Renting Guns At Your Store or Range - Is It Profitable?
Increasing Profits with In-Store Rentals
If you operate a range, then you already know how beneficial it is to have a captive audience there to purchase ammunitions, targets, ear & eye protection and all sorts of other accessories and gear from you. However, if you’re not currently renting firearms at your range, then you’re missing out on a lot of potential profit.
First & foremost, you should have a membership program at your range, with several different tiers, and this will bring in recurring revenue throughout the year. Setting up this membership system requires you to determine a monthly cost that you want to charge for these different levels.
The basic membership could include the following:
- Unlimited range use
- Access to Member's Only Lounge
- Discount on firearms transfers
- Access to Local Business Discount program
- Free shirt or hat
Your second level membership could include everything in basic but also add:
- Free gun rentals
- Discount on ammo and targets
- Discounted gun cleaning
The highest level of membership would include everything from the other membership levels, but also include:
- Access to private events
- Priority queue for shooting lanes
- Discounts on training courses held at your facility
- "Top tier" polo shirt
Of course these are just examples and you can set up your membership program any way you see fit. You could have a single level of membership that just gives discounts across the board, you can add family/corporate pricing, as well as military/LEO memberships.
There are a lot of options with membership programs, but it’s important to have it set up for people that want the discounts and exclusivity that membership offers.
Let’s focus now on renting guns at your range. First, let’s determine if it’s something you’re even interested in. Renting firearms means extra work for you or your staff, in paperwork, teaching and cleaning.
Many times, it is new gun owners who want to rent guns to find out what they like. Being that this may be the first time someone has fired a gun, it’s up to you to provide basic safety education to them right there at the line.
This will help protect you, your staff and your patrons, but it is more time consuming. You should also be doing some paperwork with gun rental, even though rentals are not a transfer, acquisition or disposition.
Proper record keeping will identify your rental guns as separate from your regular inventory, and it’s advisable to create a pre-rental questionnaire to identify anyone prohibited from possessing a firearm.
You are free to set age restrictions as you see fit, and the firearms must stay on your property. After rental guns are used and turned in, they need to be cleaned regularly to stay in optimal working condition, and this is another time expense required.
The NSSF has a fantastic article on staying compliant when offering gun rentals.
If you decide to move forward with gun rentals, one of the primary considerations is setting up your pricing structure.
There are several pricing models for gun rentals available, and it would be worth it to look at local competitors if there are any near you.
If there are not any other gun ranges, or ranges that offer rentals, then you may have the option of charging a higher rate for gun rentals at your range.
Here are some common pricing models for gun rentals:
- Charge a flat rate, such as $20 per hour
- Allow renters to change firearms at no additional charge
- Charge different prices for different types of guns
- Higher prices for full auto or suppressed firearms
- Lower price for semi-auto rifles and handguns
- Set up packages for handgun only, rifle only and combo
- Include 2 or 3 calibers in a package
- Charge by the caliber, unlimited "swaps" in that caliber
- Charge to switch calibers
- Unlimited range time (encourages people to switch calibers and buy ammo)
- Charge a flat rate for each rental gun
- Charge for lane time (most people won't use a whole hour on the same gun)
With all of these rental options, it’s best to require use of range ammunition and targets, along with ear and eye protection. Using guaranteed ammunition could protect you from liability in the event that one of your firearms is damaged or experiences malfunction.
Renting firearms at your range can be a lucrative addition to your services. It allows the opportunity for people new to firearms to try out different guns before they buy.
You can always offer a discount to people who buy the same model gun they rented to encourage people to buy from you while it’s a fresh experience.
Gun rentals also give you the opportunity to market your other courses such as concealed carry classes, and the other events you may be hosting that we’ve mentioned previously.
The point of sale of a firearm is also a great place to try to add on self-defense insurance through the USCCA.
Above all, though, it allows people to spend time in your business, and find out if they want to become a part of your community.