How to Start a Firearms Training Business
Are you a gun enthusiast and love to teach? Firearms training is important to keep people safe, and a firearms training business could be an opportunity for you to use your skills and passion for guns to make money and be your own boss.
A firearms training business teaches people the proper use of firearms, improve shooting skills, and firearms rules and safety protocols. Classes can be for individuals or for groups, and they are held at a shooting range. The instructors are trained and certified as firearms instructors.
According to Statista, there are 9,502,628 firearms manufactured in the U.S. annually. 42% of households own at least one firearm, illustrating the need for adequate training. According to IBIS World, the shooting range industry, which firearms training is a part of, has grown 4.2% for the last five years and is currently a $3.8 billion industry.
The advancement of technology and new types of weapons is part of what is fueling the growth of the firearms training market, as well as the increased desire for self-defense. The industry is at risk due to the push for new firearms laws, which may limit the ability of people to own guns.
Your target market will be gun owners, particularly new gun owners.
Skills, Experience, and Education Useful in Running a Firearms Training Business
There are several specific skills that you will need to open a firearms training business.
- Training and Certification. You will need specific training to become an instructor and become certified.
- Experience. If you are already certified and have experience teaching, you will have more credibility with customers.
- Business knowledge and experience. You will need to have at least some basic knowledge of marketing, finance/accounting, and human resources.
- People skills. You’ll need to be able to build rapport with your customers so that you retain them as customers and keep them coming back.
Startup Costs for a Firearms Training Business
Here are the typical costs you will face when you open a firearms training business.
- Training, licenses, and certification $2,000- $4,000
- Space rental for your range $1,500 – $3,000 per month
- Equipment and supplies $1,000
- Insurance $400 – $1,000
Steps to Starting a Firearms Training Business
Step 1: Write your Business Plan
After coming up with the idea, the next step in starting your firearms training business should be to write a business plan. The business plan will make you focus on some important aspects of the business, such as who your customers are, how you plan to reach them, projecting sales and expenses, your value proposition to use for marketing, and more. You’ll also need to do some research to calculate exactly what your startup expenses will be and what your ongoing expenses will be.
Not only will a bank require you to have a business plan if you need financing, but multiple studies have shown that having a good business plan increases the odds of starting a successful business. Writing the plan helps you think through all the aspects of the business and then serves as a guide as you begin.
Step 2: Name the Business
Finding the perfect firearms training business name can be challenging. Not only does the name have to reflect what you do and be appealing to customers, but it also has to be available to use. You can check your state’s website to see if the name is available and register your name. Your name should make you stand out, reflect your brand, and tell potential customers exactly what you do.
Step 3: Form a Business Entity
A business entity refers to how a business is legally organized to operate. There are four primary business entities to choose from, which include a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and Limited Liability Company (LLC). Each type of entity has its own pros and cons, such as liability exposure, costs, and administrative requirements.
Related: Comparison of Business Entities
Step 4: Select your Training Site
Your location will have to be in an area where shooting ranges are allowed. Check with your city and state to find out what laws apply. You could also potentially partner with an existing shooting range to rent part of their space for your classes.
Related: Choosing a business location
Step 5: Apply for Business Licenses and Permits
You may need to obtain certain business licenses and permits. These permits and licenses can vary based on the state and town where the business is located. Check with your state for specific license and permit requirements for your firearms training business.
You will likely need to be licensed and certified as an instructor. The National Rifle Association (NRA) offers instructor training courses, like the non-law enforcement NRA instructor certification. Additionally, there are firearms instructor certifications that are often offered through weapon manufacturers, such as the Sig Sauer Academy.
Step 6: Find Financing
Coming up with a good business idea and having the skills to run it are one thing, but getting the funding to start a firearms training business is another. In order to get a loan, the borrower(s) will need to have good credit and be able to invest 15-25% of their money towards the total start-up costs.
Step 7: Open a Business Bank Account
Keeping your business and personal finances in separate business bank and credit card accounts makes it easier to track the income and expenses of the business.
Step 8: Get your Marketing Plan in Place
A firearms training business will need to set aside a budget to cover marketing costs on a continuous basis. Common marketing techniques for a firearms training business include social media marketing and online advertising, as well as brochures and flyers.
Additionally, look to building relationships with gun clubs and shooting ranges to get referrals.
Step 9: Get Insurance
A firearms training business needs several types of insurance for full coverage:
General liability insurance can help protect you from third-party claims of bodily injury and property damage.
Professional liability insurance protects you from claims of professional errors or negligence that result in a financial loss.
Worker’s compensation insurance covers expenses like medical bills and legal fees that a business might face if an employee were ever hurt while working.
Your insurance costs will be on the higher end of the range due to the nature of the business.
Insurance coverage may be difficult due to the high-risk nature of this business. There are special insurance companies that specialize in gun-related businesses.
Step 10: Hiring Employees
You may need employees to help you run your firearms training business. Make sure that you select people with appropriate experience and certification.
In addition to salary costs, your budget will also need to include other employee-related expenses. Workman’s comp insurance, unemployment insurance, and paid time off are common expenses that a business will need to cover when hiring staff.
Related: Hiring your first employee
Step 11: Set up an Accounting System
Setting up an accounting system for your firearms training business is critical to the long-term success of your business.
Staying on top of taxes not only keeps the business out of trouble with the government but the numbers can be used to track and monitor trends and cash flow in the business and maximize profits.
How Much Can You Potentially Make Owning a Firearms training Business?
Firearms training prices range from $200 – $300 per person per training day. If you can get to the point where you are training 10 people a day 5 days per week at a price of $250, you would make $650,000 in revenue per year before expenses.
Things to Consider Before Starting a Firearms Training Business
Running a firearms training business or any business will have its challenges. You need to be prepared and make sure that you know what you’re getting into.
Marketing and acquiring customers will be your biggest challenge and an ongoing expense. You will face competition, so your marketing will need to make you stand out, and your prices will need to be competitive.
You need extensive knowledge of gun laws and safety requirements. You must make sure that you are always in compliance.
There is a considerable amount of potential liability in the firearms training business, so being properly insured is critical.
Talk to other business owners for tips on starting a business and do your homework to determine costs. Research other firearms training businesses to see what they offer and what prices they charge.