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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am thinking about starting a sporting clay, skeet, trap, and sporting goods facility. I have around 120 acres of land to build on. The area where the facility would be is 15 mi. from a town with 60k population and three other towns (around the same distance) with 5 to 8k population each. I would like to here from some owners of a sporting clay facilities in areas around the same size. Is there opportunity to make a living (my goal would be 40k net +)? What are some the biggest problems I will encounter? How much money can I expect to spend? Does anyone know where I can get a copy of a sample business plan?
I am not serious enough for a consultant yet, so any info is appreciated, but if must be free info for now.
 

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Check into insurance before you get too caried away. I am the treasurer for the local archery club and it's our biggest expense.
 
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Can't say how it is in your state, but here in Illinois a person interested in starting a small business can contact the SBA (small business administration) for free advise and may even be directed to seminars, etc put on by some of the local community colleges. These would only address the general things like taxes, regulations,etc, but most of the people who work for SBA can direct you to others who have the knowledge you seek. I know that a neighbor of mine started a club a few years ago, and no one gave it a chance of working due to the low population base. One of his best sources of info is an association for range owners. I'll bet that a search of the internet would turn up a surprising amount of info for you at little or no cost.
 

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One thing you should consider doing is filing as a non-profit corporation, and you lease the land used for the shooting facility to the non-profit corporation.

You draw a salary from the non-profit corporation, and you can even file for a 501 C3 corporation, or file as a conservation group with a gun club.

If you file as a non-profit corporation you can, LITERALLY, get all your trap machines for FREE through a technique called, "directed brokerage".

Further, in this regard, range script (shooting tickets of 10 on a card) are a very good form of secondary capital, and since a round of clays usually goes for about $4.50 you can trade those tickets with a 4 to 1 ratio so there is a VERY GOOD barter business associated with a range. My company barters Beretta shotguns to shooting ranges and they love it. Once you understand barter, you would almost open the range just to get the secondary capital.

If you have the hotel rooms in the area, and some recreational facilities, I have, recently, become facinated by the ranges that have 15 skeet fields, and their ability to attract tournament shoots....like the Vintage shoots. It would be interesting to talk to a place not affiliated with a hotel/resort operation like at Ft. Bragg in North Carolina (they have 15 fields and they host Vintage shoots). It's kind of like providing a convention facility or a race track for events.

There are tons of revenue streams associated with a shooting range, and I would spend at least $15000 on consulting services before I even considered opening a range. Wonderful business if you can get one zoned, and your population base is sufficient to support a range. The association of ranges will give you excellent figures.

One last point. Another source is to go to the reference section of your library, and get a BOOK OF RATIOS. Several companies print them, and they will give you the proper operating ratios of about 85 shooting ranges THAT MAKE A PROFIT, and do it by size...gross sales.

One thing you should consider if you are going to open a range at this time in history. Because the lead issue has gone to the supreme court of some states, I don't think you will ever be closed down because of lead issues. However, not just in shooting sports, but all of industry, will be forced, in the next 10 years (we predict it will be a watershed movement) to RECYCLE. So figure out now, how to recycle primarily the shells, as they are now doing in some of the California ranges. The lead can be mined and the clays are biodegradeable. Extensive use of bio clays may be polluting? Don't know.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I am trying to research sporting clay facilities, or skeet and trap ranges that have a population of less than 100,000 in their surrounding areas, and do not have a popular vacation spot (such as beach, casino, theme park) close by. This will give me a good idea if I can make this project work.

I would like to here from any of you that shoot at ranges that fit this description.

I need data like,

1) Are most of the customers local?

2) How do they advertise?

3) How many skeet are thrown per year?

4) How many boxes of shells are sold?

5) What is the percent of member vs guest?

I have contacted the NRA, NASR, NSSF, AND NSCA with very vary little help!
The lease help was from the NRA (which I am a proud member of)!
The NRA basically said attend there conferences on shooting ranges, and try out the other organizations.
 

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I helped organized a shooting club back in 1981. We incorporated in 1987, bought 20.6 acres of land and affiliated our club with the NRA. We have the NRA insureance. Started out with a 50 yard handgun range then on to a 100,200,300 yard rifle range. We've just added a 10 station manual trap sporting clays and a 5-stand auto promatic traps in the last few years. We're up to 118 members now, the clays have really helped our membership grow. All for $40 a year with a one time $200 payment due within a 4 year period. We don't have a lodge, but it's a nice place to shoot. Bring your own clays or paper targets and have a blast. Looking back now, if I only made the investment and opened the range myself I think it would have grown into a good investment. Shotgun sports is growning, get into the circuit and throw good targets and not charge to much to shoot and the people will come. I just helped with a NRA sporting clays shoot, which 110 shooters came @ $125 each. Got to give away good prizes. Some shooters were out of state. Do your homework check other ranges and get all the info you can. Hope this helps and good luck. Keith
 
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