Opening a new range/store

Discussion in 'Ranges, Dealers & Smiths' started by misawa, Apr 3, 2007.

  1. misawa

    misawa New Member

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    Has anybody on here ever opened, operated, or worked at a gun store and range?

    Reason being is this is a potential new business venture for my wife and I. Believer it or not, it was her idea - she's got the business degree. The idea came to her when reading about another range/store in my Freedom First mag from the NRA a few months ago. I vaguely recall the story, but ever since then, she has put some serious thought and prayer in to possibly doing this once I'm finished with school (this December).

    I guess what I'm asking for is aside from the obvious - FFL license, enough paperwork to choke a horse - what are the "other" differences that might be involved with opening up this type of business as opposed to some other knick-knacky type shop (currently the other business idea she has)?
     
  2. pro2am

    pro2am New Member

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    Just a guess, but I imagine that insurance is a bear, and premiums will be...well...uh..."premium".
     

  3. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    Cash! It takes some room to shoot guns, and some engineering to keep bullets where they should be.

    Also, local governments can be a bear.

    But I say go for it.

    You know just about everybody here will come and shoot there at least once.
     
  4. pro2am

    pro2am New Member

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    Oh yeah...security. You'll need to lock those puppies up when you close down for the night. Not sure if an oversized vault is the norm, or just some good alarms and metal gates.
     
  5. Adam5

    Adam5 Atlanta Overwatch

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    I would find a store/range that is NOT in an area where you would be competing with them, and talk to the owner. If you won't be competing with them, I don't see why the owner wouldn't give you advice or suggestions.
     
  6. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

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    Drawbacks

    I worked at a gun shop / shooting range for a while. (On Target in Marietta). Aside from that, I know a bunch of small business owners in other industries, too.

    It's difficult to compete for the hunters' business with the "big box" sporting goods stores. You can specialize in exotic or high-end hunting guns that Wal-Mart, Dick's, and Bass Pro Shops don't carry, but generally they'll get most of the business for sporting rifles and shotguns.

    Even if you limit your stock on hand to handguns, you're talking about a HUGE inventory. People will come in and expect to see all the various makes and models from all the major manufacturers. If you don't have them on hand, under the glass, the customers will likely drive over to somebody who did spend a quarter-million bucks on inventory.

    No matter how idiot-proof your range is, people will find a way to destroy every part of it. Nothing is bullet proof when it is shot dozens of times a week.

    Good help is hard to find. Employees are a frequent source of "shrinkage" of inventory. And out of your cash register, too. Some people can resist anything except temptation.


    You have to advertise. Instead of just trying to get some percentage of people who are already frequent customers of your competition to abandon their loyalty and spend their money at your place, also try to drum up new business. Think Mother's Day promotions, back-to-school sales, adopt-a-gun-and-get-a-hunting-dog promotions done jointly with the local animal shelter...

    ;-) See why I'm not in the gun shop biz anymore???
     
  7. glockgirl

    glockgirl New Member

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    If you give me free range time I will work for you!
     
  8. gunsbillygun

    gunsbillygun New Member

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    need some part time help, range time sounds good to me
     
  9. Adam5

    Adam5 Atlanta Overwatch

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    BROKE!!!
    WHO NEEDS FOOD?
    WILL WORK FOR AMMO AND RANGE TIME

    God Bless!!!
     
  10. Macktee

    Macktee New Member

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    One of the guys who works at Bullseye told me, and I'm pretty certain he was serious, he's never cashed a paycheck. He said he spends more at the store than he makes working there part time.

    And then he just kept muttering over and over, "Damn employee discount... damn employee discount... damn employee discount... damn employee discount... damn employee discount... damn employee discount..."

    The owner was nearby and just couldn't stop smiling!
     
  11. misawa

    misawa New Member

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    Big thanks to all

    Thanks everybody for your insights and opinions. We're planning on talking to a friend back in my hometown that runs a store. I'll keep all of you posted on any sort of progress.
     
  12. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday New Member

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    A wise voice spoke to Kevin Costner in a Iowa cornfield.

    It said:

    "Build it and they will come." :lol:
     
  13. Adam5

    Adam5 Atlanta Overwatch

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    I would be that way if I worked at one. :D
     
  14. shrews

    shrews New Member

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    I've worked/taught at Gunshops/Ranges in CA and GA and second what gunsmoker said. I would suggest to set up the new range with hunters/rifle shooters also in mind and install a couple or three long(er)-range shooting bays(other than 25yds standard) in a separate area. Those type shooters will bring in lots of money prior to and during hunting season. You can charge them at least double what you would charge the pistoleros. Of course, a rifle range indoors is a different animal than an indoor pistol range with a different set of problems that come with it. NRA can assist you very well with your endeavor. Also, NSSF is a great source.
    All this is dependent on the LOCATION of your proposed venture so be careful and do lots of research, homework and scouting. Good luck!!later.....mr.t.
    PS.... Oh, did I mention.......have a boatful of cash available!!
    PPS.... Remember, when the next election(Federal) comes along in '08, the new guys(and gals) will be lookin' to change laws that will be unfavorable to the Firearms/Public Range businesses.
     
  15. Macktee

    Macktee New Member

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    I just remembered, after all this time... Old age can do strange things to the memory!

    Anyway, Doug, the guy who owns Bullseye in Cumming, once casually mentioned it cost a cool million dollars to start up that place. I'm sure most of it went into the indoor range.

    The reason most small businesses fail is lack of start-up funding. It would take really substantial amount of capital to start up and operate a place like that until it started turning a profit.

    As others have mentioned, insurance costs are astronomical! I doubt if a gun shop can even get insurance against theft. That's why they (and pawn shops) all have those big ol' bars on the windows! :jail:
     
  16. Bushhogs

    Bushhogs New Member

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    As being the owner of a new gun store in Canton/Holly Springs I can give you a few tips. All of the stuff that these guys have been saying is true and money is the key. If you have it you can make a go of it. The banks like to see you in business for at least two years before they will come off any of it. You have to have your location before you can even apply for your FFL and then they have to come out and interview you, they want to know all about you and your motives, just saying “to make money†will not work. They will also talk with the Chief of Police and get his blessing plus talk to all your business neighbors to get their opinion. If they do not want you around it makes getting the FFL tough.

    Insurance is big to; theft is covered if you lock your guns down every night in a safe. You must have video and security systems installed to get any breaks on that. The local police chief will take an interest in your shop as well as he will not want theft of your inventory to raise the crime rate in his area. The local fire marshal along with the building inspector will become your best fiends because of ammo and reloading powder issues. Lots of regs on this.

    I do not have a range “yet†but the starting costs for this are about $25,000.00 per lane and this does not include the air system and cooling/heating which have to be separate form the main store. Lead and Brass reclamation is a must. EPA stuff.

    Store display equipment will cost you 20 to 30 thousand.

    Basic start up cost will vary depending on the stock you want to have but you should have about $400,000.00 to start.

    Other than that, and a few hundred more things you have to do, you should be good to go.

    PS: If you have not been to yet you will need to go the Shot Show, it is in Vegas in 2008. You will need all 4 days to look at every thing.

    Good luck with your endeavor.

    Bill
    Big Woods Goods

    PSS
    All:
    I may be in the market for a new employee / assistant manger at my store. Please only knowledgeable people apply. Please email me at sales@bigwoodsgoods.com.
     
  17. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    What, no gun store commandos? :D
     
  18. budder

    budder Moderator Staff Member

    Define knowledgeable. :)
     
  19. Adam5

    Adam5 Atlanta Overwatch

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    I couldn't work at a gunstore. I would spend more money than I would make. :shock:
     
  20. Bushhogs

    Bushhogs New Member

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    I am looking for a person with a good understanding of all firearms, managerial skills and able to work 30 to 40 hours a week. Most weekends off and will get great discounts on firearms and accessories.

    Thanks
    Bill