How to Start an Axe Throwing Business

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Quick Reference

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 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.

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.

Skills, Experience, and Education Useful in Running 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.

Costs to Start an Axe Throwing Business

Here are the 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 +

Steps to Starting an Axe Throwing Business

Step 1: Write your 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.

How to write a business plan
Free sample business plans

Step 2: 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 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.

RelatedComparison of Business Entities

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 other common local, state, and federal registrations an axe throwing business may need include a sales tax permit and an Employer Identification Number.  

If you plan to serve alcohol, you will need a liquor license.

Related: What licenses and permits does an axe throwing business need?

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 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

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.

Developing a website can be a significant expense, but it can also give your axe throwing business greater visibility online.  Direct sales to potential corporate customers will also be very important.

Related: Low-cost ideas to market a new business

Step 9: Get Business Insurance

An axe-throwing 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.  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.

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.

Insurance policies will vary. 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: Hiring 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 accounting for your business

How Much Can You Potentially Make Owning an Axe Throwing Business?

Prices for axe throwing can range between $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.

Things to Consider Before Starting an Axe Throwing Business

Running an axe throwing 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 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.

You will probably have competition in your area.  If there are currently no axe throwing facilities in your area, there probably will be at some point in the future because of the growing popularity of the sport. You will need to make your business stand out by having unique targets, events, and other features.

Finally, you will need to research the cost of liability insurance, which may be expensive due to the potential for injuries to both customers and employees.  Preparing a good liability waiver is important as this type of business has some inherent risks.

Talk to other business owners for tips on starting a business and do your homework to determine costs.  Research other axe throwing businesses to see what they offer and what prices they charge.

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