Players input on field services
Hi Folks, I'm a field owner and I'm looking for your input. I've been at this 29 years :old: and over that time people have changed. That means I may be off target as far as what I see are he most important things a field should offer to its customers. :bang: So, I'd like you folks to help get me back on track.
If you could list the most important things a field should offer you, in the order you feel is most important. No limit, 1 or a dozen and feel free to explain, if I don't understand it won't help so take your time. Let me give you an example
1. Safe playing field
2,.Well trained staff
3. Private games so we don't have to mix
4. Lunch available at field
Remember there is no real wrong answer :huh:
Good staff goes a long way.
Clean masks for newbies/renters-- new people I bring always bitch about the masks fogging or being dirty
Clean the rental guns so they actually shoot straight
Interesting fields that people remember.. There is a reason why people always talk about forts and castles
Good Referee's can make and break a feild.
I myself like it when at all possible separate the rentals and the experianced players but also give the option to join the geared up group.
No fog goggles.
Lunch is always a plus.
I think the answer will partially depend on which type of clientele you are trying to attract: first-time/rental or regular/gearowners.
Personally, I think for both groups the number one answer would be something they can't necessarily get at another location or via outlaw ball:
1. Unique / variety of fields, including structures and physical facilities. Anybody can stick pallets / spools in the woods, but castles, forts, towns go a long way to satisfying the COD fantasies of the weekend warrior.
After that the services get a more intangible feel for the customer and may not be immediately recognized / appreciated.
2. Good management / competent staff with an emphasis on both safety and fun. Separating by skill level or ensuring the regulars tone it down among the rentals.
3. High quality field paint and decent rental markers & masks
This goes along with good reffing, but I've always gotten irritated when the rules aren't being evenly enforced, be it for that "customer whose attitude sucks, but he keeps bringing the money in", or speedballers looking to pick on the rec players awhile. Not that those guys shouldn't be allowed to play with the recs, but they need to be evenly divided. Special games like "recs vs speeders" and such tend to go badly for new players.
That, and food.
And clean rentals.
-The best field I've been to is OSG Paintball in NH, www.osgpaintball.com. They have a large variety of fields and structures. It makes it so not every game is the same.
-Refs that are paying attention and actually reffing and not just standing on the side of the field talking to each other.
-If you are a FPO field offer choices. Some people want quality paint and will pay for it, others want the cheapest paint possible. If you are a FPO field perhaps offer a day of BYOP.
-It may not be practical due to location but a real bathroom with running water.
Extras (Lunch, drinks, toilets, the general make sure I don't need to leave the field for stuff because I won't come back that day if I do stuff)
In that order.
I'll travel to play with the right people, even to a sub par field. Good people won't stay if you don't have good refs or fields/games to keep interest and excitement, Bad refs and bad paint are the two most frustrating things in the sport in my opinion. The rest is gravy.
Here's what I consider most important:
1. Clean & Safe Field
Nothing will ruin my day faster than a field run like the "Wild West" with poorly enforced masks/barrel plugs, or poorly maintained fields full of hidden hazards that make me second guess every time I break for the next piece of cover. The safe zone needs to protected from the chrony and the playing fields, and it's nice if you can lock up your gear at your table.
2. Trained and Confident Refs
I want to see a good ref/player ratio on the field. The refs have to be attentive (not bored and shooting the s**t with their buddies), and focused on providing the players with a good experience. This means occasionally calling out those who are being unsafe/not listening/etc. and having the confidence to stand up for themselves. They also need to be able to organize a variety games (total elimination on the same field all afternoon is just lazy reffing and no fun to play).
3. Excellent and Memorable Fields/Variety
Towns, castles, forts, towers, trenches, and tunnels all make for an awesome experience.
4. Decent Rental Gear
This means clean rental guns, and masks. The masks need to have thermal-lenses so they don't fog, and keep the scratches to a minimum. I like it when fields offer "extras" to the renters, like $5 for a 2-pod ammo belt (sells more paint!), and rental overalls (must be washed daily).
5. A Good Tech on Hand
Even the best maintained gear goes all pear-shaped on you mid-game once in a while. Having a gun tech on hand gets you back in the game.
Most girls I know who like paintball, hate the port-o-johns. The option to use actual plumbing (even if back at the office) goes a long way to getting the GF out to play.
7. Nice Break Area with Food Available
This ties into #1 but also includes shade over the tables, and maybe some oversight from the rental/registration counter. Food on-site is always a plus, or at a minimum, a discount from a local pizza shop for your customers.
That's all I can think of off the top of my head, but these are things I typically look for when I organize games for my non-paintballing friends or my co-workers. Having played for over 20 years, there's a lot I'm willing to accept in terms of field quality (except #1...), but nowadays I tend to look at it from the point of view of making the best experience from a newbie perspective.
Folks this is all good stuff, so far nothing earth shattering, but that's a good thing. I have another question I need answered. I offer only one paint on field. This last season it was marbilizer. I always thought of it as a hard paint but it was pretty gentle last season.
Here's my problem. We test 6 different paints before the season starts. We run test groups of 20 shots through our 3 rentals. We offer the Tippmann 98 Custom or the Tippmann Alpha Black as a slight upgrade or the best we have is the powerfeed Automag with a 14 stainless dye barrel on compressed. We run 20 shot strings slowly through each type and look for consistency in velocity. Then we choose the best match for all 3 markers. We do this twice a year so we can insure our customers are in a fine paint. But When we finish one type and we see it's running at 280 fps through a 98 say and we change to the next brand of paint and without adjusting the velocity the 98 climbs to 325. How am I suppose to keep that safe. If players can trade paint back and forth I can't insure a safe velocity will be maintained. And the problem gets 10 times worse on bring your own paint events.
So what's the answer other then field paint only and one brand on the field?
Paint wise valken graffiti seems to be an all around favorite here.
I'll never buy anything less.... It sucks to have a day ruined by ****ty paint.
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