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Old 07-05-2017, 03:26 PM   #21 (permalink)
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I too have found it difficult to herd cats... I mean organize paintball players.

The point is to encourage *someone* to do the work.

Agreed on many of your turn offs for fields. Crappy reffing and super slow turn around are at the top of my list, with poor field maintenance coming in shortly there after.

I had discussed with the local field a concept of purchasing "days" of play in advance. The big advantage for the field is the money is available to them, up front. The big disadvantage would revolve around the idea that one time players/rentals will not prepay for additional play days. The same card could be used as a rewards card... buy $1000 worth of stuff and get something for free, or other perks. This will also build an emailing list for future events, etc.

Just another thought or three...

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Old 07-05-2017, 03:32 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Email lists, social media list, mailing lists, etc are crucial.

Being able to send out a tweet and tell interested people about a flash sale, or whatever, can be literal gold.
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Old 07-05-2017, 05:08 PM   #23 (permalink)
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I'm just now getting back to the sport after a busy and expensive 5 years. Recruiting 10 people is really hard. Making time is even hard.
I got $5 off for bringing my own gear. I was disappointed it wasn't a better discount.
My two friends hated the rental masks, with the jacked up lenses, and guns, with worn, wobbly barrel adapters (BT4 or similar). They took turns borrowing my spare mask and spare gun. Investing in fresh lenses would have gone a long way.
The good idea was a Groupon deal, half off entry for 2, 4, 6, or 8. One of each deal per year. It makes it easy to get your feet wet, and encourages groups as you want to keep getting a deal.


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Old 07-05-2017, 05:24 PM   #24 (permalink)
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In marketing, sometimes the most difficult thing is to accurately identify your target market. Some people might think that rich kids are the prime market for paintball, with parents' money spent on markers that devour paint. Other people might think it's pushover moms, hoping to make their kid's birthday party more memorable than the neighbor kid. Maybe it's the late 20s early 30s bachelor with dreams of living their favorite FPS video game. Who knows? Maybe it's all of these and more.

Having been in business for as long as you have, hopefully your customer records are detailed and accessible enough to get a true picture of the math behind each group. If not, it maybe time to do some A/B testing to see which 20% of your customers are the 80% of your money. Also, consider a options about your overhead... Specifically, staffing. I've been to a place that has almost all volunteer refs, that work for play time and tips. Hard to say what will work. Also hard to know if you'll really be able to pull the trigger and act on the data you collect. Emotions/sentiment and data don't usually point to the same decisions.

Good luck.
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Old 07-05-2017, 06:47 PM   #25 (permalink)
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You know we started our G.O. program last season, G.O. stands for Game Organizer.

We tap kids in college or high schools and it's really simple. Put up a sign up sheet for play on an agreed date. Get as many as possible to come that day. I'll check the names against the sign up sheets. Then I pay you $5 a head for all the folks you recruited. bring me 20 players I'll give $100. You don't even have to play with them if you don't want to.

In 10 months of this program and over 70 people approached to try to organize games I've had exactly ZERO folks do it. No one has even called to try to set a date for an attempt! You would think on a campus with 10,000 kids you might be able to make that happen without too much effort, wouldn't you?
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Old 07-05-2017, 07:22 PM   #26 (permalink)
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The norm down here is a discount for a group of 10 or more, the idea being it is easier to process them through checkout and, due to them being a group, easier to ref. Anything less than that is regular price.

Individuals are on their own, unless they can show that it is their birthday then free admission at most of the local fields down here.

Military and police discounts are also very common down here with proof of active enlistment/service. Very rarely do I see any servicemen/women on the field but they do poke their heads in every now and then.

"Big shooter discount" is applied if you buy a case vs individual bags as all the fields down here sell individual bags of 500 at a higher rate than a full case of 2k.

You can give them the best deal possible and they will still expect better. You have to stay profitable to stay open, I have seen too many "nice" fields go under because they let people in for cheap. Don't undercut yourself Dutch, no one wins in the end.
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Old 07-05-2017, 11:54 PM   #27 (permalink)
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The norm down here is a discount for a group of 10 or more, the idea being it is easier to process them through checkout and, due to them being a group, easier to ref. Anything less than that is regular price.

Individuals are on their own, unless they can show that it is their birthday then free admission at most of the local fields down here.

Military and police discounts are also very common down here with proof of active enlistment/service. Very rarely do I see any servicemen/women on the field but they do poke their heads in every now and then.

"Big shooter discount" is applied if you buy a case vs individual bags as all the fields down here sell individual bags of 500 at a higher rate than a full case of 2k.

You can give them the best deal possible and they will still expect better. You have to stay profitable to stay open, I have seen too many "nice" fields go under because they let people in for cheap. Don't undercut yourself Dutch, no one wins in the end.
Now you see this is exactly what I was thinking. If I hadn't reduced my prices to make play more affordable then I'd have enough margin to offer discounts. I don't know what other fields charge. But we get 3 cents a ball for excellent paint. We get either $15 for a Tippmann 98 with unlimited CO-2 or $20 for an Alpha Black with a flatline barrel and unlimited CO-2. Both guns come with good goggles, gloves, throat protector, chest protector and a pod pack which hold 2 pods.
Most of my players are here about 5 hours and they shoot about 600 rounds in the day. We also give free bottled water and we have propane grills which are free to use if they bring food in to cook. We let the group set the pace but we push them along if they start to lag badly. If they wish to take a break, that's fine. I have to admit the AC in the safety area is a nice change on a hot day.

I know some folks can't imagine us selling paint by the 100 rounds. But if you knew our system you would be amazed at how smooth it works and quick it is. The trouble comes when players break the system. That happens more then I care for. But we get through it.

So I think they are already getting a pretty good bargain. But like you say they will always want more.

I know many fields deal with shooters that have to burn 2-3 thousands rounds a day to have fun. But that's not what I have.
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Old 07-05-2017, 11:59 PM   #28 (permalink)
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I too have found it difficult to herd cats... I mean organize paintball players.

The point is to encourage *someone* to do the work.
In the 1990's my brother-in-law and I used to organize groups of 40 players to play at a local field (before we opened our own paintball field). We had to turn people away as 40 was the limit the field could handle at the time. We could handle about 150 at once now at our field, but it's been years since I've seen a group of 40, other than the odd corporate or school group. But as far as private citizens organizing big groups, those days seem to be gone. People are just flakey these days and don't want to commit to anything. With instant communication at their fingertips, a better or more interesting offer might come through at any moment. Also, people don't have the extra income they had 20 years ago. Statistically, wages haven't gone up at the same rate the cost of living has for many people. That unfortunately can't be denied, although I'm sure there are a few right leaning people who will say, "just get a better job". But the sad truth is that on average, people have less discretionary income.
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Old 07-06-2017, 07:59 AM   #29 (permalink)
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In the 1990's my brother-in-law and I used to organize groups of 40 players to play at a local field (before we opened our own paintball field). We had to turn people away as 40 was the limit the field could handle at the time. We could handle about 150 at once now at our field, but it's been years since I've seen a group of 40, other than the odd corporate or school group. But as far as private citizens organizing big groups, those days seem to be gone. People are just flakey these days and don't want to commit to anything. With instant communication at their fingertips, a better or more interesting offer might come through at any moment. Also, people don't have the extra income they had 20 years ago. Statistically, wages haven't gone up at the same rate the cost of living has for many people. That unfortunately can't be denied, although I'm sure there are a few right leaning people who will say, "just get a better job". But the sad truth is that on average, people have less discretionary income.
That's a very good point about the income. I live in a rather poor area. Certainly that has a huge effect on disposable income. That's why we don't try to get players to spend a ton. I realize they can't afford that. Now what that does create is an opportunity for those from areas with more money. They can roll in and play and save a ton if they have a sense of value. I've heard lots of players tell me how they thought they would have spent more when the day is done. (My old man always said if you want to find a bargain, shop where the poor people live.) He was right because the poor folks want to sell the item more, they need to! Sad but true!

But part of the disposable income issue with the younger players is there very phone which all have to have. paying $100 a month for a phone plan goes a long ways towards wiping out there "mad money." I mean if every person had that extra $100 a month, I'll wager paintball would still be booming.

That leads me to another issue. In days gone by you could expect a customer to do at least a little in the attempt to find you. Now if you don't "slap them up the side of their head" they can't/don't find you or know you exist. No effort other then what their phone tells them. I've been approached this week alone by Google and Yelp to pay them to "enhance" my listing. Here's the fun part. If I don't pay they will put others in front of me on their listing services. Not based on how good the reviews are not based on what you have to offer. based on your willingness to pay the "extortion" money. In other words these are a for profit service who sell their endorsements so even the worst field in the world can buy a listing placing it in front of all others.

I always thought if you did your best to give the customer the best experience they can have you would be alright. But that doesn't seem to be the case as much anymore.
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Old 07-06-2017, 11:04 AM   #30 (permalink)
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Advertise in your local paper, usually much cheaper and directly targets your local audience. Run an ad, 50 free paintballs, or something that won't make a noticeable hit on your financials.

Look into email promotions. My field if you provide your email gives a promo for 50 free paintballs. Easy opt-in to send promo emails.

Post on Facebook, instagram, twitter, Meetup. As said before, let public media do the mass marketing for you.

Meetup is kinda a cool platform. It will be an invite and give a number of players attending, like Come play at x on "date" with 9 other players.

I think your prices are good. You provide all the extras for free... chest protector, etc. Also providing a place to cook out for free is amazing!
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