How to Start an Axe Throwing Business

Overview

How to Start an Axe Throwing Business

Are you looking for a business idea that’s fun and different?   Axe throwing is a new craze that may be for you.  If you like to interact with people and show them a good time, an axe throwing business may be a great opportunity to take advantage of the craze and make a living in an exciting and unique way.

Business Overview

An axe throwing business provides a facility where people can throw axes at various targets in a safe and controlled way.  Sometimes they offer axe throwing along with other games and activities, like darts or pool, and may also offer food and drinks.  Axe throwing is offered to individuals by the hour or to groups for parties or events.  Some even offer axe throwing leagues.

Industry Summary

According to IBIS World, the axe throwing industry has grown at a rate of 1.9% over the last five years to 2021 to total revenue of $203.3 million.  The industry did suffer due to the pandemic and restrictions on indoor activities, but the industry is expected to continue to grow.  Axe throwing is a business that is sensitive to economic fluctuations because it is not a necessary expense for consumers.

Related Industries

Batting Cage
Bowling Alley
Escape Room
Pool Hall

Trampoline Park

Industry Trends

The axe throwing trend began in Canada and has moved quickly into the United States.  It is popular with millennials, and that popularity is growing.  Axe throwing facilities are a favorite choice for birthday parties, corporate events, and other events.  Axe throwing bars are a large part of the trend.

Target Market

Your target market will be mainly younger people, particularly millennials and corporate customers who host regular events.

Checklist for Starting an Axe Throwing Business

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: Write a Business Plan

After coming up with the idea, the next step in starting your axe throwing 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 to think through all the aspects of the business and then serves as a guide as you begin.

Related: How to write a business plan

Step 2: Form a Business Entity

A business entity (also referred to as a business structure) refers to how a business is legally organized to operate. There are four primary business structures to choose from, which include the 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.

When deciding on which business entity is best for an axe throwing business, it normally comes down to the sole proprietorship and Limited Liability Company.

A partnership opens the owners up to unnecessary personal liability because if a partner does something to get the business sued, or runs off with cash from the business, the other partners are personally liable to repay.
 
The corporation can be a good choice to minimize liability risk because it separates the business assets from the owner’s assets. If the corporation is sued or certain business debts can’t be paid back, the owners aren’t personally responsible to repay them. The downside to the corporation is that it is more complicated than all the other entities and requires more administration than the LLC. If you plan on raising a lot of investment though, the corporation is usually the better choice.

That leaves the sole proprietorship and LLC.

The sole proprietorship is the least expensive and easiest entity to start which is appealing. The downside is that the owner is personally liable should anything happen to the business, which is an important consideration. The LLC offers the ability to operate as a sole proprietorship with the liability protection of a corporation. Depending on the state, the cost to form an LLC runs from $40 – $500, which is pretty inexpensive for protecting the owners from business-related lawsuits and certain debts.

Related: Guide to forming your LLC
 

Forming an LLC sounds complicated and expensive, but using an entity formation service guides you through the process so you know it was done right.


Some popular LLC formation services include:


IncFile - $0 plus state fees & free registered agent for 1 year!

IncAuthority - $0 plus state fees & free registered agent the first year!

ZenBusiness - $49 plus state fees & free registered agent for 1 year!

Step 3: Name the Business

Finding the perfect axe throwing 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 4: Select your Location

Your axe throwing business location should be in an area with a lot of millennials and preferably in an entertainment-focused area.

Related: Choosing a business location

Step 5: Apply for Business Licenses and Permits

While there isn’t a specific license for an axe throwing business, if you sell food, you will need licensing from the local health department, and if alcohol is sold, you will also need a liquor license.

Additionally, there are general business licenses and permits, which will vary based on the state and town where the business is located.  Some of these may include a business license, sales tax permit, and an Employer Identification Number.  

Related: Common business licenses, permits, and registrations by state

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 an axe throwing 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.

Related: Finding the money to start a business

Step 7: Open a Business Bank Account

Keeping your small business and personal finances in separate bank accounts is important to track the income and expenses of your business and identify trends.
 
Many banks offer free business checking accounts, so be sure to find a cost-effective option for your business.

Step 8: Get your Marketing Plan in Place

An axe throwing business will need to set aside a budget to cover marketing costs on a continuous basis. Common marketing techniques for an axe throwing business include social media marketing and online advertising, as well as flyers and postcard mailers.

Marketing your axe throwing business will be your biggest challenge, especially as the industry is quite new.  You’ll have to create awareness online and through direct mail or flyers.  Direct sales to corporate customers will be essential. Ongoing sales and marketing will be a significant ongoing expense. To encourage repeat customers, many axe throwing businesses host special events like league tournaments, girl’s nights, and others.

Related: Low-cost ideas to market a new business

One important marketing task is developing an online presence. A website developer may be out of the budget, but Wix makes it easy for non-technical people to get a website running quickly and affordably.

Step 9: Get Business Insurance

There are several types of insurance to consider when starting an axe throwing business. A couple of these include:
– General liability insurance can help protect you from third-party claims of bodily injury and property damage.  This may be expensive due to potential lawsuits and injuries as there will be people throwing axes and possibly drinking alcohol. As many insurance companies may not understand the business model or consider it too risky, it may be worth getting a quote from a specialty insurance company.

Preparing a good liability waiver is important as this type of business has some inherent risks.

– 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.

The cost to insure an axe throwing business will vary based on several factors. To get the most accurate idea of what to budget for insurance, request quotes from multiple providers. When comparing the quotes, consider not only the premiums but also how the plan exclusions, coverage limitations, and deductibles compare.

Related: Common types of insurance a business may need

Step 10: Hire Employees

You will need employees to help you run your axe throwing business. They will need to fully understand how to care for the equipment and how to maintain your safety standards.

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 axe throwing 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.

Related: Setting up the accounting for your business

The thought of accounting can be intimidating for a lot of new entrepreneurs. There are a number of ways of handling bookkeeping, from DIY to hiring a bookkeeper. These include:

- Pen and paper - Low expense, but difficult to track.
- Spreadsheet - Low expense, but easy to make errors.
- Accounting software - Medium expense, but owner typically inputs expenses. Some great accounting software programs include Freshbooks or Wave Accounting.
- Hire a bookkeeper - Higher expense, though very affordable at $100-$200 per month in most cases. A dedicated bookkeeper will probably save money because, in addition to handling all of the bookkeeping (so you can focus on the business), they also provide personalized tax advice and ensure the business is in compliance.

Find bookkeepers in your local area or use a service like 800Accountant.

How much does it cost to start an axe throwing business?

Here are some ofthe typical costs you will face when you open an axe-throwing business.
– Setting up a business name and corporation costs approximately $200.
– Business cards, brochures, postcards for marketing $200 – $300
– Website setup $100 –$200 for a basic, do it yourself website, $1,000 – $2,000 for a professional site
– Location rental $1,500 – $3,000 + per month
– Initial deposits for utilities, phone, etc.
– Location build-out costs – targets and lanes $5,000 +
– Axes and other equipment $3,000 – $5,000
– Liability insurance, worker’s comp, property-casualty insurance,  $1,000 – $5,000 (liability insurance could be expensive due to the potential for injuries)
– Initial marketing such as Facebook ads or search engine optimization for your website, flyers, and postcards, $500 -$1,000
– If you plan to have a bar, you will have additional expenses such as the bar itself, a liquor license, and inventory $5,000 +

How much can an axe throwing business owner make?

Prices for axe throwing can range from $15 – $40 per hour per person.  Your revenue will depend on how many people your facility can accommodate and how many people you can bring in.  Your annual revenue could range from $100,000 – $1,000,000.

What skills are needed to run an axe throwing business?

There are several specific skills and education that you will need to open an axe throwing business.

Experience.  It’s best to have some experience in axe throwing, and if you’ve worked at an axe throwing facility, it’s even better.

Business knowledge and experience.  You will need to have at least some basic knowledge of marketing, finance/accounting, and human resources.

Creativity.   You’ll need to come up with unique ideas to make your axe throwing business stand out.

Customer service. You’ll need to be able to build rapport with your customers so that you retain them as customers and gain repeat business and referrals.

Are there grants to start an axe throwing business?

It’s extremely rare to find a grant to start an axe throwing business. If you search for business grants, you will come across a lot of scams and misinformation. Occasionally an organization will offer grants to start a business, however, be skeptical and don’t provide any sensitive personal information or pay money to get more information.

Legitimate federal grants can be found at Grants.gov, and you can check on your state’s economic development office to see if they have any grants available.

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?

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