Globally, the gaming industry is worth around US$200 billion. The gaming industry is still relatively small in Zimbabwe – a cue that many untapped opportunities are present. How many gaming arcades do you know can you honestly count from the top of your head? They are not even a common sight across Zimbabwe; that means there is an opportunity. Today I want us to discuss a gaming business idea that is being slept on in Zimbabwe. I see infinite possibilities for this gaming business idea – a paintball gaming centre. We have very few of those so far in Zimbabwe.

What Is Paintball?

Paintball is a sport or game where teams shoot each other with gelatin capsules filled with paint-like dye. Typically if you have never seen paintball in real-life you have seen it in a movie or something. This sport or game provides the platform to start a thriving business. Not only is it fun but it is beneficial to the human body since it is highly active. Playing paintball is in itself a workout as your body is engaged. Paintball is also a perfect means for teambuilding for schools, corporates, churches, and more. There is even room to kick-start a full-blown paintball tournament – you see where I am going with this? The ecosystem that can be built from a single paintball centre can go national, regional, and international.

Key Requirements

To start a paintball gaming centre the primary thing you need is land. In some cases, you might not need plain land per se. It is possible to turn an abandoned building or a warehouse into a paintball gaming centre. You need a location that you can convert and model into a paintball gaming centre. If you own land or a building then you have a head start. Otherwise, you might have to purchase or at the very least, rent.

Let us suppose it is an outdoor area; the average minimum space needed would be 900 square metres. The bigger, the better. This allows a multifaceted design thus leading to more movement for the participants. How you choose to design the centre will inform you of what you will need. For example, you will have to design an area with barriers, barricades, and so on. This is all in a bid to build a mock-up of a battlefield. Typical items used for this are haystacks, used vehicle tyres, wooden boards, tree stumps, and the like. Getting low-cost or freely available items would make business sense.

You will most likely require solid fencing around the paintball arena to bar projectiles from hitting any bystanders. Then you will need paintball guns and the associated equipment and accessories. There is a wide range of paintball guns to choose from. Some are low-cost and basic whereas others are high-cost and highly sophisticated. A paintball gun set can cost anything from around US$70 to as high as US$2000 or more. There is a need for protective gear such as masks, elbow, shin, knee pads, vests, and so on. You can even include camouflage wear i.e. full kits from head to toe. Accessories can include rounds, paint, carbon dioxide tanks, and so on. Quite evidently there is a considerable list of things that are needed.

Human And Financial Capital Requirements

You obviously cannot run a paintball gaming centre solo. You will need a few hands to cater for prepping and monitoring all the sessions. There will be a need for cleaning of the site and equipment daily. There will be a need for regular equipment servicing and maintenance. The number of people needed will depend on the size of your arena and operations.

As for financial capital requirements, a sizeable amount is needed at first. On average, something like US$50000 would suffice to start a paintball gaming centre. This will cover the initial needs from location to equipment. The amount can of course be lower if you tweak some things needed at the beginning. Some indicate that you might need around US$15000 or less to start. If you own land or a building the amount needed will significantly go down. Whichever the case, just know a considerable amount of initial capital is needed. This is the kind of business you can even start as a partnership with at least one other person.

Important To Note

Ensure that you are registered as a company. It can also be wise to seek guidance from your respective local authority as well. Safety is a huge concern here so ensure solid safety protocols are in place. That is why it is also pertinent that you have insurance for the business. Things like waivers, disclaimers, and indemnities are necessary here. I recommend that you seek legal counsel to help you draft such documents.

I bet most of you reading this have no paintball gaming centre close to you. I can even bet that there possibly could be none in your whole town. This is a business idea that has market-ready and they do not even know it. The prospects are quite good with entry charges ranging from at least US$5 per person, depending on the nature and sophistication of your paintball gaming centre. Globally, it is reported that tens of thousands of US dollars can be made annually. This is especially so if you get to a point of running more than one centre plus incorporating other diverse monetization strategies.