIT indoor range. There are TONS of posts on all the forums (& I've been reading 'em for weeks!) about what a bad idea it is. Most talk about just how much it costs to do it right (several million) but there is no mention of how profitable it can be.Some of the High end / High Dollar ranges in major Metro areas are just short of palaces - beautiful, high tech works of art! I can't see how an investor or group of investors could have the 'stones' to build some of these and NOT be getting a significant R.O.I.

    I realize ya have to 'spend money to make money' but how much CAN ya make?

    And... If you could build THE perfect indoor range (club) what kinds of features SHOULD it have to attract as many customers as possible (Food?, Child care?, Retail store?, Classrooms?, Target systems?, LEO training areas?, ect, etc...)

    Thanks for any help -
    JS
    Several million is a very short estimate. A new range just opened here in Richmond. The cost of buying an existing building, renovation into a state of the arts range, including 32 general public lanes, 7 private lanes for upper level membership holders, a tactical range as well as a shoot house for police training, was between $12-13 million. There is also a café, gunsmith and large retail showroom.

    This is a long term investment. I imagine they will recoup most of the output from government contracts with local, state and federal LEO organizations.


    BTW welcome to the forum.
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    Senior Member Array DMan's Avatar
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    I used to frequent a range and became very good friends with the owner. He even offered me free membership because I would help him with some "chores". I remember him telling me when he and his father started the range. They had the option of retrofitting a building, or building from scratch. It was cheaper to build from scratch. There were two things that they complained about the most when it came to cost.

    1) The cost of removing the spent bullets from the backstop. They were required remove all the spent bullets every couple of months. The backstop they used (if I remember the engineering correctly) was reinforced concrete at approx a .45 degree angle backwards so ceiling was angled downward towards the floor as the deepest barrier. From there they had a about 6 inches of rubber mat placed over it (similar to rubber mats used in horse trailers or stalls made of recycled tire). From that they had 3 feet of finally ground rubber that was compressed with a 1 inch layer of rubber mat on top. This was very effective at stopping the bullets - but the cost of removing the build up of spent lead was expensive.

    2) Regulations required a MASSIVE air filter, which was "hospital quality". The regulations were supposedly there to protect from mercury vapors from the primers, and lead dust, and all the other EPA deemed evil substances. The filters had to be cleaned and maintenance performed on them after every xxx hours of operations. He complained about this all the time.

    He really wanted to keep the range costs down, so his costs were such that he made enough to break even on the range when the range was operating at 33% capacity. This did not count for upgrades or maintenance other than scheduled items. His greatest profit margin was in classes, selling of targets and accessories. His FFL business brought in an okay amount, but it wasn't his biggest profit margin.

    The classes included everything from CCW, basic Home Firearm Safety, marksmanship, but the most popular one was his reloading classes. After taking a reloading class you could "rent" a press in his reloading room to reload on. The renting of the reloading presses was stopped due to liability issues. Insurance was also pushing him to not allow reloaded ammo in the range, and wanted to force customers to only buy ammo he was selling to verify keep the liability of bad ammo down. He ended up putting up a sign that said "insurance requires that we ask you not use reloaded ammo in the range" Then he posted a comic strip on the door to the range that basically said insurance requirements were silly since we all grew up doing things that makes insurance companies faint.

    His dad retired after he had a heart attack, and after he passed away his son sold the business and the range. He made a great profit on the sale of the business and made the statement that money was IN the business, and business hardly made him a dime until he sold.

    The great part of the deal was that he was able to sell himself some of the guns that was inventory for a great price!
    "Gun Free Zones" is where only criminals carry guns.

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    Here's someplace to look: Whistling Pines Gun Club | Safe, Clean, Family-friendly and the only indoor shooting range in Colorado Springs 719 597-3456

    Take some time and develop a relationship with these folks and you might learn some. They've been in business going on....five years now?

  9. #8
    New Member Array JumboShrimp's Avatar
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    GREAT REPLIES!
    DMan, Good story. I'm kinda wondering why the son cashed out? Maybe he wasn't making a living?
    Rock/Glock - THAT place is what I was talking about - a PALACE! I can't imagine the Money he threw at that to get it off the ground BUT... He sure is doing it right - Clean, involve the family, legitimize shooting as a wholesome hobby / sport, Be WAY above the competition. I have relatives in Denver and next time I'm in CO I have to see it just to say I was THERE!
    I don't have the demographics in Central PA to do something THAT large but I sure would try to do it that RIGHT - very professional outfit
    Keep 'em coming - learning lots!

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    Ex Member Array barstoolguru's Avatar
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    location -location-location and cash lots of cash

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    I have relatives in Denver and next time I'm in CO I have to see it just to say I was THERE!
    Denver to Colorado Springs .75 hour minimum, 1.5 max, dependent exact locale.

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    Here's a website you can check out for the range in Richmond. I didn't think to mention yesterday, the building is 60,000 Sq Ft. It's only been open for a week, but it is packed everyday.

    About CSA | Colonial Shooting Academy
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  13. #12
    Member Array JustinApple's Avatar
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    Someone else you might want to talk to, who built his from the ground up.. Dr. Ignatius Piazza
    I'm a Lifetime Member & supporter, in 16 years I believe www.frontsight.com
    Has done more for our rights & trains more in a month than most all the rest combined in a year.

  14. #13
    Senior Member Array DMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JumboShrimp View Post
    GREAT REPLIES!
    DMan, Good story. I'm kinda wondering why the son cashed out? Maybe he wasn't making a living?
    He sold the business after he lost his father, and was going through some health issues with his child. He left me with the impression that the offer was excellent and he told me he felt it was time to focus on more important things, like his family. Outside of that he didn't disclose much of his personal life.
    "Gun Free Zones" is where only criminals carry guns.

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