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The Ultimate Guide to Launching a Laser Tag Business

The Ultimate Guide to Launching a Laser Tag Business

Have you ever dreamed of running your own business that's not just about profits but also about bringing heaps of fun and joy (and lasers) to your community?  Diving into the world of laser tag might just be your golden ticket. Laser tag has evolved from a simple game of tag to an immersive experience that attracts a diverse crowd—from kids celebrating birthdays to adults seeking a unique team-building event.

But where do you start? Lock and load, as we're about to embark on a journey on how to open a laser tag business that could become the talk of the town.

Understanding the market: More than child's play

First things first, let's talk about laser tag’s market and projections. Rest assured that laser tag is having a moment, with the industry’s current success reflecting the growing demand for interactive and engaging experiences.

Here are some stats that will provide food for thought as you plan to open your laser tag business: 

  • By 2028, the worldwide laser tag market is projected to hit $641.8 million.
  • With a market share of 30.3%, North America leads the global laser tag industry.
  • 12 to 16-year-olds are the most frequent players of laser tag.
  • In the United States, a typical laser tag center brings in approximately $245,000 in revenue each year.
  • The average game of laser tag features 15 to 25 players.
  • Birthday parties and group events contribute to roughly 26% of the laser tag industry's global revenue.

Find your niche: Shooting for the right concept

The statistics above could suggest catering solely to 12-16-year-olds, but there’s more to it than that. Niche markets exist within the laser tag industry, such as themed arenas or mobile setups for corporate events and festivals. So, creating a venue with flair and an original concept is more than viable for your fledgling business. 

The key is to find your sweet spot. What can you offer that's different from the laser tag business three towns over? 

Here are some laser tag business concepts that could gain your venue significant market share. We’ve even included some practical advice for bringing the ideas to life and the ideal audiences and activities for each. 

Futuristic cityscape

Immerse players in a neon-lit, dystopian future where teams navigate through a high-tech urban jungle.

  • Design tip: Use LED lighting and neon colors to create a futuristic vibe and incorporate digital screens displaying dynamic cityscapes.
  • Practical step: Partner with a set designer or use 3D printing to create props and obstacles that mimic futuristic urban elements.
  • Ideal audience: Teenagers and young adults, tech enthusiasts.
  • Activities: Corporate team building, themed tournaments, STEM education programs.

Space odyssey

Ground control to major fun. Set your laser tag arena in outer space, complete with spaceship interiors, alien planets, and intergalactic battles.

  • Design tip: Utilize dark walls with starlight effects and space-themed murals. Add spaceship-like interiors using metallic materials.
  • Practical step: Invest in glow-in-the-dark paint and materials that can simulate the surface of alien planets or the interior of a spacecraft.
  • Ideal audience: Sci-fi fans, families, corporate groups.
  • Activities: Birthday parties, sci-fi-themed events, space exploration educational sessions.

Medieval fantasy

Transport players to a time of knights and dragons, with castles, dungeons, and mythical creatures as obstacles. Throw in a time travel twist or deck your laser blasters out to look like crossbows and your players are in for a great time. 

  • Design tip: Create castle walls and medieval props like shields, swords, and thrones. Use stone-like textures on walls and floors.
  • Practical step: Source or custom-make costumes for staff to wear, enhancing the theme and immersing players in the medieval setting.
  • Ideal audience: Families, school groups, fantasy enthusiasts.
  • Activities: Themed birthday parties, cosplay events.

Jungle adventure

Create a dense, mysterious jungle environment where players explore hidden temples and avoid traps.

  • Design tip: Incorporate real plants, vines, and tree-like structures. Use sound effects to mimic animal noises and a jungle atmosphere.
  • Practical step: Install hidden speakers for ambient sounds and use camouflaged obstacles that blend with the jungle theme.
  • Ideal audience: Children, families, adventure seekers.
  • Activities: Kids' birthday parties, school holiday programs, team-building exercises.

Pirate's cove

Laser muskets, anyone? Design an arena around a pirate theme, including ships, treasure islands, and sea monster challenges.

  • Design tip: Design areas to resemble a pirate ship, complete with sails and steering wheels. Include treasure chests and barrels as obstacles.
  • Practical step: Use water effects like mist machines to simulate sea spray and consider a floor design that mimics a sandy beach or wooden ship deck.
  • Ideal audience: Children, families, history buffs.
  • Activities: Pirate-themed birthday parties, family fun days.

Zombie apocalypse

Offer a thrilling survival experience in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by zombies.

  • Design tip: Create dimly lit areas with faux boarded-up windows and doors. Use props like fake limbs and torn clothing for a post-apocalyptic look.
  • Practical step: Organize special event nights with actors as zombies to chase and interact with players, increasing immersion and adrenaline. (Just be sure to have guests sign waivers!)
  • Ideal audience: Teenagers, horror fans, thrill-seekers.
  • Activities: Halloween events, horror fan gatherings.

Underwater world 

Take players on an underwater adventure, navigating coral reefs, sunken ships, and marine life.

  • Design tip: Use blue and green lighting to simulate underwater effects. Decorate with sea creature models and coral-like structures.
  • Practical step: Install projectors to create moving water reflections on walls and ceilings, enhancing the underwater feel.
  • Ideal audience: Families, school groups, marine biology enthusiasts.
  • Activities: Educational school trips, marine conservation awareness events, themed parties.

Superhero city

Let players put on a cape and step into the shoes of their favorite superhero, battling villains in a cityscape arena. 

  • Design tip: Create areas inspired by famous superhero home bases or cities. Use colors and props associated with popular heroes.
  • Practical step: Offer themed events or games where players can "unlock" superhero powers or gadgets as they achieve objectives.
  • Ideal audience: Children, comic book fans, families.
  • Activities: Superhero-themed birthday parties, comic book release parties, family entertainment days.

Wild West

Bring the old West back to life, with saloons, horse stables, and gold mines as the backdrop for laser tag battles.

  • Design tip: Use wooden facades to create a main street look. Add elements like horse troughs, swinging saloon doors, and wanted posters.
  • Practical step: Implement a scoring system that rewards players for duels or "capturing" outlaws, incorporating Wild West justice into gameplay.
  • Ideal audience: History enthusiasts, families, corporate groups.
  • Activities: Historical reenactment days, team-building exercises, Wild West-themed parties

Arctic expedition

Challenge players to survive in an icy landscape, complete with snow caves, blizzards, and polar predators.

  • Design tip: Use white and light blue colors to mimic ice and snow. Create ice cave-like structures and use soft padding to simulate snowbanks.
  • Practical step: Adjust the arena's temperature to a cooler setting and use wind machines to simulate arctic blasts, enhancing the thematic experience.
  • Ideal audience: Adventure seekers and families.
  • Activities: Climate awareness events, adventure-themed birthday parties, team-building challenges.

How to make your theme come to life 

Dont forget equipment customization
Tailor the laser tag equipment to match the theme using custom vests and blasters. Consider integrating special effects, like sound and light feedback, to fit the scenario.

Create engagement activities 
Develop specific games and missions tailored to your theme, encouraging teamwork and strategy. You should also incorporate storytelling elements to make each session unique.

Marketing and partnership
Collaborate with organizations and communities related to your theme (e.g., local history societies for the Wild West theme) to promote your venue and organize special events.

Educational programs
For themes with educational potential, develop learning materials and partner with schools and educational institutions to offer field trips and workshops.

Event packages 
Create tailored packages for different groups and occasions, like corporate team-building for the sci-fi laboratory or superhero-themed birthday parties, to attract a diverse clientele.

Feedback and iteration
Collect feedback from participants to continuously improve the experience. Stay adaptable and consider introducing new elements or rotating themes to keep the attraction fresh and exciting. You can make this step easier with tools such as ROLLER’s automated guest experience feedback software.

Financing your dream and building a business plan 

Financing your laser tag venue is a crucial step on the road to success. Between leasing space, outfitting your arena, purchasing equipment, and marketing, the costs can add up quickly. But fear not—there are plenty of ways to secure funding, from traditional bank loans to more creative crowdfunding campaigns.

Crafting a compelling business plan is your first step; it's not only essential for securing loans or investors but also serves as your roadmap to profitability. A business plan that’s attractive to backers will typically include these areas: 

  • Executive summary: A clear and compelling overview of your laser tag business concept, market opportunity, and unique value proposition.
  • Market analysis: Detailed research on laser tag industry trends, your target market demographics, customer needs, and the competitive landscape.
  • Unique value proposition: An explanation of what sets your laser tag business apart from competitors, including unique services, technology, or customer experience.
  • Business model: A clear description of the revenue model, pricing strategy, and sales channels. If you plan on using technology to streamline your laser tag venue’s operations, mention that here. 
  • Marketing and sales strategy: Your innovative strategies for market penetration, customer acquisition, and retention. You may want to consult with a local marketing or advertising agency for some help here. 
  • Operational plan: An overview of the operational workflow of your laser tag business, technology infrastructure, location, and facilities.
  • Management team: Profiles of your key team members, highlighting their industry experience, leadership roles, and expertise. 
  • Financial projections: Comprehensive financial forecasts, including profit and loss, cash flow, and balance sheet projections for the next 3-5 years. Be as detailed as you can, and remember that demonstrating recurring revenue from subscriptions such as memberships can be incredibly valuable when enticing investors. 
  • Funding requirements: Provide specific details on the amount of funding needed, intended use of funds, and expected return on investment.
  • Risk analysis: Identify potential risks and challenges, along with strategies for mitigation and management.
  • Growth strategy:  Your long-term plan for scaling the laser tag business, including potential markets, products, or services for expansion.
  • Exit strategy: Outline the potential exit strategies for investors, such as acquisition, IPO, or buyback plans.
  • Appendices: Show supporting documents, including resumes of the management team, market research data, technical specifications, or any other relevant information.

Assembling your business plan not only helps you secure backing, but each area you’ll explore will provide invaluable insights into your future business and the strategy behind it. 

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Legalese and safety: Dotting the I's and crossing the T's

Dealing with legalities and safety regulations might not be the most thrilling part of starting your laser tag business, but it's absolutely crucial. You'll need to navigate through a maze of permits, insurance, and safety standards. Safety is paramount, not just to comply with regulations but to ensure your patrons leave with nothing but good memories and the desire to come back. 

Depending on your location, here are some of the permits that you may require: 

  • Business license: Required to legally operate as a business in certain localities.
  • Building permit: If constructing a new facility or significantly renovating an existing space, this ensures compliance with local building codes.
  • Health and safety permits: These are required to ensure your venue meets health and safety standards, especially in areas like food service and emergency exits.
  • Fire safety certificate: To certify that the venue complies with fire safety regulations, including having proper exits, extinguishers, and fire alarm systems.
  • Insurance: Comprehensive liability insurance covers your guests and business from issues surrounding potential injuries or accidents on the premises.
  • Alcohol license: If you plan to serve alcohol, this is necessary and often requires adherence to specific regulations.
  • Zoning compliance: Your venue may need to comply with local zoning laws to ensure the area is designated for commercial use or specific entertainment activities.
  • Signage permits: Any outdoor signs may be required to meet local guidelines on size, lighting, and placement.
  • Accessibility compliance: Regardless of compliance, you should ensure your venue is accessible to individuals with disabilities, in line with local regulations or laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the U.S.
  • Noise control permit: If your laser tag venue is in a residential area or close to one, it might need to adhere to local noise ordinances.
  • Working with children: If children are a primary customer base, there might be specific requirements for staff background checks and child safety measures.
  • Data protection and privacy: This is used to handle customer data, especially if membership or booking systems are online.

It's a good idea to consult with a legal expert who specializes in entertainment venues to ensure everything meets the required standards. And remember, intuitive technology like ROLLER can help you obtain digital waivers from guests, which is crucial for protecting any business where guests undertake physical activities. 

Location, location, location: Where to set up shop

Choosing the right location can make or break your laser tag business. You want somewhere accessible, visible, and within reach of your target demographic. High foot traffic areas near family entertainment centers, malls, or movie theaters can be golden. However, affordability is key. Balancing visibility with cost-effectiveness takes some market research and negotiation skills. 

Dive into local demographics and competition analysis, which you should have acquired when developing your business plan. This level of due diligence ensures you're not stepping into an oversaturated market or, conversely, a location that your demographic doesn’t gel with. Remember, the ideal spot is one where your target audience frequents but also where you can afford to grow your business sustainably.

In terms of the ideal site, you should look out for the following: 

  • An adequate size that can house multiple arenas.
  • The ability to renovate the interior if leasing.
  • Existing kitchens and utility areas that will allow you to offer food and beverages.
  • Decent parking and public transportation access.
  • Scalability, with enough space to accommodate extra attractions as your business grows (like an escape room, arcade machines, or VR spaces). 

Designing the ultimate laser tag arena: Gear and space 

Now, for the fun part—designing your laser tag arena. This is where your creativity shines and what ultimately sets you apart. An immersive, well-thought-out arena can transport players to another world. Incorporate dynamic elements like multi-level platforms, hidden traps, and thematic obstacles to enhance gameplay and encourage repeat visits. Don't forget about the technology that will power your games. Investing in high-quality equipment ensures a seamless experience for your players and less downtime for your business.

Here are some pointers for making your laser tag arena memorable: 

  • Layout complexity: Design a maze-like layout with varying levels of complexity, including hiding spots, obstacles, and open areas to facilitate different play styles and strategies.
  • Safety: Ensure all surfaces are smooth and materials used are soft or well-padded to prevent injuries. Lighting should be sufficient for players to navigate safely without detracting from the immersive experience.
  • Accessibility: Ensure the venue is accessible to players of all abilities, including wide corridors and ramps where necessary.
  • Spectator areas: Include areas where non-players can watch laser tag games, such as elevated platforms or glass-walled rooms.
  • Ventilation and temperature control: Proper ventilation and climate control to keep players comfortable during physical activity.
  • Audio and lighting equipment: Invest in dynamic lighting and sound systems to create an immersive environment. This includes ambient sounds, themed music, and lighting effects that can change based on game events.
  • Laser tag guns: Choose durable, lightweight guns with reliable sensor detection so that they are easy to use in your space. Consider guns with various features for different game modes (e.g., ammo count, team settings).
  • Vests and sensors: Invest in vests that are adjustable, comfortable, and equipped with sensors to accurately register hits. LED indicators can enhance the experience.

Assembling your dream squad 

Behind every great laser tag venue is an even greater team. Your staff is the face of your business, from the enthusiastic game masters to the attentive customer service reps. Hiring passionate individuals who share your vision for delivering exceptional entertainment is crucial. 

Once your team is assembled, invest in thorough training programs that cover not just the operational aspects of running the games but also customer service excellence and emergency response protocols. A well-trained, motivated team will elevate the customer experience and contribute significantly to your venue's reputation.

Did you know? You can save time and money when onboarding your team if the POS and tech your venue uses are intuitive and easy to use. Software like ROLLER can be learned in minutes, saving venues time and money when training staff. 

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Creating a venue that operates smoothly and has high growth potential 

Choosing the right operational tools is as crucial as selecting the perfect theme for your arena. That's where ROLLER comes into play—our software platform is designed to streamline operations, enhance guest experiences, and drive growth for entertainment venues, including laser tag arenas.

Here’s why you should consider ROLLER:

  • Integrated booking system: ROLLER offers a seamless, easy-to-use online booking system, enabling customers to book their laser tag sessions, birthday parties, and corporate events effortlessly. Plus, the logistics of managing larger groups and parties are made easy through dynamic personalization of inclusions, add-ons, and automated scheduling. 
  • Intuitive point of sale (POS): With ROLLER's intuitive POS system, managing transactions becomes a breeze. Whether it's at the snack bar or the equipment rental desk, transactions are quick and efficient, allowing staff to focus more on guest interactions. Plus, the time to learn the system is fast, so you can onboard new staff in minutes. 
  • Waiver management: Safety is paramount in any business that engages in physical activity. ROLLER simplifies the process of collecting and managing digital waivers, ensuring all participants are briefed on safety protocols while keeping the business legally protected.
  • Guest experience feedback: Understanding your guests' experiences is vital for continuous improvement. ROLLER's automated feedback collection tool helps you gather valuable insights into what your visitors love and where you can enhance their experience.
  • Marketing tools: Grow your business with ROLLER's CRM. From email campaigns targeting specific customer segments to loyalty programs designed to encourage repeat business, ROLLER helps you connect with your audience effectively and efficiently.
  • Operational insights: Gain a deeper understanding of your laser tag business’s performance with ROLLER's comprehensive analytics and reporting features. Track key metrics like revenue, bookings, and customer engagement to make informed decisions that drive growth.

Your laser tag adventure awaits

Opening a laser tag business is no small feat, but with the right preparation, a dash of creativity, and a lot of determination, it can be incredibly rewarding. You're not just offering a fun activity—you're creating a space where memories are made, friendships are forged, and everyday life is momentarily left at the door. So go ahead, dream big, plan carefully, and embark on this exciting venture. And, if you need a helping hand, you know where to find us. 

Discover how ROLLER helps laser tag businesses thrive.