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Old 07-04-2017, 06:49 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Okay guys this is all good stuff. Let me give you a little more detail. My average player rents about 20% have their own gear. Most rental players spend about 55 for the entire day paint included. Private gunners go about 40-45. We are not a speedball only field. If they play traditional paintball they can fill 6-8 hours at that price.

For the most part I see a player about twice a year, so we don't have much for regulars.

At our peak we did about 3000 players a season, most guys were coming in 3-4 times a year. That means we had about 800 to 1000 players using our field. Now they are hitting 1-2 times a year and our numbers have dropped to about 1200. So we still may have the same size player base, maybe a little smaller, but they are not finding the time to play anymore.

Almost all say they had a great time it was wonderful and they will be back. But we may not see them again for a year or two. One guy came in last week said it was 17 years ago he was in last.

Keep the advice coming, it's helpful.
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Old 07-04-2017, 08:08 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Okay guys this is all good stuff. Let me give you a little more detail. My average player rents about 20% have their own gear. Most rental players spend about 55 for the entire day paint included. Private gunners go about 40-45. We are not a speedball only field. If they play traditional paintball they can fill 6-8 hours at that price.

For the most part I see a player about twice a year, so we don't have much for regulars.

At our peak we did about 3000 players a season, most guys were coming in 3-4 times a year. That means we had about 800 to 1000 players using our field. Now they are hitting 1-2 times a year and our numbers have dropped to about 1200. So we still may have the same size player base, maybe a little smaller, but they are not finding the time to play anymore.

Almost all say they had a great time it was wonderful and they will be back. But we may not see them again for a year or two. One guy came in last week said it was 17 years ago he was in last.

Keep the advice coming, it's helpful.
Our numbers are a little different than yours, but the general trend seems to be about the same. We definitely see the "regulars" a lot less regularly. So much so, that it doesn’t pay for us to chase that market anymore. We have had no choice but to concentrate more on the birthday/kids market to stay ahead of the game. This of course hurts the regular gear owner market even more because most of that market doesn’t want the kids and younger teens around. Unfortunately this seems to be the way the world is trending and I don’t believe there is very much you or I can do about it.

We can get a decent group of gear owners to show up if we have a special event that we advertise well enough and hard enough in advance and offer deep discounts (mostly on paint). Then we get a good size group of guys that want to “let loose” and have a hose fest. But that only works a couple of times a year. You can’t have a “special” every week and on our regular priced days, the crowds of gear owners just don’t show up like they used to. Our competitors are seeing the same thing.
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Old 07-05-2017, 12:13 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Our numbers are a little different than yours, but the general trend seems to be about the same. We definitely see the "regulars" a lot less regularly. So much so, that it doesn’t pay for us to chase that market anymore. We have had no choice but to concentrate more on the birthday/kids market to stay ahead of the game. This of course hurts the regular gear owner market even more because most of that market doesn’t want the kids and younger teens around. Unfortunately this seems to be the way the world is trending and I don’t believe there is very much you or I can do about it.

We can get a decent group of gear owners to show up if we have a special event that we advertise well enough and hard enough in advance and offer deep discounts (mostly on paint). Then we get a good size group of guys that want to “let loose” and have a hose fest. But that only works a couple of times a year. You can’t have a “special” every week and on our regular priced days, the crowds of gear owners just don’t show up like they used to. Our competitors are seeing the same thing.
I see the same problem with our private gear players. We just finished a scenario game a few weeks ago. 80% private guns. The turn out was less then I had hoped for, and we invested a ton of money prepping for it. Needless to say we lost money on the game, but many of them said I hope you do it again next season we'll come back for that.

Now 15 years ago we did tourneys and scenarios as a way of saying thanks to the players for giving us a good season. Like any special event they needed lots of effort and money to make them good shows. But the players had earned it so we gave back. Now it seems they want the special without doing anything to earn it!
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Old 07-05-2017, 08:22 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I think that's where I'm at right now with my thinking, but it's hard to let go of the old ideas. The players are all talking about how they love the big game and if we had one they would come. But they don't. It's just talk not much action. So if big games are dead, and the rec players have stopped coming in except for once a year or so. That leaves the "purpose" groups (Birthday parties, company picnic, graduation parties etc.) which are fine to work with but not plentiful enough yet to keep a field alive. You know the old saying "if you don't use it you lose it" That seems to be coming true. 10 years ago I could count 22 fields at least in Maine, Now I think were down to 5.
Has anyone noticed the distributors aren't pushing the start your own field kits anymore. You know the ones they use to sell. 20 guns with tanks chronograph goggles and even a 10 page book telling you everything you need to know about running a field. If they have changed direction in their marketing then that should mean something to us?

I've tried to give the players what they want, but lately I'm not sure they know what they really want. I seem to get knee jerk answers to questions and those answers may not be on target anymore. I can tell you rec groups have shrunk from an average of 12 players to about 7. So if social groups have gotten smaller then that provides a issue. I have also noticed a predisposition not to mix with groups they don't know. So I could have 2 groups of 7 instead of 1 group of 14 so that means I pay 2 refs instead of just one.

Lots of data to process, I just have to get the correct conclusions from what I'm seeing. That's the hard part!
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Old 07-05-2017, 12:56 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Try scaling back your big game?

A lot of "big game" scenario events don't really add anything to the field but open the field up so you play on 2/3 fields combined with respawns and objectives.

That may not be your vision of a big game but it's what I have been too. Any props are fairly permanent and reusable, ie a crate, wooden helicopter bunker.

Just some observations from a player. Except for some smoke grenades I never really saw anything new, the biggest perk is continuous re-pawns and being able to play on a huge field.
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Old 07-05-2017, 01:27 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Hi folks,
Here's a couple of quick question. Everyone loves a discount. But which will do the field more good. If you give 10% off for a group of 10. Or if you give a discount for regular usage like every 10th visit free, (limited to average spending) Or 50% off every 5th visit for a player? I've even looked at giving each player a $10 gift certificate for coming to play to help bring them back again.
I like discounts where the field operator knows the player by name, sees that he or she's a good person not out to obliterate other players but to make games fun, or funnier, or goofier, someone who makes the referee's life and refill guy's life a little easier, or pitches in to help set up a field. Those guys should get the discounts.

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I always get asked for group discounts even when there's only 4-5 in the group. Or military discount, police discount, big shooter discount, an I'm breathing discount. Well maybe not the last one yet but I'm expecting it any day.
Tell them to come again next week and 'we'll see'

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Are people so easily fooled that if I mark my prices up 20% so I can give everyone a discount of 20% What's the sense, why not just give people the best deal you can everyday?
What I'm about to say may not make sense from a financial standpoint but what I would do is ask myself, "If I didn't have any gear or paintballs of my own, would I pay this much for this rental, this rental mask, this field paintballs?" Then that way you don't have to offer discounts because players will realize, that your field is better than the other one trying to make a little more money. But then how to make money? I guess just the first point up above, trying to attract good honest people to play.

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What do other fields do?
They host annual/semi-annual big 100+ people events, just ridiculous unnecessary scenarios that saturate the fields with people for no reason lol. But it gets the money in.

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As a player, what would you like to see for a discount. (remember, any discount will require someone to pay for it. Either a hidden price increase, or a drop in services at the facility or even the owner by not investing in improvements or upkeep.) That may sound terrible, but many fields have been pushed to the very edge and there is no more to give. To be honest I don't know any field owners getting rich. Most are going out of business or have already gone.
I think a field that closes down should go underground. So players who ask, "Hey, what happened to XYZ field?" the other player can say, "The owner and the other guys running it are playing on XYZ State and Federal lands, you can catch them at XYZ time and place if you want to play, their phone number is 123-555-4567." Then they be like whoa they are playing outlaw because the business didn't work out in this town/city/state/country. Don't forget to wave the anarchy symbol lol

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As a field owner, this is important to me, this is what I do for a living, not a part time hobby I have while I'm not working my regular job. That's why we've always tried as hard as possible. We have it all on the line. Failure for us would be terrible. If it were a hobby field, I'd keep my regular job and take up Kayaking or something!
If you never had a field would you play paintball? I know the field operator of where I used to go to didn't even know the field layouts of his field, everyone else configured it for him. But he was super nice to me when I would show up because I tried to show up every other week with a dinky paintball pistol

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I'd like to have your thoughts. They may help me find something to improve the situation. Been doing this for 31 years to stubborn to quit.

Thanks
Don't quit spiritually-emotionally, go underground if you have to. They may seize your assets, demand money etc. Just bury your money in the ground for safekeeping. But take the love of paintball outside the realm of business for a bit, look at it from a fresh perspective, obsess over it, capture flags and trade shots with people young and old. Then try to share that experience with others rather than just capitalize on it. Or start up a kayaking business lol. Or kayak-to-kayak paintballing with people wearing masks. No don't
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Old 07-05-2017, 01:49 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Okay guys this is all good stuff. Let me give you a little more detail. My average player rents about 20% have their own gear. Most rental players spend about 55 for the entire day paint included. Private gunners go about 40-45. We are not a speedball only field. If they play traditional paintball they can fill 6-8 hours at that price.
The pricing is great! I used to spend $50 per outing shooting only 250 paintballs.

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For the most part I see a player about twice a year, so we don't have much for regulars.
That needs to change, players ought to be wanting to come in at least once a month so players recognize each other! Something is distracting the players from paintball or they must be finding their fulfillment elsewhere. Kidnap their girlfriends lol

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At our peak we did about 3000 players a season, most guys were coming in 3-4 times a year. That means we had about 800 to 1000 players using our field. Now they are hitting 1-2 times a year and our numbers have dropped to about 1200. So we still may have the same size player base, maybe a little smaller, but they are not finding the time to play anymore.
What got me [back] into playing paintball was actually from playing Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare computer game. I thought, "If I apply these principles that I learned in the game -- which is to run like an idiot at the opponent players and try to get them out first -- I might be really good at paintball." But then it became, "If I shot really accurately I need only shoot one or two shots per opponent and save money."

So I think the impetus to get people in the door is to market to these brainwashed video-gamer types.

What to do now is NOT diversify. Don't put a side-thing alongside the paintball field, such as rock-climbing or adventure obstacle field. Unless the side-thing is airsoft. But you'd have to set aside a different half of land for the airsofters since paintball reside stain their clothing

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Almost all say they had a great time it was wonderful and they will be back. But we may not see them again for a year or two. One guy came in last week said it was 17 years ago he was in last.
I hope its not 17 years before I go back to playing paintball >_<
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Old 07-05-2017, 02:06 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Try scaling back your big game?

A lot of "big game" scenario events don't really add anything to the field but open the field up so you play on 2/3 fields combined with respawns and objectives.

That may not be your vision of a big game but it's what I have been too. Any props are fairly permanent and reusable, ie a crate, wooden helicopter bunker.

Just some observations from a player. Except for some smoke grenades I never really saw anything new, the biggest perk is continuous re-pawns and being able to play on a huge field.
I guess the minimum is a group "day", like "pump day" or such. I'll travel for those, discount or not. One-day scenarios are good enough for me. I need some field company for two day scenarios anymore. You need better and wider advertisement for the bigger and longer scenario times. Many of us that play less often appreciate being able to come out and play constantly in a variety of roles without farting around excessively between games (respawn). If an old marker or project is causing trouble, it bothers no one but yourself.

For props, I've always liked the random pieces scattered by the refs, or constantly guarded props to be attacked and taken. Dressing up bunkers and giving them new names is neat, but doesn't add a lot to the actual play. I rarely play a scenario role, but I enjoy having them around when the game is large enough (200+)

I used to like "big shooter" discounts in the form of bulk paint pricing, which is simply taking off for your re-packaging time and maybe your pallet pricing discount. Lately, it seems like flat pricing would help the low volume shooters, or at least not penalize them.

A "group discount" (if there is one) should be your minimum economic size, like one ref and/or one field occupied. Maybe there is some link between group size and bulk paint? If they can't manage their own paint distribution, they aren't much of a group. While a small group of friends can sign up together, they don't bring any advantage you can act upon. Reservations are worth something.
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Old 07-05-2017, 02:36 PM   #19 (permalink)
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A thought... Use the "Get 10 friends to play as a group, and your entry fee is waived" to encourage people to act as the organizer of the group?

Just a thought...

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Old 07-05-2017, 03:04 PM   #20 (permalink)
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A thought... Use the "Get 10 friends to play as a group, and your entry fee is waived" to encourage people to act as the organizer of the group?

Just a thought...

Ty
I like this, but I've always found it so difficult to organize any number of people for paintball. Don't get me wrong, I see people do it all the time. I've just always had a thought time.

The promos that have gotten me in the door: groupons (entry and a smallish baggie of paint), membership (my current favorite, since it encourages me to go more often), entry fee covers everything (rental gun, chest protector, bag of paint, all day air...even though all I need is paint).

Things that make it hard to return to a place: slow game turnaround, inattentive refs, nickel and dime for everything, standing water (on the field, near it, in tire stacks, etc), allowing dbags to misbehave.

Overall, I think the most appealing thing is good management of a field. Maybe set up a suggestion box, to see if you can improve anything you're not aware of.
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