Axe throwing businesses can be very profitable with a low initial investment.
Probably the number one question we get is “Is axe throwing a profitable business to start?” Well, it’s kind of like asking, how long is a piece of string? There is not exact answer. Let’s talk a little business for a bit.
With any business venture, you need to look at:
- Start Up Costs: cost of getting a location, finish out, cost of equipment, training of staff, etc.
- Operational Costs: Monthly rent, utilities, COGS (cost of goods sold), insurance, labor, etc.
- Revenue: Income from core business, then any auxiliary income streams outside of the core model.
The beauty of starting an axe throwing business is it really ticks off a lot of these needs with a low cost. Obviously you need to source the real estate – buy or lease – and there is a huge variable there. But the good news is, the finish out and equipment can be much, much, much cheaper than other business models.
For example if you look at a small restaurant, you can easily run up $500,000 or more in stoves, freezers, fryers, 3 compartment sinks, grease traps, refrigerators, ovens, etc, not to mention tables, chairs, silverware, glassware, etc.
The axe business became so popular because the initial locations were nothing more than a few boards screwed to the wall and some chain link dog kennel panels between them. Get a jumbo sharpie, draw some circles and you’re in business.
The problem today, is so many of these cheap looking locations were a one and done for the customers, did not offer much variety and with more opening, the competition drove them out of business in droves.
We get calls all the time from people who take over, or buy for almost nothing, a cheap dog kennel looking axe place, and call to add our equipment during a total remodel.
But the good news is even if you do it right, it’s still a very low cost to prepare compared to most any other business. As an example, the following picture is a 6 lane build out, that turn key, all in is about $9000 a lane.
Then paint the ceiling black, add some accent lighting, some bar stools and tables, and you have a nice looking business for under 100K depending on how big you are going. Have some extra space? Drop in a Giant Jenga or some corn hole toss lanes or some arcade games.
For staff, you don’t have to find skilled people like chefs, experienced wait staff, etc, just hire the smile and train the rest! Very easy position to teach.
Monthly rent depends on the location, but utilities are not that high as you are not running machinery, stoves, freezers, etc. Just a few lights, the lane equipment… all low power.
Many location only open for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, then leave weekdays for pre-booked private events keeping overhead low and profits up.
Typical pricing for axe throwing is from $25-$40 per hour per person depending on location and demographics, and you should average about 3 people on a target. Couples will be two on a target, but some will be two couples out, so average about 3.
So assume a $30 per person, that’s $90 a lane, times 6 lanes = $540 per hour. Run that when busy for 5 hours each on Friday and Saturday, so $5400 during peak times, and another $5000 or so on slower times, so a base of about $10K a weekend.
Axe throwing corporate events, team building, school events, etc can book another day or more per week at perhaps another $1,000 in revenue per week. So if we call it 11K a week, there are actually 4.3 weeks in a month, so $47,300 in axe throwing business revenue.
That is being open about 20 hours a week, and between 2-3 employees. We’ll assume about $17.50 per hour, so near $1000 a week in labor, or 4500 a month.
Take out utilities, maybe we are about 40K, rent, let’s say 7K, so we have about 33K. Assume wood, axes, repairs, replace, etc, 3K a month so you net out about 30K. So that’s $360 K a year. Now if your revenue is down 10K from those numbers, then 240K etc.
This is looking at axe only and a small 6 lane you keep busy. Add lanes, your cost may go up a bit, but your revenue could go up a lot.
I have customers with 12 lanes, axe only that do over 100K a month in revenue. I know others in small towns and 6 lanes with cheap rent and make 35,000 a month and do fine with it.
If you add in additional revenue streams like beer, wine, or full bar, that is normally showing an increase of 10 – 20% in revenue.
Keep in mind all these are just numbers, that can vary a lot. There is no guarantee on how much profit an axe throwing business can make. It’s up to you. Putting in our projected targets lower your cost of wood, lower your cost of labor and give the customers more options, games, reasons to return. But if you have your bathrooms looking like a wreck, don’t take care of your place, garbage in the parking lot, employees that don’t care or smile and spend all the time on their phone… none of this matters. You have to run an axe throwing business right to be profitable. That is true of any business. Check out my business rant.