How to start a laser tag business
1. THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE
Between 2014 and 2019, the market size of the Laser Tag Arenas industry in the US has grown an average of 4.4% per year, faster than the economy overall. With consumer spending expected to increase, this is the perfect time to start a laser tag business.
Whether you’re starting a stand-alone laser tag facility, building a family entertainment center, or adding an arena to your existing center, this definitive guide will give you everything you need to get started.
Are you ready to begin your journey into starting a successful laser tag business? Continue reading below.
2. FOUNDATION WORK
- Do I have the passion, drive, and dedication to succeed?
- What are my skill sets and areas of expertise?
- Can I set goals and create a plan for achieving them?
3. CONDUCTING MARKET RESEARCH
- The population within a 10-mile radius.
- The demographics and psychographics of your market.
- The competitive landscape in your market.
- The demand for laser tag in your market.
4. SELECTING A LOCATION
If you’re building a stand-alone laser tag center or FEC, choosing a location is a critical decision. There are many factors in finding your ideal place, including rent, foot traffic, and hours of operation.
Here are a few types of locations along with the pros and cons of each:
- Pros: There’s high foot traffic in some international markets.
- Cons: The rent could be high, and operating hours limit your late-night gaming.
- Pros: lower rent per square foot.
- Cons: It requires your facility to become a destination location.
- Pros: A proven market for other attractions and appeal to locals.
- Cons: If there are other facilities with laser tag, it can highly competitive.
- Pros: High foot traffic during peak season.
- Cons: High rent and revenue dip during the slow season.
Take Parking into Consideration
Since the guest experience is central to the long-term success of your business, you must minimize the friction points of every interaction with your facility. An example of customer friction is the frustration of finding parking when a guest is visiting your facility. Be sure to select a location with parking relative to the size of your facility to accommodate the number of guests per hour on your busiest day. Your local authority or city council can give you guidance on the minimum number of parking spaces needed for your business.
5. DESIGNING YOUR LASER TAG ARENA
Now that you have selected a location, you’re ready to design your laser tag arena—where the magic happens. Aside from your laser tag equipment, your arena design plays a pivotal role in the gameplay, or how your guests interact with the game.
Instead of your conventional laser tag equipment that involves simply tagging other players, look for manufacturers with interactive elements that you can integrate with your arena. Here are a few examples:
A Base Station is a wall-mounted device with lights, sound, and voice that act as a target for players to shoot. For an additional dimension to your interactivity, look for Video Base Stations where players can pick up “Power-ups”, reload ammunition, capture bases, and run exclusive games like Capture the Flag, Quiz Show, or Laser Ball.
A lighting system like Crystal Lighting and Spotlights integrated with your laser tag software, and Base Station enhances the experience. Contrary to static lighting, your dynamic light interacts with the players to add an extra level of excitement.
Other components of the interactive arena include Energy Gates and Laser Shooters, which significantly expand options for laser tag games. When these components are combined with creative concepts and designs in your arena, you create a unique differentiation in your market.
As you plan the layout of your arena, the key sections include:
- The Briefing Area to show your players briefing videos on how to use your phasers, play the game, and important safety instructions.
- The Vesting Room where your players can suit up and where your staff charges your equipment.
- The Maintenance area where you can service your equipment. Be sure to select a manufacturer that makes it easy to replace parts without the need for an engineering degree.
Some additional variables that affect the players’ experience include the shape of the arena, the height of your ceiling, and whether it’s a single level or multi-level. You’ll want to account for any guests who may feel claustrophobic along with restrictions for multi-level structures for your building.
Finally, a key consideration for your layout is the Game Flow. The Game flow in laser tag is the ability to get customers in and out of the arena as smoothly as possible, which reduces downtime. Here’s an illustration for the ideal Game Flow:
For a more in-depth look at designing a winning laser tag center, be sure to download our free guide.
6. SELECTING LASER TAG EQUIPMENT
As many players know, not all laser tag equipment is created equal. The criteria for selecting your laser tag equipment should include:
- Durability and reliability. Your equipment should minimize downtime.
- Modular replacement parts. A self-diagnostic system should tell you which part should be replaced, and modular components make it easy for you and your staff to replace it.
- Laser Tag Software. Your software is the brain of your entire system and should be intuitive and allow you to customize your games. View examples of games for laser tag software here.
- Technical support. Having 24/7 technical support to help you troubleshoot your system is critical to minimizing downtime.
To learn more about the specifications and features of Genesis, the award-winning laser tag system, download the brochure here,
Need budgetary options and recommendations for your new center? Please request a quote with one of our experts today.
7. GETTING FINANCING
Now that you know what to budget for, you’re ready to get funding for your laser tag business. Similar to financing other ventures, you can invest your own money or get angel investors willing to fund your dreams.
Another source of investment capital is to crowd source on sites like Kickstarter or Indiegogo. While your chances of getting your entire business funded by customers are rare, running a campaign can help you gauge demand in your market.
The most common way of getting financing is through lenders like SLS Lending and Live Oak Bank, who are very knowledgeable in the industry. In many cases, they will be looking at feasibility studies and market research to determine the amount to loan.
8. OPERATING A LASER TAG CENTER
Now that you have your center coming together, you want to account for the daily operations of your business. To keep up with the demand for from your customers, here are the core functions of running your business:
- Marketing and Sales to attract guests and book parties and events.
- Customer service to ensure your guests have the best possible experience.
- Administrative to oversee all other functions, including paying rent, ordering supplies, licenses, permits, etc.
- Finance and Human Resource to hire, train, and manage staff.
- Information Technology handles everything from emails to phone systems.
There are numerous resources and software in the industry to handle every aspect of your core functions, including online party reservations, digital waivers, and debit card systems. Just keep in mind that technology enables your strategy of reducing customer friction at every touch point.
By putting yourself in your customers’ shoes, you’ll be able to map every interaction to create and document internal processes for your staff. To become a data-driven fun center, you’ll want to establish Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) and metrics to track opportunities to improve your business.
As you prepare for your grand opening, it’s always a good idea to have a soft launch to iron out all the kinks before opening up the floodgates. Remember that you should still learn from mistakes and continuously make improvements. That’s what the best laser tag and entertainment centers do.
9. START YOUR LASER TAG BUSINESS
Congratulations! Now that you know everything needed to start a laser tag business connect with one of our laser tag consultants for a consultation. You’ll get the expert guidance you need to create a profitable and successful business.
To get more in-depth guides most relevant for your stage in the process, visit our resource center for free downloads.
Our team of experts are also eager to help you turn your dreams into reality. Request a free consultation today.