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A batting cage offers baseball fans an opportunity to have fun hitting baseballs thrown to them by an automated “pitcher”. Committed baseball players can use batting cages to practice their skills during the off-season. Baseball players whose goal is to increase their batting average must train outside of practice and during the off-season. Batting cages are a fun, safe place for players to improve on those skills. Additionally, your indoor or outdoor establishment could provide entertainment for families who enjoy the sport as a family activity.
Who is this business right for?
Entrepreneurs who are passionate about baseball and/or softball are best suited for this type of business. To build a successful business, firsthand knowledge of the sport would prove beneficial.
What happens during a typical day at a batting cage business?
Some of your day-to-day duties include:
- Routine maintenance on all equipment
- Checking to ensure all equipment is clean and up to code
- Interacting with customers, ensuring they understand how to use all equipment, and helping with any questions they may have.
- Placing orders for any items that need re-stocking
- Getting involved and attending outdoor events and activities
Additionally, there will be a number of administrative tasks that will need to be tended to regularly. As profits increase, you may decide to employ an office manager to take over these responsibilities. Doing will allow you to focus on the aspects of the business you’re most passionate about.
What is the target market?
Your customer base will mostly consist of baseball players, both novice and veteran. The novice players are there to improve their skills as they work towards reaching their baseball goals. The veterans will visit your establishment to keep from getting rusty. Though baseball players will make up the largest portion of your customer base, your batting cage can be a fun, casual setting where families who love baseball can play ball and spend time with each other. Regardless of the type of customer, all will come to enjoy interacting with others who share their love of the sport.
How does a batting cage business make money?
A batting cage business generates revenue from each service offered. Some businesses offer only batting cages, while others offer pitching mounds and fitness training.
What is the growth potential for a batting cage business?
As part of the entertainment industry, there is significant growth potential in owning a batting cage. The key is to conduct thorough research to ensure your facility is located in an area that is in need of a sports complex. To increase your growth potential, consider offering additional activities, such as mini-golf or basketball courts, that appeal to individuals who aren’t as passionate about baseball.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful batting cage business?
If this is your first business venture, take a moment to analyze your knowledge regarding what it takes to successfully run a business. While your passion for baseball will contribute to your success, there is much more that goes into running a business. Consider taking a beginner’s business course at your local community college if you feel that you would benefit from a formal education of business basics.
Your role as the owner will require you to interact with potential and current customers. Thus, you must possess strong interpersonal skills and a dedication to customer service.
Many of your clients will be young, aspiring baseball players. Knowledge and a true passion for the sport would prove beneficial. They will look to you for guidance, support, and inspiration. Your ability to inspire others to meet their goals will position you as a leader in the community and help your business achieve its own long-term goals.
What are the costs involved in opening a batting cage business?
First, decide whether you’d like to run an indoor or outdoor facility. Once you’ve done so, it’s time to choose a location. Conduct research to ensure the area isn’t saturated, to identify consumer needs, and to determine how large your space should be.
Experienced professionals recommend using the following guidelines to determine how many cages you need for an outdoor establishment: (each with dual machines)
- If the population within a 20 mile radius is 20,000 - 40,000, a four-station batting cage.
- For 40,000 to 80,000, you’ll need five to seven batting cages.
- For 80,000 to 150,000, consider seven to eight batting cages
- Anything over 150,000, set your facility up with a nine-station batting cage.
For an indoor facility, a four or five-cage batting station should be adequate.
Once you’ve decided on a location, start stocking your space with necessary equipment and setting up the stations. Prices will vary from $43,000 to $84,000, depending upon how many stations you’ll have. Construction costs range from $64,000 to $171,000. Equipment includes:
- Pitching machines and hardware
- Conveyor/Feeder and hardware
- Control computer with warning light boxes
- Sump hole liners
- Netting system
- Bats and helmets
- Baseballs and softballs
In addition to the batting equipment, you’ll need some administrative supplies:
- Computer, accessories, internet, and phone system - $2,000
- Management software system, customized to fit your business needs - up to $3,500
- Website - up to $3,500
- Marketing materials
- Insurance - meet with your insurance professional to discuss cost and specific needs to protect your business
While start-up costs are higher, many entrepreneurs opt to invest in franchise opportunities. These often increase earning potential by offering an established name and guidance throughout the process.
What are the steps to start a batting cage business?
Once you're ready to start your batting cage business, follow these steps to ensure that your business is legally compliant and avoid wasting time and money as your business grows:
- Plan your business. A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. A few important topics to consider are your initial costs, your target market, and how long it will take you to break even.
- Form a legal entity. Establishing a legal business entity prevents you from being personally liable if your batting cage business is sued.
- Register for taxes. You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
- Open a business bank account. A dedicated checking account for your batting cage business keeps your finances organized and makes your business appear more professional to your customers.
- Set up business accounting. Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
- Obtain necessary permits and licenses. Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
- Get business insurance. Insurance is highly recommended for all business owners. If you hire employees, workers compensation insurance may be a legal requirement in your state.
- Define your brand. Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
- Establish a web presence. A business website allows customers to learn more about your company and the products or services you offer. You can also use social media to attract new clients or customers. Save 15% when you create a business website with Weebly.
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Where can I find a business mentor?
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a batting cage business?
Successful batting cage owners offer the following advice:
- When setting your hours of operation, consider the demographic you’re catering to.
- Keep in mind that, while important, passion will not carry your business. Make sure you understand the basics of running a business before getting started.
- The knowledge and friendliness of your staff is critical to the business’ success.
How to promote & market a batting cage business
Surround yourself with the people who need your services the most. Get to know those in charge at surrounding schools, churches, and sports organizations. Offer reduced pricing with organizations that use your facility regularly. Additionally, many have increased exposure by sponsoring local baseball teams and placing ads in school yearbooks.
As with any modern business, social media is an effective promoter. This is a great opportunity to educate the community regarding the latest in trends, community news, and specials your establishment is running.
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How to keep customers coming back
Once you’ve gotten customers in the door, it’s up to you and your staff to keep them coming back. Make sure all equipment is in working order and is sanitized before use. Your staff should be friendly and knowledgeable, offering guidance to anyone that needs it.
How and when to build a team
The size of your team largely depends upon your knowledge and how much time you would like to spend at the facility. Many batting cage owners have found success hiring high school baseball players. While they may not know everything about the sport, younger customers often relate to them better than older employees. Regardless of who you employ, make sure they understand the intricacies of the sport and aren’t afraid to seek out answers to the questions they don’t know. If you plan to offer classes, be sure you hire an individual qualified to instruct customers of all ages.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a batting cage business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.
If you plan to sell food at your batting cage business, you will need licensing from a local health department. All establishments serving food are required to pass a health inspection. Tips for faring well on a health inspection can be found here.
In addition, certain local licensing or regulatory requirements may apply. For more information about local licenses and permits:
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources
Maintain Personal Asset Protection
Don’t think that just forming an LLC, or any other type of business, will save your personal assets in case of a lawsuit or other matter by itself.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your LLC is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Two of the simplest steps that will protect your business, and yourself, are to:
Open a business bank account
- This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Get a business credit card
- This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
Release of Liability
To avoid liability and potential lawsuits, batting cage businesses should have their clients sign a release of liability. Here is an example of one such form.
Recommended: Rocket Lawyer makes it easy to create a professional release of liability form for your batting cage when you sign up for their premium membership. For $39.95 per month, members receive access to hundreds of legal agreements and on call attorneys to get complimentary legal advice.
Certificate of Occupancy
A batting cage business is generally run out of a modified retail location. Businesses operating out of a physical location typically require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met.
If you plan to lease a location:
- It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO.
- Before leasing, confirm that your landlord has or can obtain a valid CO that is applicable to a batting cage business.
- After a major renovation, a new CO often needs to be issued. If your place of business will be renovated before opening, it is recommended to include language in your lease agreement stating that lease payments will not commence until a valid CO is issued.
If you plan to purchase or build a location:
- You will be responsible for obtaining a valid CO from a local government authority.
- Review all building codes and zoning requirements for your business’ location to ensure your batting cage business will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.
In order to play music in a business setting, permission must be acquired from the composer or license holder. Typically, it is possible to obtain a “blanket” license allowing a businesses to play music owned by a large catalog of artists and recording studios. Such licenses can be obtained from Performance Rights Organizations, such as ASCAP or BMI.
How much can you charge customers?
Batting cage rentals are often charged in 30-minute increments. $25.00 for half hour, $40.00 for an hour rental. You could also set the cages up with coins. Most machines offer 12 swings per $1 token.
What are the ongoing expenses for a batting cage business?
Ongoing expenses will vary, depending upon how many team members you employ, whether your facility is indoor or outdoor, and what additional services you offer. Entrepreneurs recommend budgeting for between $6,500 and $14,500 per month.
How much profit can a batting cage business make?
While it’s recommended that you set aside nine to twelve months of cash to carry your business the first year, many batting cage owners have reported a profit at the end of their first year. $40,000 is the average first-year annual profit, with profits jumping to over $70,000 by the end of year three.
How can you make your business more profitable?
Implementing these strategies should help increase your facility’s annual profit:
- Offer drinks and snacks for your customers while they’re visiting your establishment. If this isn’t part of your business plan, consider renting out a portion of your space to a local restaurant or food truck. This could help with monthly overhead expenses and ensure your customers have the complete experience.
- Offer pitching and hitting clinics.
- Offer lessons, catering to each age group (including adults).
- Once you’re able to reinvest some of your capital, invest in the equipment to offer video analysis of pitching and hitting.
- Have a room dedicated to strength training and offer classes that are geared towards each specific sport.
- Host field trips.
- Offer memberships.
- Host birthday parties and lock-ins.
- Cater to additional sports and offer additional activities - some have found success with arcades, footballs, dodgeball, soccer, and whiffle ball.