Securing an appropriate location
Locating a site
If you don’t own 10 – 100 acres of empty land in a well zoned area, finding a site
for your business is of utmost priority. This is the basis and one of the most important
parts of starting your paintball business that will determine half your popularity
and sales. It may appear to be that many rural areas are suitable, but that isn’t
the case. You will at first need to make sure there aren’t any neighborhoods too
close by that may be disturbed by all the noise. You will need to get government
permission and ascertain the location isn’t zoned for anything specific (mining,
neighborhoods) or there aren’t any animals in the vicinity that may get harmed.
You can check with government bodies that are in charge of zoning and find out on
which lands you can start a paintball field. This will help save time, costs and
any future fines that may occur due to starting a paintball field on the wrong zone.
What are you looking for?
As mentioned in ‘Game Site Features’, your ideal field should have at least 2 playing
fields, easy access and generous parking space. The required size of the field can
be uncertain as it depends on the locality, the types of games that are going to
be played, number of people participating and terrain.
It should be taken into consideration that, even if a small field may not be as
fun, it’s the same with overly large fields. Trekking 300 yards to look for someone
may drag the game on endlessly and will cause players to tire.
As the Middle East’s weather generally tends to be really hot, locating in a place
that has a cool breeze would be preferred. Keep in mind you can buy a portable field
with a roof covering to shield the sun; this will be discussed later on. As the
terrain here tends to be flat with minimal natural covering, operators are required
to build their own obstacles. This can be an advantage the operator as he can create
maximum customer satisfaction through arranging the field in a manner that helps
the games being played. The flat surface that is common in the Middle East would
help players as they won’t tire as easily running up and down hills, thus they will
be likely to play for longer providing more business for the operator.
Future operators should be warned that sand (aplenty in the Middle East) can damage
your equipment and will need to be handled with special equipment. Once a spot has
been found, you will have to talk to the owner to discuss, lease, buy or pay a percentage
of your gross revenue for your land use. You will also have to get all the required
licenses and permissions from government officials.
Approaching the landlord
You will need to confirm with the landlord if you can use the space for paintballing
and if he has any conditions, or if you have to apply for anything. If finance is
not a problem but you still aren’t too sure if it will be successful, you will need
to either look for a lawyer or if you already have one, ask him and a real estate
agent for advice.
If a property that you’re interested in for renting is for sale, don’t be discouraged
as you may be able to call the owner directly. Many spaces have been on the market
for long periods of time; they may be willing to rent it out to you as they get
additional income and will remove it from the market once rented out.
When you contact the owner, keep in mind that you’re the one in need. Be polite
and inquire about the size, price and make sure they are aware you haven’t trespassed
but are showing interest in the property from what you’ve seen. Talk to them about
what you’re planning to do and what changes you will make. Describe your intentions
honestly and in a positive manner.
The owner will be interested in two things in particular, the state you will keep
the land in and the money he will make. He will want to make sure, you’ll keep the
area clean, trimmed and with no problems. He will be interested in the revenue he
will make and if your insurance money will protect him from any liabilities. This
may be discussed after you have viewed the property and find out if the property
use is fulltime or on a part time basis.
You will need an accurate description of your insurance policy and be aware of what
the liability coverage limits for your field is. If you do not have an insurance
policy in effect, reassure the proprietor that any agreement for the property use
will be dependent on your ability to provide a minimum sum of money that’s worth
liability insurance coverage for the landowner. You require the insurance company
to send verification of the policy before any game participation takes place. lease.
Offer to leave your name and phone number with them in case they change their mind
or come across someone with property to lease. Remain thankful and appreciative.
Make sure you were professional and polite. Landlords are known to change their
mind about offers they have turned down if the impression left is positive.
If the proprietor is satisfied with your insurance plan and your dedication, what
will next determine his decision is the amount he receives. If you already have
a paintball field and have a strong player base then you would know the amount you
can afford to offer. If this is not the case and you are new to the field, then
it may be hard for you to determine what you can manage to pay for as you’re testing
a new market. Your goal is to pay as little as possible. Keep in mind, the landowner’s
image of the business is what you have offered – unless he has offered land to other
paintball businesses, you will need to alter his perception to suit yours.
If you tell him of how high your expectations are and about how you expect over
a 100 turnover per day, he will sense how important the land is to you and how much
more he can charge. Keep it low. Tell him about how much business you realistically
expect within the first month and about how much time and money you’re going to
spend in order to uphold the image of a professional business.
Various options of negotiating an agreement with your landlord are available. By
agreeing on a fixed amount of money every month, you won’t have to give a larger
sum when business is running profitably, though this may be hard to pay in the beginning
months when your business is just taking off.You have a variety of choices of paying
the landlord that can be considered.
This method requires for you to pay only when you have business, thus saving on
costs when you don’t. You can accordingly plan out your schedule for when to run
the business and arrange bookings on the same day.
This method reduces on risk by quite a lot. You basically pay the landlord a fixed
cost per each person that plays.
As a warning you may want to be careful with this method as you may let your friends
and family play which may total up to just about as much as the paying customers
thus paying your land lord a higher amount of your collected fees (to make up for
the players that don’t pay)
Through this system, you’re able to keep your costs fixed on a percentage basis.
By offering your landowner a percentage of your revenue, you’re aware of what exact
percentage of your revenue you make, rather than having it vary every month. As
with per-use and per-person, you only have a ‘rent factor’ when you have business.As
a word of caution, make sure you specify from which area the revenue percentage
is being taken from. It would be best to avoid gross revenue as this is the amount
you have left after removing all other costs (maintenance, advertising and so forth).
If you find it necessary to pay a percentage of your gross revenue try to limit
it to your game fees, as this is easier to track.
Gross profit sharing
This arrangement may be preferred by the land owner and is a fair deal for both
parties for a long term relationship. Net profit sharing benefits you. Net revenue
sharing gives a percentage to the landlord after costs are out. He’s basically,
sharing your profits and not your total sales. Though it is uncertain if your landlord
will go for this arrangement as it allows you to with many ways to adjust your profit;
you may give yourself a salary and argue it as a legitimate expense, this may allow
you to run your business at zero profit and still take home a pay check. This will
cause your business deal to fail In the long run and will cause bad feelings between
both parties. You may find a common ground that both of you agree on but legal guidance
would be strongly recommended.
Fixed monthly rental
This is beneficial for you in the long run, once your business picks up. As the
rent is fixed on a monthly basis you don’t have to worry about giving too much up
when sales rise, which is the case with a per person or percentage arrangement.
The methods mentioned above can all work, if given the right terms and if fairly
played. It may be essential to agree on a given time period. A lease is a document
that grants you use of a property given a certain time period for an agreed regular
sum of money. By signing the lease it gives you a sense of permanence, giving you
a chance to develop your business within the stability of your location. However
it also leaves you liable, if your business were to fail, you or your corporation
will be held responsible for the lease payments. The methods mentioned above are
just a few of the many other payment methods.
You should specify appropriate incidents in the lease that may allow you a way out
if the location changes, or other factors beyond your control, cause you to not
be able to use the property for you intended business.
The benefits if a long-term lease outweigh any of the negative; it would mean you
have the property for a stated period of time. You can build any needed parts (buildings,
obstacles...etc). You can plan out any long term arrangements that may be required
for your business accordingly. If the day comes where you wish to sell your business,
not only will you have an existing fan base, and equipment but also an established
location. Your business will have a higher value if the buyer has a sense of permanence
in your location.
The amount of your rent is decided on by a number of variables.
- The economic climate The area where your field is located in is of utmost importance.
The closer you are to the main city or to moving traffic the higher the rent. Similarly,
an area in the desert where there are no passerby’s, is likely to have a low rent.
- Size Another running factor is the size of the area, how many people can it hold.
The larger the area the more expensive it tends to be.
- Indoor fields vs. outdoor Many a time’s outdoor fields are more expensive as they
can be modified to as how the operator requires it to be, the playing field tends
to be larger and oftentimes it is preferred by players. However indoor fields can
be beneficial to the business as well as it guards against harsh weather conditions,
it isn’t always the case that outdoor fields are cheaper, it may depend on which
region you live in. the size may cause a difference of price between the two as
well (refer to previous point).
Land lords oftentimes want their land to be profitable and of good name. If you
arrange a meeting with a landlord to discuss future leasing and you undermine your
ambition and your businesses likely productivity in hopes of a low rent, your landlord
may be put off and may not be quite as willing to go ahead with your proposal. However
if you oversell the businesses likely profitability with delusions of grandeur the
land lord may expect a higher rent so to match your expectations. You need to find
a middle ground where you can show your landlord that your business may go slow
in the first few months but it will pick up and gain profitability. You can suggest
various types of agreements with your landlord, you can have an agreement to have
rental increases after a certain length of time or once volume increases to a certain
Many landlords may want to see your business in play before tying down to a long-term
agreement. If this is the case you may not want to commit yourself to many structures
being built or starting all the operations out. You should talk to your landlord
about this and decide on a designated period of time that isn’t too long for customers
to think this is your best foot forward. Once the time limit is up and your landlord
is happy to provide a long-term lease, you may then set out your business completely.
With these points in mind, you can either move onto a different site, or set up
a temporary site with removable tents and tables or you can take your landlord to
another paintball field to see how things are run. Make sure your there with him
when he goes to another field as you can point out the good points as he may be
only looking for the bad points which may damage his property. You should consult
your landowner on how he thinks the site should be set up and what he thinks will
he would do. You don’t need to do these things but you can take them into consideration.
This may get the landowner caught up in the heat of the moment and accept your offer.