Laser Tag Business
The business of laser tag is a great story of design, development, marketing and longevity.
First started back in 1984 by George Carter III after watching Star Wars - he introduced us to this exciting business, then called Photon. Soon after the success of Photon, other laser tag business entrepreneurs came calling, and the modern day laser tag race was on. Today there are many, many laser tag equipment suppliers and manufacturers, indoors, outdoors, mobile, commercial and residentail laser tag toy companies, even mobile apps, all of which continue to expand the relm of the laser tag business frontier.
Now after 31 years, here in 2015 laser tag is stronger than ever, and continues to grow and expand around the globe. Like go-karts and mini-golf, the laser tag business, is one of the few amusement attractions that has stood the test of time and proven itself to be a successful startup business opportunity for many entrepreneurs.
Like other attractions, laser tag has operational diversity and can be ran as a stand alone lasertag business, or as a secondary attraction within a fun center's activity mix. As a stand alone business, most laser tag centers are typically 10,000 square feet on average, with 40% to 50% of that area used for the laser tag arena, including briefing and suitup areas. Ancillary and peripheral attractions and services can include arcade games, other first person and group activities as well as food, party rooms and in some cases merchandise and other retail products.
Laser Tag - The Business
If you are here looking for information about starting your own laser tag business, good for you. Laser tag is fantastic fun, has a broad market and customer appeal, and when operated well, can be a very profitable business for it's owners. In some cases successful, stand alone laser tag centers have grossed over a million dollars a year, from a well designed, effectively marketed laser tag experience. Even though that kind of gross revenue is rare, good operators in a well defined market, with an effective marketing plan well executed can see their center gross from $450,000 to $600,000 plus a year.
To get there, the new laser tag business entrepreneur really needs to understand the complete concept and operational challenges of the business.
- Primary demographic is 6 to 14 years
- 65-70% of your business comes on the weekend
- Groups, members and events can be a boon for slower weekdays
Laser Tag Business Plan
Lets get started by first considering the number one step for most new business entrepreneurs, the laser tag business plan. Not really the first thing the creative new business developer wants to spend most of their time on, but a necessity for certain. Starting your laser tag business plan will allow you to create an organic document that will detail your project goals, your market area, thoughts on who and where your laser tag customers will come from, and the kind of services and other attractions you may be interested to include.
Like any other new business, getting your plan started can seem daunting at first. Having prepared our share of business plans, the best advice we have is to break it down into very small bite sized pieces to start - building your laser tag business plan one step at a time will help you stay focused and make the process much more manageable.
I always like to start here - an overview of the company. This is a great tool to use as an organic note pad of sorts. Define what it is your business does, what differentiates you from any others in your market, who (exactly) your customers are, where they will come from, and the kind of services and products they will find when they come to your laser tag center.
If you are just getting started, this can be an inspirational document to keep near as new ideas, market opportuntiy, locations and other business thoughts will appear and come to mind. Keep it with you so that when inspiration strikes you can continue to add to it and grow your business idea. Remeber, do NOT judge this process - nothing is too outlandish or crazy. Write ALL of your ideas and thoughts down, you never know when an idea will really strike a chord and lead yoou to innovation or a value-add for your customers.
Once you start this process of writing your business ideas down, you will be surprised at how fast other things come to mind; ideas about location, marketing, attractions, as well as questions and challenges that will assist you in your research and your laser tag business definition. Once you get a growing company description together, you can begin to take that data and start developing the rest of your laser tag business plan.
The basics should include:
This becomes a snapshot of the most important aspects of your business. The stuff potential investors and bankers will want to know.
This stuff is the meat and potatoes of your laser tag plan. Is there really a market opportunity for your laser tag business? And what (exactly) does that opportunity look like? Your market analysis should include details of potential customers, any competition, the industry as a whole and how it relates to your local economy and opportunity.
Organization and Management
Any potential investor(s) is going to want to know the details about how your laser tag business will be structured, and more importantly, who they are doing business with. What is the owner's and other partner backgrounds and any relevant experience that can help potential lasertag investors feel confident in the funding request.
Sales and Marketing
How do you plan to market your laser tag business? What is your sales strategy? Parties, groups, weekday, weekend opportunity and how you will exploit these opportunities through an ongoing and well defined sales and marketing plan.
If the market analysis is the meat and potatoes of your business plan, the financial projections are the digestion and outcome of that research. Your financial projections should create a comprehensive picture of how the market analysis relates to your profitability and the financial strength of your laser tag business.
There are other areas of the plan that need to be further detailed, but these primary headings will help you get a long way to flushing out a completed laser tag business plan.
The S.M.A.R.T. Business Plan Service
We offer a comprehensive laser tag business plan, based on years of fun center development and operations. Our production and operational experience is a valuable resource available to new business entrepreneurs looking to get started on the right path, with the right team of suppliers and manufacturers. Developing your laser tag plan does not mean you need to go it alone,Take all of the above, roll it into a simple, single package that brings all of our experience and suppliers together to help you get your laser tag business started. The SMART business can be operated as a stand alone lasertag center or an interactive, high-fidelity attraction within your fun center's activity mix.
Parties, Groups and Other Markets...
Laser tag profitability comes down to equipment and game flexibility and the markets you can attract - simply put, the amount of paying players through your door. The featurrs of a S.M.A.R.T. laser tag experience allow the operator to attract multiple demographics and players across a wide variety of markets.
Laser Tag Birthday Parties
The number one money maker for most centers are birthday parties, and the primary demographic for a laser tag birthday party is 6 to 14 years old. These kids just want to have a great time playing in teams or as a solo game against each other over a couple of periods of play, 90% of which will book Saturday/Sunday.
This group requires efficiency in briefing, suit-up and gameplay. Get them in, have a great time and get them out for the next group. For many stand-alone laser tag centers this group represents 60%-70% of your revenue.
Open Play - Indoor Laser Tag
Open play allows the laser tag operator to extend weekend and mid-week traffic later into the evening hours and attracts a 16 year old and up player. As with party's, most of the games are basic team and/or solo based games that everyone can enjoy.
Group events can be a real source of untapped weekly revenue for laser tag operators. From church groups and sports teams to the local boy or girl scout groups, these players typically look to rent the entire arena exclusive for their group. Best to put together a 2 or 3 game exclusive package and offer them a combination of team and solo games.
Laser Tag Member Nights
A lot of laser tag companies will say there is no real opportunity for members and member games, there just isn't a market.
We disagree. If the entire "membership" package is done right, with the right experience value, game play, pricing strategy and exclusivity, we have seen member nights be a great success for laser tag operators. The challenge is in creating value for the member player. You can't just say you offer membership and have a two-for-Tuesday game night with special games. You need to approach your membership strategy with a packaged approach that offers real benefit and exclusivity. And, you need game-play that really engages your players in a community.
Once you have created a real value proposition for membership and member nights, the natural follow-on is league play. Just like a bowling league, leagues demand more operational focus and energy, but that energy is paid back in advanced bookings, the Holy Grail for laser tag operators. Knowing that you are booked 3 nights a week for the next 12 weeks, and your staffing costs are 20% of those pre-booked revenues, is a great financial bonus that goes straight to your bottom line.
Team Building with Laser Tag
If you are an operator who feels comfortable in the presence of corporate accounts and professionals, this demographic has real potential to add thousands of dollars to your weekday revenues. Team building can range from a 2 hour fun session with 2 or 3 games at $300 to $500, to a fully catered 4 hour event with real management issues addressed through custom games at $1,500 to $2,000 and more for a full session.
Hardcore Tactical Gamers
Just like the hardcore paintball players, this demographic (although narrow) offers opportunity to expand and attract players week nights. We work with you to customize a set of highly skilled tactical games that provide the adrenaline rush these players are looking for.
For most centers, your weekend party business will meet your monthly operating costs - but it is here with these additional markets mid-week where you go from making a fun liviing, to really making some money.
And the best part - we help you set it all up. From developing your custom games to creating your marketing plan and collateral, we can help the laser tag operator fully exploit your local market opportunity - ensuring a strong ROI on your laser tag investment.