If you have a dream of running a safe and fun shooting range, we’re here to help you get started! The ticket to success is not to underestimate the amount of planning, funding, and long-range thinking you’ll need.
From the location to local laws to securing funding, keep reading for the basic guidelines on how to start and run a successful shooting range from the very beginning.
1. Choose Your Type of Range
Owning a shooting range first begins with choosing the type because this will determine the local laws and regulations you’ll need to follow. Here are three of the shooting range types:
- Indoor ranges
- Outdoor ranges
- Hybrid ranges
There are pros and cons to each type that you’ll need to investigate. For instance, indoor ranges are able to be used by shooters during any type of weather. However, noise that can damage a person’s hearing is a concern as well as lead contamination.
Outdoor ranges don’t cost as much to build, but there are noise pollution issues as well as the constant threat of inclement weather.
2. State Requirements
Once you choose the type of gun range you’d like to build, you’ll need to do extensive research on your state’s requirements, laws, and regulations. You’ll also find that your city’s requirements may be different than the state’s.
Zoning laws restrict where gun ranges can be built. It’s important to work with city officials in order to determine where your shooting range can be built, as this can vary from city to city.
Renting or selling firearms requires Federal Firearms Licensing (FFL). You’ll need to pay an upfront fee for your license as well as renew it every three years at a reduced rate.
3. Start-Up Costs
It’s important to do as much research into the start-up costs of your shooting range as possible. When it comes to indoor ranges, you’ll find that they’re the most expensive because adequate noise protection and ventilation are needed in order to keep everyone safe.
Outdoor ranges are less expensive, but you’ll still be investing in barriers, bullet catchers, target systems, and more.
4. Business Planning
You need to have an extensive business plan in place even before you begin building and running a shooting range. This is what will help your business run smoothly throughout the years as you increase revenue and make a name for yourself.
This starts with deciding on pricing that shooters are happy to pay, whether this is through membership rates, hourly rates, or a combination. You may also want to include other services such as:
- Rentable rooms
- Firearm sales
- And more
This can help differentiate yourself from competitors as well as increase your revenue.
5. Securing Funding
Just like with any business, you need to be able to secure additional funding in order to get through the first couple of years. According to a study by the Small Business Administration, one-third of new businesses aren’t able to survive the two-year mark.
By planning ahead and securing reliable funding ahead of time, your shooting range business can become one of the exceptions.
You’ll want to have funding from multiple sources, though the best place to start is with your own personal savings. This is because you won’t have to worry about interest rates that can inflate the costs over time.
You’ll also want to consider if any friends or family are willing to chip in or become potential business partners. Here are a few other sources you’ll need to consider:
- Grant applications
- Community investment
Investors can be an attractive source of funding because you won’t have to worry about interest or paying them back either. However, you’ll need to be willing to give up a certain percentage of your profits to any investors.
6. Keeping It Safe
One of the most important aspects of a shooting range is keeping it safe over time. You’ll want to have a consistent schedule for shooting range maintenance which includes checking HVAC systems and air filters regularly if you have an indoor range.
This also means offering classes for beginner gun owners. Every customer that uses your shooting range should be well aware of your safety guidelines, which means introductory classes, proper signage, and protective gear.
Last but not least, you need to be aware of OSHA guidelines for shooting ranges to keep your employees safe. Make sure you hire employees that are already familiar with guns and gun safety so that they can be an extra safety measure for your customers.
7. Daily Operations
Along with your business plan, you’ll want to have a good idea of what should be happening each day in order for your shooting range to run smoothly. This includes weekly, monthly, or quarterly shooting range cleaning services that ensure that your range is clean and safe.
This also means having good documentation in place for each of their employees. They’ll need to be clear on their daily duties and what’s expected of them for each day.
8. Branding and Promotion
Last but not least, every business needs a marketing plan for branding and promotion. As a new business, you need to be able to brand yourself in a memorable way in order to stand out from the competition.
You’ll also need to promote and advertise your business through digital channels in order to get your name on the map.
Running a Shooting Range the Right Way
As you can see, running a shooting range successfully is almost like any other business. However, shooting ranges present more challenges because you want to ensure that your clients and employees are safe at all times.
This means keeping up on weekly maintenance as well as stressing the importance of gun safety through quality classes and consistent signage throughout the range.
Ready for more tips on running businesses effectively? Keep reading our blog for more informative articles!