Are you looking for a business idea that’s fun and different? If so, starting an axe throwing business might be the perfect venture for you. This rapidly growing industry provides an exciting and unique form of entertainment that is gaining significant popularity worldwide. However, diving into a business endeavor of this nature requires more than just enthusiasm and love of a competitive game.
This guide will provide a detailed overview of the axe throwing business, key steps to get started and answers to common questions.
An axe throwing business provides a recreational space where individuals, groups, and even corporate teams can engage in the exciting activity of throwing axes at wooden targets. It combines elements of sport, entertainment, and social interaction in a controlled environment. The potential revenue streams for an axe throwing business can be diverse, including but not limited to fees for axe throwing sessions, membership subscriptions, tournament organization, private event hosting, and sales of merchandise or refreshments.
Related Business Ideas
The axe throwing industry, while relatively new, has witnessed a rapid rise in interest over the past several years. Originating from Canada, it has quickly spread across the United States and other parts of the world, gaining traction, especially among millennials seeking novel and experiential entertainment. These businesses operate in indoor facilities and provide a safe, supervised environment for people to engage in the sport. Despite its niche market, the industry’s profitability is surprisingly high.
While current data is hard to find, according to IBISWorld, as of 2020, the axe throwing industry was valued at $163 million. The industry did suffer due to the pandemic and restrictions on indoor activities, but the industry is expected to continue to grow.
The axe throwing industry is rapidly evolving, with new trends emerging to cater to diverse markets. These trends include:
- Incorporation of technology: Many axe throwing businesses are integrating technology to enhance the user experience. This includes digital scoring systems, VR enhancements, and online booking systems.
- Family-friendly venues: More businesses are creating family-friendly environments to attract a broader customer base, including facilities that cater to teens or host youth events.
- Mobile axe throwing: Some entrepreneurs have started mobile axe throwing businesses, with portable axe throwing lanes that can be set up at events, fairs, or private parties.
- Themed events and leagues: From Halloween to Christmas-themed events, businesses are using themed events to draw in customers. Moreover, axe throwing leagues are becoming more common, encouraging repeat customers and fostering a community around the sport.
The target market for an axe throwing business is surprisingly diverse, as the sport’s thrill and unique entertainment appeal to a broad range of demographics. However, specific groups tend to be more attracted to axe throwing, including:
Millennials and young adults: This age group, typically 18 to 35, often seeks out novel and exciting experiences over traditional forms of entertainment. As a result, they are the primary target market for most axe throwing businesses. They often visit these establishments for social gatherings, dates, and parties.
Corporate groups: Businesses looking for team-building activities and unique corporate events often turn to axe throwing. The sport is an excellent team-building exercise that promotes communication, collaboration, and a bit of friendly competition.
Enthusiasts and hobbyists: There is a segment of the population that participates in axe throwing as a serious hobby or sport. These individuals may participate in leagues, practice regularly, and follow competitions closely.
Special event groups: Axe throwing businesses often target groups celebrating special occasions such as bachelor/bachelorette parties, birthdays, or family reunions.
Tourists and adventure seekers: In cities with a large influx of tourists, travelers looking for unique local experiences might be a significant portion of the customer base. Similarly, locals seeking new, exciting activities also form a substantial part of the target audience.
Families: Although traditionally axe throwing may seem more adult-oriented, some businesses have started catering to families, offering special sessions or lanes for families with older children or teenagers, broadening the appeal.
As an axe throwing business owner, understanding these key segments can help you tailor your offerings and marketing strategies to appeal to your target market more effectively.
Checklist To Start An Axe Throwing Business
Featured LLC Formation Services
Best for beginners
Pricing: $0 + State Fees
Most additional services
Pricing: $0 + State Fees
Best privacy protection
Pricing: $39 + State Fees
Starting an axe throwing business can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it’s important to make sure you’re prepared for the challenges ahead. Use this checklist to help get your business off on the right foot.
Step 1: Start with Research
Conducting market research is vital before starting any business, including an axe throwing business. It helps entrepreneurs determine if there is sufficient demand for their venue and failing to carry out market research can result in wasted time, resources, and in the worst case, business failure due to an inadequate understanding market.
In the context of an axe throwing business, market research can also help you identify your potential customers, their preferences, and the price they’re willing to pay. It can also shed light on the competition in your area, helping you differentiate your business. Here are some cost-effective ways to conduct market research for an axe throwing business:
Online surveys and social media: Online platforms are a rich source of customer insights. You can create a survey using tools like Google Forms or SurveyMonkey and distribute it via social media or email. The survey can include questions about interest in axe throwing, frequency of participation, how much they would be willing to pay, and preferences for additional amenities like food and drink. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can also be useful for gauging public interest and trends related to axe throwing.
Public records and demographic data: Utilize public records and demographic data to better understand your potential customer base. Websites like the U.S. Census Bureau provide invaluable data about the age, income, and other demographic details of residents in a specific area. For an axe throwing business, you might want to target areas with a higher population of young adults and middle-aged individuals who are more likely to engage in this activity.
Competitor analysis: Identify other axe throwing venues in your region and examine their business model. Look at their pricing, marketing tactics, the additional services they offer, and their customer reviews. Services like Google Maps, Yelp, and TripAdvisor can be useful tools for this research.
Local events and markets: Participating in local events, markets, or festivals can also be a cost-effective way to gauge interest. Consider setting up an informational booth or a miniature, mock axe-throwing station. This can be an excellent opportunity to engage with potential customers and get immediate feedback.
Networking and industry associations: Joining industry associations such as the International Axe Throwing Federation or World Axe Throwing League can provide valuable insights into industry trends and customer behavior. Networking with local business owners can also give you a realistic picture of the market and their thoughts on the feasibility of the business.
By taking the time to research and truly understand the market, you will be able to craft a business model that accurately meets customer demands and differentiates you from your competitors. Remember, the key to a successful axe throwing business, or any business for that matter, is understanding your audience and delivering a product or service that not only meets but exceeds their expectations.
Step 2: Create a Business Plan
After getting a better understanding of the market, writing a business plan is the next step in starting an axe throwing business. It serves as a roadmap, guiding the direction of your business and helping you navigate the various aspects of starting. By transferring your ideas onto paper, you create a tangible plan that can be shared, evaluated, and tweaked.
The process of writing a business plan encourages you to delve into every area of your business, anticipate potential challenges, and formulate strategies to overcome them. Moreover, a well-structured business plan is a vital tool when seeking funding. Lenders and investors want to see a detailed plan that illustrates your understanding of the business, the market, and how you plan to achieve profitability.
While a business plan for an axe throwing business will include standard sections like an executive summary, market analysis, and financial projections, there are a few areas of particular importance for this unique type of business:
Detailed services description: In this section, you should comprehensively detail the services you plan to offer. Will you only offer axe throwing, or will there be additional entertainment, food and beverage services, merchandise sales, or event hosting? Explaining the full spectrum of services can give potential funders a clear understanding of your business model and revenue streams.
Safety protocols: Given the nature of an axe throwing business, having robust safety protocols is critical. Detailing these in your business plan shows potential investors that you prioritize customer safety and risk management, which can mitigate potential liabilities.
Marketing and customer retention strategy: Marketing is crucial for an axe throwing business due to its niche market. Your business plan should include a detailed marketing strategy to attract customers, along with a customer retention strategy to keep them coming back. If you plan to start leagues or offer membership programs, include these in your plan.
Revenue projections: In this section, you should present a clear and realistic estimate of your expected earnings. For an axe throwing business, your primary revenue sources are likely to be from lane or session bookings, but you might also have secondary streams from ancillary services such as food and beverages, merchandise sales, or event hosting.
Remember to factor in seasonal trends that may impact your earnings; for instance, you might see higher demand during holiday periods or corporate team building event.
Related: How to write a business plan
Step 3: Source Funding
Once you’ve assessed your market and finalized your business plan, the next step is securing the necessary funding for your axe throwing business. So, what funding options are typically available for an axe throwing business?
Personal savings: The first source of funding for an axe throwing business is personal savings. The primary advantage of using personal savings is that you won’t have any loan repayments to worry about, making your financial planning simpler and more straightforward. However, it’s crucial to maintain a financial buffer or cushion. Unforeseen costs or unexpected developments can arise, and having this safety net can keep your business afloat during tough times.
The startup costs for an axe throwing business can vary widely depending on location, size, and other factors such as the cost of renovation, licensing, and insurance. While personal savings might cover some of the costs, they might not suffice for the entire investment, especially for larger venues or more extensive operations.
Bank loans: Traditional bank loans are another common option for funding. Banks usually require borrowers to invest between 15%-25% of their personal funds into the business. Additionally, a credit score above 650 and sufficient collateral are typically necessary to secure a loan. While banks offer various loan products, they may require a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan guarantee. If a bank considers a loan too risky to fund internally, having a loan backed by an SBA guarantee reduces their risk.
Microloans: If your startup funding needs are relatively low, under $50,000, you might consider applying for a microloan. These smaller, short-term loans are often used by startups and other small businesses that don’t need a lot of capital or can’t get funding through traditional sources.
They’re provided by various organizations, including nonprofit lenders and community organizations. The interest rates on microloans can be higher than traditional loans, but they are typically easier to qualify for.
Angel investors: Angel investors are individuals or groups of individuals with a high net worth who provide capital to startups in exchange for equity or debt repayment. These investors can often offer valuable industry connections and business advice, in addition to funding. It’s worth noting, however, that angel investment can be challenging to secure for an axe throwing business, as investors typically look for high-growth, scalable businesses. But, if you can demonstrate the growth potential of your venture convincingly, you might be able to attract local angel investors interested in unique entertainment businesses.
Starting an axe throwing business involves significant financial planning. A blend of personal savings, loans, and potential investment might be necessary, depending on the scale of your venture. Whatever path you choose, make sure it aligns with your business plan and long-term goals. Remember, while obtaining funding can be a challenge, it’s just another step in your entrepreneurial journey towards creating a thrilling and successful axe throwing business.
Step 4: Register the Business
With the funding in place, legally setting up to do business is your next step in your entrepreneurial journey. This involves several key components including business formation, name registration, and obtaining the appropriate licenses.
Each state has different requirements for registering a business, so it’s important to research the specific guidelines in your area.
Business structure formation: First, you’ll need to decide on the legal structure of your business. The most common structures are sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), and corporation.
A sole proprietorship is the easiest and least expensive to start, making it an appealing option for first-time business owners. However, it doesn’t offer any liability protection, meaning personal assets could be at risk if the business incurs debt or legal issues. On the other hand, an LLC and corporation provides liability protection, separating your personal assets from your business’s liabilities. This is an attractive feature for a business like axe throwing with inherent risks. However, these structures are more complex and costly to set up.
Related: Comparison of business structures
Business name registration: After registering the business structure, you may need to register your business name. This process will vary depending on what business structure you pick. Sole proprietors and partnerships will often be required to register a “Doing Business As” (DBA), while corporations and LLCs register with the state during the formation process.
During this time, it’s also a good idea to check if the name you want is available as a web domain, even if you’re not ready to set up a website yet.
Business licensing: In many areas, you’ll need a general business license, occupancy permit, sales tax permit, and possibly a signage permit to operate. Additionally, due to the unique nature of an axe throwing business, specific safety or operating licenses might be required, depending on local regulations. It’s crucial to check with your city or county’s business licensing department to ensure you’re obtaining all necessary licenses.
Step 5: Select your Location
After the funding is in place, the next step is choosing the right location for your axe throwing business. The location needs to be accessible and attractive to your target demographic while also meeting the specific requirements of an axe throwing venue.
Scouting for the right location: Your ideal location should be easy to access and in an area frequented by your target demographic. It may be beneficial to visit other successful axe throwing venues or similar businesses to gain insight into what kind of locations work well.
Assessing space requirements: Axe throwing requires ample space, not only for the throwing lanes but also for safety zones and spectator areas. Additionally, you may need space for a front desk, waiting area, restrooms, and possibly a snack bar or merchandise area. Ensuring the selected location can comfortably accommodate all these aspects is paramount.
Safety and compliance check: Given the unique safety requirements of an axe throwing business, the location you choose must allow for necessary safety measures. This can include protective fencing or barriers around the throwing lanes and sufficient space between lanes. You’ll also need to ensure that your intended use complies with local zoning laws and regulations.
Lease negotiation and signing: Once you’ve identified a suitable location, negotiate the lease terms. It’s advisable to involve a lawyer in this process to make sure your interests are protected. Ensure that your lease agreement includes any necessary provisions for your specific business, such as extended hours of operation or potential structural modifications.
Renovation and setup: With the lease signed, the next step is to prepare the venue for opening. Renovations may be necessary to create the throwing lanes, install safety measures, and set up spectator areas. Don’t forget about creating a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere.
By methodically approaching the process of location acquisition and preparation, you can create an inviting, safe, and functional environment for your customers. This will lay a strong foundation for your axe throwing business and increase your chances of achieving long-term success.
Step 6: Purchase Equipment
Equipping your axe throwing venue and setting it up is the next step that we will cover which starts to bridge your business plan’s theory and the practical initiation of the business. Your choices here will significantly influence both the operational effectiveness of your business and the experience of your customers.
The most fundamental equipment for an axe throwing business is, of course, the axes. You’ll need a variety of sizes to cater to different customers, from beginners to experts. Consider investing in high-quality, durable axes that can withstand regular use while providing a great throwing experience.
You’ll also need sturdy targets. Typically, these are wooden boards, and the type of wood you choose can affect the axe’s grip. Spruce, cedar, or pine are commonly used. Keep in mind that you’ll need to replace these frequently, so take this into account in your ongoing budget.
You’ll need to establish safe throwing lanes. These should be divided by fencing or barriers to prevent accidents. The barrier material should be sturdy enough to stop a wayward axe.
Depending on your business model, you may also need to invest in additional equipment such as a point-of-sale system, furniture for a lounge or waiting area, kitchen equipment if you’re serving food and beverages, and merchandise displays.
The layout of your venue should be designed with safety as the top priority. The throwing lanes should be far enough apart to prevent accidents, and a safe distance should be maintained between the throwing areas and spectators or waiting areas. Ensure clear visibility for staff monitoring the lanes.
Your venue should also have a welcoming atmosphere. Consider elements such as lighting, décor, and music that align with your brand and appeal to your target market. A well-thought-out layout can not only enhance safety but also contribute to a memorable customer experience.
Don’t forget about functional areas such as the front desk, storage for equipment, and restrooms. Also, if you’re serving food and beverages, you’ll need to set up a kitchen and dining area that complies with health and safety regulations.
Setting up your axe throwing venue isn’t just about equipping it for its intended function. It’s about creating a unique, engaging environment where customers feel safe and excited to participate in axe throwing. This attention to detail can set your business apart and ensure your customers keep coming back for more.
Step 7: Implement the Marketing Plan
Now that you are close to opening the doors, the next step is to finish and implement the marketing plan.
Marketing an axe throwing business can be done through a variety of effective methods. Online and traditional marketing both have their unique advantages and can be utilized synergistically to create a well-rounded promotional plan for your business.
Online marketing begins with establishing a robust web presence. This includes creating a website that details your services, pricing, and business hours. Regularly posting high-quality content, such as blog posts or videos, can help increase your website’s visibility on search engines. Social media platforms are also invaluable for an axe throwing business. Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube are ideal for showcasing the fun and excitement of your venue, sharing customer testimonials, and announcing special promotions or events.
Claiming your Google Business Profile is another essential aspect of online marketing. This free tool helps businesses to be found on Google Search and Maps, increasing visibility and accessibility for potential customers. Besides Google, ensure your business is listed in other relevant directories, such as Yelp and TripAdvisor. These platforms not only increase your visibility but also provide opportunities for customers to leave reviews, which can significantly influence prospective customers.
In terms of traditional marketing, joining your local Chamber of Commerce is a great way to network with other businesses and gain exposure within your community. Hosting special events or partnering with local businesses can help attract customers and build your local reputation.
Physical marketing materials like flyers, brochures, and business cards can also be effective. Distributing these materials in high-traffic areas or local events can help you reach potential customers.
Finally, consider print advertising in local newspapers or magazines, or even radio ads. Despite the rise of digital marketing, these traditional methods still have a broad reach, particularly among specific demographics.
In conclusion, marketing an axe throwing business involves a blend of online and traditional methods. From maintaining a strong online presence to networking within your local community, each marketing strategy plays a unique role in attracting customers and growing your business.
Step 8: Hire & Train Staff
Depending on the scope of the business, some axe throwing businesses operate solely with the owner, while others will hire employees right away. Common positions in an axe throwing business can include axe throwing coaches or instructors, customer service representatives, and possibly kitchen staff if the venue includes food service.
Before you commence the hiring process, it’s essential to understand the legal requirements associated with becoming an employer. In the United States, these include obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS, which is used for tax purposes. You will also need to set up a system for withholding taxes from your employees’ wages and reporting this to the government.
Additionally, you’ll have to register with your state’s labor department and adhere to all state and federal labor laws. These laws govern everything from minimum wage to workplace safety. It’s also required to get workers’ compensation insurance to cover potential workplace accidents or injuries. Lastly, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission mandates that employers follow non-discrimination laws when hiring and managing employees.
These are just the basics, and each business will have unique considerations based on its size, location, and structure.
Step 9: Prepare to Open!
As you progress further on your journey to start an axe throwing business, there are several remaining steps that may still require your attention to ensure a smooth and successful operation.
Business insurance: You’ll need liability insurance to protect you from potential claims, along with other types of insurance like property insurance to protect your physical assets, and workers’ compensation insurance if you have employees.
Bookkeeping: Keeping track of your income and expenses is vital. This can be done with accounting software like Wave Accounting (FREE) or Quickbooks or hiring a bookkeeper. This step is essential for understanding your business’s financial health, making informed decisions, and fulfilling tax obligations.
Contracts: You’ll need to create or acquire various contracts, such as lease agreements, supplier contracts, and employee contracts. For an axe throwing company, you may also need specific agreements such as liability waivers for customers to sign before they participate. It’s recommended to get legal advice when dealing with contracts.
Bank account: A separate bank account for your business is necessary to keep your personal and business finances separate. This separation makes bookkeeping simpler and provides legal protection.
Management software: Implementing industry-specific software can greatly enhance your business operations. Solutions like Axe Booker, Sports Carnival, and High Trek POS, offer integrated solutions for booking, waivers, and point of sale systems designed for axe throwing businesses.
Pricing: Determine your pricing structure based on your costs, competitor pricing, and the value you provide. This might include different pricing for groups, parties, or tournaments.
Grand opening preparation: Once everything is set, plan a grand opening to attract your first customers. This could involve special promotions, local advertising, or a partnership with other local businesses.
While the needs of every business will be different, these steps represent some common areas that will need to be addressed.
This material is property of StartingYourBusiness.com
Common Questions When Starting An Axe Throwing Business
How much does it cost to start an axe throwing business?
Starting an axe throwing business involves several key expenditures, and these costs can vary based on numerous factors. On average, you can expect to invest between $25,000 to $100,000 to start a typical axe throwing business.
Initial lease and renovation costs: The lease is typically one of the biggest costs. Depending on the location, the monthly rental can range from $1,000 to $5,000 for a sizeable venue. Renovations can add an additional $20,000 to $50,000, but this figure can fluctuate widely based on the condition of the leased space and specific requirements of an axe throwing venue.
Equipment costs: The cost of axes, targets, and safety equipment will generally add up to $3,000 to $5,000. Depending on your vision for your space, you might also invest in additional entertainment such as pool tables or dart boards, which will add to this cost.
Insurance: For an axe throwing range, comprehensive insurance coverage is critical due to the inherent risks. Initial costs for insurance can range from $2,000 to $4,000.
Marketing: Pre-opening marketing to generate buzz for your grand opening can range from $1,000 to $2,500. This includes costs for creating a website, social media advertising, and potentially local print or radio ads.
Professional fees: Legal, accounting, and consulting fees can vary widely, but plan to spend at least $1,000 to $3,000 initially to get your business set up correctly.
Licensing and permit costs: The costs of necessary business licenses and permits will vary based on your location, but budget around $500 to $1,000 for this.
Last, it is strongly recommended that you have three to six months of operating expenses on hand as a buffer. This will cover staff salaries, utilities, lease payments, and other ongoing costs, and will provide a safety net as your business gets off the ground.
Remember, these are rough estimates, and the actual costs can vary significantly based on many factors. It’s important to thoroughly research and plan your specific business to avoid unexpected expenses and ensure a successful launch.
How profitable is an axe throwing business?
A successful axe throwing business can generate substantial profits, but the actual figure will depend on many variables such as the location, size of the venue, overhead costs, and marketing effectiveness. As a reference point, consider the following average industry calculation:
Assume your axe throwing venue has 10 lanes and operates 6 days a week. If each lane can service 3 groups per day (with each group session lasting about 1.5 hours), and each group consists of 4 people paying an average of $25 per person, then the potential daily revenue is $3,000 (10 lanes x 3 groups x 4 people x $25).
Since certain hours may have one group and others all lanes will be full, let’s calculate the potential sales of an axe throwing center with the assumption that the lanes are filled at 50% capacity. At 50% capacity, your actual daily revenue would be $1,500.
This results in weekly revenue of $9,000 (6 days x $1,500) and annual revenue of $468,000 (52 weeks x $9,000).
Expenses must be deducted from this gross revenue to determine profit. Key costs include rent, wages, insurance, maintenance, utilities, and marketing. Let’s say these total $10,000 monthly. basis.
Thus, the annual profit before taxes would be $348,000 ($468,000 revenue – $120,000 expenses).
Keep in mind, this example is quite simplified, and real-life profits can vary based on many factors. However, this calculation should provide a broad idea of the profit potential in the axe-throwing business, reaffirming the importance of detailed planning and effective management to achieve success.
What skills are needed to run an axe throwing business?
Running an axe throwing business requires a diverse range of skills:
Business management: This involves overseeing the business operations, making financial decisions, and strategic planning. Understanding how to manage cash flows, budgeting, and financial forecasting is essential.
Customer service: Excellent customer service skills are critical in any hospitality or leisure business. The ability to create a welcoming environment, address concerns, and ensure customer satisfaction can significantly impact the success of the business.
Safety knowledge: Given the nature of axe throwing, a thorough understanding of safety regulations and procedures is vital. This includes providing proper training for staff and customers and ensuring the maintenance of safety equipment.
Marketing and promotion: The ability to effectively market your business is key. This includes online marketing (social media, website management), local advertising, event planning, and partnerships.
Staff management: You’ll need to hire, train, manage, and motivate staff. This requires good communication, leadership, and human resource management skills.
Industry knowledge: Understanding the sport of axe throwing, the equipment used, and keeping up with industry trends can help you offer a superior service and gain a competitive edge.
Negotiation skills: Whether it’s dealing with vendors, securing partnerships, or negotiating leases, good negotiation skills can lead to better terms and cost savings.
Remember, while having these skills is beneficial, you can also learn on the job or hire professionals in areas where you might not be as strong. For instance, you might bring on a marketing expert if that’s not your strong suit. Ultimately, the most important qualities for success in this industry are a passion for the business and a commitment to providing a great customer experience.
What is the NAICS code for an axe throwing business?
The NAICS code for an axe throwing business is 713990, which is classified under All Other Amusement and Recreation Industries.
The NAICS code (North American Industry Classification System) is a federal system to classify different types of businesses for the collection and reporting of statistical data.
Related: What is a NAICS code?