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Paintball prices are, and always have been, insane.

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    Paintball prices are, and always have been, insane.

    I'm from Canada. Other Canadians can sympathise with the absolutely ABSURD prices we've been subjected to for all of history when it comes to paint. I've been out of the game for a long while but lately I find myself ogling old guns online (xsv egos, single trigger angels) which led me to check field paint prices locally.

    Both have a $20 fee for entering the field with your own gear. Location one is $40/bag $160/case, location two is $40/bag $145/case. I live 45mins from Toronto.

    I'm not sure how to describe properly what this feels like but it's certainly some mix of depressing, shocking and enraging. It's always been like this. I always have to laugh when I read on forums or hear on youtube of people theorising why paintball is shrinking because it seems so insanely obvious. This is the most expensive sport on the planet. How many people did you know when you first entered the sport who were excited, loved the gameplay and bought and adored the mountains of gear that they need and want only to slowly be completely beaten down by the incredibly expensive cost of playing. If you're American than you're scoffing at these prices and are paying something in the range of $60 ($77 cad) a case. That price is also insane. 18 holes at one of the best golf clubs near me is $80 and would take all day.

    The thing that really gets me about this is that these are balls of gelatin filled with ethylene glycol, this shit is cheap. It's hard not to feel that the success of not one company, but literally the entire sport and therefore industry is completely dependent on the price of paint and it's not being taken seriously as an issue. Sony takes a loss on every ps5 to just get them into peoples hands and get them playing and I have to pay something like a 8x markup on a bag of paint if I want to even engage in the sport I love. Industry is shooting itself in the foot and scratching it's head at the same time and it's absolutely ridiculous. I am reading now about the prices rising due to the cost of commodities and it's just another nail in the coffin. Until someone figures out a decent quality $30 case of paint, nothing will ever change.

    Addressing things in advance:
    1. Just play pump/mag?

    I do. My most fired marker is a phantom by far. Being forced to do this for economical reasons sucks. Also, I think it's important not to be an apologist for paint prices. The problem isn't me/you/the person who can't afford to play.

    2. You don't understand the cost of manufacturing, the machines cost a million etc. etc.

    There are probably thousands of comparable food and retail items that cost half of what a case of paint costs retail. This also leads into a nasty chicken and egg situation where: less people playing = more expensive to produce = higher cost = less people playing. You can actually buy bulk paint from alibaba for under $20/2000. I'd love to hear the mental gymnastics needed to justify 5 cents PER paintball. I found 500 .22 rounds (you know, like made of metal, lead etc) for $60, that's uncomfortably close in cost.

    3. It's not that bad, you're catastrophising, this is natural etc.

    This is not a good attitude to have. I used to play weekly and be deeply involved in this sport and I left because of cost. Many others have as well. See my earlier info on my local prices. That is what is available to me if i'd like to play.

    SO I might still browse the BST, and even pull a single trigger angel out of circulation but very sadly, it will be on display in my office and probably never see field play. I dream of a day where I can shoot, I don't know, a hopper per round in rec ball? Is that too much to ask without a constant weight of anxiety about the cost of paint. Chronoing with like 10 shots to save as much as I can. I hope most of you can agree with me that this is the greatest sport on earth and I just want to play dammit. Also if anyone would like to help me design an "in house" paintball machine that you pour gelatin and fill into and it spits out paint so fields can produce it themselves, let me know.

    Thanks for coming to my TED talk.

    Has this topic been completely beaten to death already? Am I missing key information here? I don't know.




    #2
    Welcome! Good first post.
    Yeppp, unfortunately prices on everything - the fun stuff included - has increased and is still increasing with no end in sight. And none of this is good or healthy in any way. I have to spread out my playing to be cautious of spending, but also because LIFE prevents me from playing whenever I want anyways. I have always liked pump anyways so that's no problem, but also mech semi and that's when I can feel the dollars burning with every trigger pull. Most paint is junk as well, so end up shooting more. I won't ever quit, just adapt and sadly play less. But I really hope it doesn't lead to the death of the sport.
    Feedback 3.0

    Currently running: Eclipse CS2 mechanical, Stella barrel kit, Ninja SL2 77 bottle w/ Powerhouse Haymkr 500 reg, Virtue Spire IR2.

    Originally posted by SignOfZeta;
    Us beardos with wallets need to occasionally make our voices heard.

    Comment


    • Bonjwa
      Bonjwa commented
      Editing a comment
      Maybe it's not dead but this horrifying birthday party, work event, $140/case of field grade paint limbo might be worse for me.

    #3
    <old guy steps up onto soap box>

    So you are paying ~7 cents a ball given your numbers. Back when I started we paid 9-10 cents a ball normally and more then that at times.

    <old guy steps [breaks hip] off soap box>
    "When you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly I can!' Then get busy and find out how to do it." - Theodore Roosevelt

    Feedback Link - https://www.mcarterbrown.com/forum/b...del-s-feedback

    Comment


    • NSGSplatmaster
      NSGSplatmaster commented
      Editing a comment
      The "I once paid/experienced XXX in the past, and YYY is less than that, so YYY is therefore not as bad as XXX" argument fails the logic test in multiple ways.

      Consider,
      -Costs of paintball production
      -Commercially available materials
      -Amounts of competitors to the market
      -The amount of inflation between 1980whatever or 1990whatever to now (in the US, an approximate level of 2.5% per year)

      But yeah, Bonjwa, you should just pull yourself up by your boot straps and be thankful that you even have your overpriced, dying sport, come on man!

    • ATBen
      ATBen commented
      Editing a comment
      Yup. I paid $180 CAD for a case of RP Scherer premium at my first scenario game at Flag Raiders (Cambridge) in 1999.

    • Grendel

      Grendel

      commented
      Editing a comment
      NSGSplastmaster I think you missed the jest in the post vs. a serious evaluation of the OP [I tried to be obvious], While running a field we were able to get some paint down to less then 1 cent per ball on occasion (early 2000s). Honestly I am not sure why the Bonjwa's prices are so different then we experience on the east coast of US. It would take a study of businesses and markets in his local to really understand. Pricing of paint now is higher for worse quality then in the early to mid 2000s for sure, in general. Some of that is due to the paintball market has shrunk and the fact the paintball industry has killed itself by consuming itself (lack of robust competition) and legacy of poor long term business plans vs. short term profits [along with poorly planned out growth]. The global economy has done little to help paintball as a market, the first thing to go is expenditures on non-essential spending. Paintball businesses have been their own worse enemy and now we have what we get now. Very limited competition for a smaller and more erratic market. This all along with regional economic drivers for the OP are allowing out of proportion costs apparently. I pay about the same for paint as I did in the mid to late 2000s but the quality and variety of the paint is poor. Yet we are definitely in an inflationary economy so I would expect I would be paying more.

    #4
    Fellow Canadian here (we might be in the same area, idk). I don't really know who is at fault for prices here. My local field sells Canadian Tire quality paint at 4x markup. And CT is known for their inflated prices. I can't see a field and CT getting significantly different pricing because I doubt CT would need to reorder paint as often as a field if they purchase in similar quantities. Same deal with purchasing paint at a standalone proshop. They buy paint in similar quantities to fields but their prices are still significantly lower.

    There's also Borden paintball which is volunteer run and has $50 CAD cases of paint. I'd assume that price is at or near cost (not sure of the quality). Their model is obviously different than most fields because of the volunteer aspect and the fact that it's on a military base so I don't know what their facility costs are like (if any).

    I myself have been enamored with outlaw ball lately. Specifically the original game style, which I know I could never in a million years do at a walk-on game.

    Sent from my Pixel 4a using Tapatalk

    Comment


    • Bonjwa
      Bonjwa commented
      Editing a comment
      I am close to Borden, I'll send them a message. Thanks! Last facebook activity was june 23rd, hopefully they're still running.

    • Meleager7

      Meleager7

      commented
      Editing a comment
      I tried getting in on the Borden fun for the past two seasons, but I don’t think they ran their games due to covid. If you get a lead on Borden for 2022, let me know please!

    • Bonjwa
      Bonjwa commented
      Editing a comment
      Will do Meleager7!

    #5
    I played all day sunday at OSG for 35 bucks, including a bag of paint for a pump event. Paint isn't that expensive around here but the quality isn't there.

    This really isn't an expensive hobby. My motorcycles, that's an expensive hobby. I scratched a valve cover on my BMW R9T and a replacement was over $400. I want to put an adjustable front suspension on it and that is going to run me $3500.

    Comment


    • Bonjwa
      Bonjwa commented
      Editing a comment
      That's a great price, i'd kill for that. You're adding value to your motorcycles though it's not really the same. If gas was $10/gallon you'd probably not get as much enjoyment out of driving.

    • NSGSplatmaster
      NSGSplatmaster commented
      Editing a comment
      Glad to hear OSG is still doing well up there.

      Stating that one hobby is not expensive because another hobby is more expensive than it is not logically sound. You could just continually up the ante of relativism and claim that all hobbies are inexpensive because a billionaire collects sports cars.

    • Brokeass_baller
      Brokeass_baller commented
      Editing a comment
      I think motorcycles and golf are fair, common comparisons though. They're things that a lot of middle and lower class people are into.

    #6
    i feel you on the paint costs. someone posted here on MCB about "supply chain woes" and how the starch is costing manufacturers more.
    if i'm really hurting for cash, i'll just play pump or even stock class.

    chuckles here: if i'm playing SC, i'll just ask someone for 10 balls and walk-on.

    as for expensive hobbies... i play competitive MTG, mostly legacy.
    here's a quick pricing guide for prices per deck:
    Pauper $46
    Standard $247
    Modern $865
    Commander $972
    Legacy $4,033
    Vintage $44,546

    Comment


    • Bonjwa
      Bonjwa commented
      Editing a comment
      Obviously I play MTG as well. I can get 3 hours of entertainment out of a $15 draft and possibly pull $5-$10 worth of value on lucky days. Doesn't seem comparable. Also, $865 on a modern deck, maybe. And then you can play infinite times for free.

    #7
    I agree with the OP.

    Back in '97 when I operated a store and field, I could get paint for $30 - $35 per case if I bought a pallet full. I always bought a pallet full - or two. I would sell those cases between $40 and $50 but never more than $50.

    I don't remember a time before these past few years where paint prices have been so high. I've not paid 8 or 9 cents per ball.
    FEEDBACK - https://www.mcarterbrown.com/forum/b...k-for-scottieb

    Comment


    • Bonjwa
      Bonjwa commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for the insight!

    #8
    Excuse my ignorance, but why is paintball so much more expensive up north than in the USA? It’s never been a cheap hobby, but the cost has never been that prohibitive in my experience.
    💀Wild Card, Ragnastock💀

    Comment


    • Chuck E Ducky

      Chuck E Ducky

      commented
      Editing a comment
      It’s not, if it is it’s not by much.

      1 CAD = 0.77649 USD (currently)

      So 145 CAD = 113 USD so comparable to playing a field like Skermish PA or Liberty Paintball. That’s for a field location 45min outside a large populated city. It’s the same price as what we pay generally. About $30 a bag US is pretty standard. OP isn’t taking into account the difference in currency.

      The cheapest place to play in my area is $25 entry $30 a bag so playing on a bag cost $55 USD or $70.57 CAD.

    • MrBarraclough

      MrBarraclough

      commented
      Editing a comment
      $30 a bag. As in a 500 round bag? (man do I wish comments supported bold and italics).

      That is nuts. Straight up, pants-on-head crazy. I pay $55 for a 2000 round case at my field, and that's for the good stuff (Nelson Ranger). If I were buying it by the 500 round bag there'd be a slight markup and I'd pay $15 or $16 per bag.

      Goddamn, some of y'all are getting hosed. No wonder you play pump or stock class.

    #9
    I wish golf was that cheap in my area. Your paying just about what we pay in the US give or take $5 when you do the conversions. Paintball is not really all that expensive of a sport after initial investment of gear. People will still play it even if it gets more expensive they will just play less often. I honestly think more expensive paint may be good for the sport. The games a lot more fun for everyone when you slow it down anyway. Do I want to pay more nope, is it going to stop me from playing nope, I will just shoot less. If everyone dose this the games will be that much more challenging and fun

    Comment


    • MrBarraclough

      MrBarraclough

      commented
      Editing a comment
      I live on the Gulf of Mexico. Every time I begin to think "Paintball is an expensive hobby," I consider how much so many of my neighbors put into their boats and what it must cost just to run them. Or I consider what my neighbors sink into hunting leases, club memberships, guns, ammo, equipment, etc.

      Everything is effing expensive. It's just one of the things that sucks about being a grown-up.

    • Paintslinger16
      Paintslinger16 commented
      Editing a comment
      We had a mobile field had a deal with one of the local conference hotels, used their land and set up team building retreat type games a few times, my buddy the field owner had us come out and ref for the day.
      The hotel coordinator basically told him she was shocked at how little he was charging, and had him double it, she said these guys drop way more more then that on the new doubled price on golf.

    #10
    Having spent 35 years in retail grocery and 7 in running paintball events I'll throw my thoughts.

    The retail grocery establishments I have worked for are open with regular hours of 0600 to roughly 2200 . That's 16 hours a day 363 days a year. They operate on @ 40 percent gross profit on liquor, meat, deli, bakery and produce and dairy. The operate on a single digit margins most other products in the store.

    A paintball field is open 104 days a year (weekends mostly) from say 0900 to 1600. Some of those days will be scratched due to weather. Paintballs need controlled temp storage. That storage operates all week long to support 2 days of sales. I live and play in an environment where the days over 100 degrees and the days below freezing work out to 15 or 20 days a year. That's a small window to cover expenses and make a modest profit.

    A retail grocery business utilizes a lot more available time to generate revenue. Paintball has a much smaller and less stable window in which to be profitable. If you don't move all of your product on Sunday you sit on it for 5 more days.

    I know I'm only providing a thumbnail scetch, but paintball to retail grocery is not an apples to apples comparison.

    Comment


    • Magmoormaster
      Magmoormaster commented
      Editing a comment
      Overhead at a paintball field is nowhere near negligible. Like I said below, it costs way more than you seem to think. Field maintenance is not cheap. Leasing the land is not cheap. The equipment is very much not cheap.

    • Chuck E Ducky

      Chuck E Ducky

      commented
      Editing a comment
      Paintball is generally a terrible investment. If it was worth it I would love to own a field. I have a lot of great properties that would work really good for paintball. But it’s a terrible return on investment.

    • coyote

      coyote

      commented
      Editing a comment
      An air system for a paintball field is definitely profound overhead, as is the maintenance of said system. No air, no paintball.

      A rental fleet costs more than a few sheckels and is anything but maintenance free.

      Referees aren't free. A staff of 4 over the course of a weekend can cost $1000. Plan on staffing a field for free? You will get what you pay for.

      My father and I made a field business plan 15 years ago. It had roughly 35 line items of expenses and about 5 for revenue.

      A paintball field is a capital intensive business with limited revenue streams.

    #11
    Didn’t even think about the shorter season that’s got to cut Canadian field profits even more.

    Comment


      #12
      Might be cheaper to fly to Vegas and play. We have cases for $45, $20 entry fee. Free entry with purchase of paint on Wednesday and Thursdays. All are welcome.

      I haven't the slightest why the markup is so bad up there. Like God dam... You have 3x the price... My goodness.

      Comment


      • Chuck E Ducky

        Chuck E Ducky

        commented
        Editing a comment
        $55 for walk on with a case that’s dam good. How are the fields? I’m going to Shot Show next year maybe I will check a bag with some gear.

      • Bow

        Bow

        commented
        Editing a comment
        Honestly? Very small, but hey, it's what we have. Good guys and a good crowd make it fun.

      #13
      I can't fathom why GI paint prices are much higher in Canada than the US. Most all of their paint is manufactured there, why do fields like mine in midwest USA get paint they can sell for 40 a case and canada gets 100-150?

      Comment


      • Chuck E Ducky

        Chuck E Ducky

        commented
        Editing a comment
        Comparing two different currency’s with two different measured values. It’s not really all that different when you take into account exchange rate. He’s also comparing field prices that are located 45 min outside, the most populated city in Canada. It would be like comparing prices of a field that is 45min from NYC.

        If you take into account exchange rate and location it’s the same price as the US. Actually maybe a lil cheaper then Liberty Paintball and Cousins.

      • Bonjwa
        Bonjwa commented
        Editing a comment
        Kevin yes I would give anything to see the back end numbers of these fields around me because I suspect the wholesale costs aren't all that different. So what gives.

      #14
      I live close by to Canada, 35 miles, and everything up there is expensive and dbl taxed, it’s how benefits like health care are paid for.
      Our stores were packed 40% Canadian on weekends, and the Harley shops would have Canadian order bolt on parts and install them in parking lot so not to pay import duty on way back.
      being a old timer 80’s paintball was expensive and the cases were 2500 balls back then

      Comment


        #15
        Those prices are insane, and I have no idea why that would be. GI Sportz manufactures most of their paint in Montreal, so it's definitely not shipping. It would be incredibly hard to justify playing at those costs, knowing what a box of paint retails for.

        Most places I've played at, save for one indoor field, has sold paint at standard retail price, usually with entry at around $20. So an average day of play would cost somewhere between $60-80 depending on the quality of paint. That's not unreasonable for an outdoor sport. A one-day ski pass at the local ski resort is $120. My brother occasionally goes to the race track, that's well over $100 per day. Sure, paintball is more expensive than basketball, or guitar, or many other hobbies. But to say it's the most expensive sport ever is just disingenuous.

        So yeah I'm making the #3 "It's not that bad, you're catastrophising, this is natural etc." argument. While I totally understand the prices where you are suck, that's not the norm across the country. And while I am contractually obligated to not speak about specifics, I can tell you that it costs way more money to operate a paintball field than almost anyone realizes. Typically speaking, paintball has some of the lowest profit margins in the retail world. I would actually argue that most of the time paintball is cheaper than it probably should be. The problem is that paintball is trying to be a hobby where people do play every weekend, when it should market itself closer to the way skiing is.

        Comment


        • Bonjwa
          Bonjwa commented
          Editing a comment
          More expensive then I realise? I can definitely believe that. It's just that I think there are many streams of revenue and making it all off the paint seems unnecessary and possibly destructive if it motivates people to play less often.

          I grew up near a ski hill. A season pass is was about $350 for a 5x7. If it was $120 per trip. Or $80 per trip like paintball. We would simply not have gone. Or have gone once. I fail to see who benefits from that.

          I g
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