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Want to open an indoor firing range...need some help.

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by jkent26, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. jkent26

    jkent26 Rainier, OR Member

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    So I finally got the details of my settlement worked out and should have the money in hand by January 2013. I have always dreamed of having an indoor range. Open to the public, for a fee of course.

    I have found the building/property. I have investigated permits and insurance. I even have a gun dealer that will have a small sales area, but mostly he will be selling the ammo and provide many of the rental guns.

    I am in need of someone that knows how to build and set-up a range. I am either looking to pay this person as a consultant or bring them in as a percentage partner. So I am turning to NWFA to hope someone knows how to do this stuff or can get me in touch with the right person.

    I also want to ask the forum;

    If there was a range close to your home would you A. Want to pay a monthly membership fee, that would get you range time and ammo purchase at substantial savings, with other perks, such as "member only" night, with free range fees and other fun stuff. or B. Just pay regular range fees everytime you come in?

    What would you consider to be reasonable range fees?

    Thanks for your help. I would really like to have this range open by 4/2013
     
  2. Nwcid

    Nwcid Yakima and N of Spokane Well-Known Member

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    Have you looked into the cost of ventilation, back stops and insurance? I know a couple of guys in my area were/are looking into doing a similar thing. I know these costs were WAY more then they were expecting. They have been working on this project over a year now so being able to be open in 5 months is a lofty goal.
     
  3. JAFO

    JAFO OR, USA Silver Supporter Silver Supporter

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    I would just start with per use fees and see what kind of people come in often and take some time networking in the gun community and finding out what kind of membership deals you can set up. Don't get tied into any contractual agreements with the public before you even know how smooth things are going to go or how much it's actually going to cost you to run the place. Let it be known that whatever fees you start out with are just temporary and might be adjusted when you can calculate the traffic and costs a little better.

    Ask around about the set up by just contacting some out of state ranges. Send out enough inquiries and some range owner is bound to be able to have a few minutes to go over some ins-and-outs with you and/or get you in touch with someone who specializes in building them. I would see if you can do it on a consulting/fee basis. Don't bring in any partners unless it's absolutely necessary. It'll be hard enough making your own decisions without having to find consensus with a partner or two.

    If you have any travel plans in the immediate future just go to some ranges and see if you can talk to the owners. Out-of-state means they aren't competition and might share basic info with you.


    http://www.nssf.org/ranges/rangeresources/suppliers.cfm

    Scott Kranz looks like someone you might want to speak with to get a general idea of what you are looking at consulting fee wise. Might be too expensive though judging by the company web site (the book by its cover).
     
  4. oknow

    oknow amboy wa. Well-Known Member

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  5. jkent26

    jkent26 Rainier, OR Member

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    I have looked into insurance. It is very expensive, however with my settlement I will be able to pay for the first year in advance.

    I do not know how to make a proper " range" backstop. Since the building I am interested in leasing is a wide open space, I am planning to bring in several of the 2'x3'x8' interlocking concrete blocks they use for preventing landslides. I will be able to get a forklift to bring them in and place them prior to building the "backstop". These can stop any caliber handgun and are regularly used at outdoor ranges for rifle stops.

    I've managed and owned several businesses in the past so I am comfortable and understand how to operate a business from the back end.

    Just really to find someone to consult for how to build the actual range.

    The location I am looking at is right off HWY 30 ( can be seen from HWY) and easy access to Longview, Wa. I am hoping to be able to draw people from most of Columbia County and Longview/Kelso area.
     
  6. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    I believe the guy that was planing one up here for a minute was contracting Savage Arms to do it. They have a complete indoor range division,I guess.
    Take care of all the HazMat,permits,ventilation,etc.

    Hey good luck with that too. Never enough indoor ranges in this wet country.
     
  7. Nwcid

    Nwcid Yakima and N of Spokane Well-Known Member

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    Here are several thread on similar topics. Of course there is no way to say for sure what it will cost as each set up is different.

    Firing Range | Whole Building Design Guide

    NSSF | Shooting Ranges

    How much does it cost to open an indoor Shooting - THR

    indoor range ventalation [Archive] - Northeastshooters.com

    How much money to open a indoor gun range - AR15.Com Archive

    cost of starting a gun range? - XDTalk Forums - Your XD/XD(m) Information Source!

    IIFC the guys I know working on a similar project were initially planning on $250,000-300,000 just for range portion (6-10 lanes cant remember now) and after doing some price that was going to be the price just for ventilation. I am not trying to throw bad numbers out there or scare you. Just wanted to let you know that there are some costs that are way more then you expect. Like I said I know it was going to cost these guys over twice what they were expecting.

    There are a couple of posters on this board the work for/have indoor ranges. Might email one and see if they can give you a rough idea of cost.
     
  8. ATCclears

    ATCclears Seattle area, WA Well-Known Member

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    Ramblings...

    Cost of insurance? Cost of a good ventilation system? The latter may be more expensive than you think.

    What to charge. What can people realistically afford? I had a month-to-month member at a great range in Bothell, but after six months the $50/month fee was too much for me, and I switched to the Seattle Police range for $140/year. I really liked the Bothell range, air filtration was great, blah blah blah, but at $50/month that is $600 per year.

    Utilization. You need to assume that your utilization is much lower than optimal. You should put some numbers together and see if you can make a profit with say utilization at 25%, 40%, and 50%. If the numbers don't work then you might be throwing your money into a business venture that will ultimately fail.

    Peter
     
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  9. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    You know people used to come from King co, and beyond to shoot at Sunnydale shooting range over here? (where some of our Olympic skeet shooters trained)
    People come from Seattle and Tacoma for a lot less.Heck guys come up here with the wife and then have nothing to do.
    Keep working on those guys Gunfixx:thumbup:
     
  10. FarmerTed1971

    FarmerTed1971 Portland, Oregon, United States Well-Known Member

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    Insurance, ventilation, lighting, steel, concrete and target relay systems. Get a plan for all of this. Employees? Business plan? Line of credit with a bank? Lease/rental agreement with dealer?

    Make sure you cover all the details.

    Just a final question: are you entering this business to make a profit? If that's not your number one reason you might want to reconsider. Hobby businesses suck IMHO. You need to consider your life... the time it takes vs. time with your family.

    If it is still a go please make sure you limit your personal liability to 0%. bubblegum happens in dangerous ventures. Don't let one bad incident destroy your life.
     
  11. FarmerTed1971

    FarmerTed1971 Portland, Oregon, United States Well-Known Member

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    And Good Luck!!!

    I think it's an awesome idea if you can make it work. You will make a lot of shooters happy, including yourself.
     
  12. PDXSparky

    PDXSparky Keizer / Hillsboro Well-Known Member

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    I think $10 per visit is about what I'd expect to pay, but I also want to shoot my own ammo. The Lebanon Shooting Range rates for example. Their annual members get 24 hour access to the range.
     
  13. bikejunkie

    bikejunkie Salem Well-Known Member

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    You'll need some type of bullet deflector of large, thick steel to catch the rounds and deposit them into some type of catch so the lead can be disposed of. You're going to need to contact the EPA or whoever to figure out that part or you're done before you've started. I looked into it a little myself. The ventilation with filters to capture lead "vapors" will also be needed
     
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  14. PDXoriginal

    PDXoriginal PNW Well-Known Member

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    Zoning... permits... and neighbor opposition.

    Coming up with money is the easy part. Actually getting the place built, up and running is the hard part.
     
  15. joken

    joken Corvallis Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    You will need engineered prints for your local city/county
     
  16. Ben Beckerich

    Ben Beckerich NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    You know CRPC has an indoor pistol range, right? They were suffering dwindling membership when I left a couple years ago. Just food for thought.
     
  17. 8ball

    8ball WA Quit talkin' and start chalking!

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    From what I have read, a basic indoor range with a dozen or so bays costs around a million, and more extensive facilities with multiple ranges can cost three or four times that.

    The only way to make it profitable would be to have a successful retail store attached. A stand alone range could never break even on those construction costs.

    The Action Target website has an extensive section on range design and operation.
     
  18. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Contact Tom Foster in Stayton Oregon he used to Own the Shooters Mercentile in Salem OR. He was a full line new and used dealer as well as he himself is a trained gunsmith. His shop had about a 10 lane indoor range. And the whole thing went under. As have both the indoor ranges in Salem. Just couldn't get enough traffic. Of course that wasn't in our current ah ah climate shall we say.

    BUT he would certainly know what you need to know.
     
  19. Stokes

    Stokes Washington State Member

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    As stated, go to SHOT. Everyone will be there that you need to talk to, including the NRA (who will most likely be the best bet in sourcing insurance). The NRA also has some programs for financing a range, but they'll want to do it in the most expensive manner possible. Do figure on having a $1M tied into this.

    Also, if you want to have a licensed guy in there to sell guns, great. But, don't give up the rights to sell the ammo. Keep those rights to yourself. If I was you, I'd get an FFL just for the ammo and range guns, and then 'lease' out the right to a small gun dealer to set up shop in there for retail sales of guns only.

    You'll also want to set it up to easily mine lead. A Bobcat would be nice, and get a set of forks for all the pallets of ammo you'll be bringing in. Don't underestimate the value of the reclaimed lead, nor the brass that hits the floor. This will be worth 5, maybe 6 figures annually to you.

    Be careful with range construction using heavy concrete blocks on concrete slab floors. Your landlord will be pissed if you crack his floors.

    Don't use all of your money for this. Use as little as possible. Get bank or other program loans (such as the NRA) to fund as much of this as possible. If your business plan doesn't support the debt service, you shouldn't do it.
     
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  20. Swedish K

    Swedish K SW Washington Moderator Staff Member

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    When we had to replace the San Quentin range the best resource was the NRA - against the wishes of the politicians of course. They did go with an oil bath snail trap for the indoor range and installed metal deflector plate sky screens to keep people from shooting over the berm on the outdoor rifle range after a few federal agencies who borrowed the range overshot the old range backstops and put holes in the school bus storage yard and a building at skywalker ranch. The costs were fairly high, though I don't recall how much. This didn't seem to bother them at all as the adjacent land owners paid a good portion so they could further develop their land into condos without risk of being shot at.
    Several good ideas above - you should check with various indoor ranges for ideas, avoid guaranteeing a permanent percentage for a consulting fee, shot show is a good place to run into the right people for setting up a range also.
    Another thing to consider would be looking into purchasing some of the equipment from some of the ranges that didn't make it.

    One more thing - I recall a couple of guys were setting up an outdoor range just north of longview/kelso not long ago - not sure if its still in the works or if it fell through, but it could impact your business plan.
    Here is a link regarding the county approval of the project on county property and financing at least part of the project Cowlitz County Commissioners approve construction of Castle Rock gun range