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Old February 2, 2011, 02:08 PM   #12
Senior Member
Join Date: February 23, 2005
Posts: 12,921
I think the struggles you're having are pretty typical ...especially with some members thinking the rules don't apply to them, etc.

A couple of observations....

a. Having more members doesn't mean the club is more prone to accidents. Its usually the "mentality" of the members and guests on safety that causes the problems. One member on a Skeet field / loading 3 shells in a pump gun the kind of thing that is seen by many people ...and then it becomes the "norm" ....( even though it violates the safety rules of Skeet - and of the club probably ).

b. Having a range open to the "public" does often make it more dangerous / because you're going to get all kinds of people, all kinds of gun handling discipline ( or lack thereof ), and all kinds of shooters - that want to do their own thing. If you have a "public" range might need an orientation, a waiver sheet, better rule posting, etc ....and range safety officers moving around the facility making sure everything is ok...

c. Allowing members to bring guests - is probably ok / especially if they have to sign them in and will be held responsible for them. You might want to limit the number of guests a yr / a member can bring in....

d. the issue of "all members" have to work / serve on the board ...makes no sense to me. I understand the idea of spreading out the work ...but I would lean more toward giving the guys that do the work something ( a break on dues, target fees, etc ) rather than insisting everyone do something. What are you going to do with a member that has a bad back, a bad shoulder, someone who works 6 days a week .... Some guys have more spare time, live closer, etc ...and choose to participate ....and some don't ...but shutting them out of membership makes no sense to me.

e. Every gun club needs money / and if you have members that don't use it - but still pay ...its actually a good thing. I don't understand the concept of limiting membership --- unless its so crowded on primary shooting days ---that you have to wait a long time to shoot. Then I can see that you would have to limit the membership / based on the size of the facility.

f. If you adopt the same attitude as any business .... make sure you have contingency funds left over every year(say 20% of your annual operating budget ) in savings .....make sure you have a good liability insurance policy, make sure you have good property insurance, pay the utilities, pay someone to cut the grass, etc ....then it just makes more sense to me ....

If you have to raise the range fees - then you should do that.

I belong to 2 clubs now ( used to belong to 5 clubs at one time - 3 shotgun clubs, 1 rifle & handgun club, 1 handgun club) ...and I cut back. One is a shotgun only club - Trap, Skeet, Sporting / and one is an indoor range ( mostly handgun ). Life membership was about $1,000 for each ....and then I pay target fees at the shotgun club / lanes are free to me as a member at the handgun club. Both clubs are open to the public as well / but we have some areas that are reserved for members. Shotgun is all volunteers - and has all kind of issues...and politics...and is constantly hurting for money. The handgun club is professionally owned and run strictly with employees - and has lots of money. Neither club limits the number of members. At the handgun club / on busy days - members have priority for shooting lanes over non-members and members pay nothing to rent a lane. Non members pay about $ 15 to rent a lane.../ if they come in as a guest, its about $10 vs $ 15 ..... The handgun club is set up to encourage membership - tells everyone up front a non-member you'll pay more / but if you only shoot twice a year're better off not being a member / and they charge accordingly. The handgun club has about 12 employees that work the range / 4 full time ...and 8 or so, that are part time range safety officers. He uses a lot of retired guys as full time he doesn't need to pay a lot of money in benefits. Part time guys get no benefits ... It keeps him competitive. He's very busy / and its a good safe place to shoot. I go about twice a week for 3 or so hours at a time.... I go to the shotgun club once a week for about 5 hours.

I don't think there is an easy answer to this ...but you have to look at the bottom line ...and grow the revenue ...whether its with the "public" or with memberships --- or both.
BigJimP is offline  
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