Author Topic: Interest in Airgun Fill Business  (Read 409 times)

jmcc4satx

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Interest in Airgun Fill Business
« on: June 18, 2018, 12:23:00 PM »
Whenever I get interested in a new hobby or activity, my natural inclination is to find niche opportunities to have that hobby or interest pay for itself.  Having never had "extra" money enough to throw around and desiring to have my own business most of my life, I often tinker with ideas on what if... 
I have been trying to find information on the "Big Picture" of the airgun industry for several weeks now and am not having much luck.  Short of paying $1700 for an industry analysis from a business analysis specialist, I am at a loss for gathering the information on which to base a business decision.  Is there an industry trade group for airguns and airgun accessories?  Is there a "Hank Hill of Airgunning?"  A go-to source of information for growth projections and market history? 

Looking forward to some opinions from folks who've been at this hobby longer than I have

Thanks,

Jack McCarty
« Last Edit: June 18, 2018, 12:27:20 PM by jmcc4satx »


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Alan

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Re: Interest in Airgun Fill Business
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2018, 01:20:43 PM »
Jack, I think the answers would depend on which area of the hobby/industry you're interested in.

At present, there are about two dozen major airgun manufacturers, and a slew of small ones. Breaking into that end would be rather costly. The largest US based manufacturer is Crosman/Benjamin, and overall they 're also one of the biggest world wide. They make arrangers, nitro piston, and PCP airguns in just about every configuration you can find.

Most of the smaller ones, like Wicked Air Rifles, is owned by Jim Gaska. He also owns a CNC machine shop. In his case, it is sort of an extension of his hobby, and he's managed to make a few dollars along the way. There are quite a few garage-shop guys, making high-quality, but low production airguns. Most of the smaller shops are all making PCPs. I personally don't know of any making springers and pumps.

The are at least 50 guys out there doing tuning, doing mods, and selling parts for factory guns, primarily PCPs. There are yet another bunch making specialty parts for specific models, like air stripers. One of the most popular "parts" are upgraded suppressors, aka silencers. How many are making those world wide is anyone's guess, but it is a big number!

Sub-facets within this hobby are as numerous as one's imagination. Some are really into FT (field target) meets, while others are just tinkerers. And Lord knows there are the collectors, some of which literally have hundreds of airguns.

Personally, I love to hunt, and I have a unique situation where in I can hunt almost every day of the year if I so choose. I ended up owning this site, but it wasn't intended—I just fell into it. Perhaps you will find your nitch too.
  • Roswell, New Mexico
Alan

I have an Omega compressor. If you're a fellow Guild member, and you pass through Roswell, NM, I'll fill your portable tank as a courtesy.

jmcc4satx

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Re: Interest in Airgun Fill Business
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2018, 03:34:39 PM »
Thanks for the response, Alan! 

I have a pretty good feel for who the big players are in retail, who the known/celebrated manufacturers are from worldwide to local shops, and noted that a lot of people mention air supplies as a point of pain either due to limited  availability or cost to have a personal compressor.

       "... I think the answers would depend on which area of the hobby/industry you're interested in."

My skillset does not include the fine motor skills required for repair or gun-smithing, nor do I have the cash or experience for CNC milling.  Don't really want to build a retail inventory nor the brick&mortar location. 

I'd just like to offer a mobile air refill service (non-breathing air).  Maybe carry some fittings and o-rings to complement the filling service.  Show up at regional airgun events with a few air bottles for sale and a cascade system to top off tanks or bottles before/after people compete.  Just would like to be involved in the hobby as a participant and a reliable regional vendor.

There are a few scuba shops around and one paintball field that I could find nearby (and I suppose fire stations count as possible competition for servicing tanks, depending on the department policies). 


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steveoh

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Re: Interest in Airgun Fill Business
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2018, 11:09:19 PM »
I get my tanks filled at a Fire Extinguisher business that also fills airtanks for Fire Departments and refineries. Airgun tank and paintball tank filling is a small part of their business. There used to be another place that filled tanks but they closed their doors. It’s actually a rarity to find business to fill my tanks.
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Alan

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Re: Interest in Airgun Fill Business
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2018, 05:57:59 AM »
The biggest issue is the liability insurance, or so the local fire department explains to me. That I understand, having been in retail business.

There is a part-time dive shop here, but they didn't have the necessary fittings. They do now, because I bought them what they needed! But as I said, they're part-time, and mostly closed. This fact prompted me to purchase an Omega Air Charger.

Of late, the Chinese have stepped in, and there in now at least a dozen high pressure compressors using almost identical hardware. Selling prices hover around $400, and some as cheap as $200. Based on this, I suspect the refill business isn't viable.

One major drawback to powerful airguns, is weight. Just recently, Jefferson State Airguns released an aluminum alternative to steel. That saves about two pounds. And, in lieu of traditional rifle stocks, others are adopting AR15 type hardware. That adds more weight, even though the frames are made of aluminum. What I'd like to see, is all carbon fiber stocks designed in the AR15 style. So far, that is missing in action (pun intended). Once someone does this, he'll not only have the airgun market, but a lot of the firearm market too. Thankfully, prices are coming down on the necessary hardware to make carbon fiber assemblies.

Good luck in whatever you do.
  • Roswell, New Mexico
Alan

I have an Omega compressor. If you're a fellow Guild member, and you pass through Roswell, NM, I'll fill your portable tank as a courtesy.

jmcc4satx

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Re: Interest in Airgun Fill Business
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2018, 09:00:29 PM »
I get my tanks filled at a Fire Extinguisher business that also fills airtanks for Fire Departments and refineries. Airgun tank and paintball tank filling is a small part of their business. There used to be another place that filled tanks but they closed their doors. It’s actually a rarity to find business to fill my tanks.

From my few months of lurking and searching different airgun sites and forums I have found your experience repeated over and over... hard to find a place to fill tanks/bottles/airguns.  On the surface that sounds like a common problem calling for a solution.  I have discovered after several attempts to fill "perceived needs" that disproving the surface impression can be expensive.  Maybe the best solution is to bite the bullet and spend around 2 grand for the full setup, airgun and compressor. 
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