Do I need to Buy an Axe Throwing Franchise?

We really don't think so.

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3 Drawbacks to buying an axe throwing franchise

Costly up front fees

Axe Franchise Expense

Axe Franchises typically have an upfront cost, then a percentage of profit on going expense. The upfront costs can range from small fee’s like $5000 to $25,000 or $50,000 or more. This is a big chunk of money to take out of your start up monies.

And the big question is what are you really getting for that upfront money? The answer is perhaps use of a name… but there are lots of names out there, and it’s not like McDonalds where there is national recognition. The other thing is s business plan – that in all honesty, may be flawed, and is generic and not necessarily geared toward your city, your location, your goals.  Many times as we discuss in 3) below, this can be more of a hindrance than a help!

draw axe targets

And more expenses

Franchises reach into your pocket every month. They require a payment of a percentage of your gross sales. Giving up 4-10% of your month gross can cripple or bankrupt a business. If you look at an average business model, you have a lot of fixed costs like your overhead (rent, utilities, insurance) then on top of that your variable costs like labor. 

As an example, if we take an axe throwing business that brings in 200 people a week, say at an average of $25 per person, there is $5,000 in revenue, or 20K a month. Spend 5K on rent, 1K on utilities, 4K on labor, 2K on axes, wood, etc, 1K on insurance, internet, and other misc… That 20K has become a profit of about 7K.  But if you give away 10% or the gross.. $2K, you end up with just $5,000 for the month and you’re the one who did the work!

But it get's even worse!

Many of the axe franchise models make you buy their products, even though they cost tons more than you could source yourself! Locked in to their insurance company, their builders, and some even make you buy their “special Sharpies” that cost 5 times what you can get at the local office supply store because they make them a few millimeters different size and put their logo on them!

While they may talk you into it under the guise of “we help you source your equipment and services” if you check you might just see they are drastically marked up to cost you even more money.

Worst of All!

Perhaps the number one reason people decide against an axe throwing franchise is the fact that the franchise wants to tell you how to run your business. A guy sitting in an office in Canada or Las Vegas has no clue what your challenges are. He is not talking to your customers. He cannot know what the local people are willing to pay for.

A freind of mine had a pizza shop franchise, and this particual one made it mandatory that they had fresh hot soup every day. It was required to make a 5 quart pot of soup, 365 days a year. But we are in Texas. No one drinks hot soup in August when it’s 105 degrees out, but the owners of the franchise up north made it a mandatory requirement – or you could be fined and lose your franchise – so every day he would make soup, that he had to buy from them, and throw it away.

This is not unique to a pizza franchise. There are even organization, leagues and franchisees that insist on how you build your axe throwing lanes even through they are more dangerous and cost more!

Entrepreneur or Wantrepreneur?

You have visions of what you want your business to be. You are on the front lines. You are talking to your customers, listening to their needs, desires and wishes. You are in the perfect place to decide what you want for your own business. Do you want to be exactly like the rest, even if that model is failing? Are circles with an over priced sharpie on a wall where you think the future of this industry is heading?

Remember the famous quote from

Wayne Gretzky “Skate to where the puck is going to be.”

Stand out from the competition

We own multiple Axe throwing locations.
We won't sell you an axe franchise. We'll share our knowledge.

Have a place that cares about your customers. Offers them a truly great experience, even if they are the once a year, stop in on a birthday customer. Avoid the pompous, self anointed “If you don’t throw an axe this way or at this kind of target you are doing it wrong.”

I get to talk to a lot of customers about their past decision on whether to join a particular organization, or league, or franchise. I hear a lot that “Well they are on ESPN”. If you stop and think about it, the new world of axe throwing is much like what bowling was in this country. You’ve probably been bowling. Did you go to have a good time with some friends, roll a few balls maybe have a beer?  Or did you do it so one day you could be on ESPN. What do you think the customers at your new location want?

Don’t let anyone else convince you otherwise. It’s up to you to figure out the best way to Start An Axe Throwing Business