By Shanika Chapman
Laser tag is a fun, family-friendly recreational activity popular among youth and adults for team-building events, birthdays, youth group events and more. Compete with other fun centers in your area by designing an arena that will keep customers coming back for more. According to Entrepreneur’s website, start-up costs may exceed $50,000. Start by conducting market research to ensure viability. Then develop a business plan to present to financiers.
1 Learn local population statistics via the Census Bureau. Your target market will be children between the ages of 7 and 18. Research other youth-friendly recreational businesses in your area, taking note of their amenities and pricing, to determine how best to compete.
2 Determine whether to open an indoor or outdoor laser tag business. While outdoor tag will be somewhat limited by inclement weather, if you live in a relatively and consistently warm climate, weather may be of little concern. Outdoor laser tag may be a much cheaper investment and integrates well with a mobile laser tag business, since you will already have equipment suited for outdoor terrain.
3 Determine what amenities you will include with your laser tag business. If opting for an outdoor park, you may want barbecue pits and benches, in addition to your facility, which will house your private meeting room, restrooms and water fountains. As well, you may opt for vending machines or a café. For an indoor facility, you may want to include an arcade room or birthday party room that can accommodate at least 30 people. Expect to need at least 6,000 square feet.
4 Purchase or lease commercial land or a facility large enough to accommodate your business. If opting for an outdoor laser tag field, look for well-drained land, preferably with a few natural barriers such as large rocks or trees.
5 Develop the arena to create a unique and safe laser tag experience. The theme, use of fog machines, interactive effects and lighting will help create a dynamic atmosphere. As well, your arena may include a maze, be asymmetrical or symmetrical, or be multi-level. Keep in mind that due to the dim lighting and fast pace of the game, most people won’t notice intricate paint jobs at indoor parks. Spend your time creating great game play and worry less about the aesthetic appeal of your obstacles.
For help developing your arena, consult with a laser tag designer.
6 Purchase a laser tag system, concession food and supplies for your café, arcade machines and vending machines, as needed. When selecting a laser tag system, consider the length of the charge for the guns, maintenance requirements, voice and sound effects, game audit control and the software features.
7 Consult with an attorney and insurance agent to develop waivers and safety policies and to purchase liability insurance. Then hire responsible employees to run the café and assist with the operations and game play by informing players of the rules and showing them how to operate the equipment.