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Old April 8, 2013, 04:03 PM   #26
stephen426
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As for amenities, we are thinking about offering force on force traiing with Airsoft. A couple of ideas I had was renting a high speed camera and having a "wet" area for people to blow stuff up and film it at high speed. I know high speed cams aren't cheap, but I think it would be a cool feature. We can offer specials on it to maximize its usage.

One other thought is projected targets. There are a few systems out there that actually track where the shots go. I want to have fun activities such as bowling pin matches and speed matches. If possible, I want to have 2 seperate sections so we can do the traditional range and the other stuff at the same time. Range safety is always the top priority so it is best to keep that stuff isolated.
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Old April 8, 2013, 04:08 PM   #27
Aguila Blanca
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You lost me. You want to indulge in all sorts of gee-whiz gadgetry but you appear unwilling to entertain the idea of installing either a contemporary bullet trap backstop OR a state-of-the-art ventilation/exhaust system.

Sorry to be playing the Dutch uncle role, but IMHO your priorities are all messed up.
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Old April 8, 2013, 05:24 PM   #28
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Looking into opening a gun range in South Florida

Well that escalated quickly.
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Old April 8, 2013, 05:32 PM   #29
stephen426
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Quote:
You lost me. You want to indulge in all sorts of gee-whiz gadgetry but you appear unwilling to entertain the idea of installing either a contemporary bullet trap backstop OR a state-of-the-art ventilation/exhaust system.

Sorry to be playing the Dutch uncle role, but IMHO your priorities are all messed up.
I never said I wouldn't entertain the idea traditional backstops or HVAC systems. I just thought my idea was innovative and possibly more efficient. If conventional bullet traps are as effective and cost efficent, then we will go that route. We have already spoken with HVAC providers for the range. I was trying to be innovative again since the energy costs will be pretty high. We have a cooling tower on a commercial building we own, but I can see there being some serious restrictions of running the contaminated water through there. My initial thought was that the heavier particals would sink to the bottom.

I am ready to go fully conventional with this range, but I wanted to offer unique features that would draw in additional people. As gun enthusiasts, we enjoy the sport of shooting. I want to create something that appeals to the general population and draws in new shooters.
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Old April 8, 2013, 05:36 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Constantine
Well that escalated quickly.
I have no issues with honest feedback. I believe that Aguila may have read into some things more than he should have, but that is fine with me. I can get scatter brained sometimes so a reality check is welcome. If this makes sense financially, we are more than ready to do it.
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Old April 8, 2013, 05:55 PM   #31
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I can't say enough good things about my range. You pay yearly for complete access. We can go as much as we want for free. We get guest passes (each guest can come 3 times before having to pay, I think). We joined shortly after the Newtown incident and managed to beat the ban panic by a week or so and now their membership list is full and they have a waiting list 3-6 months long. They also sell ammo at a reasonable enough price when they have it (it goes to members only, I believe). They also offer CCW classes, NRA first steps classes etc. as well as private tutoring, 3 different private marksmanship instructors on hand (civilian, law enforcement, and military backgrounds) and they teach advanced tactics classes like house defense, exiting/defending a vehicle, etc. The owner told me about one course where he has the students use red dot scopes with the lens cap on and makes them superimpose it over the target. But anyways these are some of the things I love about my range that make me feel the atmosphere, not just a place to go shoot at paper. Maybe there's something you can take away from that but I don't see it bringing in as much money as an hourly range fee at first.
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Old April 8, 2013, 06:26 PM   #32
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Thanks for the ideas dakota!

My idea is to offer memberships as well which can be monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, and anually. I will have to figure out how many memberships to allow so I don't over-sell the range. I am pretty sure that I will do fixed hours though since it allows me to control the usage a little better. I will offer discounted rates above the included membership hours.

I like the idea of discounted ammo for members. We can basically set up a fixed discount for members or even membership levels. A bronze membership can include 5 hours of range time and a 5% discount on ammo, targets, and accesories. A silver membership could include 10 hours of range time, a bring a friend pass, and a 10% discount. A gold membership could offer 15 or 20 hours of range time along with the same level of discount and 2 bring a friend passes. We could set up a platinum membership that allows for unlimited range time and a 25% discount. We can probably set up certain discounts for buying longer memberships.

We are looking to partner up with some local reloading companies so we can have ammo. I plan on having a grate type system that collects the brass. If the guest wishes to save their brass, we will provide something to cover the grates. I am thinking about having a converyer type system that collects all of the brass on one side. That way, you will not be standing all over your brass when you shoot.
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Old April 8, 2013, 07:49 PM   #33
Glenn E. Meyer
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I've read that a range with female friendly facilities can increase business by 20%. Also, to do quality training means the instructors must be of quality. With no offense, is such a staff available? Good FOF takes planning. There are some good instructor courses out there.

I'm also not big on being hit on for a big get membership push when I go in. I shoot different things and competition is important. Thus, I'm not going to tie up several hundred dollars in one. It's like a gym contract. I'd rather pay a reasonable drop-in fee. Static ranges are fun but one quickly can outgrow them. Can you conceive of indoor competitions.

About back stops - conside the ceiling. I took my daughter shooting at an indoor range and she pointed to the ceiling above us. Swiss cheese.
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Old April 8, 2013, 08:41 PM   #34
BigD_in_FL
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The South Florida Shooting Club up the road in Palm City has a various-level membership:

http://stuartshootingclub.com/?page_id=14

This is an outdoor sporting clays club, but you can see how their offerings go up with the higher level membership

One thing - if you sell memberships but are also open to drop-ins, members should get firing line priority, possibly using a reservation system. I would be ticked if I was a dues-paying member and non-members were able to shoot and I wasn't
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Old April 8, 2013, 10:30 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigDinFL
One thing - if you sell memberships but are also open to drop-ins, members should get firing line priority, possibly using a reservation system. I would be ticked if I was a dues-paying member and non-members were able to shoot and I wasn't
I feel exactly the opposite. The range where I shoot has annual and six-month memberships, and is also open to the general public on a by-the-hour basis. I don't mind if the place is full when I get there, and I don't mind my name being placed on the same waiting list as the non-members. Among other things, I want the place to stay in business. If the owner boots an hourly shooter to give me priority, he doesn't make any extra money from me (except a buck for the target I'll buy -- if I didn't bring my own). If I'm willing to wait for a naturally-occurring opening, the owner gets the full benefit of the hourly shooters, which helps to ensure that the range will stay in business.

Besides, shooting is only part of the experience. I go as much to hang out and chew the fat as I do to shoot. The range is 45 minutes to an hour from my house (one way), depending on traffic. There have been times when I've driven over and spent so much time jawing that I just never got around to shooting -- and NOT because the place was booked up. In fact, with ten active lanes it rarely IS booked up, unless an instructor has reserved half the range for a class, and on Saturdays and Sundays. During the week, it's almost unheard of to have to wait for an open lane.
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Old April 8, 2013, 11:34 PM   #36
stephen426
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Wow BigDin! The membership fees are insane! I don't think we would be anywhere near that range (pun intended)!

As I mentioned, I plan on having a reservation system in place. If they don't show up or show up late,it goes against their allotted hours. For platinum level members, we might have to set maximum blocks. While memberships will certainly help us recoup our investment more quickly, I want to make the range welcoming to walk-ins.

Thank you Glenn for the suggestion. We will probably have to do some kind of ladies night to attract more female shooters. The clean bathroom comment makes a lot of sense too.

Please keep the comments coming!
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Old April 8, 2013, 11:47 PM   #37
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Also, in the area of Palm City (Stuart), is a new shooting range that is state of the art. It actually has a 75 yard lane about 8 lanes total. What is interesting is they sell at 19 a hour for the lane (2 people max) BUT if you rent a gun it's 10 dollars a hour and you can switch a gun during that hour for no cost. Whether it's a SR9 or a S&W 15 you can switch it on the fly, which I believe generates some additional ammo purchasing (Their ammo is just over Walmart pricing) as they even have a Desert Eagle and a Casull. :P They also have some comfy couches behind bulletproof/soundproof glass surveying the range and you can switch people as long as you keep 2 to the lane. What's nice so they generate even more business is they leased out a space to a gunshop, essentially getting the benefit of "I want to shoot my new gun now" without the additional overhead.

Lotus Gunworks in Jensen also is opening a new range in two weeks with a long range (not sure 75 yard or 100) on bottom and a second story with 25 yard lanes. Given the heights they actually listed it as a mezzanine keeping it from being a 2 story building and also making it handicap accessible only to the bottom floor. Not sure on pricing as of yet.

Either way, when you open up I'll be sure to make the trip to check it out.


EDIT: Forgot to mention, the new gunrange in stuart does not allow steel core, armor piercing or any sort of incendiary ammo. However, they check all the round types that go into the range, if a magnet they have attaches to it they will not allow it. So any TULA with steel jackets sometimes will not pass.

Did some looking, this is pretty interesting read as far as their bullet trap at Lotus.


http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/201...t-bullet-trap/

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Old April 9, 2013, 04:22 AM   #38
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BlueEyeVisage,

Funny that the article mentions Action Target since that is what my partner showed me the other day. I guess there is no need for me to recreate the wheel! Broward has so many ranges, but Dade county is so under-served.

The range in Palm City sounds interesting. Is it the Stuart Shooting Center? We plan on hitting a bunch of different ranges to get ideas but Stuart is a bit of a haul. 8 lanes sounds way too small to me though. (Stuart Shooting Center listed it at 10 stalls) I imagine there would be a lot of waiting. At $19 an hour, they max out at $190 an hour in lane rental. If they charge just a little more than Walmart, they probably only make a couple of bucks each box they sell. Lets say that brought it up to $25 per hour per revenue and they operated at full capacity. That would be $250/hour x 10(?) hours = $2500/ day max unless they sold guns and incidentals. In reality, I imagine a range would be hard pressed to be occupied more than 65% of the time (total number of lanes x total hours of operation/ amount of lane hours rented). That would be $1625/day or just under $600K a year.

Lotus Gunworks sounds pretty cool. We may have to make a trip up after all! I'll message you if we go up. It would be great to meet fellow TFLers in person?

Thanks for the encouragement!
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Old April 9, 2013, 04:55 AM   #39
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I'm going to make some assumptions here since I need to "test" the feasibility of or business plan. I would loveh some input from people who work at or have worked at a range.

Proposed operating hours: 10 am to 10 pm 7 days a week

Weekday Daytime: 10 am - 6:00 pm (8 hours) Operate at 50% capacity
Weekday Night Time: (Monday - Thursday) 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm @ 85%
Weekend: Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday @ 95% 10:00 am - 10:00 pm

If we can meet those percentages, the range would be operating at just over 70% of total rentable time.

Fixed costs: Rent, Interest, Permits, Insurance, Monthly Maintenance

Variable costs: HVAC, Labor, Utilities

I am sure the operating cost of the HVAC will be insane since we need to use 100% fresh air.

I estimate we will need 3 employees on average to run the range. We will need at least 3 - 4 range safety officers to cover all of the hours ($12 - $15/hr?). We will need 8 - 10 employees to cover the front counter ($8 - $10/hr). We will need a GM and an AM to cover all of the hours.

I know I am missing a ton of things so please fill in the blanks guys!
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Old April 9, 2013, 06:32 AM   #40
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To respond to the usage percentages, we need to know how many lanes you'll have.
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Old April 9, 2013, 10:11 AM   #41
stephen426
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I would like to have a 15 - 20 lanes. I don't want to make the stalls too small, but the number of warehouses that have the length to allow for 25 yards + shooting booth + walkway are not as plentiful. I would also like to keep the firing line in one direction to simplify the range backing and HVAC air movement. I think a good compromise would be about 18 lanes. I would probably split it up with either 8 and 10 lanes or maybe even 12 and 6 lanes. If it is 15 lanes, it will be 10 and 5. I think the split makes it much more convenient for other activities such as classes or competitions. We could also shut down one side when it is slow to save energy.

What do you guys think?
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Old April 9, 2013, 12:44 PM   #42
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Clean restrooms, possibly a snack bar and area away from the noise where folks can take a break, maybe even small lockers that folks can either use or rent for a term - that way, if they want, they could leave some items there like ear and eye protection, targets, etc.
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Old April 9, 2013, 05:38 PM   #43
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my input....

I read over your new topic & I have a few random points.

Do you have a business name yet? Also I saw a firm in the west coast that is looking for franchisees for a firearms range/simulation area for regular citizens.

I'm not sure of the name but its a interesting concept.
I'd only allow lead free or frangible type training rounds for the indoor ranges. It's less toxic and less wear & tear on the structure.
Lead and other pollutants can cause problems over time.
I'd have armed staff & security too. Armed robbers & a few sucides took.place at gun ranges in my area. A top security/CCTV system would be needed too.

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Old April 9, 2013, 06:47 PM   #44
stephen426
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@ ClydeFrog

We are still tossing around a few ideas for names. I will talk with my partner and see if he feel comfortable sharing them over the internet before trademarking them. I will look into the franchise concept, but I feel it will have little to offer since they are out in the West coast. What are they really providing other than their image. Their brand means nothing out here. I don't like the idea of paying a franchise fee and royalty to someone when we can do it ourselves. In fact, I am trying to develop something that is franchisable.

As for restricting patrons to lead free or fangible ammo only, I feel that it will severely hurt business. I know that it will be cheaper for us in terms of HVAC requirements and back stops, but frangible and lead free ammo isn't cheap or readily available. I believe that carry guns should be shot with carry ammo to ensure functionality. How would they do that in our range?

All ranges that I go to have armed staff. That is pretty much the norm and we plan on following that. We will have a CCTV system, but I know how to install that stuff myself. I have installed over 20 systems myself so that should be a breeze. We had a suicide at a range near me as well. You can have all the CCTV systems in the world and it will not make a difference. The sames goes for preventing murder/suicide which happened in Casselbery, FL. A mother shot her son in the back of the head and then turned the gun on herself.

I guess that is why you need a bulletproof (pun intended) waiver. There is always the possibility of individual lanes with individual entrances, with bullet proof barriers in between them, but that would take up a lot more room and cost a whole lot more.
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Old April 9, 2013, 09:18 PM   #45
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CP-TED...

Those are valid points, I'd design a hard target or use what security experts & law enforcement call CP-TED(Cep-Ted) or crime prevention thru environmental design. Smash & grab plans and take-down style armed robberies are more common. Crooks steal a vehicle than ram it into a gun shop or range.
Reig's a training center, gun range and FFL holder/shop had a armed robbery where a armed mgr shot 3 violent thugs then about 2mo later the same location had a smash in theft late at night. This shop was in metro Orlando FL.

CF
ps: there are a few Florida based shooting sports firms; www.serbu.com www.magsafeonline.com Knight's Armament Corp(KAC).
I'd offer a 10% discount too for veterans, first responders, corrections, and maybe valid NRA members.
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Old April 10, 2013, 05:04 PM   #46
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Quote:
... We are most probably looking to rent a building and convert it rather than building from scratch. ...
Not to rain on your parade, but I would not be very interested in leasing one of my commercial buildings for a shooting range, for a couple of reasons.

First, the alterations to the building to accommodate this type of use would likely make the building unusable for anything else. A lessee would have to make some financial arrangement where I was assured beyond doubt that the cost of removing the equipment and restoring the building would not be on me.

Second, I wouldn't want to be left with a hazardous waste mess when the range goes belly up. A lessee would have to make some financial arrangement where I was assured beyond doubt that the cost of remediating lead and any other contaminants would not be on me.

That said, I'm also toying with the idea of dozing a dilapidated property I have and putting in an indoor range. Most of the owners I've talked to felt they needed a "pro" shop (gun sales and the like) to be profitable. They also looked to be using that prefab equipment in the link above.

It's a big investment, the returns on which look marginal, frankly, to me, particularly if you have to pay people to manage / run it. You have an advantage in being in a densely populated area. I don't do partners, so the risk of the whole thing would be on me.
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Old April 10, 2013, 08:10 PM   #47
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Don't forget to include security costs, clean-up costs, depending on your county, there could be extra planning costs if you add a driveway or parking lot not currently there - new land don't forget to subtract for the DRA - that could mean 20% of the property; trash disposal/removal; recycling, repair costs for equipment damaged

If you are going to have classes, you should have a classroom
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Old April 11, 2013, 05:59 AM   #48
stephen426
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@ Win:

While I can certainly understand your concerns, the environmentals regs are pretty tough so I dont think it is as bad as you make it out to be. The bullets (lead) will be collected by the backstop. The HVAC has to bring in 100% fresh air and The exhaust air has to be filtered. The backstop, lanes, and target carriers can be ripped out as easily as they were installed. We are meeting with a consultant on Saturday to get more information.

We have been in talks with the owner of an industrial building already and he is okay with its use. He mentioned that it isn't his first choice, but he won't lease to another gym (2 gyms already closed down there). A good friend of mine is a real estate agent that specializes in commercial/industrial real estate. I told him to keep an eye out for us when we are ready.
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Old April 11, 2013, 06:18 AM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigDinFL
Don't forget to include security costs, clean-up costs, depending on your county, there could be extra planning costs if you add a driveway or parking lot not currently there - new land don't forget to subtract for the DRA - that could mean 20% of the property; trash disposal/removal; recycling, repair costs for equipment damaged

If you are going to have classes, you should have a classroom
Security Costs: Range Officers and Manager on Duty will be openly carrying.

Clean-up Costs: I listed this as monthly maintenance. I'm sure I will need to hire a cleaning company for regular cleaning including the bathrooms, floors, etc.

Planning: This remains one of our biggest concerns. My partner has had preliminary discussions with the city, but the review process takes a lot of time. I spoke with the owner of the building and he understands. We are working out a timeline where the initial rents are lower and then ramp up once the range opens. If for some reason or other things do not get approved, all rent paid to that poin is forfeited but we are able to walk from the lease. Coincidentally, the building owner is a shooter and he is very good friends with my real estate agen friend. We also plan on approaching local police departments to offer use of the range since the three departments surrounding the property do not have their own range. That will probably help immensely.

Parking is a bit of a concern as the site we are looking at has limited parking. There are a lot of properties nearby that we could make arrangements with since they only operate during the day.

I'm not sure what DRA is but I'm going to guess it is some sort of impact fee. I'm not sure what kind of fee the city can tack on since we do not need to bring in any new utilities or infrastructure changes. Besides, the space was leased out to 2 gyms before that.

Trash removal is no big deal as we own commercial real estate and already deal with that.

Maintenance and repairs to equipment is also a pretty common thing. We plan on using a rail type target carrier system so it is much more durable.

Thanks for the feedback and ideas everyone! We are going to be visiting a couple of ranges this weekend to get some more ideas. I'll keep you guys posted!
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Old April 11, 2013, 01:00 PM   #50
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DRA is a Drainage Retention Area - you know, those big open pits in prime real estate areas that become an open sewer with a heavy rain. IF you were going to build on raw land, that would become a consideration. The area allotted is based on a formula that takes into account the non-permeable footprint you intend to build - having big parking lots means a big DRA as the rain runoff has to go somewhere

By cleanup - I was thinking the daily cleanup of the range area where you might have lead dust on the floor, the components from spent primers, etc. You just don't have your high-school help take a broom and start sweeping
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