Everything you need to know to create a Paintball field

Would you like to embark on a Paintball adventure? WSD has been helping Paintball field creators since 1999, whether you already have a leisure field and are looking for an additional activity, or whether you want to make Paintball your main activity, we are here to advise you on your project. 

The Paintball market in France is dynamic in the service sector. On this page, you'll find all the information you need to get started.

creation paintball area

What steps need to be taken to open a paintball area?

The first step in setting up a paintball field is to find out about the administrative formalities before opening.

What qualifications do you need to open a paintball area?

You don't have to have any qualifications to open a paintball centre, but it's a good idea to have a minimum amount of experience to show the banks before you launch your project. 

If you plan to employ staff to run the centre, a BAFA is a plus for supervising the players.

What authorisations do you need?

Check with the local town hall or prefecture to find out about any local permits that may be required. 

Don't forget to take out civil liability insurance and to post the appropriate rules and signage (compulsory mask, compulsory barrel cap, etc.). The French paintball federation website is a great source of information.

Identify your competitors

One very important thing is not to launch your business without studying the direct and indirect competition. It's essential to know who the professionals in the leisure industry (paintball or other) are around you. Even if you don't have any paintball competitors, there may be an accrobranches, a karting centre or a leisure centre that could open a paintball area at a later date.

What budget do you need to create a paintball field?

There are several factors to take into account when estimating the budget you need to set aside to open a paintball field: the terrain and the equipment. 

The first step is to find the right terrain, suitable for this type of activity. It shouldn't be too close to housing, but it shouldn't be too far from a large town either, to attract customers. Make sure you check with the local council before signing the lease to find out if there are any objections to this type of activity on the land, to avoid being blocked later by environmentalists. Our Tomahawk balls are 100% PEG biodegradable (biodegradability certificate available on request).

You need to look for a pitch that's big enough to create several themed areas so that players want to stay longer and spend more money. And these areas need to be fitted out with obstacles so that players can hide from the projectiles. There are different types of obstacles for paintball: inflatable obstacles or hard obstacles (wooden constructions), but you can also use straw bales, pallets or vehicles. However, we advise against the use of tyres and pallets, which don't give a good impression of quality. 

It's impossible for us to give you a budget for the land, as it depends on the location and the surface area, but as far as the layout of the space is concerned, you should allow between €5,000 and €30,000 to get started, depending on what you want to do. 

Then you need to buy the equipment for the players. At the very least, each piece of equipment consists of a paintball launcher, a tank of paintballs, a bottle of compressed air and a face mask. We also advise you to provide disposable or washable overalls and protective gloves for the hands.

If you're planning to host children aged between 8 and 12, you'll need equipment adapted for children with a lower velocity. For children, we offer pump-action launchers with a velocity of less than 2 joules, in 0.50 calibre.

To give you an idea of the budget, if you start with equipment for 20 adults and 20 children, with everything you need to get started: players' protective equipment, a few suits and costumes for stag parties, all you need for maintenance, signage for the pitch, balls and a compressor to recharge the compressed air cylinders, you should expect to pay around €10,000 excluding VAT.

What equipment is suitable for hire at a paintball area?

There are different types of paintball guns: mechanical guns, pneumatic guns and electro-pneumatic guns. 

For intensive, professional use on a playground, you need to choose the right equipment. The mechanical launcher is the one to go for because it's easy to maintain (all the parts can be changed easily). The model most commonly used by playgrounds is the Tippmann FT-12 launcher, which can be dismantled in 30 seconds and is very robust over time. As this model is fairly expensive, for smaller installations you can opt for the Valken Blackhawk SW1 launcher, which will perform just as well but will take slightly less time to dismantle for maintenance. 

Another important criterion is the calibre of the pellets. The most common calibre is 0.68, the one used by the majority of launchers sold in paintball shops and therefore the one used by equipped players. 

But the trend on paintball fields is to switch to the 0.50 calibre because it has many advantages: the balls are smaller and will hurt less, the air autonomy will be greater, they will be less expensive and will take up less storage space (4,000 balls per box instead of 2,000 for the 0.68 calibre). The 0.50 calibre can help you attract a more mixed audience, as it is suitable for both adults and children.

How do you make a Paintball site profitable?

Whether you want to open a paintball field as a company or as an association, you need to know how to make it profitable so as not to lose money. 

You can have two types of customer: occasional players to whom you will hire out the equipment and who will play sessions for part of the day, and you will also have equipped players. The latter are regular players, looking for a playing field, who already have their paintball equipment, so you'll only be charging them for the day's entry and the paintballs.

To be able to accommodate as many people as possible, you need to have enough equipment to hire and you need to have professional refills. Basically, if you run out of compressed air, you can close down. So it's important to have a reliable installation. 

The sale of paintballs is also a big part of the revenue, and you can offer accessories to increase the basket: smoke bombs and paint grenades, costumes for stag parties and so on.

Finally, you can offer multi-activity packs: companies looking for a place to do a day's team-building will be interested and may bring you customers on weekdays that are less frequented by private players.

What packages are available at a paintball centre?

Paintball is a fairly expensive activity, so you need to offer different packages to attract all types of customer, with a special introductory price. 

For example, offer a package with 100 paintballs at a low price to attract customers, and various higher packages: 300 paintballs, 500 paintballs, 1000 paintballs, etc.

Knowing that a player will consume at least 500 balls, if he has taken the 100-ball package to start with, he will come back to top up with balls later. 

The current average price of a package on a paintball field, for 300 marbles, is around €30 and varies from region to region.

What additional activities can be organised around Paintball?

To make customers want to stay for a long time and make them consume, you need to offer activities around the main activity. 

There are many possible activities, depending on the size of your site and your budget. 

Axe-throwing, for example, is very much in vogue as a way of letting off steam, and appeals to both men and women. 

Fun Archery is also very popular, involving archery with foam-tipped arrows. Players are divided into two teams and must either hit the opposing players to eliminate them, or hit a target in the opposite camp. 

If you have a lawn, you can opt for Bubble Football, an original and fun way to play football. 

And don't neglect the areas for breaks and refreshments, including a barbecue area, picnic tables and a bar to sell drinks to your players who will want to take a break before starting to play again. 

We hope this short guide has given you a clearer idea, and we'd be delighted to discuss your project with you. 

Don't hesitate to contact our team on +33134669266