I’m relatively new to this whole blogging thing and I’m not very techy so I have no idea how many people are actually reading this stuff. There’s probably a way to track all kinds of stuff on here, but my limited brainpower hasn’t been able to figure it out yet. Both my sons are computer whizzes (one is taking computer science), but the old man got left behind in the 20th century I think.
I am always amazed when someone comes up to me at the field and tells me they’ve read my stuff. I also get the odd pm and email from people commenting on something I wrote. Why they don’t post a comment on here, I don’t know. Maybe they are even less techy than me and don’t know how, although I doubt that.
Anyway, I’m going to share a couple of excerpts from a couple of pm’s I received lately (mostly cause I can’t think of anything new to write). I’ll keep everyone anonymous since I assume they didn’t want their identity made public in the first place.
The first one is from a fellow field owner that runs a small field in a fairly small city. He stopped running his field for a few years for personal reasons and then got back into it. He says:
“Last summer I started back up again, and seeing how paintball had changed a bit, I bought a 5 man speedball field to try to get the ball rolling again, to get some attention on the field. Well long story short, there are a few players who like the speedball, but they are the same ones crying about paint cost, crying that its FPO, crying about anything, AND pissing off my rec players. The whole speedball idea cost me around 6 grand, and Im basically just using my woods field now... pretty expensive mistake, but the woods field is attracting at least twice the people that the speedball does.”
Since I too went down the speedball road alongside the woodsball road when we first opened TNT Paintball, I can relate. We were fortunate enough not to have gotten to the point of spending the money on an airball field (they were more expensive back then). We learned fairly quickly that the two kinds of players don’t mix well together and it hurt our business when we tried. Since I was into the speedball thing myself then, I played speedball at other fields instead of my own. Some people couldn’t figure out why a field owner that liked speedball didn’t set up a speedball field (we had the space). Sometimes you need to keep your personal life out of your business life.
From an economist who is a confessed high volume shooter:
“Hey, I just started reading your blog and wow, it is great!!!
Is there any explanation why ALL fields aren't FPO? The fields around me that are FPO are always packed while the BYOP ones are almost always empty...
Granted, the ones with FPO have nicer facilities, better staff, etc but is that cause or effect???”
I answered his pm with this: BYOP is just the ultimate step for fields that have over the years lowered their paint prices trying to be competitive to attract more players. I'm going to guess that the reason in your area the better fields are FPO and the not so nice fields are BYOP is because the less nice fields feel that low prices is the only way they are going to attract players, since their facilities can't match the nicer ones.
This of course only attracts those that feel the need to shoot high volumes of paint and don't mind sacrificing the other services and better facilities. Those types of players are only a small segment of the paintball market. Most often, the field owners that do BYOP, are also of that type of player (shoot lots of paint).
It's a downhill spiral for those fields most often because they have fewer customers, with less profit per customer, so they never end up getting enough extra income to upgrade their fields. Eventually they get tired of working for free and either close down or sell to some other unsuspecting sole. In rare cases, if the rent is cheap enough or free, they'll linger on for years with a few customers every once in a while.
Please post up your comments if you’ve stumbled onto this blog. Whether you agree or disagree doesn’t matter. Without conversation, we’re not going to be able to make the paintball world a better place.