Saturday, May 30, 2009

The One Cent Solution

“Paintball is too expensive.”

“If paintball were cheaper, I would play more often.”

“ A lot of my friends don’t play paintball because they can’t afford to.”

The above are typical comments seen on a regular basis on paintball forums I visit. They are all legitimate statements. The second and third are most likely totally truthful.

I like taking my family to carnivals when they show up in town. There are a few that roll through, set up all those fun rides and games, stick around for a few days and then leave again to set up in some other city or town. But as much as I enjoy taking my family to these carnivals, I don’t do it very often. Basically, I can’t afford to do it very often. I mean, I could probably afford to more often, but then I would have to give up other stuff that I need/want to spend my money on. My point is, that there are very few of us that can take part in as much fun activities as we would like to. There are limits to our financial resources.

Paintball is no different. It costs money to take part. It doesn’t matter where you go or how you play, it’s never free, unless someone else is paying your way. Of course, if playing paintball were cheaper then either more people would take part or the people interested in paintball would take part more often, just like any other fun activity.

So here’s my suggestion. All we need to do is convince the paintball manufacturers to sell their paintballs to fields and stores for about $10 to $12 per case and then in turn, the fields and stores could sell paintballs to participants in the activity for $20 per case (or 1 cent per ball). We currently charge an average of about 8 cents per ball at our facility.

With this huge price drop, we would get a huge influx of participants because now our average customer will only be spending $5 for that bag of 500 paintballs instead of $40. They will save $35. Those already playing the game will be able to play much more often and those not playing because it’s been too expensive will start coming, not just once but many times. They will tell all their friends about this great activity that is really not that expensive to take part in. We’ll have a huge number of customers and the paintball manufacturers will make up for their loss in mark-up in a huge increase in sales due to all the new players will attract.

Once again we will see huge growth in our sport; growth like we've never seen before. This seems like the perfect solution to the declines we’ve seen in our sport lately, doesn’t it?


  1. This is a joke, right? =)

  2. Why do you ask that?

    We started paintball at about 15 cents per ball and are currently at under 2 cents already at many field in North America.

    Just think of all the money the average player will save and how many times they will be able to play and how many more new players this will attract. It's perfect. Of coruse, it's not really a new idea. Fields have been dropping prices over the years to attact lots more players since the dawn of paintball. It's really just a natural progression (from the word progress) to drop down to 1 cent per ball.

  3. Well, we think you know better.

    Because you can't make paintball cheaper by lowering the price of paint. The price to play stays the same; players just shoot more paint.

    15 years ago it cost me $40 to play for a day. Now it costs me $40 to play for a day. Paint is a third of the price it used to be; I just shoot 3 times as much.

  4. If paint drops in price, I hope my field keeps prices the same and just spends the rest on improving the field/paying more to keep the best refs/give more to the owners.

    The last thing we need is a new person getting shot 45 times in their first game by DMs, Egos, etc because paint is so cheap.

  5. sockkers, that's crazy talk. You are paddling upstream. Going against the flow.

    The One Cent Solution is really no different than the preceding Two, Three, Four, or Five Cent Solutions we've seen in the past 10 or 15 years. It's been working great. Our sport has been growing in leaps and bounds all those years. I'm sure it was due to paintball getting cheaper and cheaper.

    There are only a few places, like Skirmish for instance, that haven't kept up with the times and didn't go with the Four, Three, or Two cent solutions (they got stuck at the Five Cent Solution). But what do they have to show for it? Hardly any customers and crappy facilities. I'm sure once they see the value in the One Cent Solution, they'll be jumping all over it.

  6. That's true, paintball did grow (I wasn't there at the beginning) but I think it's more that it was fun rather than cheap.

    I don't know Skirmish but I checked out their website and the place looks great. If they were near me, I would totally buy the season pass. That would actually make it CHEAPER for me to play, lol. I pay $25 for entrance and $55 for 2000 marbalizers right now (I shoot around 1000 per day). But even if I didn't, I would pay more to ensure people couldn't shoot crappy paint.

    The best part of paintball is actually playing the game. Sure, lots of paint flying is fun when you're used to it. But as a new player, I would want a far slower pace. As a regular player, I want a place with good service, good people, good fields, etc.

    Paintball is an experience! It's not a "how fast can my gun shoot" contest. Well, to me at least...

  7. Btw, I checked out that skirmish place more and they have A FREAKEN CASTLE!!! OMG!!!

    I want to play in a castle... actually, I want to take the castle. How can someone play a game of "Take the castle" and not come back and play again?

  8. Incidentally, I was at CPX this weekend, 4.5 cents a ball, one of the best outdoor facilities on the planet, and seemed to be very well attended.

  9. I've visited the CPX site a few times before. Who wouldn't love those great visually appealy fields? I wonder if their paint prices are still a little low though. What makes me wonder this? I look at the pictures on their website and I see what appear to be almost all own gear owners carrying piles of paint (multiple large pods each). Where are the renters...the first timers? Is there a reason I see what appear to be mostly regular paintball players here?

    Nothing wrong with that I guess from a business point of view, assuming they are doing OK. It seems like the kind of field where regular paintball players will go "every once in a while" as a special treat, but when there, will still blast large volumes of paint inspite of the higher than average prices. It's a "every once in a while" thing. But does that keep new players from enjoying themselves (at least in the open games)?

    I do see they have private games and those prices are pretty good. You probably won't have too many players shooting over 1,000 paintballs at those prices (and most will shoot less). I wonder if groups of 10 players get to play on the really cool fields though, or do they get shuffled off to some of the less remarkable fields?

    I would love to hang out for a regular day and see how they run things and how players react to the fields and prices. I would find that very interesting.